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Why Does My Home Need Humidity?
More and more homeowners are realizing that, during the winter months, they live in a moisture-deprived “sick house”. Family members suffer from dry, itchy skin, parched throats, and annoying coughs. Allergies and respiratory ailments worsen. Furniture creaks, floors moan, the piano slips out of tune, and static electricity zaps people and pets.
Proper home humidification reduces static electricity, revitalizes dry skin and soothes scratchy throats. It minimizes allergies and respiratory conditions. (Humidification adds moisture to dry, cracked furniture and wilting houseplants; protects valuable artwork, antiques and musical instruments; and even saves money on winter heating bills. That’s because properly humidified air feels warmer, allowing you to turn your thermostat down about three degrees.
What’s the Difference Between Humidity and Relative Humidity?
All air contains moisture, called humidity. It is invisible, except when the air’s saturation point is reached and the moisture condenses. Then we see humidity as steam, fog, rain or water droplets.
The term relative humidity (or RH) refers to the percentage of water vapor present in the air at a given temperature. For example, at 50 percent RH, the air is holding half of the moisture it’s capable of holding. The air’s capacity to hold water decreases as the temperature goes down and increases as the temperature goes up.
How Does Furnace Heat Affect Indoor Humidity?
On a crisp winter day, the weatherman may report that the outside temperature is 30°F (-1°C) with 90 percent humidity. When the cold outdoor air infiltrates a home and is heated to 72°F (22°C), it expands to four or five times its previous size. While the amount of moisture remains the same, the amount of humidity relative to the air volume (the RH) is reduced from 90 percent to approximately 19 percent. That’s why homes are noticeably drier in winter, which damages woodwork and valuable possessions, and leaves residents feeling uncomfortable and (in some instances) unhealthy.
How Does Relative Humidity Affect Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)?
Working efficiently with your heating system, Skuttle Flow-Thru Humidifiers help protect your home’s structure, contents, and occupants by maintaining indoor relative humidity at a safer, healthier, more comfortable 30-to-45 percent.
This chart shows how carefully controlled home humidification improves air quality. The narrowing blue wedges indicate reduced effectiveness of the corresponding health-endangering conditions. Bacteria, for example, are least effective in the 25-to-60 percent relative humidity range.
Are Evaporative Humidifiers Environmentally Safe?
The concern that central-system humidifiers (Flow-Thru, Drum and Steam units) release harmful contaminants into the air stream is unfounded. Extensive, objective tests at Penn State University proved conclusively that water evaporated from these humidifiers leaves impurities (such as calcium, iron, lime, and bacteria) behind. In other words, these contaminants are not dispersed into the living environment and cause no adverse health effects. In fact, the humidified air exiting properly maintained evaporative-type units were found to be cleaner and more healthful than when it entered.
Is There a Simple Way to Determine Relative Humidity in My Home?
The Relative Humidity Conversion Chart helps you determine indoor relative humidity. For example, when the outdoor temperature is 10°F (-12°C) and outdoor relative humidity is 70 percent, a home heated to 72°F (22°C) has an indoor humidity level of only 6 percent—much drier than the 25 percent relative humidity of the Sahara Desert! Skuttle humidifiers can restore a home’s relative humidity to a healthier, more comfortable 30-to-45 percent range.
How Does a Skuttle Humidifier Help Me Save on Energy Costs?
In many regions of the country, an un-humidified home in winter will have a relative humidity level of 22-to-25 percent—about as dry as the Sahara Desert. The dry interior air will steal moisture from wherever it can find it, including your body! As moisture evaporates from your skin, you feel cooler. To counteract this sensation, it’s likely that you keep your thermostat turned up—an expensive habit, given the high cost of heating these days.
However, maintaining indoor relative humidity in the healthier more comfortable 35-to-45 percent range with a Skuttle whole-house humidifier minimizes the air’s need to replenish moisture, and little or no evaporation from your body takes place. As a result, you can turn your thermostat down about 3 degrees and still maintain your former level of comfort and warmth. The energy cost savings over an entire heating season—let alone over multiple heating seasons—should be significant.
Should a Skuttle Bypass Flow-Thru Humidifier be mounted on the warm air or the cold air plenum?
Either option will work fine. Mounting a Bypass Flow-Thru Humidifier (Model 2000, 2100, 2001 or 2101) on the warm air supply or the cold air return plenum does not alter humidifier performance. In either location, air will flow from the warm air to the cold air side due to the positive and negative pressures of the heating system. Connect the humidifier to the opposite plenum using 6 in. (15.24 cm) round duct.
NOTE: Mount the Model 2002 or 2102 Fan-Powered Flow-Thru Humidifier on the warm air plenum only.
On the 60-Series Steam Humidifiers, is the fan control wiring 24, 120 or 240 volt?
The fan control wiring for all 60-Series Humidifiers (Models 60-1, F60-1, 60-2, F60-2 and 60-BC1), is 24 volt, low voltage only.
Is there an effective but less expensive alternative to steam for High-Efficiency Furnaces?
If you install 90-plus furnaces, consider recommending Skuttle’s Model 55UD Under Duct Flow-Thru Humidifier or Model 86UD Under Duct Drum Humidifier to customers who can’t afford the luxury of a steam unit. Both under duct humidifiers are productive workhorses that are superior to plenum-mount flow-thrus on high-efficiency furnaces. Here are a few reasons why….
In situations where there are two trunk lines extending from the furnace, is it helpful to install two under duct humidifiers (i.e., one on each line)?
As long as a single 55UD Under Duct Flow-Thru Humidifier or 86UD Under Duct Drum Humidifier can handle the cubic footage of the home, a second unit on a second trunk line is pointless. The reason has to do with the way humidity travels.
Humidity always travels through its surrounding gas mixture (in this case, the air in the home) at 25 feet (7.62 meters) per second. If you were to introduce humidity into a 50-by-50-foot (15.24-by-15.24-meter) home, the humidity would take just two seconds to disperse evenly throughout the house.
Is it necessary to hook up the outdoor sensor on the Compustat Automatic Humidifier Control?
Yes. The outdoor sensor is what makes Compustat so great for your customers. This set-it-and-forget-it system ensures the homeowner that, regardless of fluctuations in outdoor temperature, the home’s proper humidity level (35-45 percent) will be maintained. However, Compustat cannot perform this vital function if the sensor is not hooked up.
What is the difference between the Safety Control Shutoff and the Model A50 Current Sensing Relay?
Skuttle’s Safety Control Shutoff (formerly called a Safety Control Relay) is used exclusively with Skuttle 60-Series Steam Humidifiers and is designed to prevent them from operating if the furnace blower fails. This helps protect HVAC equipment and homes from water damage and/or mold growth. The Safety Control Shutoff cannot be used as a current sensing relay.
The Model A50 Current Sensing Relay, on the other hand, is designed for interfacing humidifiers with all types of forced air furnaces and air conditioners. Humidifier installations using the A50 depend on the furnace blower to initiate humidifier operation. As a result, the Current Sensing Relay’s function is essentially opposite that of a Safety Control Relay.
What is the warranty on my Skuttle product?
We believe that only a qualified HVAC professional can recommend the best combination of indoor air quality products for your home and family. That is why Skuttle Whole-House Indoor Air Quality Products are sold through HVAC dealers and contractors only. As such, Skuttle warranties are valid only on products purchased through and/or installed by qualified HVAC professionals. To assure product integrity and to protect your home and family, warranties for Skuttle products purchased online or through other third parties cannot and will not be honored. Click here to view Skuttle warranty information.
To submit a question or request product information, contact our engineering department.