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Several homes I'm considering have central air conditioners, but radiators or baseboard heaters. Is it possible to use the A/C ductwork to provide humidity to the home? I assume most central humidifiers rely on the furnace to provide the heat to evaporate the air.

Do central humidifiers exist that provide their own heat source?

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You don't need a heat source for a humidifier. It's the fan that does the work circulating the air for you. –  DA01 Apr 9 at 22:09

3 Answers 3

While not as effective as hot air if using hot rather than cold water tap with an evaporative style humidifier it does still provide humidity. My system is configured to allow humidifier to turn on blower fan separate from heat if needed when humidity is low with good results.

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If you have ductwork in place, you should be able to use a humidifier such as the Honeywell TrueSteam or the Aprilaire 800 that can operate independently.

They "Accommodate crawl spaces, attics and areas of the country with milder winters and non-forced air heating."

Humidifier

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Yes, and the other answers give you good examples. But unless you live in Las Vegas, it's highly likely that your low indoor humidity is a problem of air in- and exfiltration pulling the moisture out of your house. Instead of adding an expensive mechanical system that requires water and electricity and can break and require service, I would recommend identifying and sealing as many of the air leaks as possible in your house.

You would be surprised where you can find air leaks. I found several in my furnace closet where outside air was being brought in to feed the furnace but there are huge holes in the wall of the furnace closet, allowing inside air to get sucked out. This article should get you started: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/getting-biggest-bang-your-air-sealing-buck

Pertinent section of the article:

Let’s raise the bar just a little, and make a list of holes that are big enough for a cat to walk through. These include:

• Holes in the air barrier behind zero-clearance metal fireplaces.

• Unsealed holes above kitchen soffits.

• Unsealed holes above dropped ceilings.

• Attic access hatches or pull-down attic stairs without any weatherstripping.

• Unsealed utility chases that connect basements with attics. Holes behind bathtubs installed on exterior walls.

Part 2:

Wolf concluded that the five most important areas for builders to focus their air-sealing efforts are:

• Cracks at recessed can lights in the top-floor ceiling.

• Cracks between duct boots in the top-floor ceiling and the ceiling drywall.

• Cracks between the top plates of top-floor partitions and the partition drywall.

• Leakage through walls separating a house from an attached garage.

• Cracks in the rim-joist area.

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