What is a Whole House Humidifier?


A whole house humidifier is an excellent way to protect yourself and your valuables from the damage that dry climates can cause. Just because you live in the desert doesn’t mean you have to suffer from the dry heat.

What is a Whole House Humidifier?

A whole house humidifier is a stand-alone unit that introduces humidity into your air system through steam or water injection. Here in New Mexico, water injection isn’t a good option because of how hard our water is. Hard water scaling clogs the injector, leading to several issues. That’s why at TLC, we suggest steam.

The humidifier is installed near your air conditioner or furnace air handler. Your HVAC professional will help you decide the best location, but it must be within 10 feet of the air handler. If you have a mechanical room, this is the perfect place to install it.

Whole house humidifiers are installed to protect one or more of the following:
  • Personal health
  • Valuable paintings
  • Musical instruments (especially pianos)
  • Valuable wood furniture
  • Wood floors
  • Exotic plants and pets

This may be especially important if you recently moved to New Mexico from a more humid climate. Paintings and musical instruments can crack and go out of tune with the change to a drier climate. Some respiratory conditions also benefit from higher levels of humidity.

Note: Because swamp coolers already use water to cool the air in your home, humidity is naturally present. If you need humidity all year round and not just in the summer, you may need to add a humidifier to your furnace.

How much does it cost to install a whole house humidifier?

Each humidifier installation is unique based on the size of your home and your current electrical system. Without visiting your home to create an accurate estimate, we can only give you a general ballpark range. Be leery of any HVAC professional who gives you a price sight-unseen.

  • Low: $3,500
  • Average: $4,250
  • High: $5,000

The main factors that determine cost are:

Current Electrical Capacity

You may need to upgrade your electrical system to handle the added electrical load. A whole house humidifier requires a 220-volt circuit. If you’re not sure what you have, your HVAC technician can help you find out.

Size Of Your Home

If your home requires multiple AC and/or furnace units, then you will probably need more than one humidifier. Your HVAC professional will work with you to determine the correct number of units you need.

Would you like a free estimate on a whole house humidifier? Schedule today.

How do you maintain a whole house humidifier?

Whole house humidifiers require very little maintenance. The only maintenance needed is an occasional filter change. The filter is a self-contained canister that protects your humidifier from debris and hard water buildup. When it gets calcified (due to hard water) it needs to be changed out.

The amount of time it takes to calcify depends on how hard your water is. If you have a water softener, you will only need to change it every few years. If you have extremely hard water, like in Rio Rancho, then you will need to change it once a year.

If you are a TLC Preventive Maintenance member, then your annual furnace or AC inspection will include an inspection of your humidifier. Learn more.

Does a whole house humidifier cause mold?

It’s unlikely that your humidifier will cause mold growth in your home. For dangerous mold to grow, excessive moisture, heat, and darkness are required. Excessive moisture is 80% humidity or higher. Your whole house humidifier will maintain humidity between 30-35%. This is well below the “excessive moisture” range, so mold should be a nonissue.

The bottomline is that you don’t have to move to Houston to get more humidity in your home. Whether you are protecting a specially curated art collection, your grandmother’s piano, an exotic plant, or your own health, a whole house humidifier is a great option. Schedule your free estimate online today or give us a call at 505-761-9644. Have questions? Ask a pro.