During the dry months of the year the indoor air in a home can become too dry, which causes discomfort and irritates the eyes, nose, and throat. Dry air also diminishes the body’s ability to fight off cold, flu, and infection. You can tell your home humidity is too dry when sparks fly from your fingertips if you touch metal after walking across the carpet.
According to Healthline, your HVAC could be the cause of these irritants. “Running the central heating unit (or other heaters) in your home during the winter months can dry out the air. During cold weather, it’s common for people to experience nosebleeds from lack of proper humidity in the house.”
The solution might be to add a whole home humidifier to add a little moisture into the air. These units can be installed directly into the ductwork in the home. Most homeowners spend $400 to $700 to have a humidifier installed, but DIY kits can usually be found for under a few hundred dollars.
One thing to be mindful if you’re considering adding a new humidifier is that a balance needs to be maintained between overly dry air and too much humidity. When a home’s humidity is too high, more than 50 percent, mold and mildew spores will start to grow.
You can install a hygrometer in your family entertainment room or living room. It will measure the house humidity. A mechanical hygrometer costs $5 – $35, and an electric device cost $8 – $25. A humidistat is another option. Some come as part of the unit and if not, they cost $60 – $100.
There are a few main factors that impact the total cost of a whole home humidifier; the price of the hardware, labor, and project complexity. Read on to learn more.
Types of Humidifiers
One factor affecting how much the homeowner pays for a whole house humidifier is the type. The other factor is how the moist air gets distributed, but this factor affects the cost both at purchase and long-term in the form of energy bills.
The drum humidifier is usually the least expensive whole-house humidifier at $150 – $300. These can be either bypass or fan-powered but require a lot of maintenance. Residents should monitor the humidity level to ensure it does not go too high.
Steam humidifiers use electric probes that heat water and create steam depending on your home’s relative humidity. These are ordinarily independent of your HVAC system but sends steam through its ducts. These are the most effective home humidifiers and often the most expensive at $300 – $1,000.
The spray mist system relies on your furnace, central air, or HVAC system to create the mist and distribute it through the ducts. This system is inexpensive at $100 – $150 but does not work well with high mineral water. Therefore, you might need to add a water softener to prolong the life of this type of system.
The flow-through system works with an evaporative pad and creates humidity. Most eco-minded homeowners stay away from this type, as it wastes water. These typically cost $200 – $300.
The bypass humidifier uses the heat of the furnace to create steam. These are the most effective and least expensive, though they do require more maintenance. These are also not as easy to regulate the amount of humidity dispersed into the air.
The fan-powered humidifier can work independently of or in the absence of an HVAC system. This is because, as the name suggests, there is an internal fan.
Most of these units can be retrofitted to existing ducting and do not require a new furnace installation. Some are even available at hardware stores in a DIY kit version that you can install yourself if you have the time and inclination to do so.
Labor Costs to Install a Humidifier
The cost to have a whole home humidifier professionally installed is usually $100 – $300, but that will vary based on the cost of labor in your area, the complexity of the project, and the skill level or labor rate of the technicians.
Now that you have the details on a whole house humidifier and its average cost, it’s time to get some real numbers. We base our prices on national averages, so what you will pay in your area could be quite different. To get an accurate price for your project, you’ll need to get an estimate from an HVAC professional in your area.
If you’re looking for an HVAC technician to install a humidifier, try our technician locator service and get up to three free, no-obligation estimates from contractors in your area.
All pricing information on this page is based on average industry costs, and is subject to variance for project-specific materials, labor rates, and requirements.