Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Steam vs. Evaporation Humidifiers
3 posts / 0 new
Last post
Steam vs. Evaporation Humidifiers

Living in Wisconsin, it gets extremely dry in our house during the winter. It's 2 degrees right now, and my wife and I are a bit tired of having dry skin, shocking each other every time we touch, and having sore throats from the dryness.

I think a whole house humidifier is the answer to my dryness problems, but I see there are several kinds... steam and evaporator being the main two I've seen. Why would I choose one over the other? Is one better than the other?

The steam humidifier seems like it would be the better choice for actually getting a significant amount of moisture in the air. I'm assuming this kind would be more expensive to buy and install. Does the steam generator run all the time or just when it's needed? I hate to waste all sorts of electricity by generating steam all day long, even when the furnace isn't running.

It seems like most home supply stores have the evaporator kind of humidifiers. Do these actually work? They don't seem like much more than a bucket of water with a wet rag in 'em ;) They certainly are less expensive and look easy enough to install... but I don't want to bother with one if it doesn't solve my dryness problems.

Your input is appreciated!

Re: Steam vs. Evaporation Humidifiers

In the past we have used an evaporative humidifier like the one below. It worked very effectively and had a control that would shut it off when it reached the humidity setting we selected.


It ran a lot and used a lot of water when first brought on line. Then it would run intermittently and only took about 2 gallons per day to maintain comfortable humidity levels.

Re: Steam vs. Evaporation Humidifiers

Thanks for your input. Now that I think about it, the previous owners of this house has a free-standing unit, and now I know why.

I'd rather have a unit that is part of the furnace ducting, however. Our house is a two story, so I think that having moist air forced through the ducts would do a better job of circulating through the house. In addition, according to Consumer Reports, it sounds like the in-duct type are quieter and have a lower operating costs.


The article points out one down-side to the humidifiers that actually spray a mist into their air stream... little white specs of dust can appear due to minerals in the water.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.