Dangers of a Whole House Humidifier


Winter is here and the air is dry...

for many people that means turning on your whole house humidifier. If you are not careful that also means putting your house at risk for some serious problems.

At Neighborhood Roofing, we have received an increase in calls for leaking roofs. In most of these cases, it is not the roof but moisture from a whole house humidifier. Whole house humidifiers attach to your ductwork and blow moist air into your home. To maintain the proper level of humidity, a homeowner needs to adjust the settings accordingly to the temperature outside. However, if you do not know the exact levels of humidity that are required to deal with changes in the temperature, you will get excessive moisture throughout your house.

If not used properly, here are some issues a whole house humidifier can cause:

Excessive moisture can causes mold growth.  Moisture can accumulate within your ducts, causing mold to form and then be distributed throughout the air in your home. Mold can effect your health, causing many allergic reactions, such as coughing, sneezing and itching eyes. Humidifier-induced mold sticks to ceilings, walls, windows and attic. Sometimes the mold is not always visible and could be inside your walls. 

Excessive moisture can damage wood.  When the moisture becomes excessive in the attic, the condensation can cause your roof to rot. Moisture seeping into wood floors can cause them to delaminate and loose their quality as they deteriorate.

Excessive moisture on the windows stains the finish. The moisture that condenses on the windows, leads to moisture stains ruining the aesthetics of your home.

Whole house humidifiers are suppose to improve your overall comfort but unless you adjust your humidifier regularly, it can cause just as many problems as they solve. Here is what you can do instead to help with the dry air:

  • Properly air seal your home to control airflow and prevent condensation. By controlling airflow, you also control moisture. Condensation can occur wherever water vapor can find a cold spot. Since warm air carries more moisture than cool air, air sealing helps stop moist indoor air from contacting cold surfaces. This prevents the air leakage condensation cycle.
  • Use portable units. Instead of a whole house humidifier you could opt for portable humidifiers for each room and use only when required. They should be cleaned every couple days to prevent moisture related problems, but this method can help control the moisture content better.

If you still want to opt for a whole house humidifier, make sure to get one with automatic digital controls. The controls remove the guess work and you don’t need to adjust the settings all the time.