How Does a Whole House Humidifier Work?

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Whole House Humidifier Basics

  • A whole house humidifier usually attaches between the hot air ducts and cold air return. Some of the hot air which is flowing into the house is diverted into the humidifier, where it picks up water in one of several ways. Because this air is hot, and is at a fairly high pressure, it can hold a lot of vapor. The hot air from the humidifier is then fed into the cold air return, where it is heated again, causing all of the water droplets to be vaporized and completely absorbed into the air. It is then blown out of the vents into the house.

Drum and Disk Wheel Humidifiers

  • Both drum style humidifiers and disk wheel designs rely on a rotating wheel with the bottom resting in a tray of water. In the case of drum style humidifiers, a drum covered with absorbent pads rotates through the tray of water. Dry air is blown in to the top of the humidifier and leaves through sides, picking up water as it goes. In the case of the disk humidifier, plastic disks rotate through the tray, picking up water in small groves as they turn. Although each disk only holds a little water, together they provide a lot of water over a large surface area. This makes them very efficient, since greater surface area allows the air to pick up moisture more quickly.

Flow-Through Humidifier

  • A flow through humidifier centers around an aluminum piece called a biscuit. The biscuit is filled with many small holes, and has a nozzle at the top. When the humidifier is turned on, water flows into the biscuit. Air then blows through the side, absorbing water as it goes.

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