Central Humidifiers: Are They Worth It?

When the air gets dry, especially in the colder months when your heater is running, you can suffer from a whole host of problems. Allergies, scratchy throat, dry skin, chapped lips, and nasal congestion are just a few of the symptoms that accompany dry air conditions. A humidifier is the solution to the majority of these issues.

Humidifiers can do wonders not only for your health, but for your home and furnishings as well. Dry air can do more than just harm your body, it can do damage to your walls, furniture, and especially any woodwork in your home. To preserve your health and your home, humidifiers come highly recommended.

So do you go all out and get a central humidifier, or use a portable machine? What is the difference?


While a portable humidifier might be cheaper to buy at first, the cost of upkeep and running can be much more expensive than a central unit. Central humidifiers run with your home’s heating and cooling system, and yearly costs are almost nothing.

Higher end portable units can actually cost a lot more than central units, and after you factor in the cost of the electricity it uses and all the upkeep, central humidifiers are a better bet financially.

All the Upkeep

Portable humidifiers need to be cleaned quite often and the water changed daily to avoid spreading harmful germs. In most cases, only distilled water can be used, and filters need to be changed quite regularly. The upkeep on portable humidifiers is very important because harmful bacteria and germs can build up and make you sick rather than help your symptoms.

If you are using one portable unit for multiple rooms, you will need to move it from room to room. At best, it only humidifies two to three rooms if the layout is right. Portable machines, unless you are using a tiny desktop unit that doesn’t cover much area, are actually pretty heavy and cumbersome.

Central humidifiers, however, work with your existing heating and cooling system, and disperse needed humidity throughout your entire home. The unit is hooked directly to your plumbing, so there is never a need to refill or empty tanks. There is still some upkeep, as with any appliance, but typically the unit just needs to be cleaned one time at the end of the dry season to avoid any hard deposits.

Ease of Use

Central humidifiers, again, win this round hands down. Because the units are centrally located and hooked up to your heating and plumbing units, there is little to no upkeep or usage involved. It simply does the work for you.

Portable machines need to be taken apart and cleaned regularly, the tank drained and refilled, and moved around from room to room. The motor and fan need to be maintained, and can be quite loud to run. Not to mention the hazard of someone tripping or knocking over the unit and what a mess that could make.

Overall, central humidifiers are absolutely worth it. They are cheaper to purchase and maintain, and their upkeep and ease of use far outweigh portable units.

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