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Whole-House Humidifier vs Portable Humidifier: Which Is Better?

Whole-House Humidifier vs Portable Humidifier: Which Is Better?

As a company that services heaters in homes throughout South Jersey, we know how important it is for our customers to be kept both warm and comfortable. While having a fully-functioning heating system is surely one piece of the puzzle, a humidifier can also make the winter season (as well as being cooped up in your home) a much more comfortable experience.

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Winter is the ideal time to purchase a humidifier because it can help restore lost humidity, put moisture into the air, and, as we said above, make your home more comfortable! But, keep in mind that not all humidifiers are the same. There are, essentially, two types of humidifiers–a whole-house humidifier and a portable (single room) humidifier–and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Before getting into the differences, it might first help to understand just what a humidifier does.

What Is a Humidifier?

A humidifier is an appliance that is used to increase the humidity level in a room or your entire house. When humidity levels drop below 30% in your home, this can cause severely dry air which can trigger numerous health issues, such as respiratory irritation, dry nasal passages, nosebleeds, and chapped, itchy skin. It can also worsen allergy and asthma conditions, making breathing unbearable. Hutchinson offers numerous indoor air quality solutions, including humidifier installation, to keep your home comfortable this winter season.

So, the question remains: do you need a portable humidifier or a whole-house humidifier? By reviewing the pros and cons of each, you can narrow down your decision based on your exact needs and budget.

Whole-House Humidifier

A whole-house humidifier attaches to your air driven furnace and brings humid air to the entire house. Choosing this type requires plumbing and electrical connections, as well as modifications to your furnace by a professional. The biggest benefit of going the whole-house route is that it will take water from your plumbing system to work (as needed), and you will never have to worry about whether or not it is going to run dry. This type is practically soundless and, believe it or not, most whole-house systems are not as expensive as a high-quality portable humidifier.

Drawbacks of purchasing a whole-house humidifier include the fact that it should be installed by a professional, and it needs to be thoroughly cleaned at the end of every heating season.

Pros and Cons of Whole-House Humidifiers

  • Very economical and maintenance charges are very low
  • A one-time setup keeps the humidity level set with no need to adjust it again
  • It takes water automatically from your home’s plumbing system as needed, so you’ll never have to fill it
  • They are noiseless, and the initial cost is significantly lower than portable units
  • They may require some expertise or professional installation as it is integrated into your blower system on your furnace
  • They collect water from local water supply and may collect mineral deposits. You will need to thoroughly clean the unit with diluted white vinegar to ensure that the minerals don’t harden and pose a problem for smooth operation

Portable Humidifier

Portable humidifiers can easily be purchased at local retailers, and even have enough strength to humidify two rooms. They always have their own water supplies, are plugged into an electrical outlet to work, and are turned on in a room as needed. Perhaps the biggest benefit of choosing a portable humidifier is that you can move it to wherever you need it. Not to mention they are simple to operate.

Some of the cons associated with choosing portable humidifiers are that they can be noisy, require attention (sometimes daily), and constantly need to be cleaned to prevent bacteria and germs from spreading into the air.

Pros and Cons of Portable Humidifiers

  • Portability and convenience is key – you can easily move it from one room to another
  • They have their own water supply and plug into regular electrical outlets as there is no cost for installation
  • Perfect for renters who can’t install whole-house units
  • Very easy to operate and maintain
  • Advanced portable units can be more expensive than whole-house units
  • They are not soundless, so expect noise during operation
  • Not only will you need to maintain them regularly, but you may also find you will need to fill it with water on a daily basis
  • Some units come with a removable/detachable tank; if not, you will need to bring water to the unit
  • You will need to keep the water reservoir as clean as possible to avoid spraying bacteria and germs into the air

If a room, or your entire home is not properly humidified during the winter/heating season, your health could be adversely affected. Constantly being subjected to a hot and dry environment can cause nosebleeds, respiratory irritation, dry nasal passages, itchy and dry skin, as well as exacerbate medical conditions like asthma and allergies.

Generally, a whole-house humidifier is the best option to control the humidity levels in your home. They are more effective, efficient, quiet, easier to maintain, and more attractive than portable units. Portable units are your best option if you want to control the humidity levels in a single room, if you are not ready to invest in a whole-house unit, or if you are a renter.

Schedule an appointment with us today for all of your heating, cooling, and plumbing needs in South Jersey.