Humidifiers seem to fix everything: your skin looks better, you stop getting nosebleeds, your house retains heat better, you don't have enough static stored in the carpet to power a Prius… what's not to love? If you want to branch out from puny humidifiers built for individual rooms, take a look at whole house humidifiers. They install into your duct system to spread moisture throughout your home. This is definitely the easiest to clean humidifier that will humidify the entire home: just once per heating season, take the appliance apart to clean it, replace the vapor pad, and you're good for another six months or more. If that alone has you looking at whole house humidifier reviews, hang on: we looked at humidifier reviews for you and did over 30 hours of research!
We chose damper humidifiers because they are one of the best humidifier models for babies and family homes due to their quiet operation. One of the bestselling brand products is the GeneralAire 1000A Whole-House Humidifier, but it has a high price. We research and contacted experts about other whole house humidifiers until we found one of the best whole home humidifier models that's also available at a low price: the Aprilaire Model 500 M Whole-House Humidifier.
The GeneralAire 1000A whole house humidifier has a lot to offer for the best whole house humidifier: it can handle up to 3,000 square feet, plus it comes with a "humidistat" and outdoor sensor for automatic and manual humidity control. It works by using a damper system to access your heating ducts and moisturize hot air produced by the furnace. Its main advantages over the Aprilaire Model 500M are that it has a 30% higher water feed rate and it has a longer warranty. We think the GeneralAire 1000A humidifier is best suited for more poorly insulated homes that experience more infiltration of outside air, meaning indoor heat and humidity levels drop more quickly and require a higher water feed rate to maintain. Otherwise, the Aprilaire Model 500M humidifier should suit most homes within the 3,000 square foot guideline, and it also has a great low price.
The Aprilaire Model 500M whole house humidifier is very similar to the GeneralAire humidifier: it is made for homes up to 3,000 square feet, it also has a humidistat and outdoor sensor, and uses a damper system. It has a water feed rate of 12 gallons per day compared to the 18 from the GeneralAire, but this should be plenty for most homes, especially ones that are well-insulated. It has a five-year warranty that is half the length of the brand humidifier's, but we found that the Aprilaire 500M had a quality build and a responsible company backing it up, so that didn't worry us too much. Both humidifiers need to be installed by licensed HVAC professionals for the warranties to count, so keep that in mind if you want to try your hand at DIYing your whole house humidifier setup! Overall, the Aprilaire humidifier offers great features for a low price.
The GeneralAire humidifier is designed and constructed for homes of up to 3,000 square feet.
The Aprilaire humidifier is also optimized for homes up to 3,000 square feet.
The manufacturer of the GeneralAire humidifier recommends installation by a professional HVAC company since it needs to be properly incorporated into your home's duct system. Not using a licensed HVAC installer will void the warranty.
The Aprilaire humidifier recommends the same installation guidelines as the GeneralAire humidifier. If you use a licensed installer, make sure to keep a record of the installation in case you need to enact the warranty later on.
The GeneralAire humidifier includes a Digital Humidistat, which is like a thermostat for--you guessed it--humidity. It can be set to manual or automatic modes.
The Aprilaire also includes a digital humidity controller with both manual and automatic modes, for fiddling with settings or completely forgetting about them.
The GeneralAire humidifier can be set to an automatic mode on the humidistat to regulate your home humidity without any input from you.
The Aprilaire humidifier also has an automatic mode on the humidistat, so you don't come home to an accidental rainforest.
The GeneralAire humidifier has a water feed rate of 18 gallons per day. This higher water feed rate makes this humidifier better for homes with a "loose" construction, meaning it is poorly insulated or is a little "overly ventilated."
The Aprilaire humidifier has a water feed rate of 12 gallons per day. This water feed rate should be plenty for most homes, especially homes with "tight" construction. The less air infiltration, the more humidity, and heat stick around.
The GeneralAire humidifier has an outdoor sensor to compensate for temperature changes. This is what enables the humidifier to operate automatically since changes in temperature have a direct effect on your home's humidity.
The Aprilaire humidifier also has an outdoor temperature sensor, and adjusts its output accordingly. Both humidifiers can also be manually adjusted if the outdoor sensor is not installed, but automatic adjustments are a great feature.
The GeneralAire humidifier uses a bypass damper system. This bypass also allows the humidifier to make use of your furnace's fan, adding moisture to the warm air blown from the furnace as it passes through the ducts.
The Aprilaire humidifier also uses a bypass damper system. This feature also helps your unit get along with other duct systems, like air conditioning. Although a bypass damper results in lower gallons per day in output because it is a passive system, it is also somewhat more efficient than a powered humidifier setup.
The GeneralAire humidifier requires a drain. The easiest installation option is a gravity drain, but you can also connect it to a pre-existing sump pump or install a small sump pump just for the humidifier.
The Aprilaire humidifier also requires a drain. The humidifier will usually release a steady trickle of water during operation. Besides a sump pump, you can also use a floor drain or basement sink, too.
The Aprilaire humidifier also needs its evaporative vapor pad replaced annually or per season. You can find four-packs here which are less expensive than the individually sold GeneralAire pads.
The GeneralAire humidifier measures 16 x 16.5 x 10 inches. It is slightly larger than the Aprilaire humidifier, so it may be more challenging to install in areas that are limited on space.
The Aprilaire humidifier measures 16 x 10 x 13 inches. It is slightly smaller without significantly impacting its humidity output since it can still handle up to 3,000 square feet.
The GeneralAire humidifier comes with a 10-year limited warranty (seen here) as long as it was installed by a licensed HVAC installer. If you want the longest warranty possible, you may prefer the GeneralAire humidifier.
The Aprilaire humidifier carries a 5-year limited warranty on as long as it is installed by a licensed HVAC installer. Though it is shorter than the GeneralAire humidifier's warranty, it is still pretty respectable.