On the surface, a whole house humidifier might seem like a good thing however it depends on a number of factors you will need to know for your comfort and your home’s well-being. Whether its a drum (pictured at the left), by-pass flow through (pictured at the right) or steam models.
In a newly built home, it may not have a whole house humidifier because the home is built tighter than an older home, retaining moisture from showers and cooking. Adding more humidity to to an air-tight home could cause significant damage through high humidity and the promotion of mould growth. In older, drafty homes, cold dry air can leak in creating the need for more humidity.
Maintaining the right humidity level in a home is a balancing act. Too little can dry your skin, make you uncomfortable or cause hardwood flooring to shrink. Too much on the other hand causes condensation & mould to form or wood / damage rot.
In the winter heating season, the relative humidity in your home should not exceed 45%, while 30% or lower may be needed when colder outside to prevent condensation according to Canada Mortgage & Housing (CMHC). So, add humidity where you need it first, not your entire house. Consider room humidifiers first. Most importantly, monitor the humidity in your home with a hygrometer from your local hardware store.