Whole House Humidifiers vs. Portable Humidifiers

Posted by Will Housh on June 21

Many homes and businesses throughout the country depend on humidifiers to keep indoor air healthy and comfortable. Humidifiers keep moisture balanced to protect the home, improve air quality, and keep occupants feeling more comfortable.

There are many humidification products on the market, but not all are created equally. The two categories of humidifiers that are available to homeowners are whole home humidifiers and portable humidifiers.

  • Whole home humidifiers work with a building or residence’s heating and cooling systems to add needed moisture to the air as it circulates. They are installed between the supply and return air ducts, and work either with the HVAC system or independently to add moisture. Types of whole home humidifiers include bypass, fan-powered, and steam humidifiers.
  • Portable humidifiers, also called room humidifiers, are stand-alone appliances that add moisture directly into the air of the room they are situated in. There are many different types of portable humidifiers available, including vaporizers, ultrasonic, and evaporative, and each use different technology to add moisture to the air supply.

Which is Better: A Whole Home Humidifier or Portable Humidifier?

As with any type of equipment, there are advantages and disadvantages to everything. Ultimately, they best humidifier choice will depend on the specific indoor air quality challenges you face at home or at work.

Overall, a whole home humidifier is a better choice versus a portable humidifier.

  • A whole home humidifier is installed with the HVAC system, rather than in a certain room.
  • A whole home humidifier is connected to the duct system and therefore can supply the entire home or building with properly moisturized air; they also have a much larger capacity because they are designed to provide coverage for an entire home. Portable humidifiers have much lower capacities, and their efficacy is typically restricted to the room they are installed in.
  • A whole home humidifier requires minimal maintenance. These units are connected to the home or business’s plumbing system, so water used for humidification is fed directly to the unit – portable humidifiers have a water reservoir that requires filling, sometimes daily, to ensure the unit has the needed water to keep indoor humidity at the proper balance point.
  • A whole home humidifier is out of sight and out of mind – they provide necessary moisture without intrusion. Portable humidifiers produce operating noise from the fan and bubbling water, which can be bothersome to users.
  • A whole home humidifier operates efficiently and affordably. A whole home humidifier consumes less energy to balance humidity across an entire home than a portable humidifier does to humidify air in one room of the home.

When to Use a Portable Humidifier?

Just because portable humidifiers are not superior for whole home humidification doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose. There are a few situations where using one will come in handy:

  • Portable humidifiers are a great solution for renters. Humidity can be added to the home’s air without the need to work through a landlord to install a whole home humidifier (that can’t be taken along when it’s time to move).
  • Portable humidifiers are a good way to temporarily boost humidity in a particular area of the home when overall moisture levels are balanced. Adding a portable humidifier can be beneficial when someone is sick, experiencing irritation due to winter dry air, or suffering allergy symptoms.

HVAC Contractors Install Whole Home Humidifiers

Whole home humidifiers are one of the many indoor air quality solutions that skilled HVAC contractors provide homeowners and business owners across the country. Looking for a reliable heating and cooling contractor in your area?

Search the HVAC.com Contractor Directory today for an HVAC professional who can assist you with whole home humidifier installation and answer any questions you may have about keeping moisture levels in your home or business properly balanced. Enter your ZIP code to see a list of Certified Contractors serving your area!

Source: HVAC.com

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