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Pauley
Forced hot air

I have forced hot air heating with an AprilAire system (I guess that is a whole house humidifier). In the winter months when the heat is on, I get dry sinuses and itchy skin. (not to mention the dust) I had a heating guy come in and check everything out, including the April Aire system and he said everything is working well. He said I have the April Aire system set correctly. (He also cleaned and service the furnace).

So, my question is this... is there anything I can do to help prevent these above mentioned problems?

I am a 100 percent disabled vet and money is extremely tight, so things like replace your furnace with a forced hot water is way out of my reach.

My wife said she seen something on TV that was a (for a lack of a better word) a "filter" that was placed under the heating cover on the floor. It is supposed to cut down on the dust, but I think it will also cut down the efficiency of the heating system.

Should I place another room humidifier in my bedroom?

Not sure what to do, that's why I'm here asking the experts.

Thank you,

Paul

Sten
Re: Forced hot air

We use a couple of those portable humidifiers and have no problem, that what I would suggest. Good Luck!!! :)

canuk
Re: Forced hot air

Howdy Paul ---- hopefully your insulation project worked out ok. ;)

The issues you describe are common during the winter heating season.
Unfortunately different people have different sensitivities to dust and humidity, which makes it difficult to find a happy medium.

The first thing is to clarify ------ forced air heating systems do not dry out the air.

During the winter season we generally close the doors and windows to seal up the home ---- attempting to keep the cold out and keep the heat in. When this happens the humidity within the home actually increases since there is no or little air exchange between outside and inside.

The forced air heating systems simply circulate the air within the home. In other words ---- cooler inside air is drawn into the return vents to the furnace, which is heated and then distributed throughout the home. Whatever humidity exists within the home is circulated throughout.

It’s the type of combustion equipment used in the home that dries out the air.

If you have equipment that relies on inside air for combustion and exhausts out a regular flue like fuel fired boilers , furnaces , water heaters , woodstoves , fireplaces , etc. ------ then whatever humidity contained in this inside air used for combustion is exiting the home up the flue. This is what dries out the air.

Also, when this happens with this type of combustion a negative pressure is being created. If there isn't enough inside air being supplied this process will draw air from wherever it can to supply it’s need. If the home is leaky colder outside air will be drawn in from cracks and gaps ---- known as make up air exchange ---- uncontrolled mind you.

In many places you will find it mandatory to have a duct directly from outside tied into the cold air return plenum in order to offset the above mentioned draw back ----- in a somewhat controlled fashion ---- also for indoor air quality improvements.

However the downside is colder outside air is generally drier than the warmer inside air ----- the law of nature ---- cold air holds less moisture than warm air.

The bottom line is the more frequent and longer the use of those types of combustion the less humid the inside air will be.

In order to offset this many people will have humidifiers installed on their furnaces ----- depending on the location and setup of the equipment.
Sten mentions the use of portable humidifiers which also helps.
An old method that has been used around these parts is to place bowls of water at the locations of the heat registers.

With higher efficient direct-vented combustion equipment there are actually issues with too much humidity in homes.
Reason being these units have a direct air intake vent drawing outside air into a sealed chamber for the combustion and direct vented for the exhaust.
This where problems arise ----- the humidity can actually increase because whatever humidity in the home remains since it's not exhausted out.

Dust issues are also common with forced air systems. The dust that exists within the home is drawn into the air return vents then circulated through the furnace blower and out the supply vents. Over time some of this dust will accumulate within the duct work and will trap more and more dust.

One thing that can be done is having the ductwork professionally cleaned. The best method I’ve seen is the use of a powered rotating brush and camera on the end of a suction hose. The camera allows the operator to see what they are doing and the rotating brush does an excellent job of scrubbing the ducting

Simple things you can do yourself ----- if the supply and return vents are located at floor level ----- remove the registers or grates for the supplies and vacuum out the boots. Generally there is a lot of accumulation of dust and things trapped at the transitions.

The return vents have the most accumulation since they suck air in along with all sorts of dust bunnies from floor level. Remove the return grills and you will be amazed at what you will find.:eek:

This is also where you can install filters helping to trap the dust before it enters the ducting. You really don’t want any filters at the supply vents as it will cause restrictions, which will hamper your airflow. However, if there are filters installed at the return vents it’s important to clean or replace these regularly otherwise if they become plugged they too will cause restriction to airflow decreasing the efficiency of the heating system.

The filters at the furnace need to cleaned ( if they are reusable ) or changed regularly.
Also the type of filters used at the furnace will also make a difference in controlling dust .The bargain priced filters are really only useful for catching large dust bunnies and do little in trapping the smaller particulates.

These are steps that don’t cost a lot of $$$$ ---- otherwise there are the options of installing electronic air cleaners or super duper Hepa filtration systems.

Vacuum cleaners can also contribute to dust. Portable vacuum cleaners can stir up more dust than you think.
Central vacuum systems are more effective when exhausted outside.

Hopefully this makes sense and helps.:)

Bob Gabrilson
Re: Forced hot air
Pauley wrote:

I have forced hot air heating with an AprilAire system (I guess that is a whole house humidifier). In the winter months when the heat is on, I get dry sinuses and itchy skin. (not to mention the dust) I had a heating guy come in and check everything out, including the April Aire system and he said everything is working well. He said I have the April Aire system set correctly. (He also cleaned and service the furnace).

So, my question is this... is there anything I can do to help prevent these above mentioned problems?

I am a 100 percent disabled vet and money is extremely tight, so things like replace your furnace with a forced hot water is way out of my reach.

My wife said she seen something on TV that was a (for a lack of a better word) a "filter" that was placed under the heating cover on the floor. It is supposed to cut down on the dust, but I think it will also cut down the efficiency of the heating system.

Should I place another room humidifier in my bedroom?

Not sure what to do, that's why I'm here asking the experts.

Thank you,

Paul

You can have a "Auto-Trac" control installed with your existing AprilAire which will give you a much more accurate humidity level in your home.
But first, double check that water is flowing through the humidifier. The water panel needs to be changed at least once a year (depending on the water hardness).
Regarding the dust. Install a hi-eff. pleated filter. Note: They will "load" quickly so you'll need to replace them often.

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