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House Humidifiers: Whole-Home Or Portable?

If you’ve ever dealt with low humidity in the house, you know how awful it can feel. It can affect your breathing, trigger difficulties with asthma, dry out your throat, nose, and eyes — and the list goes on. Humidity is extremely important for human comfort; sadly, it’s too often ignored or not properly taken care of.

Portable Humidifiers: Just A Quick Fix?

Online shopping venues and virtually every big-box store sells portable or single room humidifiers. On the surface, these devices seem like a low-cost solution to a humidity problem. They might seem like a way to avoid expensive new equipment. But are they really the quick fix they promise to be?

The reality is that these relatively small humidifiers can be a great solution for a single room or specific situations (such as at the office, where you likely can’t do upgrades to the HVAC system yourself) but are often much more trouble than they are worth at home.

Downsides Of Portable Humidifiers For Your House

When it comes to whole home humidity, portable humidifiers are likely not up to the task and may leave both your eyes and your wallet dry.

Only suitable for small spaces: Have you ever gone shopping for a portable humidifier? If you have, you’ve likely seen some pretty tiny devices promising to easily humidify a “large” room. If you’ve ever bought one, you may have experienced less than ideal results. Unfortunately, many if not most of these small and inexpensive devices can’t follow through on their promises.

Short lifespan: In our experience, even higher quality name-brand portable humidifiers tend to break a little more often than they should. They simply aren’t held to the same standards as whole-home HVAC devices, and it’s easy to see that they’re typically manufactured to keep costs low (and thus keep them flying off the shelves.) Plus, due to the relatively low cost, it’s easier just to buy another one than have it repaired… but those costs — and the waste — adds up over time.

Daily use requirements: Unfortunately, portable humidifiers aren’t a “set it and forget it” type of thing. Whether they are a “cool mist” humidifier or they use heat to turn the water into steam, that water supply eventually runs out. Having to remember — every day — to open up and fill those humidifiers isn’t much fun.

Cleaning and maintenance:  Portable humidifiers don’t tend to stay clean for very long. It depends quite a bit on the quality of water coming from the house taps, but generally the water we all have contains minerals and other compounds that will build up over time inside of these devices. This can leave anything from a nasty black sludge to solid chunks of built-up material. Of course, this not only affects the purity of the humidified air they produce — but also the lifespan of the device itself. Finally, keep in mind that to push the mist or humidified air from the device, they typically have an air intake (and often, a fan) which will also bring in dirt, dust, and other particulates.

Noise and annoying lights: Not much explanation needed on this one… some of those little devices can put out a lot of noise, especially if they have a fan that’s moving the air. Not to mention annoying lights that can’t be disabled, which can prove to be a nuisance — especially in rooms intended to be dark, such as a home theater space, or in rooms where the family sleeps.

Why A Whole-Home Humidifier Can Be A Superior Solution

As we’ve mentioned — while small, portable humidifiers can be a good solution in certain cases — for your own home they can often fall short. This is where whole-home humidifier systems come in.

These humidifiers are integrated into your heating & cooling system — typically attached to the furnace — and require significantly less maintenance. They pull water into them automatically, so there is never a need to manually fill these types of devices. Whole-home humidifiers are truly a “set and forget” solution, where you can either elect a level of humidification or even specify a specific humidity percentage for them to produce. The components in your HVAC system (e.g., the humidistat) can detect the humidity level in your home, and control the humidifier automatically to keep comfort at optimum levels. See here for more specific details on the benefits of whole-house humidifiers.

What About The Cost Of A Whole-Home Humidifier?

We know that saving money is a good thing! This is why portable humidifiers at lower prices can seem particularly attractive. The problem is that, in order to humidify the entire home, a unit would be required for each and every room. Plus, those units would have to be large enough for bigger rooms —driving up the cost.

When it’s all said and done, installing a whole-home humidifier could very likely save your family money in the long run — while also maintaining optimal comfort throughout the home, no messing around required. There is no need to purchase, fill, maintain, and replace portable humidifiers as they die out, get clogged, or stop performing at optimum efficiency.  Plus, you only have one device drawing power rather than a device plugged into every room.

Fortunately, if the humidity and comfort in your home needs to be addressed, we offer HVAC financing that can help — including 0% financing options for those who qualify! We’d love to help, and we offer free estimates for installations. Give our friendly staff a call, 24/7, at (224) 419-5324 and we’ll get you scheduled fast.

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