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Which Humidifier is Best for My Home? Steam Vs. Flow-Through?

February 16th, 2021

Steam vs. Flow-Through Humidifiers

A humidifier is a great addition to any home.

By emitting water vapor or steam, it increases moisture levels in the air, allowing you to:

  • Reduce sinus symptoms including dry sinus and periodic bloody nose with no underlying cause
  • Improve skin health and appearance, especially as they relate to chapped, cracked, painful lips
  • Raise quality of life for people who suffer from allergies, making sinus headaches less frequent
  • Help maintain the natural moisture of eyes, which prevents irritation and helps with eyesight

The basic use of a humidifier is always the same, but there are several different kinds to choose from. The two most common humidifier types in the average home are the steam humidifier and the flow-through humidifier (aka an evaporative humidifier). Whole-house humidifiers can benefit the entire structure.

What is a Steam Humidifier?

A steam humidifier uses an internal humidistat to detect the level of moisture in the air. When moisture levels drop, the humidifier heats water in a reservoir, converting it to steam. Your furnace slowly disperses the resulting steam all throughout your home. Humidity begins to noticeably increase in just a few minutes.

Controlling the humidity level on a steam-based model tends to be easier than other models. The risk of mold is low and energy usage is efficient. Although furnace heat is required, more humid air feels warmer, so you may feel more comfortable at lower temperatures when the humidifier is operating.

Steam humidifiers require little maintenance, so cost of ownership remains low.

What is a Flow-Through (Evaporative) Humidifier?

A flow-through humidifier uses an evaporator pad and warm air to humidify the air. The humidifier is mounted onto the furnace and requires fresh water that flows through the system and gradually drains away. Despite the strong performance of a standard steam humidifier, a flow-through model has distinct advantages:

  • Flow-through humidifiers are generally more reliable and rarely fail
  • Lack of a central reservoir is more hygienic than steam humidifiers
  • They usually use less electricity than a comparable steam humidifier

A flow-through humidifier is therefore the right choice for most, but not all buyers. The size and heating needs of your home influence the right choice for you. No matter what type of humidifier you choose, sound installation is essential. Long-term performance and value for money both depend on it.

For the expertise you need for a reliable and efficient humidifier, contact Syles Mechanical.

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