Air Tech is proud to be a dealer and installer for Aprilaire Humidifiers, a leading brand of whole home humidifiers. We can install and service Aprilaire Humidifiers anywhere in the the New River Valley and Roanoke Valley, including Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford.
What is a Whole Home Humidifier?
A whole house humidifier is installed directly in your home's ductwork, so that the air that your furnace heats and circulates in your home is also humidified.
The humidifier is connect to your home's water supply, and takes a portion of the air that runs through your furnace and exposes it to water using one of several methods depending on the model (most common are moisture pads, rotating drums, or steaming systems). The water then evaporates into the air and moistens it before it goes back into your ducts and rejoins the rest of the air that was run through the furnace.
This process raises the humidity level in every room of your house, unlike a portable humidifier that you plug into the wall which only affects the air in one room.
Whole Home Humidifier Maintenance
Another difference between whole home humidifiers and portable humidifiers is the level of maintenance they require.
Portable humidifiers require you to frequently clean the device and change the water in the tank. Failure to do so can lead to mold and bacteria growth, which causes unhealthy air to circulate.
Whole home humidifiers, on the other hand, only require maintenance once a year. Basically, this just consists of cleaning or replacing the filter, steamer, or humidifier pad (depending on the type of humidifier you have). This is something you can do yourself, or we can do if for you during a routine maintenance of your HVAC system.
Benefits of Whole Home Humidifiers
There are many benefits to having a whole home humidifier, including healthier air, increased comfort, and protection for materials in your home.
More comfortable air
Do you ever notice how in the winter your skin tends to be drier and itchier than in the summer? That's because cooler air holds less moisture than warmer air, and so the outside air (which is very cold in the winter) that your furnace heats and circulates in your home has less water in it.
Once the air is heated by your furnace, however, it could hold more moisture--if that moisture is supplied to the air. That's exactly what a whole home humidifier does. And since it operates all the time in the background whenever your furnace is running, you won't even notice its there--you'll just notice that the air in your home is more comfortable and your skin is less dry and itchy.
Another benefit of a whole home humidifier is healthier air. One of the reasons that colds and the flu are more common in winter is that those viruses can survive longer outside the body in dry air. Keeping the air in your home at the proper humidity levels makes it harder for those viruses to spread, and also keeps your nasal passages and airways healthier.
Lower energy costs
Moist air feels warmer than dry air--that's why, in the summertime, the local weather forecast reports a "heat index" that reflects what the temperature actually feels like due to humidity in the air. The higher the humidity, the hotter it feels, even if the air is actually the same temperature.
In the winter, you can use this phenomenon to your advantage to reduce your heating bill. By increasing the humidity of the air in your home, you can keep your home at a cooler temperature and still be comfortable.
A final benefit of a whole home humidifier is the protection of certain materials inside your home, especially hardwood floors, musical instruments, electronics, and some types of furniture. All of these things last longer in air that has the proper level of humidity.
Types of Whole Home Humidifiers
Aprilaire makes several different types of whole home humidifiers. Below is a summary of each type along with the models that fall under into that category.
Evaporative Power Humidifiers
Evaporative Power Humidifiers are used on heat pumps and forced air furnaces, and are attached to the up-flow supply plenum. These humidifiers (which, for Aprilaire, are the Model 700 series), are easy to install and work well with systems that have variable or low speed air handlers.
Evaporative Bypass Humidifiers
Evaporative bypass humidifiers offer high efficiency, simple design, and minimal maintenance (once a year). They can be installed with automatic or manual control, and are available in different sizes depending on the capacity of the HVAC system.
Aprilaire humidifiers that fall into this category are the 400, 500, and 600 series. The 400 series humidifiers use 100% of the water supplied to the water panel, which eliminates the requirement for access to a drain.
The 800 series steam humidifiers are the highest capacity humidifier produced by Aprilaire. They can deliver up to 34.6 gallons of water to the air per day, and thanks to an available fan pack they can be used in homes where duct work is not available or accessible.