Furnace Humidifier Pros And Cons

Furnace or HVAC humidifiers are an excellent choice for creating a comfortable indoor environment for the entire house.

Compared with other options, including console models, their effectiveness lies in maintaining humidity levels and slightly increasing the ambient temperature.

In this blog, we shall discuss some of the specific strengths and weaknesses of furnace humidifiers. We will also examine some basics of furnace humidifiers. This will include how they work, their components, and some of the most common alternatives you can choose over the furnace humidifiers. Finally, we shall also answer a few common questions about furnace humidifiers. 

What are Furnace Humidifiers? 

Furnace humidifiers are a common type of the whole house or ducted humidifiers. They are called whole-house humidifiers because they are designed to distribute humidity across the entire house.

Console humidifiers are designed to distribute mist in small areas. However, sometimes console humidifiers can be used to distribute mist across small indoor spaces.

Furnace or HVAC humidifiers connect directly to the heating and cooling system of your home. They draw water from the water line installed in your home. The water gets into their reservoirs.

They then produce a mist that automatically spreads across the entire house. The mist flows through the ductwork and is released into spaces via the vents in your house. 

How do Furnace Humidifiers Work? 

There is nothing unique about the mode of operation of furnace or HVAC humidifiers. Just like other types of humidifiers, furnace humidifiers operate by converting water into invisible mist. The mist is then evenly distributed to the air in the room where they are installed. The release of the mist into the atmosphere increases the humidity levels.

In addition, because the humidity is usually of a higher temperature than the air in the house, its continued release improves the prevailing indoor conditions. The mist that furnace humidifiers produce spreads through the entire home in the ductwork and vents.

Thus, an HVAC humidifier instantly creates a comfortable indoor environment in the entire house. It also has a humidistat that enables the user to determine when the system will operate. When humidity levels fall below a selected level, the system automatically starts to operate. 

Pros and Cons of Furnace Humidifiers 

You may be lost between installing a furnace humidifier in your home and simply using simple console humidifiers. In addition, you may be wondering whether you need a humidifier in your house in the first place.

In this section, we shall examine some of the essential pros and cons of furnace humidifiers. 

Pros of Furnace Humidifiers 

  1. A furnace humidifier keeps the wooden floors and other items from cracking: When the air is exceptionally dry, the wood begins to crack and bend. The damage is caused by the lack of moisture, which is essential for the structural integrity of the items. Having a furnace humidifier will help to maintain the moisture levels in the house. This will keep the wooden items in your house, including the floor, intact. 
  2. A furnace heater helps to prevent health conditions that arise from breathing dry air: During winter conditions, the air may be freezing and dry. Breathing, freezing, and dry air may cause a horde of unpleasant health conditions. Some of the most common ones include parched lips, sinusitis, and even coughing. Having a furnace humidifier installed in your home is one of the most reliable ways of preventing these health conditions, even during frigid days. The furnace humidifier will maintain a comfortable indoor environment by improving the moisture and temperature levels in the background. 
  3. Adequate humidification of the air in the entire house: Unlike a console humidifier, a furnace humidifier works by spreading mist in all areas of your home. This is the reason it is referred to as a whole-house humidifier. Console or portable or room humidifiers are effective for releasing moisture in very tiny spaces. The air found further away from the position where a portable humidifier is placed likely to be dry. Therefore, a furnace humidifier spreads the mist across the entire house through the vents and ductwork. 
  4. Very little maintenance: A console humidifier requires maintenance daily. The maintenance procedures may include general cleaning and replacement of the water in the reservoir. Occasionally, you will have to dismantle your console humidifier and clean every component thoroughly. This procedure is necessary to prevent molds and other unwanted organisms from developing inside your humidifier’s reservoir. Things are different for a furnace humidifier. Once you have correctly installed it, you will not have to worry about maintaining it. The humidifier runs on its accord. However, you may occasionally check it, particularly at the beginning of the summer or winter. Such checks are only necessary to ensure that all the components of your HVAC humidifier are running perfectly. They require less maintenance and cleaning procedures than what you have to carry out on your portable room humidifier. 
  5. Furnace humidifiers are always in the background: It would help if you thought about how your portable humidifier will fit into your space. You can easily interfere with your internal décor if you choose a portable or console humidifier that does not match the colors and look of your living room. This is not the case when you use your furnace humidifier. The humidifier remains completely hidden from view. You do not have to worry about the aesthetics of your furnace or HVAC humidifier. 

Cons of Furnace Humidifiers 

Apart from the benefits of furnace humidifiers discussed here, there are many downsides to choosing this type of humidifier.

As is the case with the pros, the cons of furnace humidifiers are related to some of the alternatives you can use in your home or office. Here are some of the main cons of furnace humidifiers. 

  1. Expensive installations: Installing a furnace humidifier is a costly undertaking. You will need to pay for the services of a technician to complete the installation for you. Besides, the technician will take a couple of hours to ensure that every humidifier component is installed correctly and is working according to your expectations. The process of connecting it to the heating and cooling system is time-consuming and costly. This is in sharp contrast with the easy-to-use plug-and-play humidifiers. 
  2. Purchasing furnace humidifiers are more expensive than console humidifiers: Furnace humidifiers are large and complex devices that cost much more than smaller and portable room humidifiers. Therefore, it will cost you much to purchase a furnace humidifier than a room humidifier. 
  3. Furnace humidifiers are less convenient than portable humidifiers: Portable humidifiers are designed to be used in small personal spaces. You can keep it at the top of your desk in the office or keep the humidifier in your bedroom at home. This level of convenience is not possible when you have your furnace humidifier. The humidifier will automatically spread its mist in the entire house. 
  4. Expensive to repair if it breaks down: You will be forced to spend a lot of money troubleshooting and repairing your furnace humidifier if it breaks down. This is because the humidifiers have many components that are installed out of view. The good news is that HVAC humidifiers are long-lasting and hardly break down. 
  5. They do not provide aesthetic beauty: Manufacturers of console humidifiers deliberately consider the look and feel of their devices. This gives the user the chance to use the humidifier to enhance the aesthetics of their home. Your furnace humidifier does not offer you any form of aesthetic value because it is hidden out of view and connected to the heating and cooling system. 

Alternatives to Furnace Humidifiers? 

Furnace or HVAC humidifiers are not the only reliable source of humidification for homes and offices. There are many other viable alternatives.

Although the alternatives vary in their efficiency and performance in maintaining a moist and comfortable indoor environment, they still function using the basic principle of supplying mist to dry air.

The following are some of the most common alternatives to furnace humidifiers. 

Standalone Humidifiers 

As the name suggests, standalone humidifiers are smaller than HVAC humidifiers. They can be carried and placed at any location in the house. Some come with wheels to make it easy for one to move them from one place to another.

They are designed to provide enough mist to create a comfortable environment in the room. This is the reason why these types of humidifiers are also referred to as room humidifiers.

Some standalone humidifiers are powerful enough to provide enough mist to keep the air inside the entire house adequately moist.

Standalone humidifiers come with all the controls and accessories that you would expect to find in a humidifier. These features include variable speeds, automatic shutoffs, a digital control panel, and indicator lights. 

Personal or Tabletop Humidifiers 

Tabletop humidifiers are tiny devices that you can carry around and use in tiny spaces. They are also referred to as mini humidifiers or rechargeable humidifiers.

Rechargeable battery operated humidifiers have a small battery that can last for several hours. They are ideal for traveling.

These humidifiers, just like standalone humidifiers, have a small reservoir. However, the reservoir is much smaller than that which is found in standalone humidifiers.

You have to fill up the humidifier reservoir with water repeatedly for the humidifier to function. The humidifier vaporizes the water and discharges it in the form of a mist. 

Furnace Humidifiers Pros and Cons FAQ

How much does it cost to add a humidifier to your furnace? 

It may cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 to add a humidifier to your furnace. However, the actual cost varies with the type of humidifier you choose, and the time it takes the technician to complete the job.

Bypass or drum humidifiers cost the least amount of money to install. This is because the average cost per unit is less than the other types of furnace humidifiers. Also, installing a bypass or drum furnace humidifier takes a much shorter time than the other two types of furnace humidifiers. 

Flow-through furnace humidifiers are more costly than bypass ones. However, you will end up spending less on repairing and maintaining your flow-through furnace humidifier because this type of humidifier does not have a water reservoir.

On the other hand, steam whole-home humidifiers are the most expensive in terms of the length of time for installation and the price of the units. 

When should I turn on my furnace humidifier? 

It would be best if you turned on your humidifier when the weather conditions improved. This means that after the healing session is complete. Remember that your heating and cooling system will not function properly if the humidifier is running as well.

Moreover, the humidifier is designed to help improve indoor air conditions when cold and dry weather. Therefore, once these conditions abate, remember to switch off your furnace humidifier. 

Can you add a humidifier to an existing furnace? 

Yes, you can add a humidifier to an existing furnace. The process is straightforward and can be completed by your local HVAC technician. Once the humidifier is installed correctly, it will supply mist across the entire home through the ductwork.

The humidifier will then be connected to the existing water line and valves in your house. Of course, this depends on the actual humidifier kit that the technician will choose to install on your existing furnace. 


Humidifiers are an excellent source of additional moisture during wintry conditions. There are three broad types of humidifiers: tabletop, standalone, and furnace or HVAC humidifiers.

Furnace and some standalone humidifiers can effectively provide mist to humidify the air in an entire home. This is the reason why they are referred to as whole-house humidifiers.

Furnace humidifiers are excellent because they require very little maintenance and operate conveniently to cover the entire house. You can use a humidistat to program your furnace humidifier so that it automatically turns on when the humidity levels in the house fall lower than a certain level.

The other alternatives to furnace humidifiers, the tabletop humidifier, and the standalone humidifier, are more convenient if you are looking for a small and portable device for adding moisture to the air in equally tiny spaces.