Question About Humidifiers

Okay! I can't take it anymore. Right now we have two problems happening inside our house: (1) the air is extremely, excruciatingly dry and (2) dust. Lots and lots of dust that quickly settles on everything inside the house. Now, I know that the dry air is because it is winter. But the dust? I think it is because last summer Chad "un-finsihed" our attic that had been finished by the POs several decades ago in order to get to some electrical wiring. After removing the carpet and the boards, we found blown-in cotton (I think) insulation in between studs in the floor. I think this is the connection, although I could be wrong. I can dust and then an hour later (not exaggerating) there is already a thin layer of dust. I'm concerned about the quality of air we are breathing. I've heard that whole house humidifiers can alleviate the dust problem but I'm pretty sure that has nothing to do with air quality. Does anyone have any experience with whole house humidifiers? We do not have radiators or anything - we have a gas heater. HELP! Due to the fact that 90% of my life is reading and researching for school, I have not done any humidifier research yet except to look it up on This Old House's website. I was hoping someone could point me in the right direction so I can just begin to read about them. Are whole house humidifiers bad for the wood work in old houses?


smanes said...

On the contrary, your woodwork will love you for keeping the humidity level up during the winter. The expansion/contraction isn't only bad for the joinery, especially glued joinery, it also loosens the finish.

I presume you have forced air heat? If so, yeah, I'd recommend a humidifier as well as an electrostatic air cleaner. When shopping for a humidifier, look for something that will dump between 5 and 8 gallons of water/day into the air. These things do require regular maintenance, particularly if you have hard water or a mildew/mold problem.

DYSB said...

Our house came with one (a humidifier) and its been very helpful in making it more comfortable for us in the house. I turn it all the way up when it gets really cold. Our water bill has gone up (marginally) but the benefits certainly outweigh the costs.I used to get electricuted all day long until I figured out how to use it. I definitely recommend them.

As for the dust issue....good luck. I would bet that your dust problem is more likely caused by dust in your ductwork. You likely need to have your ducts cleaned by a professional. Don't use the ones that send the little coupons in the mail because they don't do a good enough job. We had ours cleaned (by Dial-One) as part of getting a new furnace. It helped a bit but its not perfect. I've not seen anything that can completely 100% clean them out. You can also look into small filter pads that you place in the vents to catch the dust before it escapes into the room. However, these also reduces the efficiency of your furnace. Another option would be some room air cleaners for the rooms you spend the most time in (bedroom, living room).