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humidifier help

Good morning all -  hoping someone can give me some advice...I have around 4000 sq ft of living space in my house and in the winter it can get pretty dry. We have hot water baseboard heat for the majority of the house, although we are going to convert the two <a href="http://www.diychatroom.com/f17/humidifier-help-83307/#">bathrooms</a> upstairs to radiant - and then next year I'm planning on converting the entire first floor to radiant.

We  have central air - 2 zones (one for each floor) and my HVAC contractor suggested a York humidifier FP7000MY mounted on to my AC ductwork - which is in the attic. Located in NYC so I'm not crazy about running a water line into the attic - but the attic is fairly well insulated (as is all the duct work) and we figured we could run the water line through the attic floor which is well insulated, and come up into the humidifier.  He also suggested installing a york control (humidistat) which we could set the humidity level and when there is demand, that would turn the fan on to the AC unit to circulate humidity.

We spoke about steam humidifiers as well, and he was against them - stating that they can shorten the life of the electronic air cleaners and air handlers, as well as the duct work.  He is planning on running a hot water line up the attic and installing the humidifier  on the duct work right before the air cleaners.  Any comments, suggestions????Thank you!


  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,373
    Attic Humidifier

    This setup should function OK,but I would have 2 major concerns:

    1. The freezing issue as well as the fact that the line will loose alot of heat before reaching the humidifier, thus reducing output.

    2. A four thousand sq. ft. home will probably need more humidity than the humidifier will produce. Still, this is better than no humidifier

    The Honeywell "Truesteam" should be able to be connected to the supply duct and can be mounted remotely in a conditioned space (like a closet) thus eliminating the freezing issue.

    The concern over the moisture affecting the air cleaner or duct work is  mis- conception assuming proper installation. The moisture is mixed into such a large volume of air that it is immediately diluted to a reasonable R.H. level in the air stream.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Matt_70
    Matt_70 Member Posts: 14
    follow up

    Thank you - I'll ask about the Honeywell Trusteam.  The contractor actually suggested installing two of these - one on the air handler for the top floor and one for the air handler on the main floor - for now we decided to just do the top floor because that is where the bedrooms are.  I was actually looking at this a little further today and the copper feed can actually run almost entirely in a heated location - except for the last few feet where it comes through the attic floor and into the humidifier - figured that could be well wrapped and insulated - if indeed we end up going with the contractor's reccomendation.  I have to say - I've asked several HVAC guys to look at the system and I've had three that didn't have any suggestions, so the fact that this contractor seemed to have a good idea impressed me =) 

    Thanks for your advice - much appreciated.
  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198

    Ironman is correct.  The Honeywell Truesteam doesn't need a call for heat to provide humidification; it heats the water to steam and starts the fan itself.   It indeed can be mounted remotely, with an insulated hose going to the ductwork. It will need a water supply and a drain that are also remote or otherwise protected from freezing.  Good duct insulation is essential. Mount the humidifier nozzle on the downstream side of  the electronic air cleaner. As for steam having any effect on duct work, unless it condenses to liquid water, there should be no problem. That's why insulation is so important, A small electric or hydronic reheat coil will help temper the air in the duct, and ward off any condensation.  This type of coil isn't there for heating purposes, it just tempers the air so you don't get a clammy blast when the humidifier and fan come on.  You can wire a zone valve into the humidifier circuit(hydronic) or a time delay relay for electric,to givie it time to heat up. The largest capacity Truesteam should allow for enough humidity.  Don't forget that showers, cooking and other routine activities add humidity.
  • NRT_Rob
    NRT_Rob Member Posts: 1,013
    dry air

    can mean a leaky house too. try a blower door test and see if you can tighten up. that plus an ERV can reduce energy bills and could reduce or eliminate the need for a humidifier.
    Rob Brown
    Designer for Rockport Mechanical
    in beautiful Rockport Maine.
  • Mac_R
    Mac_R Member Posts: 117
    True Steam

    I really like the Honeywell True Steam humidifiers.  If NY is anything like PA then you have hard water.  Almost to the point rocks come out when you turn on the tap.  The true steam does not like hard water.  You can use one.  But you will need to replace the heating element every year or so.  The nice thing is Honeywell thought of this and make it easy to service.  I would also recommend replacing your thermostat with the Honeywell HD thermostat with the outdoor temp and humidity sensor.  That way the entire system can talk to one another and the thermostat will adjust the humidification levels based on outdoor conditions.  That way you don't get any condensate on the windows.  I have one in my own house and love it.  The Honeywell true ease might work for you as well.  If the attic does not get below freezing.  It is a bypass humidifier and you can use cold water.  The 150 uses smart tech to sense the pad saturation and start and stop the water supply as needed.  It also has an automatic damper for the bypass so no having to open or close the damper for summer and winter.  Works out really nice with the HD stat and its automatic change over.  Cold nights turns on the heat and warm days turns on the AC.  Cant go wrong using Honeywell. 
  • BillW
    BillW Member Posts: 198
    Hard water

    Hard water will gunk up many humidifier components for sure.  If I remember correctly, the heating element in the Truesteam is designed to flex quitre a bit as it heats and cools, and any scale is supposed to break off, and be washed away during the clean cycle.  Large chunks may block the drain, so you need to check it.  I think there also was an in-line water treatment cartridge available to help minimize the hard water problems. 
  • Mac_R
    Mac_R Member Posts: 117
    Hard water

    What you are saying is true about the flexing and treatment for the True Steam.  However from what people are saying about them in my aria.  It is best to stay away if your water is really hard.  Like I stated before.  Here in Lancaster, Lebanon, Harrisburg PA your water is nothing more than liquified rock.  Lots of lime stone.  Makes it acidic too.  I have been using a True Ease humidifier in my own home and a few customers places and have had no problems. 

    Don't get me wrong.  I like the True Steam.  It is a good product if you have proper water treatment. 
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