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Furnace Humidifier Cost:Is it Affordable?

At Airzone HVAC Services we are often asked about whole home humidifiers. One of the most common questions is the cost of installing a humidifier and operating one. Many homeowners do not know if they should have a unit installed in their home. The upfront cost, along with operational cost, are a few variables explored in this article.


Types of Humidifiers


Flow Through Humidifier (also known as bypass): The most common type of humidifier for a whole home solution in Ottawa is the flow through humidifier. This humidifier has a water connection that allows water to run over a pad, which wicks moisture and introduces it into your air stream. This humidity is then transported throughout your home with the aid of the furnace fan.


Fan Powered Humidifier: Very similarly designed to the bypass humidifier, a fan powered humidifier uses a moisture wicking pad to add humidity into your home’s ductwork. The difference with a fan powered unit is that it does not require the furnace to force air across the humidifiers pad. This generally allows for more humidity to be introduced into the home as the fan forcing air across the pad makes for more efficient evaporation.


Steam Humidifier: Steam humidifiers utilize a lot more power and a lot more water than a bypass humidifier. They are boiling water that passes through them and converting the water directly into steam that is introduced into your HVAC system for distribution through the home. The steam humidifier is able to maintain humidity much better than a bypass and can make even the largest homes perfectly conditioned in the harsh winter.


As with all HVAC equipment installations, every home is different and the installation parameters may affect the pricing of your humidifier installation.

Factors include:


  • Is there room on your system for a humidifier installation?
  • Is there an appropriate drain in the vicinity to tie into the humidifier?
  • Is the water supply close to the furnace for ease of installation?
  • What size is the home and in turn what size humidifier do you need?


Below are the average costs of humidifiers for homeowners in Ottawa in 2021:


  • Bypass Humidifier:$400-$650
  • Fan Powered Humidifier: $500-$900
  • Steam Humidifier: $2000-$3000


Operating costs:


Everyone’s home is different in terms of humidity needs and thus it is difficult to come to a conclusion on the average cost to operate a humidifier. Other factors including whether the humidifier is tied into hot or cold water, tied into heating mode or fan mode on the furnace and also size of home. Each of these will greatly affect the operating cost of the humidifier.  Furthermore, the cost to operate a steam humidifier vs a bypass humidifier differs greatly. Homeowners who value the air quality in their home may be utilizing a humidifier as well as a ventilation system, thus creating an amazing indoor environment for health, but also ensuring the humidifier must work hard to maintain ideal humidity levels.  All that being said, many homeowners note that they do not notice much of a difference in their hydro, gas and water bill when going from no humidifier to a whole home solution.  Steam humidifiers tend to add a few hundred dollars to the hydro bill over the course of the year.  Please note: there is water saving solutions that can be added to humidifiers as well to ensure not excess water is being wasted in the process of keeping your home comfortable.


Risks of Low Humidity


The real analysis must come with the risks of not having a humidifier operating. Home’s with lots of hardwood and wood furniture can suffer greatly from dry conditions. Hardwood splitting and cracking can come at a huge expensive to homeowners and the costs of operating a humidifier are minute in comparison to the repairs that may come from overly dry homes.

Many important household items also require a certain humidity to maintain their integrity. Pianos and other instruments are a common item we are asked about when it comes to humidity. You can damage musical instruments that are worth thousands of dollars if you do not maintain the optimal humidity of 40%-60%. We have a client who was tuning his guitar almost daily as he found it was constantly out of tune. After installing a steam humidifier, he noted that this phenomenon has completely disappeared as his guitar is no longer constantly shrinking and expanding due to his indoor environment.

Furthermore, if your home is too dry, you put yourself and your family at risk of viruses, nose bleeds, skin issues and respiratory issues. Costly illnesses with loss of time at work must be balanced with operating costs of the humidifier. Of course keeping yourself and your family healthy is always a priority and you may be catching colds all winter simply due to living in too dry of a home environment.


Maintenance Costs

Humidifiers tend to be fairly low maintenance pieces of equipment. The inner pad should be replaced annually at a cost of approximately $30. A technician can also perform a maintenance on a humidifier to ensure it is operating correctly and clean components to ensure no mineral build up is affecting function.


In summation, the average cost of a humidifier in Ottawa tends to be around $500 installed. When evaluating the health risks and the risks to the integrity of your home, many people feel the investment. For more information about the products we carry please visit our furnace humidifier page.


Installation of Steam Humidifier for Furnace in Ottawa

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