Pros And Cons Of Steam Whole House Humidifiers Compared To Drum Style

A whole house humidifier can be a blessing in winter when the warm furnace air strips away moisture and leaves your skin, nose, and throat feeling uncomfortably dry. There are several different types of humidifiers on the market including steam and drum style.

What are the pros and cons of a steam whole house humidifier compared to a drum style unit? Here are some considerations to make before contacting a heating repair and installation service for a unit.

Pro: Less Maintenance

A drum style humidifier hooks to your furnace and applies moisture to warm air forced through the humidifier. The moisture comes from a moistened pad that rotates around in an arc, dipping into a standing tray of water at the bottom on each pass. When the float in the tray determines that there's not enough water left, an inlet valve connected to your main water supply allows the tray to refill.

Standing tray water in the drum style unit can become stagnant without proper maintenance. The pad can become moldy, which can then pass that mold on into your home's warm air.

A steam humidifier requires less maintenance. The unit boils water to produce steam that is emitted straight into your ductwork and the surrounding air. The lack of standing water and the high temperatures mean the unit isn't at risk of mold buildups.

Pro: Don't Require Running Furnace

A drum style humidifier needs the furnace in order to have air to push through the moisture. The steam humidifier produces both its own moisture and air and thus doesn't require a furnace hookup or even a furnace to exist in the home.

A steam humidifier might be a better choice for your home if you rarely run the furnace or if you want to try and keep the heating costs as low as possible due to the use of natural gas. Note that a steam humidifier does still use up electricity so factor that into your decision if your electric bill costs are already a concern.

Con: Initial and Ongoing Costs

A steam humidifier requires less maintenance, but any maintenance or HVAC repairs are going to be more expensive than with a drum style for the simple fact that a steam humidifier is more technically advanced.

The steam production in the humidifier is handled in a dedicated canister that boils the water and pushes the steam up to be dispersed. As is the case with the tanks on a hot water heater, the canister will need to be replaced periodically due to natural decay. The canister replacement is more expensive than replacing a pad on a drum unit, but you shouldn't have to replace the canister very often.

For further assistance, contact a local heater repair professional, such as one from A Bailey Plumbing.