on October 10, 2009
I installed the HE360A onto a new Ruud 95%+ high-efficiency dual-stage heating and cooling system and I'm controlling the unit with a Ritetemp 6080 thermostat. The humidifier works beautifully, and based upon my research with heating and cooling specialists, this unit is optimally-designed to conserve power and to protect the heating and cooling system. Bypass units (that use a piece of ducting connecting the return and supply sides of the system) rob the heating system's efficiency and will push moist air through the system. Installing this unit on the supply side of the ductwork ensures that all of the humidified air will be moved into the home, not back into the system. While this design does use more water than some other units, the savings in power and the increased efficiency of the unit will minimize its financial impact. By the way, I attached the unit to a hot water supply, not cold, as this helps the moisture to be absorbed into the heated air.
The newer Honeywell humidifiers create steam to humidify the air. While this is probably optimal for humidification purposes and should minimize the amount of water used, the amount of electricity these systems use to create the steam will definitely impact your pocketbook. From a "green" perspective, I find that water is a cheaper and more renewable resource than electrical power. The old-fashioned drum humidifier units will save water, but use a holding tray of water to soak a pad that the air travels through. If not cleaned thoroughly and often, they develop mold and mildew and that will get circulated through your house... a very dangerous and unhealthy option.
Installing this unit did prove a bit of a challenge because of it's combination with the Ritetemp 6080 electronic thermostat, which includes a humidistat. Most online "experts" say that the HE360 units won't work with this kind of thermostat/humidistat because of incompatible electrical design of the two systems. However, I'm a firm believer that anything is possible with enough research and who doesn't like a challenge? To make this work, I purchased a small 24VAC SPDT relay from Grainger, part number 4A708 (about $15) and did NOT use the installation kit recommended for the humidifier or the humidistat that was provided with the unit. Since my air handler provides 24VAC to the thermostat and the thermostat interally provides settings to determine when the humidifier will run, I used the relay to control power to the 120VAC side of the system which acts as a switch to turn the entire humidifier on and off. To accomplish this, I installed a new electrical circuit and outlet to be used solely by the humidifer. I installed the relay inside an electrical box to control the power to this outlet. Using low voltage wiring I connected the relay to the "C"ommon contact on the air handler and to the "H"umidifier wire from the thermostat. I then used a wire nut to connect the two yellow wires on the HE360, which basically sets the unit "on" any time it has power. When the air handler is running in heat mode and the thermostat determines that humidification is required, the relay is powered and provides 120VAC power to the outlet and the humidifier is turned on. When the relay loses power, the 120VAC is turned off that the HE360 shuts off. The thermostat can be set to work two ways: to run the humidifier and the air handler's blower anytime when the humidistat says that humidity is required, or to run the humidifier only when the air handler is in heat mode and the blower is running and humidity is required. I could have directly wired this unit to the air handler's power, but I chose to use the outlet so that I could unplug the unit in an emergency or for service.
I strongly recommend this unit... I've tried several of whole house units over the last 20 years and this is the first that really works. I've already helped others to install these units on their HVAC systems and all of them work great, none have had any problems and all are amazed at the difference the humidifier makes in their homes.
on March 26, 2012
Having owned and operated this unit for the latter half of this past winter, here's my $0.02 on installing and operating the HE360A.
First, I recommend reading the reviews here carefully, they give a lot of great insights. I do agree with most that some skill is required, if you're not a DIY kind of person, get a professional. But, the tools involved in installation were: Drill, screwdriver, tin snips, crescent wrench, tubing cutter, pliers. I would agree that the instructions for this unit are a moderate challenge, as they come in no less than three forms: a large card that also acts as the template for the duct opening, a manual that is unclear on some of the details of the wiring, and than another smaller sheet with the actual wiring for the unit (I ended up taking it all apart to make sure it was right).
Most of the materials you need are provided. It does include a needle valve for tapping the water line, but does not include the 1/4" copper tubing (like a refrigerator ice maker uses). Just between us, I recommend installing a second needle valve downstream of the tap valve, because I don't like exercising those tap valves (and you need to close it for the summer unless you trust the solenoid valve). And you WILL want to throttle the needle valve (more on this later). You also need a switch to control when the unit runs. While it DOES include a mechanical humidistat (a switch that senses humidity), it does NOT include a switch to sense when the furnace is running, and you do NOT want this unit running continuously. The instructions recommend a sail switch, and that certainly is an option (a sail switch detects when the furnace blower is running). I chose to wire in directly to my furnace control board, which had 120VAC output power on the board (NOT recommended for the unskilled). You also need 1/2 tygon (flexible plastic) tubing for the drain (however much it takes to get to the floor drain, like you A/C coil drain uses). The Honeywell document (69-1176.pdf) gives you all of this in a list (except for the error on the humidistat, which IS included), but you should determine your own quantities and visit a hardware store.
Regarding installation, pay attention to the "locating" instructions (they are good), and you need to be extra careful to install this unit level (this is a great time to invest in that laser level you've been wanting). The most precise cut you'll want to make is the lower edge of the opening, as the mounting box of the unit has small tabs that sit on that cut edge to support the thing. The template is good, but remember to "measure twice, cut once". It would be a pain to try and make the hole smaller. Word of warning, the template is NOT a square. And the box for unit only allows about 1/4" of error.
Once you've got the unit mounted, you have to hook up water, drain, power, and the on/off signal. Water can come hot or cold, it's not going to make a difference either way (trust me, I'm an engineer). You can use the supplied needle valve, and like I said earlier, I also installed an adjustable needle valve downstream. The drain is 1/2" tygon, clipped up and run to drain. The power is standard 120 VAC, current draw is less than 1.0 A. The cord is only about 6' long, you may need more wiring if you don't have a convenient outlet. Please follow your local building codes, as this part could get you killed if you don't know what you're doing. It's a humidifier, and not worth that cost!
Then it needs a signal. The signal system is a 24VDC circuit, and uses the yellow wires (NOT black and white like the instructions say). It's a simple close-contact, unit runs, type of system. You have to daisy-chain two signals: one to tell the humidifier the furnace is running, and another to tell it the air is too dry, add water. A sail switch (purchased separately) and the humidistat (included) will do that. You can buy a fancier humidistat, but unless the humidistat also controls the furnace (i.e., as a thermostat), you will still need that "furnace on" contact, somehow. You can use low-voltage wire (not included) to wire all of this up. Ignore the red wires (why they keep them, I do not know).
If you've done everything well, it will work as advertised. But, it does require a key point to operate well. Remember the second needle valve I installed? You will want to watch how much water is running down the drain tube when the unit is on. You can then close down on the needle valve until the rate of spillage is just a trickle (do this on a dry day). That way, you don't waste too much water. People who complain about water usage miss this point. The valve adjustment depends in large part on your home water pressure. The solenoid has a 1/16" orifice in it, but because Honeywell doesn't know your water pressure, they make it large enough to accommodate even the poorest water conditions.
Good luck, you can do it!
on January 28, 2009
I was tired of refilling room humidifiers every night, so I installed this unit. Installation was fairly easy and straightforward, and the unit came with everything needed to install except 1/4" copper tube. However, even when it's set to maximum humidity (60), it simply doesn't add a lot of moisture to the air. To check, I ran the water supply from a 5-gallon bucket instead of the hot water pipe, and after 24 hours it had used about 3 gallons of water, and hadn't made a difference to the humidistat, which read 25%. This is in an 1800 s.f. uninsulated (but not drafty) old house, where the heat runs frequently as it's currently in the teens outside. The other problem is that it uses an enormous amount of water. For the 3 gallons that are sent into the heating ducts, another 15 or so goes down the drain. I checked this by running the drain into a 5-gallon container and it filled up in less than 8 hours. I will probably shut it off and never use it, so for me it was a big waste of money and effort.
on December 14, 2011
Good Humidifier, but Horrible wiring instructions!
I'm pretty handy with a lot of stuff here in the house, but the wiring for this humidifier was not 100% and it took lots of research to find the right way and some common sense at the end to figure it out.
Here is how the wiring goes so you can do it in a heartbeat. Don't pay any attention to BOTH RED WIRES FROM THE UNIT YOU DON'T NEED THEM. #1 You were provided with 20ft. of thermostat whire, connect your YELLOW and YELLOW from the Humidifier and attach one wire to Red and the other to the White Thermostat wire. When I say red I'm reffering to the Thermostat wire.
(Yellow +Red)(White+Yellow) run the cable to your Thermostat cut the piece there. Run a second piece of wire #2 Connect Red and White wires to the Vacuum switch provided, does not matter what side you chose. I put White on Left and Red Top. Run the wire to the Thermostat and cut the wire there.
Final step, you should have four wires in the back of your Thermostat. Two Red and Two White. Get the Red Wires and Connect each red wire with the black wires of the Thermostat. (R+B)(R+B) The last two white wires you connect them together. (W+W) You are done. Make sure your unit is plugged in. This is how it works, The furnace will start running the fan of the furnace will activate the Pressure switch which will close the circuit and make the Humidifier work. So when furnace stops, the Humidifier stops too.
My wife loves this thing and it brought up the Humidity from 25% to 42% while we were sleeping. The only reason I'm not giving it a 5 star is because I will have to put some weather stripping around in order to stop the whistle noise, not very loud but I don't like it. Also because their electrical diagram was poorly stated
on February 6, 2010
My old (15+ years) humidifier was not working well and I could not get parts for it economically ($80 just for the solenoid) so I replaced it with this. Note that it "requires" an separate installation kit, the most useful part of which is the sail switch. More on that later. Due to the configuration of the high efficiency furnace in/out air pipes, I could not use the existing bypass ducting on any new humidifier and I did not want to disturb the existing piping as even then the bypass ducting would not work well. All of the bypass humidifiers I found in my price range have inputs from the side and not the front, as with the Carrier. The instructions say that while we can install this one on the cool air return ducting, it will work much better on the heated air output duct. The instructions also say that if you have to use the cold air return, just set the humidity a bit higher. I figured that a partially working humidifier is better than none at all.
My furnace supplied 24V AC to the old Carrier unit only when the heat was on, so I used that wiring to operate a 24V AC fan relay purchased from Grainger for $15 instead of the $60 installation kit with the sail switch. Other sites mentioned how rinky-dink a sail switch is so I just resolved to use the existing wiring. That worked great. I also had to widen the return duct opening so the new humidifier would fit. On the duct side this unit has side air inlets that allow the return air to pass through a fan which then blows the air over the humidifier water element and back into the return duct. I also minimized water flow through the unit by just cracking open the saddle valve so the unused water flow was at a minimal level while the unit is running. The fan cannot be heard when the rest of the furnace is operating. I know it would work better mounted in the warm air duct, but I just could not get to it due to the way the ducting and the furnace came together, as well as the furnace location in a small corner of the basement.
The instructions are not that great. Please note that the template mentioned in the instructions are the paper the instructions themselves are printed on. Also, there is a perforation in the paper if you want to use it that way, but with the paper folded it worked well. Fold the paper, mark twice and cut once. The instructions have several wiring diagrams. You really only need the 120V AC for the fan and then connect the two yellow wires to the humidistat. Use the fan relay in place of the sail switch. That way you don't need to cut an opening in the return duct for the sail switch. There is a pair of red wires, whose purpose is not well documented. I called Honeywell to see if my scheme would work and wasted my time talking to someone who had no idea how to use any alternatives to the instructions, could not see the instructions anyway, and kept having to put me on hold for minutes at a time to ask someone else. This thing is not that hard to wire. If you know how to use a voltmeter and hand tools you should be good to go.