Yesterday we talked about the importance of maintaining a relative humidity of 50% in your home during the winter months. It not only benefits your body, but maintains the physical integrity of the paper, wood, and canvas in your art collection. I received a few requests for humidifier recommendations. Well, here they are - the three whole house humidifiers I would consider if I was in the market today.
Essick Aircare MA1201 Humidifier
I can personally vouch for this one. This whole house humidifier was our top pick when we were shopping for a portable and easy humidifier to use to protect our collection. Its $100 price tag is affordable at, and can be conveniently purchased on Amazon, or at big box stores like Lowe’s or Home Depot. It’s cost to output ratio is great, and we’ve never been disappointed with this machine.
The Aircare MA1201 has a 3.6 gallon tank, and is double-refillable, which means that the base of the unit holds just as much water as the external tank. This is great because it reduces the need to fill the unit. This humidifier can produce up to 12 gallons of moisture per day, and can cover an area of 3,600 square feet. I love the output, which is especially significant when you need to add moisture to already dry air.
The Aircare MA1201 has a digital display that shows the relative humidity in the air. It is also programmable in 5 percent increments, so you can not only track your humidity, but easily set your levels to 50%. The automatic shut off is also a nice feature. The machine will do everything you need if there is water in the reservoir. It will turn on and off when the air reaches your pre-set HR or if it is out of water, preserving the mechanics of the humidifier itself. The internal filter is easy to replace and available both in stores and on line.
You can’t go wrong with this humidifier.
Venta Airwasher 2 in 1 Humidifier and Air Purifier
$219.99 – 399.99
This humidifier appears on several best humidifier lists. Like the Aircare, it is easy to use, but has the added feature of an air purifier that removes pollen, pet dander and dust from the air. This is a perk for people who have allergies and are suffering in the dry air. This feature, however comes at a cost. The Venta Airwasher is only capable of humidifying an area of 200, 400 or 800 square feet, depending on the unit.
The humidifier has a slightly smaller reservoir, holding 3 gallons in comparison to the Aircare’s 3.6 gallon tank. It does however have an automatic shut off, and a water indicator light that lets you know when it needs a refill. You do not have a filter to replace, which is great if you are not good at tracking and replacing parts. The water acts as a filter for the unit.
When it comes to price, however you don’t get as much moisture for the buck. The Venta Airwasher costs between $220 to $400, depending on its size. Considering its range, you will need several units to cover your entire home. If, however your collection is limited to a single space, or if you live in a smaller home, this could be the ideal humidifier for you.
Aprilaire 500 Humidifier, 24V Whole House Humidifier w/ Auto Digital Control Bypass Damper .5 Gallons/ hour
The Aprilaire 500 humidifier has received a lot of positive reviews. Unlike the Aircare or Airwasher 2 however, it is not a portable unit. The Aprilaire connects directly to your HVAC system, delivering 12 gallons of moisture, and providing enough relative humidity for up to 3000 square feet.
The humidifier has a digital remote for easy control and monitoring, and is engineered with a built-in damper to reduce the amount of water used. At a little bit over $200, this can be a great whole house solution for a true do-it-yourselfer. It does require a fair amount of work, however when connecting it to your HVAC, a water source, and setting up drainage.
If these don’t meet your fancy, you can also consider the Aircare Designer Series EP9 800 Pedestal Humidifier. This unit has lots of great reviews as well. It’s not very subtle in appearance, but does a good job of adding much needed moisture to the air. This unit has a 3.5 gallon water capacity, up to sixty hours of run time, digital display and covers up to 2,400 square feet. It is available for $136 on Amazon.
Click the link below to learn more!
And for those open to investing between $500 - $1000, the Emerson HSP2600 Whole House Steam Humidifier with flushing timer and filter should be on your list.
See it here: https://www.amazon.com/Emerson-HSP2600-Whole-House-Humidifier/dp/B004494IFG/ref=sr_1_1?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1481499092&sr=1-1&keywords=emerson+hsp2600
These humidifiers are my top consumer choices, selected with cost, availability, ease of use, and functionality in mind. Have another model that you use and love? Let us know!
Fig. 1 & 2, Silex Male, Ritual . Willie Cole, Logan Collection.
So, cold weather is finally upon us. And based on the hissing radiators, banging pipes, and whirring HVAC’s, the heat is on.
Higher thermostats mean dryer homes, as the relative humidity or RH in the air is forced out by our artificial heat. RH is the percentage of moisture in the air relative to the amount of air that can be held in your space. For example, if your home is 70 degrees and contains half of the water vapor it can hold, the RH is 50%. If you are a collector, keeping track and controlling your space’s relative humidity incredible important.
When the air in your home has low relative humidity, our bodies are adversely affected. Our skin and air passages dry out quickly. We work to mitigate the effects by applying moisturizer, drinking more water, or running humidifiers by our beds at night. Art work responds to a dry environment in much the same way as our bodies. Wood stretchers and sculptures may spit, crack, or separate at the joints as the material loses moisture. Paper can warp, yellow, or become more brittle in low relative humidity. Paintings on canvas can suffer a combination of effects as both the stretchers and the fabric of the canvas react to the dry environment.
Increasing the relative humidity in your home is important during the winter months. It not only creates a comfortable environment for you, but protects your investment by keeping the moisture in your artwork at consistent levels. Regularly operating a humidifier to control your RH is the best thing you can do for yourself and your collection.
If you need a humidifier, be prepared to spend a few dollars. You don’t want to purchase something that will not fulfill your needs. I recommend that consider units with the following features:
When regulating your RH, we recommend the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s conservation department’s guidelines for relative humidity versus temperature. The museum recommends a %RH between 45-55 for temperatures ranging between 68-72 degrees for paintings, works on paper, texties and furniture. We often set our RH to 50% to protect our collection.
Following these recommendations will keep you and your collections warm and safe this winter.
Looking for humidifiers? Here are a few recommendations: