A humidifier that operates only when the thermostat calls for heat, may not run long enough to keep your home above 35% relative humidity during the dry season. One that operates with the blower fan on the furnace can provide humidified air even when the heater isn’t engaged. This adds necessary humidity throughout the day to keep your home more constant.
Outside temperature and humidity plays an important role in determining the amount of moisture a humidifier adds to the air.
When the air outside turns cold, it retains less moisture.
If the humidifier attempts to add too much moisture on a cold day, the indoor humidified air can condense on windows and casings resulting in damage.
The exterior thermostat provides information to the humidifier control panel to determine the amount of moisture needed to reach the desired setting. Having this extra component will help protect your whole home and wood floors during any season.
Use a hygrometer to measure RH levels in your home.
To stay between 35-55% RH may mean you turn the thermostat higher than you want. Just setting the hygrostat to 45% doesn’t mean the RH will always remain there. Check your hygrometer and adjust accordingly. Remember to keep the heater thermostat between 60-80 degrees F.
Know how your humidifier operates
One homeowner who complained of a “dry floor” (squeaks, gaps, etc.) reported having a new state of the art HVAC system with an installed humidifier. Unfortunately, the humidifier was not turned on.
- Make sure your system installer knows and can explain how to operate the control settings. This includes how to adjust settings and when and how to maintain and service the unit.
- Most HVAC humidifiers use filters or consumable wicks that you must replace regularly as dust and mineral deposits build-up.
- Check for seasonal settings and determine when the unit should be turned on (in winter) and off (in spring) as the humidity changes through the seasons of the year.
- If you notice consistent high or low readings, be sure to have your HVAC and humidifier system checked and serviced.
- Monitor your home with a hygrometer to ensure your HVAC and whole-home humidifier system is working properly.
- Remember: using a whole-home humidifier to keep your home environment consistent is THE BEST way to protect your investment in wood floors.