air humidifier

Central Air Humidifier: Advantages, Benefits, and Types

After summer passes, we jump right into the heating season. While this is the right thing to do, one huge problem can result from this: super dry air. However, this is where a central air humidifier adds some needed moisture into the air. 

This article will explain what a central humidifier is, its advantages, benefits, types, and cost. 

What is a Central Air Humidifier? 

Humidity is typically defined as too much moisture in the air, which is considered a bad thing. However, too little moisture can be a problem as well. That’s where a central humidifier comes in — its job is to ensure that a reasonable amount of moisture is in the air. A good rule of thumb is between 40 to 50%. 

The part of the HVAC system that controls humidity is the humidistat, which is similar to a thermostat. The humidistat controls the amount of water or moisture in the air, allowing the humidification system to manage your building’s right humidity level. 

When the air becomes too dry, the humidifier adds the necessary amount of water vapor to the atmosphere through the HVAC system. Water and heat from the furnace produce water vapor for the humidifier to disperse. 


A central air humidifier can be apart of the HVAC system or portable. What are the pros of these two main types? 

Central Humidifier

  • Central air humidifiers can provide the optimal level of moisture throughout the entire home or building. 
  • It requires less maintenance because it’s connected to your plumbing or HVAC system. 
  • A central air humidifier is quiet and out of sight. 
  • Central air humidifiers are more energy-efficient and require less energy to humidify an entire building or home. 

Portable Humidifier

  • Portable humidifiers can be moved freely from room to room. 
  • They can help someone who needs extra moisture in a particular room. For example, they can benefit someone who is sick or has allergies. 
  • Portable humidifiers are great for those who live in residences that do not have central air. 
  • They work well for those who have smaller homes or apartments. 


Let’s look at some ways that a central air humidifier can benefit a home or building. 

  • Increased comfort: With reasonable indoor humidity levels, there will be balanced moisture throughout the home. This means there won’t be any common dry weather problems, such as nosebleeds, dry eyes, itchy skin, etc. 
  • Better health: Low humidity levels can result in the spread of colds. A drier environment can allow dangerous viruses to thrive, but a reasonable amount of humidity can stop the spread. 
  • Save money and energy: A humidifier allows the thermostat to stay a higher degree without a comfort level change. Humidified air can save you more money on your heating bill. 

Central Humidifier Types 

There are three main types of central humidifiers. 

  • Steam: This type operates by electrically boiling water to produce steam, therefore humidity. The steam is then transferred through the system and dispersed throughout the home or building. Steam humidifiers are the best and most efficient way to maintain an optimal humidity level in the home. Steam humidifiers also provide the most natural form of humidity there is. Also, they can provide moisture independent of the heating/cooling system.
  • Drum-Type: This type has a rotating, spongelike surface that absorbs water from a tray underneath. The absorbed water then evaporates, releasing moisture into the air. 
  • Flow-Through: This is the most common type of central air humidifier. Water flows into an aluminum panel, air blows through the panel, and then evaporated water is released into the air.


With the health and comfort benefits it provides, a central air humidifier is relatively inexpensive. However, the cost depends on style and capacity. A central air humidifier’s national average is between $600 and $1000, with the minimum being $487 and the maximum being $1,532.

The drum type is the least expensive, ranging from $200 to $350. Flow-Through can range from $200 to $500, with high-end models closer to $500. The most popular type, a steam humidifier, can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,000. Keep in mind that these are the prices without installation. Once the installation is factored in, the price may be a lot higher. 

By Brand

Regarding the different central air humidifier brands, the price can vary.

  • Honeywell: This brand is well known for its home heating and cooling devices, specifically thermostats.
    • $200 – $1,000
  • Aprilaire: Aprilaire is one of the most popular brands for whole-house humidifiers.
    • $250 – $1,200
  • Lennox: Lennox is a notable brand for furnaces. 
    • $250 – $1,200 
  • Emerson: Emerson makes high-quality steam humidifiers and specializes in the central air industry.  
    • $700 – $1,200

By House Size and Capacity

Since humidifiers use water, they are measured by GPD (gallons per day). Let’s look at cost based on the square footage of a home, and its GPD usage.

  • 1000 sq. ft = 1.4gpd – 4gpd = $250 – $600 
  • 1,500 sq. ft = 3.2gpd – 7gpd = $400 – $1,200
  • 2,000 sq. ft = 4.9 gpd – 10 gpd = $400 – $1,200 
  • 2,500 sq. ft = 6.6gpd – 13.1gpd = $600 – $1,300 
  • 3,000 sq. ft = 8.3 gpd – 16.1 gpd = $800 – $1,500


A central air humidifier can provide your home or building with the proper humidity levels. Not only does it enhance the air quality in your space, but it can also offer increased comfort and better health. 


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