Whole House Humidifier Pros and Cons Explained

whole house humidifier

Waking up to an itchy throat, dry air, squeaky cupboards, and static clothes on a fine winter morning, does that feel familiar enough? If yes, then know that it’s your house calling for a humidifier.

Maybe you have used a room humidifier, but how about a whole-house humidifier? If you’re wondering whether or not this is the right one for you, read on to see all that these whole-house humidifiers can offer you.

Different Types of Whole-House (Central) Humidifiers

As their name suggests, whole-home humidifiers work to increase the entire house’s moisture content. These are also called central home humidifiers.

These humidifiers connect to the HVAC system of your house. As the air moves from the hot air ducts or the cold air returns, it picks up moisture on the way. This way, it humidifies your home centrally.

Like all electronics, whole-home humidifiers also come in various types. Few common ones are:

Steam Humidifiers

Steam humidifiers work on a simple mechanism and provide you with humidity that is both significantly pure and natural.

These humidifiers work by sensing the current humidity level at our home using the inbuilt humidistat. Upon sensing a need, they electrically boil water to produce steam, which then travels through the HVAC system of your house to induce humidity.

A whole house steam humidifier uses less water and is relatively low maintenance. It is also quite effective as its moisture production remains independent of your heating or cooling system’s condition.

Bypass Humidifiers

These are humidifiers that capitalize on your home’s heating system.

Essentially, they take the warm air that comes through the furnace and pass it through an evaporator pad to moisten it. This humid, warm air is then released into your house through the ducts.

Bypass humidifiers are among the most popular and least expensive options. They run off the furnace fan and hence need a lower power supply to operate.

Fan-Powered Humidifiers

These are a lot like bypass humidifiers. However, the primary difference is the internal fan that pushes the air from the duct to the humidifier for moisturizing, then back into the same duct.

Another factor that gives these humidifiers a greater edge is their ability to produce much more humidity than bypass models.

They are also easy to install in closed spaces and do not depend on your furnace’s running to increase the humidity level in your home.

Related: Bypass vs Fan-Powered Humidifier

The Pros of a Whole-House Humidifier

Now that we’ve got a basic idea of how a whole-house humidifier works let’s look at what makes these humidifiers genuinely worth it. Some benefits of whole-house humidifiers are:

Maintaining Humidity Levels

While low humidity results in itchy, scaly skin, dry throat, and discomfort, high humidity produces the breeding ground for mold and bacteria.

Who wishes to be worrying about that all the time? You bet, no one.

This is why whole-house humidifiers are such a relief. They do the daunting task of maintaining your humidity levels at the optimum and desirable range.

What you get is a healthy and comfortable environment, along with furniture and paint that lasts longer.

Easy to Maintain and Install

A one-time set up is all you need to do with these whole-home humidifiers. Since these connect to your water supply, a bit of initial plumbing would be required.

But once that’s out of the way, you can easily take a back-seat. These humidifiers work quietly all year round.

Only once every year, you would need to take out the evaporator pad and clean it. This applies especially if your water is towards the harder end and deposits more minerals.

Compare this with the constant refilling and cleaning of a portable humidifier, and you will see how convenient a central home humidifier is.

Health and Comfort

This is a straightforward yet valuable benefit of these humidifiers. They serve to improve the air quality in your home, resulting in improved skin and respiratory conditions.

This proves of critical benefit to those living with asthma or sinus issues. You are also able to stay safe from many allergies.

Besides that, humidifiers tend to make the environment more comfortable and relaxing. They also help preserve your furniture.

Related: Humidifiers That Doesn’t Leave White Dust on Furniture or Other Surfaces

The Cons of a Whole-House Humidifier

While the benefits of whole-house humidifiers are great, a look at the cons will help you gain a complete picture of them. These are: 


Central home humidifiers can be costly to buy and install. This is because you add it to the HVAC system, where every new addition inevitably generates a cost.

Apart from buying the humidifiers, you would also require a professional to install them for you. Combine both of these, and you are faced with a considerable upfront cost.

However, looking at the cost in perspective makes one realize that it’s a one-time investment. You would save on the cost of buying many portable humidifiers later.


While these central home humidifiers are relatively easy to maintain, they do add to your maintenance list.

Insufficient care and untimely cleaning of humidifiers can leave you with a foul smell around the house from mold and bacterial growth.

Despite that, if the benefits are what you’re genuinely out for, these tasks will not be too daunting for you.

Do You Really Need a Whole House Humidifier?

Now that you know the pros and cons of having a whole-house humidifier, it’s time to do the cost-benefit analysis and make your decision.

If health, comfort, and air quality are what you’re looking for, then whole-house humidifiers are an excellent investment. This becomes particularly relevant if long and dry winters dominate the climate of your city.

Moreover, another worth-mentioning aspect here is the value these humidifiers add to your house when you’re out there to sell it. A place with central home humidifiers installed has more market value than one without.

Thus, it can be safe to say that central home humidifiers are designed to add value to your life. You can feel it right from the start until the very end.