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#6186 - 11/02/06 03:39 PM Whole house humidifiers?
sideshowbob Offline
Member

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 209
Loc: Midwest, USA
Anyone used a whole house humidifier, like this one? http://www.allergybuyersclubshopping.com/desert-spring-furnace-humidifiers.html?psysVid=0ar046rt

Now that winter is approaching, I can feel my skin drying out. I know that our daughter, with LI, has to be miserable. Any recommendations on humidifiers?
_________________________
4 year old daughter with CIE

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#6187 - 11/02/06 06:05 PM Re: Whole house humidifiers?
Anonymous
Unregistered


I was wondering the same thing.. Last year we had a cheaper 1 and I dont think it did much. Since Vanessa has developed asthma, the lung Dr says we shouldnt have one due to molds. However, the Derm says we def need 1.. confused? but I know she is starting to get dry

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#6188 - 11/17/06 08:18 PM Re: Whole house humidifiers?
gryphon Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/06
Posts: 298
Loc: Alberta, Canada
As heating is the principal cause of dry air in the house during winter, I wish I had an in-line central humidifier. However, I have baseboard electric heating so it is not an option. But I did some cursory research last year when my sister was buying a house so this is what I can tell you about central units.

The Desert Spring was one of the better units I considered. I was also looking at the Air-King and Aprilaire (sp) units. Though it does not use a gunky drum, The Desert Spring appears to still use a standing pool of water which can cause a build-up of bacteria and mold. But it is connected to your water line which would seemingly mean that the water reservoir contains less water and is thus stagnant for a shorter period of time. I would opt for the auto-flush option to further the limit of use of water that has been sitting for extended periods of time. In addition, I would still occasionally clean the reservoir, if possible, with a mild bleach solution.

I think this particular unit injects steam or atomized water into the flow of warm air in the duct-work. I was told that the steam wand should not be installed too close to a bend in the ducts otherwise there could be condensation forming at the bend in your duct.

In cold northern regions these systems are great because heating units operate frequently and so humidity is also introduced frequently to the interior air. But in more temperate climates where furnaces run less frequently, there will be less "humidification" taking place because the humidifier works only when the furnace works. If a central blower is used solely for the purpose of humidifying the house, large amounts of electricity would be consumed just to circulate humidity (that is if your furnace can even operate the blower independent of the heating function). However, if you have a larger home, a central unit is the only way to avoid having many portable units operating at once (they can together can create a lot of background noise).

Finally, I try to keep my home at about 60% RH as that is most comfortable for my Ich. With a central unit that is difficult to do especially when room temperature is kept at a lower level, so you may still very likely have to supplement with room humidifiers. The benefit though is that the smaller room units will have to be replaced less often (mine break-down after about 2 years due to heavy use).

As I cannot have a whole-house unit, I use 2 larger capacity portable wick-humidifiers. I replace the wicks every year as that greatly increases the efficiency of the units. The wicks are anti-bacterial coated, but part of the reason I replace them each year is to further reduce mold or bacteria build-up. I have found that the best way to reduce interior dryness is to have a better insulated, more energy-efficient house. If you can, do something in that regard (install high R-Factor doors/Low-E windows, replace old chaulking and weather-stripping, better insulation) and the reduced operation of your heating unit will greatly reduce the dryness in the house. But nothing will eliminate the need for humidifiers for those of us with ich who have to contend with dry climates or seasons.

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#6189 - 11/18/06 03:29 AM Re: Whole house humidifiers?
gryphon Offline
Member

Registered: 04/12/06
Posts: 298
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Erin,
I had a Bionaire steam unit when I lived in an Apt. Initially I had the Warm-Mist kind for the house as well but it broke within a year so I never bothered to go back to steam. Basically it was running non-stop and it couldn't handle the demands I was placing upon it.

Wick humidifiers don't have any mechanical or heating parts other than a fan. So there is less to go wrong. I've found they have longer working lives and fewer units do a better job at keeping the RH how I like it. BTW with children you have to careful with steam b/c some steam units mist HOT despite claims of WARM mist

My first wick unit was a Kenmore and I've stuck with that brand so I can't give you an true opinion on the various makes and models available. I choose the Kenmore brand partly b/c the wicks were the the most economical to replace($10-$20). Also Sears often has $10 coupons off a $50 purchase which is when I buy the replacement filters (I have a real thrifty streak in me [img]http://www.ichthyosis.com/ubb/wink.gif[/img]).

I first bought a Kenmore with the *square* wick that covers an area of 900sqft. The reason I bought it was b/c it was on clearance for $35 and I couldn't pass up the bargain. I bought 2. My upper floors are 1600sqft each but I found that one unit on each of the two floors did the trick. The problem was that they were running very frequently and for long periods at a stretch. Last month when I started using them again, one unit died right away after two years of valiant service. I replaced it w/ another Kenmore but one that covers 1700sqft. It has a *ring-shaped* wick and cost $97 on sale. I'm hoping this will last longer as its capacity better matches my home.

Drawn out answer to a straight forward question. Oh well.

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