Is A Humidifier in Furnace Good or Bad? The Pros & Cons

A humidifier attached to a furnace has its benefits and cons. There are several of each, but as always, when a product has more pros than cons, then it is a good product.

Having the right level of moisture in your home is extremely important. Dry air has unbearable side effects on your health.

Such problems include respiratory complications, itchy skin, and dry eyes, among others. Dry air can cause nasty damage to your wooden furniture, fittings, and floors.

The solution for dry air is humidifying it. Humidified air feels comfortable and cozier, and it will save you unnecessary renovation expenses.

What is a whole-house humidifier?

Humidifier Attached To Furnace

To this far, what you know is that a furnace humidifier is different from a portable humidifier. For the whole house, you will have to install it as part of your heating system.

For a portable unit, you just need to place it somewhere in your room, plug it in, and switch it on, of course, after adding water to the tank.

As the furnace heats the air and releases it into the house, it is humidified, thus coming in at the right humidity.

Since the heating system supplies air to all rooms, you do not have to buy a humidifier for every room.

Humidifier attached to furnace pros 

Here are some benefits that you will get from your furnace humidifying unit:

1. So easy to control

The advantage of whole-house humidifiers is that they are very easy to control since they operate automatically.

With just a remote control, you can effortlessly control your unit without any fuss. Experts recommend that the ideal humidity levels should be set between 20 and 50% in the winter. This will depend on the outdoor temperature.

Unlike most portable humidifiers, where you have to keep monitoring the humidity levels, with a whole-house humidifier, you do not need to.

image of HVAC remote controller

Just use your remote control to set your preferred humidity level. The whole house humidifier will adjust the moisture accordingly and maintain it at the set level.

While setting your ideal moisture level, ensure that you do not set it too high. This can cause dampness in your home.

2. Easy to use and maintain

Most whole-house humidifiers come with flawless operation, often requiring minimal human interference after installation.

They will automatically determine the moisture content in your house and humidify it accordingly to achieve the right moisture level.

This simply means that once you install it, you forget about its maintenance while enjoying the perfect humidity levels in your indoor air.

Whole-house humidifiers require minimal maintenance practices, unlike portable humidifiers, which have to be continuously maintained.

Some of the models will only need to be filled with clean water once a year.

Other models are installed and connected directly to your main water supply system. You will never be required to refill them.

3. Comfort for the whole family

Image of HVAC maintenance
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Just as their name suggests, whole-house humidifiers are designed to restore moisture to your entire home. This provides comfort for everyone.

These units come in various coverage area capacities. It is very easy to find a whole-house humidifier that matches the size of your home.

Some models can cover as much as 6200 square feet, which makes them ideal for people with bigger homes. This makes them a better option when compared to the compact portable humidifiers that can only humidify a single room.

4. Cost-efficient

Some people might brush off the idea of investing in a whole-home humidifier because of its upfront cost.

Well, the initial cost of these units is higher than that of portable humidifiers. However, they end up being cost-friendly in the long run.

While portable humidifiers might be initially cheaper, they tend to break down quite often. This means that you will end up replacing them every year if you choose to go the portable humidifier way.

The other way in which furnace humidifiers become cost-efficient is through their low operational costs.

They do not break down as frequently as their portable counterparts. Their maintenance costs are very minimal.

Dry air makes your home feel cooler, so you have to crank up the heating systems to make it warmer and more comfortable.

On the other hand, moisturized air makes it feel quite warmer. This will in turn lower your heating expenses, significantly saving on your energy bills.

5. They operate quietly and are practically unnoticeable

When you want a humidifier that operates with zero noise levels, an HVAC humidifier is the best option.

As you look for information about the pros and cons of HVAC humidifiers, one thing that many users celebrate is the fact that there is no noise.

These units run quietly without producing some irritating noise like most of their portable counterparts.

They are installed with your furnace or heating system, which also makes them virtually invisible. All you will need to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the good air.

6. Convenience

The other big advantage of whole-home humidifiers is their convenience. As I have already mentioned, they do not need to be refilled now and then.

These units are designed to draw water directly from your plumbing system. This minimizes your daily hassle of cleaning them and changing water, like in the case of portable humidifiers.

They are also designed to operate automatically. You just need to set your preferred moisture level. The built-in hygrometer will determine the current moisture level in your home and adjust accordingly.

7. A healthier and more comfortable home

HVAC humidifiers provide comfort and healthier air for the entire family. They eliminate the problems caused by dry air such as nose bleeding, itchy skin, and sinuses, among others.

Dry air can make life unbearable for family members who suffer from respiratory and skin conditions. It may also lead to the development of respiratory issues, especially if you inhale indoor allergens.

Unlike dry air, moist air is warmer and more comfortable to inhale. It is gentle on your skin. The best thing about whole-house humidifiers is that no matter which room you are in, you will still enjoy their humidifying benefits.

8. Improved sleep quality

If the humidity level is okay, you will sleep sounder and better. The warm and optimally humid air protects you from various illnesses, such as colds and flu. We all know you sleep better if you are healthy.

Lower humidity tends to make a person snore more because of a dried-out respiratory system. Less snoring can make you sleep better.

It will also make it easier for the other family members because their sleep will not be interrupted by constant, loud snores.

Another thing is that moisturized air is generally more comfortable for your airways to inhale. When you are comfortable, it is easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep longer without annoying interruptions.

9. It safeguards your furniture

If the air in your home is excessively dry, most of your furnishings will be negatively affected.

For example, paint and wallpaper peel off, while wooden fittings and floors can shrink, warp, or crack. This will lower the quality of your home’s furnishings. It will result in expensive renovations or replacements.

With a furnace humidifier, your furnishings will last a long time in prime condition. These units ensure that every single room in your home is properly moisturized, thus protecting your things.

Cons of a furnace humidifier

This appliance is not without its fair share of downsides. Not to worry though, since they are manageable, you know, things you can live with.

Let us look at all of them here:

1. Whole-house humidifier professional installation

Unlike the portable humidifiers that come while they are ready for use, whole-house humidifiers must be installed professionally.

This means that you will have to incur the extra cost of hiring a professional to install it. Choosing to install a furnace humidifier by yourself might cost you even more due to a lot of subsequent repairs.

If this humidifier is not installed by a professional, it might be improperly put in place. This can in turn make the unit to overhumidify your home, which can cause the growth of mold.

The lack of professional installation can render your HVAC unit warranty null and void. This means that you might fail to enjoy some of the benefits covered by the warranty if you choose to go the DIY way.

2. A higher upfront cost

The initial cost of the furnace humidifiers is higher than that of their portable counterparts. If you add the whole home humidifier upfront cost and the installation cost, this unit is a good investment.

However, while their high price can be termed a con, it becomes an advantage in the long term. These units have minimal maintenance costs.

3. Poor quality models can be disadvantageous

When choosing your furnace humidifying unit, do your research well and settle for a good quality model. If you buy a low-quality model, it can cause the growth of mold in your entire home.

A poor-quality humidifier might not have features that enable it to automatically adjust the moisture level in your home.

The lack of such features will cause the humidifier to over-humidify your home. This in turn will trigger the growth of mold all over your home and inside your air ducts.

Mold has adverse effects on your family’s health and your belongings. Therefore, conditions that might trigger its growth should be avoided at all costs.

HVAC humidifiers have a humidistat to monitor your home’s temperature and humidity levels. Such features can monitor the two and prompt the humidifier to adjust the moisture levels to achieve the ideal level.

Whole House Humidifiers FAQ

What is the main thing that you would like to know about whole-house humidifiers? They are costlier than their smaller counterparts.

If you live in a city that has dry air throughout the year or even throughout the winter, a whole-house humidifier is a good investment.

What is the best humidifier for the whole house?

Without a preamble, this must be the Aprilaire 865 Steam Humidifier. It is big but it is so easy to install. At the same time, you may also consider buying the Aprilaire 800 steam humidifier on because it is equally good.

Let us just say that if you want a large humidifier for your home, you should find it under the Aprilaire name.

Among some of the features that this humidifier comes with is the wall mount fan that helps to whip the moisturized air into the room. Therefore, if you do not have an HVAC duct system, don’t worry. Just get this humidifier.

This humidifier is going to humidify a large area, all of 6200 square feet! Imagine that! In fact, you can even push this a little more, with a couple more hundred square feet even though it is not recommended.

You get to choose the amount of moisture you would like to inject into your indoor air daily. Starting from 11 to 35 gallons, you can choose to spend more water or less.

When you just need a little humidity injected into your air, you can choose the low gallon rating and vice versa.

You can learn more about this humidifier on the manufacturer’s website.

How do you install a whole-house steam humidifier?

The question is specifically about how to install a ductless whole-house steam humidifier. Please note that this is a tricky job.

If it is not done right, it can invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty on the humidifier, which by the way will cost you a substantial amount of money.

Most of the installation work involves water lines and electrical tampering. Therefore, it can also pose a serious hazard to you. It is best to let a professional installer do the job for you since there is no room for trial and error.

Where should a whole-house humidifier be installed?

Mostly, the whole house humidifier is installed in two main places. First, it can be installed on the forced air furnace main stack.

The unit can access water from the cold or hot water pipe. Secondly, you, or rather the installer can install it inside the duct for return air. That way, the humidifier adds water to the air before the air gets to the furnace where it is heated.

How much does it cost to install a whole-house humidifier?

For a professional installation of this humidifier, the cost varies greatly from place to place. For example, in big cities, the cost might be higher than in rural areas, and so on. Usually, the cost is between $400 and $1000.

Are whole-house humidifiers worth it?

They are. If you need it in your home, it means you have a problem of dry air for the better part of a year.

Instead of buying one small humidifier for every room, it is best to buy a humidifier that is rated for a big space.

The average American home measures 2600 square feet and most humidifiers for the entire house are rated for 6000 square feet.


In this whole house humidifier pros and cons guide, you have seen that the benefits are more than the downsides.

If you get one for your house, just have a professional install it in the heating system. That way, you will leave the warranty intact.

This is not a job that you want to attempt on a DIY basis. Life in dry areas can be quite unbearable unless you change it.