Humidifiers are one of the necessities in cold and dry climates. In this blog, we will compare two types of humidifiers i.e. steam humidifier vs. bypass humidifier.
If you need an affordable and energy-efficient, bypass humidifiers are best. But, if you want to produce more humidity in a short time, you need a steam humidifier.
Steam humidifier Vs. Bypass Humidifier – 6 Major Distinctions
Do you find yourself constantly battling dry skin and allergies during the winter? Then, a humidifier may be the answer to your problems!
Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which can help improve your health and well-being.
There are two main types of humidifiers: steam humidifiers and bypass humidifiers. Both types of humidifiers have their benefits and drawbacks.
Below, we compare two major types of humidifiers: steam humidifier vs. bypass humidifier.
1. Steam Humidifier Vs. Bypass Humidifier; Key Distinction:
Steam humidifiers use a heating element to boil water, which creates steam. The steam is then released into the air through the HVAC system.
In the other case, bypass humidifiers do not use a heating element to evaporate water.
Instead, they rely on a furnace and an evaporator pad to generate moist air. Then, the moist air passes through air streams to the different parts of the house.
2. Working Mechanism:
The working mechanism of a steam humidifier is very simple. It consists of a water reservoir, a heating element, and a fan.
Water is first filled in the reservoir. The heating element then boils the water and creates steam.
The steam is then blown into the air through the fan.
While bypass humidifiers work by pushing warm air from a furnace to the unit. A wicking filter absorbs water from a reservoir of a bypass humidifier. Then, it mixes it with the warm air of the furnace.
As a result, water evaporates and goes into your ductwork to spread throughout your home.
3. Difference In Capacities:
A humidifier’s capacity means how much a unit gives output in a day i.e. quantity of moisture it produces in a day. The size of the reservoir determines the output of a humidifier.
A steam humidifier produces a lot of humidity. While a bypass humidifier produces moderate moisture.
This is because a steam unit has a reservoir holding up to 12 gallons of water. In contrast, a bypass humidifier can hold up to 6 gallons.
So, a gallon of water can produce 12 gallons (or 45 liters) of steam in 24 hours by a steam humidifier. And a bypass humidifier can produce 6 gallons (or 23 liters) of steam at the same time.
If you need a lot of moisture in your home, a steam humidifier is better.
4. Cost Of Steam Humidifier Vs. Bypass Humidifier:
The cost of a steam humidifier is higher than that of a bypass humidifier.
A steam humidifier uses high energy to boil the water and needs more attention than a bypass unit.
For example, a steam humidifier costs between $200 and $300, while a bypass unit is between $100 and $200.
Further, the cost of the replacement parts for a steam humidifier is higher than the second one.
Because the heating element in steam units is very sensitive. And, if you don’t descale it regularly, it can break. So, on the contrary, the bypass only needs to replace the filter once a year.
So, bypass is the way to go if you’re looking for a humidifier that is cheaper to maintain in the long run.
5. Installation Priorities:
Steam humidifiers require a power outlet and must be installed near a sink. The purpose is that you can refill the water tank easily and quickly.
Bypass humidifiers can fix anywhere in your home as long as there’s a water line nearby. This is because they need your home’s water supply line.
In the installation, bypass humidifiers are much easier to set up than steam humidifiers. You need special skills to install a steam humidifier, whereas a bypass can fix easily.
6. Power Consumption Of Both Humidifiers:
Steam humidifiers need a lot of power to generate steam. Because it has to heat the water first before turning it into steam.
However, Bypass humidifiers don’t require as much power as they don’t generate steam.
As a result, steam units demand more power to produce moisture in the air than bypass humidifiers.
If you’re looking for an energy-efficient option, then bypass unit is what you need.
Factors To Decide Which Type Of Humidifiers Is Best For You!
The decision of which type of humidifier to buy depends on various factors. Some of the factors you should consider include:
– The most important factor is the size of the room. If you want to humidify a large room, then you need a steam humidifier. But for a small space, a bypass humidifier will be okay.
– The second factor is the climate. A steam humidifier is better if you live in a very dry environment because it can produce more moisture. But in an average climate, a bypass humidifier is enough.
– The third factor is your budget. Steam humidifiers are more expensive than bypass humidifiers.
– The fourth factor is maintenance. Steam humidifiers need more care than bypass humidifiers. But,
they are also easier to clean.
– The fifth factor is the noise. Steam humidifiers are louder than bypass humidifiers.
– The final factor is the warranty. Steam humidifiers usually have a longer warranty than bypass humidifiers.
Steam Humidifier Vs. Bypass Humidifier – Pro And Cons
Steam humidifiers have many advantages over bypass humidifiers. But they also come with some disadvantages. Here are some pros and cons of both humidifiers:
Some of the best advantages of having steam or bypass humidifiers include;
– Bypass humidifiers are more energy efficient than steam humidifiers.
– Steam humidifiers are easier to clean and maintain than bypass humidifiers.
– Bypass humidifiers are more affordable than steam humidifiers.
– Steam humidifier reaches the humidity level in less time than bypass humidifiers.
– Bypass humidifiers require less maintenance than steam humidifiers.
Both types have their benefits. In the same way, they also have shortcomings that are important to share with you. Here are some cons of a steam and bypass humidifiers.
– Steam humidifiers can be more expensive than bypass humidifiers.
– Steam humidifiers need more maintenance than bypass humidifiers.
– Bypass humidifiers create less moisture than steam humidifiers.
– Steam humidifiers have a shorter lifespan than bypass.
The bottom line is that both types of humidifiers have pros and cons. It’s up to you to decide which one is best for your needs.
Two major types of whole house humidifiers are Steam humidifiers and bypass humidifiers. Both have benefits and drawbacks, so you should consider them when deciding.
In general, steam humidifiers are expensive but produce more humidity. In contrast, bypass humidifiers are energy efficient but have lower capacity.
Ultimately, deciding which one to choose depends on your individual needs and preferences.
Thus, consider all the factors before buying to ensure you get the best humidifier for your home.
Frequently Asked Questions
Humidifiers are devices that help to raise the humidity levels in your home.
You might want to do this for many reasons, but the most common is to improve your respiratory health.
If the air in your home is dry, it can cause problems like nosebleeds, cracked lips, and difficulty breathing.
There are two main types of humidifiers: steam and bypass.
Steam humidifiers work by boiling water and releasing the steam into the air. On the other side, bypass units work by passing heated air towards the filter to make moisture.
Q1. How Often Do I Need To Descale Steam And Bypass The Humidifier?
There is no set frequency for descaling a bypass humidifier. However, it is preferable to do so every six months to 1 year.
But if the water in your area is particularly hard, you may need to descale more often.
And, manufacturers suggest descaling every three months for steam humidifiers.
The water in the humidifier needs heat to generate steam. So, it can leave behind mineral deposits more quickly than with a bypass humidifier. That’s why it demands more maintenance.
Besides, if you note that a humidifier is not producing as much steam as it used to, descaling is necessary.
Q2. What Is the Most Suitable Humidity Level For These Two Humidifiers?
The recommended humidity level for your humidifier depends on your type of humidifier. Also, the conditions in your home matter too.
On average, for a steam humidifier, the recommended humidity level is 30-60%. In comparison, around 40-60% of humidity is healthy from a bypass humidifier.
Q3. Which One Lasts Longer?
The lifespan of your humidifier depends on many factors, such as how often you use it and how well you maintain it.
Typically, steam humidifiers have a shorter lifespan than bypass. They need more care, yet a steam humidifier’s parts can rust over time from exposure to water.
Mostly, a steam humidifier lasts for about 2-3 years. At the same time, a bypass humidifier will last for about 5-10 years.
In this case, the bypass humidifier is the clear winner.
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