Steam Humidification

Steam Humidification in Northern Virginia

Steam humidifiers are a type of humidifier that can be installed to humidify the whole home. Adding humidity is a function that is only needed during the heating season and has many advantages including: health benefits, energy savings, and preservation of furnishings.

Steam humidifiers pass water through a canister which houses highly conductive electrodes that boil water, turning it into steam. This steam is then absorbed into the passing air stream and distributed throughout the living space.

Steam humidification addresses humidity challenges

Steam humidification could be your solution to humidity challenges in the home. For example, humidifiers cannot be installed in unconditioned areas (attics) because the water supplying the humidifier (and in the humidifier), could freeze and potentially cause a major leak. So, if your home has two system’s, one in the basement and one in the attic, you can only install a humidifier on the basement system. In most cases, installing a fan powered or bypass humidifier on the basement unit alone will not be able to keep up with your homes humidity demands. Since steam humidifiers can produce significantly more humidity (compared to fan powered or bypass humidifiers), steam humidification is the perfect solution in this situation because as the steam humidifier continues to produce humidity, which is a gas, the fan from the attic unit will actually circulate this humidity through the upper level ductwork of the home.

Fan powered or bypass humidifiers do not have the ability to meet humidity demands in larger homes, however, steam humidifiers produce significantly more humidity to meet these challenges. One way to look at the home is everything inside is a sponge; the furnishings, crown molding, woodwork, wood floors, etc pulling the moisture out of the air. If there is not enough moisture in the air, these items will start to shrink and crack. In order to preserve the home from these damaging effects, the moisture needs to be replenished in high quantities, which only a steam humidifier can handle.

Will my ducts will rust with steam humidification?

This is one question we regularly hear, and, yes this could happen. HOWEVER, rusted ducts are the result of an improper installation. When installed correctly, a steam humidifier boils off water, converting it to a gas. This gas then travels up a special, flexible distribution tube to a nozzle that will disperse the gas into the air stream. When the distribution tube and nozzle are not installed correctly, the gas turns into a vapor and this is how duct work could rust over time.

Comfort Solutions, Inc. takes the time to regularly train our installation teams on proper installation methods for steam humidifiers.

Water testing

Some steam humidifier manufacturer’s custom build steam humidifiers depending on the hardness of water in neighborhoods. Depending on the conductivity level of the water, these humidifiers can be custom made to ensure the most effective humidification. In order to check water conductivity, a special digital water testing instrument is required. Unfortunately, not many installing companies own this testing instrument because it is expensive, however we know the importance of doing the job properly for our clients which is the reason we have invested in this tool.

How is the steam humidifier controlled?

Steam humidifiers are controlled by a device called a humidistat. The humidistat is commonly installed into the return duct. The humidistat samples the air as it passes and calculates the amount of humidity in the air. If the humidity is lower than the set point on the humidistat, it will turn on the humidifier. Many newer heating and air conditioning systems have a built in capacity to automatically control steam humidifiers. This is a great feature which allows for optimal humidity control because the actual humidity reading is taken at the thermostat in the living space. Also, since indoor humidity is affected by outdoor temperature, the newer heating and air conditioning systems have algorithms built into the circuit boards which will automatically raise or lower the humidity setting based on these temperatures. This is a great feature to help prevent producing too much humidity on very cold days, which can result in water collecting on windows.

What maintenance is required?

Steam humidifiers require maintenance and a canister replacement annually. Manufacturers recommend the steam canister be replaced annually because the minerals in tap water will eventually break down the anodes (the anodes boils off the water turning it into steam) and cause the humidifier to lose its ability to generate steam. In some areas of harder water, maintenance and canister replacement could be needed twice a year. We offer maintenance for steam humidifiers.

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