Furnace mounted humidifiers have significant benefits over free standing single room models. The main one being that they donít require daily hands-on attention.
Regular cleaning will still be needed, but the routine is usually a lot less frequent than that required by single room models. You also save time by not having to refill manually with water, as this usually happens automatically with the unit being connected to a tap and taking needed water directly from the main supply.
Another advantage is that you only have a single unit and itís usually out of sight. This is particularly appreciated by people who like to keep a tidy home.
In large office or industrial buildings, a furnace mounted humidifier is almost always the best option. Can you imagine trying to maintain dozens of smaller units, each of which may need refilling multiple times per day?
The Different Types Compared page describes the different technologies used to humidify the air. With furnace mounted humidifiers, you donít have as much choice. Your options will be limited to what is compatible with your heating system. The fact the air has recently been heated by the furnace makes evaporation much easier anyway, so there is less for the humidifier to do. The evaporative wick design used to be very common, but as wicks need to be changed regularly, they are not as popular as other options. Impeller (spinning disk), or rotating drum methods are sometimes used. Even a simple spray can work. Techniques which don't require a wick are much lower maintenance, especially if theyíre combined with an automatic cleaning system that flushes deposits away. Even with this, itís very important to follow the maintenance schedule if you want to keep your humidifier working efficiently.
When deciding on a particular model, there are two things in particular you should look for. An effective humidistat, (humidity meter), is very important. You want to keep the humidity within the optimum range, so make sure you get one that works well. Itís also very useful to have one that is connected to the main water supply so you donít ever have to refill tanks. These two features make a lot of difference. Hopefully theyíll be standard on the options available to you, but donít assume so.
Generally speaking, the humidifier would be fitted with the heating system. It can be fitter later, but that is rare. You should speak to a professional installer to see what your options are, or you could consider free standing single room units as an alternative. You can read more about those on other pages of this site.