Whole house humidifiers are one of those household gadgets that have become increasingly popular in recent decades. Our health is very important to us, and breathing problems are being taken more seriously nowadays. It’s no surprise that we want the air we breathe in our own homes to be of the best quality possible!
But with so much choice available, it can be very hard to pick just one. There are many factors to be considered, among them price, difficulty of installation, cost of maintenance, and functionality.
We don’t blame you for being overwhelmed when choosing a whole house humidifier. Because we understand how hard and daunting this task looks to an unexperienced humidifier buyer, we’ve compiled this list. In it, you’ll find the top 10 whole house humidifiers. Hopefully, by the end of it, you’ll know all there is to know about this useful appliance!
Why get a whole house humidifier?
Humidifiers are very useful for people with babies and those suffering from asthma and severe allergies. Even if these don’t apply to you, getting a humidifier might still be a game-changer for you and your home.
Have you ever woken up with phlegm in your throat or nose without being sick? What about just hanging out at home and suddenly starting to feel like you’re itching? And what about chapped lips and cracking skin? Most people have experienced these situations, but what they don’t know is that they’re likely caused by the quality of the air they’re breathing. And we don’t mean outside, we mean indoors, in the comforts of their own home.
Something else to consider is that dry air (meaning air that isn’t exposed to a humidifier) feels much colder than its treated counterpart. This means that in the winter, you’ll have to crank up the heat to feel warmer. If you have a whole house humidifier, you won’t feel the need to fiddle with the thermostat.
Also, did you know that wooden floors, furniture, expensive pianos, and other kinds of woodwork are damaged by dry air? If you treasure the furnishing of your home, you may want to consider purchasing one of these popular appliances.
Portable humidifiers vs. Whole house humidifiers
Are you uncertain of which humidifier to buy? Whole-house humidifiers have many advantages when compared to portable models. Firstly, they improve air quality in all rooms of the house. Secondly, they give you the freedom to set up the humidity levels however you want them. Thirdly, they make your house warmer without having to turn up the thermostat. Fourthly, they are up to 4 times more energy efficient. And lastly, they have a long life when taken well care of.
But how do whole house humidifiers work?
There are many kinds of whole house humidifiers. No matter which type you choose, however, they will all work in a similar manner.
The first thing you should know about whole-house humidifiers is that they introduce moisture into the air. They do this by evaporating water into air streams in a variety of ways, depending on the model that you have chosen.
You’ve probably seen (and maybe even own) a portable humidifier. While you fill up its tank with water and wait until your selected room has moist air, you don’t have a lot of control. With whole-house humidifiers, the story is completely different! All humidifiers come with a humidistat. This device lets you adjust the humidity in your house, which allows you to set up the perfect environment for you and your family. It doesn’t get much better than this…
How to clean a whole house humidifier filter
You’ll need to replace your whole-house humidifier filter at least once per year, or however many times the user’s guide requires you to. But some models come with water filters that can be cleaned manually — hurrah for spending less on replacement filters!
The first step is to make sure the humidifier is turned off and unplugged from a current. This prevents electric shocks.
Then, you’ll want to empty the water reservoir and fill it up to the two-thirds mark. Add a small amount of chlorine bleach to kill any microbes and swirls the water so that this mixture cleans the corners of the water reservoir.
If your model allows the filter to be washed manually, immerse it in a cold-water bath and let it sit there for around twenty minutes. Drain the water and repeat this process once more time. Once that’s done, rinse the filter and wipe it so that the smaller grains of dust can come out. Alternatively, if you can’t clean the filter, you’ll have to buy a new one.
Lastly, clean the outer structure of the humidifier and all its parts at the end of the cold season. You can do this by wiping it with a cloth dipped in warm water or a diluted vinegar solution. Dirtier parts can be soaked for 30 minutes or longer in a one-part-water, one-part-vinegar bath.
When assembling everything back together, make sure that there’s no water dripping. If you’ve done everything correctly, you should have a clean leak-free whole-house humidifier!
Where to place whole house humidifier?
There are three types of whole-house humidifiers: the bypass, the fan-powered, and the steam humidifiers. They all do the same job: add moistness to your home’s dry and staticky air.
Depending on the style of the humidifier, they’ll operate on or off the heating cycle. But there’s one thing they all have in common, and that is where they’re installed. A whole-house humidifier is usually installed between the hot air supply and the cold air return ducts.
Now that we’ve gone over the main aspects of the whole-house humidifier and answered questions such as, “how does a whole house humidifier work,” and “how to use a whole house humidifier,” it’s time to move on. Here are our top 10 picks for the best whole house humidifier on the market!
1. AirCare MA1201
This console-style humidifier works on large homes of up to 3600 square feet and is energy efficient. It adds humidity to the dry air by running it through a water-saturated wick filter.
The AirCare MA1201 humidifier has a run time of approximately 36 hours. This means that it can treat dry air for thirty-six hours straight, or until you want it to stop.
The built-in digital humidistat gives you full control of the humidity settings. You can program your preferred setting and let the humidifier do what it does best on its own! Another great thing about this control panel is that it gives you four fan speeds to choose from, not including the automatic fan mode. As if that weren’t enough, you can also program the turn off whole house humidifier setting, this way it won’t keep running (and wasting power) all night long or when you’re not home!
Getting it to work is also very simple. All you have to do is fill up the 3.6-gallon with water and turn the appliance on. No jumping through hoops and messing up when trying to get it to work.
Another advantage the AirCare MA1201 has over other whole-house humidifiers is the fact that it doesn’t require a complicated setting-up process. Because it has wheels, you can place it in a central point of your house and won’t have to worry about setting it up on the surface or the HVAC system. It’s perfect for rented homes!
And what’s best is that it’s one of the most budget-friendly options out there. Getting this humidifier won’t break the bank, just break the dryness of the air in your home!
2. AirCare MA0800
One of the most budget-friendly whole-home humidifiers is the AirCare MA0800. Despite it costing less, it still gives you a good bang for your buck.
If your home is 2600 square feet or smaller, this is definitely an option to consider when shopping for humidifiers. Its 2.5-gallon tank is smaller than most, but it still makes the appliance work well. Since there is a spring-like mechanism, all you have to do is press the top of the tank and it will pop out.
To get it to work, you’ll have to fill up the tank, pop it back in, and turn on your humidifier. It’ll start forcing the dry air through the water-saturated wick filter, releasing moist air into every room of your house.
The humidistat on this AirCare isn’t the best in the market, but it still boasts some impressive features. The digital screen shows you how your filter is doing and whether it needs cleaning or replacement, and how full the tank is.
It also gives you three fan-speed options to choose from, as well as a quiet nighttime mode setting. But this isn’t to say the AirCare MA0800 doesn’t have automatic functions built-in: you can program it to turn itself off when the desired humidity levels have been reached.
Being a relatively small appliance, it won’t take up much space. And unlike furnace-mounted humidifiers, assembling the AirCare MA0800 humidifier and setting it up is a breeze. It has wheels on the bottom so you can place it wherever you’d like in your house (depending on the layout of your home, of course).
The only downside, from our point of view, is that it required the filter to be substituted more often (at least once a year) and the tank to be refilled at shorter intervals of time.
3. Honeywell HCM-6009
The Honeywell HCM- 6009 is another console humidifier that has a tank capacity of three gallons and can run for 24 hours straight.
It’s perfect for large rooms or even for a whole apartment. Since it has wheels, it doesn’t need to be installed on a furnace or on any of the HVAC components of your home. This makes it the perfect choice for rentals and for those who don’t want to bother with complicated assembly work.
It has two tanks that each hold up to 1.5 gallons worth of water. Taking them out and putting them back in is very easy thanks to the easy-to-use opening mechanism. The wick filter is soaked in this water, purifying it and pumping into the room moist air to replace the dry and staticky one.
There are two lights on the display panel that tell you when it’s time to refill the tanks and when your desired level of humidity has been reached.
A really great feature that this whole-house humidifier has is that it’s much quieter than other units. If you like to have your humidifier running at night, that won’t be a problem with the Honeywell whole-house humidifier.
Lastly, you get to choose one of three fan speeds by rotating a dial on the humidistat. Granted that it’s not the most modern of humidifiers, but it does its job exceptionally well.
4. AirCare EP9 800
The AirCare EP9 800 humidifier is another console humidifier. But unlike others of the same kind, it fits perfectly well in any home and décor.
If your house is 2,400 square feet or smaller, this could be the perfect pick for you. The way it works is quite simple: it runs the dry air through a water-saturated filter and releases it when it’s the desired humidity. You should place this whole-house humidifier in a central position of your home, in a way that all the air in the other rooms can easily be treated.
The pedestal-style of the AirCare allows the water tank to have more capacity than other options on the market while still not taking up a lot of room.
This humidifier has a built-in control panel in which you can choose the fan speed you want out of nine options. The fan speed 1, 2, and 3 are very quiet and surely won’t keep you from sleeping at night. However, speeds 4 and up are relatively noisy.
You can turn off the AirCare humidifier manually or program it so that it shuts off when the desired humidity is reached. Unlike other models, this humidifier will automatically shut off when there is no more water in the tank. This means you won’t have to worry about an inner malfunctioning of the appliance related to lack of water or too high of an inner temperature!
5. Aprilaire 400
Unlike the models we previously mentioned, the Aprilaire humidifier requires installation. But while it may be harder to start working than the console-style humidifiers, it has a lot of advantages over them.
This whole-house humidifier doesn’t have a water tank that you need to fill up. Rather, it uses up the water flow straight from your house’s system. Since it is energy efficient, it only uses up 0.7 gallons of water per hour.
The Aprilaire humidifier is perfect for homes that are 4,000 square feet or even smaller. It has a handy humidistat you mount on your heating and cooling system that tells you when it’s time for a quick maintenance. It will also allow you to control how much humidity you want to be released into the air.
The installation needs to be done on your house’s cooling and heating system. If you’re not a specialist, it can be somewhat tricky, but definitely not impossible — just time-consuming. When you compare it to console-style models, you’ll definitely see that it does a much greater job at keeping the air in your house perfect.
6. Aprilaire 700
The Aprilaire 700 is a model you have to install on your home’s heating and cooling system and it works on houses that are 4,200 square feet and smaller.
You might want to hire a specialist to do the installation for this one. Alternatively, you can try to do it yourself following the manufacturer’s instructions. You’re bound to get it right, but it might take you a little while longer than you were expecting.
One of the best features of this humidifier is the fact that the automation system works really well. It keeps your home’s air at the humidity level you want without wasting too much power and water. While a drain will be required for this unit, the Aprilaire 700 has a usage rate of 0.75 gallons per hour.
If you want to be more in control, you can disable the automatic mode and switch it to manual. You can set your desired percentage of humidity and trust that the unit will do its job accurately.
Regardless of which setting you use, the vital statistics can be checked easily. Just go to the place where you installed the humidistat and read the intuitive digital screen to find out what settings are being used by the humidifier.
Not a lot of humidifiers run as smoothly and quietly as this one does. If you like sleeping with the humidifier on, you’ll love this model. Plus, it’s a low-maintenance model that only requires you to change the filters once or twice a year.
7. Aprilaire 500
Another great bypass whole-house humidifier is the Aprilaire 500. It is installed directly onto your home’s heating and cooling system, as is the humidistat.
Using up only half-a-gallon of water per hour makes this one of the least spending units out there. Despite it not wasting a lot of water, it still runs as well if not better than some of the higher-end models in the market. Even if your home is tightly constructed, the humidifier will do its job on all rooms where the ducts reach, even on multiple levels.
The automation setting on this unit allows you to relax and forget you have the humidifier running. You simply select the settings you want the unit to run on and wait until your home is cozy. Once it reaches the desired levels of humidity, the Aprilaire 500 will shut itself off. Although the installation isn’t that easy if you’re not an HVAC specialist, the low maintenance the unit requires alone makes it all worth it. You only need to replace the filter once or twice a year, depending on how much you use it. It’s very much a hands-off model.
8. AirCare 696 400HB
One of the prettiest console-style console-style humidifiers is the AirCare 696 400HB, in our opinion. Its wooden-like design makes the unit blend in perfectly in your home.
The humidistat that comes with the AirCare is intuitive and very useful. The digital display tells you what fan and humidity settings are running at any given moment and lets you change them. Once the humidity levels you want are reached, the unit will automatically shut off, saving you money in the long run.
Being a console-style humidifier, you don’t need to install it straight onto your home’s heating and cooling system. You can simply place the unit in any given location in your home, as long as the layout work in your favor so that the humidity can reach all rooms.
It also means that it doesn’t use your home’s built-in water flow: you’ll have to fill up the two 2.6-gallon water tanks yourself. But you’ll see that you’ll rarely have to refill them more than once a week, as they can hold quite a lot of water.
However, cleaning and replacing the filter will be more frequent when compared to other units.
All in all, the AirCare 696 400HB is an excellent console-style humidifier that requires less hands-on attention when it comes to getting it to work but needs more maintenance.
9. AirCare HD1409
Another of our favorite console-style humidifiers is the AirCare HD1409. It works perfectly on houses smaller than 2,900 square feet and runs for up to 55 hours uninterrupted.
This unit has two 2.4-gallon tanks you fill up with water. The dry air will then be forced to go into the machine, through the water-soaked wick filter, and come out treated and moist. When the tanks are empty, all you have to do is refill them and you’re good to go.
There’s a digital display reader that tells you what the actual humidity level and fan speed are. It will also let you set what your desired humidity level is, and so the unit will work to make your wish come true.
Once your humidity preferences are reached, the unit will automatically shut off, saving you a lot of money and energy in the long haul. When the tanks are empty, the humidifier will automatically turn itself off, ensuring that there’s no harm done to the inner parts of the unit due to a lack of water.
As far as noise goes, anything upwards of speed one is noticeable. This might be something to consider if you get bothered by noises, be it at night or during the day.
10. AirCare H12 400HB
The last whole-house humidifier on our list is another handy console-style humidifier. It works on houses that are 3,700 square feet or smaller and runs for dozens of hours on end.
Since the unit has a 5.4-gallon water tank, you won’t have to refill it as often as you would other models. Simply fill up the tank, put it back in place, choose your settings, and let the AirCare humidifier do what it does best.
The analog reader is simple to use and gives you the liberty to control your home’s air. You can choose what fan speed you want out of four options, as well as the desired level of air humidity. Once the air has reached the humidity level you desire, the unit will automatically shut off. This important feature could save you hundreds of bucks after years of using the humidifier.
Something that is also very handy is the check-filter and the refill indicators. They tell you when it’s time to clean or replace the air-purifying filter and when you need to make a trip to the bathroom or kitchen to fill up the water tank again.
Since it’s a console-style humidifier and it does not need to be installed on a furnace, setting this unit up is as simple as it can be. All you have to do is make sure the tank is full and turn on the AirCare.
Frequently Asked Questions about Whole House Humidifiers
How much do whole house humidifiers cost?
Price of whole-house humidifiers varies a lot depending on model and type. There are humidifiers available for all budgets, from under one hundred dollars to several hundred dollars. It all depends on what you want to get.
Can I use whole house humidifiers in summer?
Running a humidifier in the summer may be a waste of money depending on what the weather is like where you live. In the United States at least, there’s no need to use a whole-house humidifier. There is already so much humidity in the air that having the appliance running would just be dumping money down the drain.
Which whole house humidifier is best?
This is a question you have to find out for yourself. Are you willing to install a humidifier in your heating and cooling system? If so, we highly recommend the Aprilare 400. If you’re living in a rented home and don’t want to make any changes to the HVAC system, then the AirCare MA1201 is the one we recommend the most.
Where to buy whole house humidifier units?
Amazon has some of the best deals out there when it comes to humidifiers. Not only do they run sales once in a while, but you can also read real reviews written by real customers right before you check out.
If you’d prefer going to a physical store, Lowes, The Home Depot, and Walmart also sell the whole-house humidifiers we have mentioned in this article.
Where should a whole house humidifier be installed?
If your humidifier needs to be installed in the heating and cooling system of your home, that’s exactly where you should install it, as well as the humidistat. But console-style humidifiers don’t need to be installed here. They should be put in a central part of the house so that humidity can reach all rooms in the same manner.