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Is It Time for a New Furnace, or Just a Humidifier?

We hear the question all the time. It usually comes from customers who notice a decline in the air quality of their home and know they have to do something, but aren’t sure what. Homeowners ask if they need to replace their whole system, or if individual pieces, like a new humidifier could save the day. Our answer? It all depends.

Two people huddling for warmth while wearing winter coats inside their home

The Case for a Humidifier

The first thing to look at when considering purchasing a humidifier vs purchasing a new heating and cooling system is the condition of the existing furnace and air conditioning unit. Overall, if those pieces haven’t been giving you any problems, your energy bills are reasonable, and you’ve been proactive in scheduling yearly maintenance service, your heating and cooling system probably isn’t the culprit behind your decline in comfort.

Luckily for your wallet, a whole-house humidifier is a smaller investment, because it’s an additional piece installed to work with your existing equipment, so it can introduce humidity into the heating ducts, and from there into the air. And unlike a furnace, whole-home humidifiers require very little maintenance, although we recommend a yearly checkup.

Other reasons to consider adding a humidifier to your home include:

Health Benefits of Adding A Humidifier

Heating the air robs it of moisture. The resulting overly-dry air provides the ideal environment for viruses. If the air inside your home is overly dry, you run the risk of catching more colds, contracting the flu, and aggravating asthma and allergies. Even beyond cold and flu season, those dealing with dry air often complain of dry noses, itchy skin, cracked lips, and sore throats. Adding proper levels of humidity to your home can reduce the incidence of these ailments.

Preservation of Humidity Levels Stops Damage In Your Home

The fluctuation between overly humid and too dry air in the home year after year is detrimental to wood floors, plaster, paint, electronics, musical instruments, and electronics. A humidifier supplies the home with the proper amount of moisture, so you’re home is comfortable and easier to maintain.

Humidifiers Provide Energy & Cost Savings

Turning up the thermostat can make you feel warmer on a cold day but it will also use more fuel, which will cost you more. With a whole house humidifier, you may actually feel warmer at lower temperatures so you can save money by turning the thermostat down.

Not sure who to trust with your home’s comfort? Find out why we love Aprilaire and their humidifiers!

The Case for a New HVAC System

If your furnace or air conditioner is more than ten years old, replacing it with a new, energy-efficient unit can save you lots of money in monthly heating and cooling costs. And if it’s more than 15 years old, you’ve probably noticed more breakdowns, and it could even be the main reason behind your humidity problems. Poor operation, inefficient equipment, and leaky ductwork can all combine to dry the air out in the winter, and allow too much humidity inside during the summer.

Today’s furnaces are vastly more efficient. Energy Star, a voluntary program overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), attests that today, Energy Star qualified furnaces are 15% more efficient than standard ones. A more efficient furnaces will save you so much each year in heating costs, many are said to ‘pay for themselves’. Click here to find out how long it’ll take your furnace to pay you back.


Like all things in life, there are pros and cons. Replacing an entire heating and cooling system is costly, and may disrupt your household for a while. Although a new humidifier isn’t as costly as entire systems, it’s still a significant investment, and while they can fix a number of problems around your home, a humidifier won’t make up for a truly outdated furnace.

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