Expert AdviceHeating & Cooling

Air Quality

Q: We just bought our first home and we have noticed that the air is very dry, and there is static electricity build up, etc. The HVAC/AC system we have now is a dual system, one in the attic and one in the crawl space. Is there a whole house humidifier for this type of HVAC system?

A: Yes, there are a few different types of humidifiers that can be used in your house: flow-thru, by-pass, and steam.

The first thing you must consider before any installation of a furnace humidifier is if it has a possibility to freeze in your attic or crawl space. If there is the possibility of freezing temperatures (lets say 36 degrees F and below) then you should definitely not install a humidifier there.

The freezing temperatures will create ice in the humidifier and in the water lines, possibly breaking them and causing serious damage to your home. If you are unsure, place a temperature gauge in both places and view it at different times of the day and/or night. Some people will add insulation in their attic to insure proper temperatures. We do not recommend that you put insulation around the humidifier itself.

Let’s say you are safe and the temperature is above freezing. Let’s determine the size of your house by cubic footage. Square footage is often popular because most people know their square footage but that really doesn’t give the total area inside the home. To figure cubic footage inside the home, use this equation-L x W x H. For example, if you live in a home with 2000 square feet with eight foot ceilings, then the cubic feet of your home is 16,000 cubic feet.

Many homes today have varying ceiling heights, which makes this measurement important to ensure that the humidifier is the right size. You can check out the Frequently Asked Questions at for more details. Once you know the size of your home, you can then determine the right humidifier by comparing the flow-thru, by-pass and steam types.

It is a good idea to oversize your humidifier. (Oversize = the maximum output is higher than your home’s cubic footage.) With the correct humidifier, your unit will run less and more efficiently to maintain the proper humidity levels inside your home.

Adding a whole-house humidifier is a great way to solve that dry itchy skin, parched throat, creaking furniture, and static buildup that zaps everything you touch. It will also protect valuable artwork, antiques, and musical instruments. It even saves money on winter heating bills because properly humidified air feels warmer, allowing homeowners to turn their thermostats down a few degrees.

Good luck!

This information was brought to you by Davis K. Powers of Skuttle Indoor Air Quality Products.

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