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We are building a new 4000sf home in Victoria BC. Heating will be in-floor radiant (no ducting). The floors are mostly hardwood with tile in a few areas. The year-round average humidity here varies between 25% to 100%, with a mean of about 75%.

The architect wants to install a whole-house humidifier to protect the hardwood floors. I am reluctant to install a humidifier because (1) We have lived in a similar situation (current house, also radiant heating) with no issues; (2) the mean humidity sounds plenty high to me (this is not a desert - not even Toronto); and (3) I have heard stories of bacteria and mold collecting in humidifiers, which then distribute them to the whole house.

We also have a papyrus plant that drinks a gallon of water a day, and presumably releases the moisture into our environment.

Am I missing something important? Do I need a whole-house humidifier? Thanks

Edit: To answer a comment (I can't seem to comment myself, maybe because I'm a new user on this thread), I don't know what level of humidity is appropriate. I would guess anything above 50% would be fine for any scenario?

  • What level of humidity are you concerned about it falling below? – ThreePhaseEel Nov 4 '18 at 19:54
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You may need both, a humidifier and a dehumidifier, if the structure will be extremely tight and energy efficient. Let me explain; in my house that is very energy efficient, the humidity will sometimes build to well over 50%. When this happens, I need to run the dehumidifier. This will only happen during long bouts of above average outdoor temperatures. Most other times I run a humidifier. So I can't answer your question except to say that it is dependent on many factors including your lifestyle. Why not have him install the supporting accessories and wait until you occupy the home to decide upon just what equipment you will need. I try and maintain a humidity level in the winter with an upper humidity of 40% and reducing it lower as the outside temperature falls. Too high humidity will result in too much condensation on the windows. There are charts available that give approximate % of inside humidity for a given outside temperature. hope this helps.

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