When To Turn On The Whole House Humidifier For Winter

Nick Durante
by Nick Durante

Many homeowners use a whole-house humidifier to improve the air quality in their houses. They can help eliminate impurities in the air such as viruses and bacteria that would make you sick. Understandably, some homeowners are confused about when to turn on the whole-house humidifier.

You should turn on the whole-house humidifier during the fall and winter when the temperature is below freezing. The air in your home can dry out during extremely cold outside temperatures which will allow bacteria to thrive. Limit your whole-house humidifier runtime to 8-12 hours per day to reduce the risk of mold.

Exercise caution if you run your whole-house humidifier constantly, and turn it off if you’re going to be away. Don’t run your whole-house humidifier during the spring and summer because your energy bills will be too high. Follow along as we take a deep dive into when to turn on the whole-house humidifier.

When Should you Turn on Whole-House Humidifier?

You should only turn on your whole-house humidifier if the outdoor temperature is between -20 and 10 of the indoor temperature Homeowners use whole-house humidifiers when there are extremely cold temperatures outside to reduce the risk of illness. Viruses struggle to survive when the air is humid but they thrive in cold and dry air.

The ideal humidity level in your house varies based on the temperature deviation between indoor and outdoor temperatures. For example, you need to set your whole-house humidifier to 35% if it is 10 degrees or lower outside. Sub-zero temperatures require less humidity indoors and you can get by with 15% humidity.

Ideally, you should only turn on your whole-house humidifier during the fall and winter. That is when the air in your home is more likely to dry out. It is necessary to turn on the heat during the fall and winter, but it can dry out the air. You can mitigate the dryness with your whole-house humidifier.

What Should Whole-House Humidifier be set at in Winter?

Set your whole-house humidifier to between 30% and 50% during the winter. Be careful to make sure that the humidity level doesn’t exceed 50% or the air quality in your home will be poor, making it difficult to breathe.

Check the system to monitor the humidity level throughout the winter. It only needs to be 15%-25% if the temperature is close to 0 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

When Should I Turn off my Whole-House Humidifier?

Turn off your whole-house humidifier during the spring and summer. You don’t need the extra humidity in your home when there are warm temperatures outside. The extra humidity in your home during warm months can create mold and mildew conditions.

Excess humidity can also lead to respiratory problems, especially if someone in your home has asthma. You will also have to spend a fortune on your energy bills if you run a whole-house humidifier during the warm months. Running your whole-house humidifier at the same time as your air conditioner is extremely expensive.

Should a Humidifier Run Constantly?

You can run a whole-house humidifier constantly as long as you monitor it closely. Never leave your whole-house humidifier on constantly if you are going to be away from your home for a few days. Otherwise, you risk returning to an environment in your home that is too moist and humid.

This can negatively affect the fabric and wood in your home leading to mold conditions. Generally, you only need to run your whole-house humidifier for between 8 and 12 months during the winter. You will likely waste a fortune in energy bills and make your house too humid if you run your whole-house humidifier constantly.

Do Whole-House Humidifiers Cause Mold?

Whole-house humidifiers can cause mold if you run them too much. Moisture will accumulate within the ducts in your home and that creates the perfect conditions for mold. The last thing that you want is mold in the AC ducts in your home.

Mold is more likely to spread through the air and throughout your home once it is in your ducts. This can create serious respiratory problems and can lead to illness. It costs an average of $1,450 to remove mold from your AC ducts, but the cost can exceed $2,000 in some cases.

The mold can easily spread once it’s in your AC ducts and you may need to spend over $3,000 to remove it throughout the house. Mold remediation is a major cost that isn’t always included in homeowner’s insurance. That is why it is worthwhile to use your whole-house humidifier sparingly to reduce the risk of mold.

Can You Over Humidify a Room?

You can over-humidify a room which can damage your wood, flooring, carpeting, and furniture. Never let the humidity in your room reach or exceed 50%. You risk wood rot and mold if the humidity stays at 50% or above in a room.

This is bad for your lungs as well and it may become difficult to breathe in that space. You can avoid this if you limit your whole-house humidifier runtime to 8 hours or less. Avoid running single-unit humidifiers in a room if you have a whole-house humidifier or the risk of damage is increased. This will surely raise the humidity to 50% or higher at least for that specific room.

Use a hygrometer to keep track of the humidity level in a particular room. This device will tell you the humidity level of an area so that you can adjust it accordingly. You may need to turn off your whole-house humidifier for a while until the humidity level drops below 50%.

Should Humidifiers Run When the Furnace is Off?

Don’t let your humidifier run when the furnace is off because it will increase the risk of mold. Cold and humid ducts are the perfect environment for mold to thrive. Luckily, you will be running your furnace most of the time during the winter so you won’t have to worry about your whole-house humidifier.

Why is my Humidifier not Increasing Humidity?

Your whole-house humidifier won’t increase the humidity if the evaporator pad or water panel is clogged. Check these components regularly to make sure that they aren’t clogged with debris. Debris will prevent these components from working optimally and water won’t feed into the system to increase the humidity in your house.

Summing it Up

You should only turn on your whole-house humidifier during the winter. Some homeowners run their whole-house humidifier during the fall, but it’s only ideal if it’s cold and dry inside. A whole-house humidifier can help eliminate viruses and bacteria that thrive in cold and dry spaces.

Avoid running your whole-house humidifier when it’s hot and humid outside. It is safe to run your whole-house humidifier constantly if you can monitor it. You don’t want to run your whole-house humidifier constantly if you aren’t going to be home.

That is because there is a mold risk when it comes to running your whole-house humidifier constantly. Mold can thrive because of the excessive moisture, so it’s ideal to run it for 8-12 hours per day.

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Nick Durante
Nick Durante

Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.

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