Types of Minneapolis Furnace Humidifiers and How They Work

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Cold weather isn’t fun for most people. For those people, the cold weather means dry weather, chapped lips, and cracked skin. That’s when a humidifier is very important to have. While you can have a plug in humidifier for one room, a furnace humidifier benefits your entire home. All furnace humidifiers connect to your furnace and duct system to distribute the moisture in the air throughout your home. However, there are different types of furnace humidifiers that work in slightly different ways, and cost different amounts, to help make your home more livable.

Bypass humidifier

A bypass is an older type of humidifier that only works when the furnace is turned on. They are installed on an air duct to collect and absorb moisture from the warm air onto an evaporator pad. When the warm air cools down, water droplets will form on the evaporator pad and be distributed by the warm air from the furnace. While this is an effective way to humidify your home when the furnace is on, it is not a good way to keep your home at a healthy humidity level at all times.

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Flow-through/Fan-powered humidifier

Flow-through humidifiers, also called fan-powered humidifiers, can be used without the furnace being on. It has its own water supply and fan so that it can keep going without the furnace. This humidifier usually has a sensor to detect when the air is dry. When that happens, the water supply will drip water onto its evaporator pad to be blown through the air ducts by the fan. Because the humidifier doesn’t need to be connected, it is easier to fix any issues that pop up with use. This furnace humidifier is not too expensive and typically doesn’t need a lot of repairs.

Reservoir humidifier

Reservoir, also known as drum-style, furnace humidifiers are the least expensive humidifiers of the bunch initially, but they are also the least efficient at humidifying your home. It has a reservoir filled with water, as you may have guessed from the name. By rotating a drum with an evaporator pad or sponge in the reservoir, moisture is created and released into your air ducts. Unfortunately, the standing water can cause more issues besides just the lowered efficiency. There is a higher risk of mold and mildew building up in your humidifier and surrounding areas. If you have this type of humidifier, be sure to check it often.


Steam humidifiers are the most efficient, but most initially expensive, furnace humidifiers. Water is heated to turn into steam that is released in your air ducts. Your steam humidifier will have its own heating system so that your furnace will not have to be heating to keep the humidifier running. Because of the simple set up with this humidifier, there is little maintenance that will need to be done, making this a good option for a furnace humidifier.

If you are looking to get or replace your furnace humidifier, give Twin City Heating, Air and Electric a call. We are happy to help make your family more comfortable this winter.