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Humidifier... distributing moisture.

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Bster13, Oct 27, 2013.

  1. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I'm looking to purchase a console humidifier sized to output enough to service the entire house. I also want a large capacity tank so I don't have to fill it all the time. With that said...

    Biggest question for me now is "how does humidity distribute around the house?"
    Some guys say "put it anywhere, moisture distributes itself" others say "put it where the stove/blower is as air is moving" and still others say "put it as far away from the stove as possible so the moisture travels throughout the entire house to get to the stove.

    Thoughts?

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  2. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    - Close to the water source for east refilling, not on carpet, and not on an exterior wall
  3. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    So are you saying distributing moisture is not a problem no matter where you place it in the house?

    In my case, I can't put it in the middle of the house where the stove is. I can either put one large unit (preferably... cheaper purchase price and cheaper consumables) at one end of the house, or purchase two units (more $, more consumables) at both ends of the house...
  4. Firedancer

    Firedancer New Member

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    My couch isn't pushed up against the wall. I figured a great spot for a humidifier would be behind it-out of site--between the exterior wall and sofa. :(


    Guess I need to find another spot.
  5. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    Yes, you can place it anywhere in the house and it will humidify the entire house. I have a two story with four bedrooms upstairs. The single unit I use is down stairs. Two smaller units is unneeded and would be a great pain in the butt.

    As another stated, against an outside wall isn't the best place, though that's where mine is. I have to be careful, for when it's really could outside, water sometimes condenses on that exterior wall.

    Close to a water source is a great recommendation.

    I wouldn't have a problem placing it on a carpet.

    Just to be safe, I also add an anti-bacteria agent to the water.

    Once you start using the humidifier, it will take a day or two for the house to get humidified. Also, if you let it go for a day or two, the house will stay humidified, relatively speaking.

    Don't over-think this. Get one big enough and one that meets your criteria and have at it! With the information you're getting here and experimentation, you'll figure it out. Consider purchasing a digital thermometer/hygrometer and learn what the appropriate indoor humidity levels should be. This all depends on what the outside temperature is. You can over humidify your home, particularly when it gets very cold out. Relatively speaking, the colder it is outside, the lower your inside humidity should be.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013
  6. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    Tell me about it. This area SE PA, Midatlantic region, can be pretty humid. Most houses I've been in this area with hot water heat (baseboard/radiator/radiant) just don't seem to need humidification in the winter. And with wood heat it seems the same to me. No static electic shocks. Houses around here (other than those with hot air heat which tend to be dryer and might benefit from a little humidifying) that have humidifiers can end up with mold problems in the bathrooms. I think you have to be careful not to overdo it.
  7. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    Low humidity inside your home during the winter is a function of the difference in outside air temps compared to the inside temps. Generally speaking, it's not so much a function of how you heat your home.

    Here is a link to a string of posts that discuss this.
    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/humidifier-placement.94544/#post-1247393
  8. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Anyone had a problem with a humidifier ruining books or papers?

    Also, they say size the humidifier for the space u want to address. Well for a simple room that makes perfect sense, but if you have an unopen floor plan, how does it make sense to stick a big console humidifier in a room and expect it to distribute all over the house let along not over saturate the room you have the appliance in?
  9. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    You are making an assumption that a humidifier acts like a wood stove and the results you get with a wood stove in a small room...... a room that's too hot at 85 degrees and another room on the other side of the house too cold at 65 degrees. A humidifier isn't a wood stove and humidity doesn't act like heat. Humidity is very fluid. If finds it's way through-out the house... it really does. I have an old floor plan with lots of rooms and no open spaces. There is never more than a few percentage points difference in humidity levels thought-out the house. If there is a significant difference in humidity levels, it's because a particular room is much warmer or much colder. I know it's hard to get your head around how that happens, but it does. I'm sure it can be explained in a scientific manner, but not by me.
  10. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Well, yeah I am looking at it like distributing the stove's heat, but it is good to know your personal experience does not work that way. The current place my lovely wife would like the humidifier is in the sun room which has wide temperature swings (warm when the sunlight gets to it during the day and drops like a rock at night with all that glass). If the general consensus is that will work just fine it's game on.
  11. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    It's better to oversize a humidifier but only if it has a humidistat. The humidistat lets you control the amount of humidity it puts out... like a thermostat does. You're likely to over saturate the entire house before you over saturate just the room. And that would be pretty tough to do with just a console unit. But that might depend on how big the console unit was, how small the house, and how well the house is sealed.
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My take. A humidifier on the floor with the stove circulates the moisture throughout the house along with the heat through air circulation. If heat goes there, it takes the moisture with it. And if you do what I did two years ago and turn the place into a rain forest because of a humidity related health issue the result ain't cheap. I ended up having all of the roof decking ripped off of this barn this past June to get rid of the attic mold it caused. Yeah I know. Air sealing. Did that too but the second floor humidifiers were the main culprit.

    This past winter one humidifier was used on the main floor and the moisture and the heat traveled together.
  13. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    If it doesn't work in there you can always move it.

    Do you close that room off at night? If not, why or how does it get so cold. If you do close it off, it's not an optimal placement for the unit.
  14. CenterTree

    CenterTree Feeling the Heat

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    When we used to run a humidifier, I had to move all my money into the bank. My suitcases full of $100 bills started to get musty. :p


    We don't use one anymore. It was too much work. (cleaning, buying the elements, cleaning, adding water, cleaning). Did I mention cleaning?

    If you go that route be sure to add a little anti-bacterial agent to the water.





    [​IMG]
  15. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    ;lol;lol
  16. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    We have a couple of 2 gal tank size units. Most of year we can get by with just one going, but in the coldest months of Jan/Feb I sometimes run both.

    Location:
    Physics would say that the moisture will distribute evenly throughout the air of the house overtime... However in all but the tightest houses you constantly have fresh dry air coming in disrupting things. So in practice I like to put it where it will do the most good - In our case I have it right outside the doors to the bedrooms so that we get the benefit of moist air for our sinuses as we sleep.

    How much:
    As others have said the humidity loss of the house depends on the temperature differential to outside, and also on how drafty your house is. Since humidity is relative, outside air at 10 degree and 80% humidity will drop to something very low like 20% when it comes inside and warms up.

    For your health (sinuses) and to keep the woodwork from drying out too much around 40-50% is ideal. If you have poorly insulated walls or windows you could get condensation problems with that humidity level when it gets very cold outside - in that cases there are charts you can follow to set the indoor humidity based on outside temp, colder it is the lower you go. I had one once, have to go search for it...

    Keeping it clean:
    I tried lots of things... Cleaning the filters weekly only works so long and honestly I'm not a big fan of adding lots of chemicals or bleach to the water. Last year I started using these Protec silver based disinfectant cartridges in the tank and they seem to do a good job:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000XPT0DK/ref=oh_details_o09_s00_i03?ie=UTF8&psc=1
  17. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    With those cartridges, are you still having to clean every so often or drop it in and forget it?
  18. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    No, no, no! You can't generalize and say the appropriate indoor humidity level is 40-50% It all depends on what the temperature is outside. If it's 5 degrees outside and your humidity level inside is 50%.... you are well into the danger zone for for conditions that promote mold and condensation that will damage to your home. The low the temperature outside the maximum humidity inside is conversely related. Here is a link that contains a chart to give you ideal indoor humidity levels based on outdoor temperatures. http://www.improvinghome.com/content/correct-humidity-level
  19. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Umm that's what I said... Read my whole post .
  20. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    Cleaning is different than disinfecting. This might help.... it's a on-line review of the product I found.

    I'm a medical professional and Mom of 3 kids. I researched this product extensively before using it. I thought I would share what I found: A clinical study was conducted in 2006, which showed this product was extremely effective at killing germs and mold in humidifiers (Journal of Water and Health, vol 4.2, 2006). Also, it's shown to be very safe and 100% natural (based on natural silver technology...the active ingredient in the cartridge is actually used in many drinking water filters found at the "big box" stores.) One point to mention: it doesn't remove minerals. If you get stains in your humidifier from iron in your water you'll need a demineralization product for that (or use filtered or distilled water). I use it and highly recommend it.

    I use an anti bacterial product for disinfecting. I don't clean my filter. It gets a lot of mineral build up and I just toss it in the trash and install a new one. I use two a year. For me it's well worth the cost of 25 bucks per filter. I used to get sinus infections every winter. Between drinking more water and using the humidifier, problem solved.

    I would suggest the most important thing to address is to monitor the humidity levels in the house and make sure they don't get too high. And remember "too high" is a function on the outside temperature.
  21. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I stopped using humidifiers as they are a PIA to be filling all the time. I only get mold in the summer in the basement if i dont run the DE-HUMIDIFIER.
    Humidity gets down to 25% here in winter. Cracked the crap out of my mahogany carved table. (That jungle wood like moisture)
    If you have ductwork you can get an automatic unit that connects to your water supply and fill itself.
  22. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    My bad.... I now see your statement ... "there are charts you can follow to set the indoor humidity based on outside temp, colder it is the lower you go".
  23. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    The automatic whole house units are nice, but I don't know if they require heat in the duct work to function properly, and in our cases with wood heat it'd just be circulating air. In my case in particular I have NG boiler with baseboard heat and A/C that was added on later with the exchanger in the uninsulated attic. When I run the fans for the A/C it sucks the heat out of the place.
  24. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    I have some big Aquariums in my finished basement 125 Gal and 55 Gal. They help some in winter and boy do they lose water fast when its 25% humidity.
  25. Malatu

    Malatu New Member

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    Yes but that's 25% humidity inside, ............you might be surprised at how high the humidity is outside during the winter months. Depending on how cold it is.... well over 50%... into 60 and 70% It's counter intuitive but that's why they call it... "relative humidity".
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2013

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