on February 4, 2013
Save yourself many dollars and hours of frustration. I have tried 2 other whole-house humidifiers and 3 portable Humidifiers and this one is the best;
- After frustrations with those previous models, this Aprilaire Model 800 was recommended to me by a friend in the HVAC business.
- If you have hard water (test it), you want this unit. You just replace the canister and done. Cleaning sucks and can damage a humidifiers coils, the crud that builds up inside a humidifier is amazing in such a short time with hard water. With this unit the canister, which contains the coils, is replaced. Yes its not cheap, but its easy. Ask yourself, how much is it worth to you to not have your hardwood floors dry out and buckle or separate, not have your skin dry out and itch, or have your guitar dry out and crack? All of the above happened to me before this unit.
- You'll likely want an HVAC professional to install this, but handymen with a little knowledge of plumbing can attempt; needs water line & drain nearby.
- Outside Sensor: unless you have an easy way to install an outside sensor, then forget it. Instead, all you do is watch the windows, if they show condensation, turn the humidity down. I have my 800 cranked up and never had a problem.
- I had the Honeywell Truesteam (and previously an older Aprilaire model), the Honeywell was time consuming to clean, and my unit broke the first winter. After replacing 3/4 of the parts in it and it still didn't work, I threw it out and got this.
- It produces more steam than the other units I tried, approx. 12% more humidity (40% is ideal) than Honeywell, in my experience. I have a little humidistat I use to gauge its effectiveness.
- If you have hard water, I suggest getting a filter otherwise expect to replace this up to 2 times a winter. Its your water, not the unit.
- When it is time to replace the canister you can clean it with some CLR (soak overnight) and it will likely last a few more weeks. I put a wine cork in one end of the canister to hold the CLR and water overnight. Then shake and empty it over toilet, a lot of crud will come out.
- Replacing canister: is easy, this is the beauty of this unit; turn off, unscrew cover, loosen hose clamp, remove black tube, disconnect 3 cables (easy), reverse process to install new one, turn on and Done! 5 minutes tops.
- It a good idea to keep a spare canister handy, you won't have to go without humidity.
- Thermostat: I tied my into into my existing HVAC thermostat and didn't need the digital control, its displays the humidity right next to temperature, plus my existing thermostat was in an appropriate place in the house. I needed my HVAC professional for this.
- This unit is metal, not plastic, its feels very solid. I've had no problems. It has an error light to tell you if there a problem or when to change canister.
- Portable Whole-house Humidifiers. My experience has been they service a much much smaller area than they suggest and are rated as if your house is of the most well insulated home out there. For Example I bought the biggest unit I could find (Essicks Air Whole House 300), its the best of the portables, but it is only good to keep one room fully humidified. It did raise the humidity but not nearly enough. Granted, my home is not well insulated. Also you have to constantly fill it with water, every other day, in my case and this thing holds like 5 gallons.
Best of Luck!!!!
on January 5, 2014
Chose one of these after seeing several bad reviews of the Honeywell steam humidifiers. This unit is about twice the price but is made of quality components. Having had a flow-through pad humidifier at my previous home that was utterly worthless, this system is a welcome change. It keeps my house at a much more comfortable 35% RH even in cold and dry Kansas winters.
I installed this unit myself, and it's quite doable for someone with decent tool and mechanical skills. The most challenging part for my installation was running the extra 240V circuit which involved putting in a second load center panel in the mechanical room. The humidifier requires only a 1" hole in the ductwork for the steam nozzle, and another 3/4" hole in the return duct for the humidistat sensor. I also installed an in-line particulate filter on the water feed, but make sure you don't demineralize the water as conductive water is critical to correct operation.
Once installed, it took about a week for the house to get up to full humidity. The cats and kids are very happy to not be getting static discharge on everything they touch, I'm really loving not having dry and cracked lips and itchy skin, and the house is much more comfortable at a temperature setting of 69-70 degrees.
Previous reviewer noted that fill valve is noisy, but I haven't noticed any unusual noises on my unit when filling. The only noticeable noise this makes outside of the mechanical room is in the middle of the night when the house is perfectly quiet, the blower shuts off and for a few seconds you can hear through the ductwork near the furnace some residual bubbling of the boiling water in the canister before the electrodes cool off.
on October 22, 2013
I went through two Honeywell Truesteam units before switching to the Aprilaire 800. The design of the Aprilaire is superior to the design of the Honeywell. It's really night and day. The Honeywell ran incredibly hot, and the circuitry is immediately above where the water boils (i.e., in a very hot place), and the parts are not near the quality of the Apriliare. Please trust me on this--the Honeywell is a toy compared to the Aprilaire.
To be fair, the Honeywell only hooked up to 110 volt power, whereas the Aprilaire can hook up to 110 or 220 volts (another sign of a good design, BTW) as well as 11.5 or 16.5 amps. I have the Aprilaire hooked up to 220 at 11.5 amps and man does it work quick. It's amazingly fast.
I've had it hooked up for three weeks now and it has easily kept the relative humidity at a near constant 45%. I ended up hooking it up to the Honeywell TrueIAQ humidistat that I already had installed, and everything is working beautifully. The Honeywell continually had issues, and I had to deal with them every single day until I just couldn't get it working anymore. The Aprilaire has had zero issues and I simply let it run. I don't take it for granted because I was trained by the Honeywell to check on it multiple times a day. Now whenever I check on the Aprilaire I do it with a smile on my face because it's always working exactly as it should.
I'm so much more confident with this device because of the design. The other thing the Aprilaire handles well is that it works with either hard or soft water--each have their own pros and cons, whereas the Honeywell has to have soft water if you want to get any longevity out of it. I happen to have a water softener so this wasn't an issue with me, but I point it out because the Aprilaire is well designed even in this respect. If you have hard water you will replace the inner cannister more, but your unit will work well because the water will boil more efficiently.
I should also note that my unit is a remote installation. It is installed in my linen closet about 6 feet away from my furnace. Even the hose that takes the steam from the unit to the furnace is superior when compared to the Honeywell. I haven't had any issue with the remote installation. When I first installed it and tested it, my humidistat was reading 45%, so I set humidity at 50% and it took only 40 minutes to get my entire 2000 square foot home up to 50%. I know it's not a big home, but it would've taken the Honeywell a lot, lot longer to make a 5% move.
I'm telling you, it's night and day with this device compared to the Honeywell. Do not buy the Honeywell. Please. Look on the Internet by comparing the two and you'll see a lot of bad words for the Honeywell, including at least one of the reviews here at Amazon. Don't make the same mistake I made.
on November 28, 2013
This model 800 unit replaced a model 600 water panel bypass unit that was mostly useless in providing humidity. The 800 only took about 12 hours to reach the designated set point from practically desert conditions. I have the 800 in automatic mode and set to max humidity. This setting gives about 33% house humidity. I wondered why 33% was max, and the manual claims that after years of research, a higher setting would result in condensation, which can cause damage to your home.
In short, for colder temperatures, you get less humidity and warmer gives more humidity. For every 2°F change in outdoor temperature, the 800 controller will automatically adjust the indoor humidity by 1%. "The controller will accurately control the humidity in your home to a maximum of 45%".
There is a "manual" setting mode which can bypass the automatic rules, but I have not tried it. This mode supposedly allows one to increase the house humidity beyond the factory recommended values.
* The humidifier should always be plumbed to cold water as the internal steam canister occasionally drains the internal HOT HOT water and uses the cold inlet water to reduce the temp before potentially melting any PVC. My installer did NOT adhere to this and plumbed the unit to hot water. Only time will tell!!
* The steam nozzle is installed in the SUPPLY air side.
* Noisy inlet fill valve solenoid. When turning on or off, the loud solenoid resonates through-out the house vents as the 800 is installed on the furnace (this is probably typical). For as expensive as this unit is, it is surprising that no design measures were taken to acoustically insulate this sound source. My model 600 had the same issue! They lose a star for this!!!!!
* When the unit is calling for water, one can also hear the water line supplying fluid. To circumvent this, I reduced the water flow at the saddle valve.
* Pricy. Total install cost was approx $1650 which included running a new 240V line, and adding space saving circuit breakers to my fuse box.
* Has the ability to turn on the HVAC system blower when it detects humidity below the set point. This feature can be easily deactivated as well.
* Works nicely so far and hasn't leaked as others have indicated. Again, only time will tell.
The unit is still working very nicely. But, with the humidity set high, coupled with sub-zero night time temperatures, all windows (double pane) with 1/2 decent blinds (some blinds are slatted, some are room darkening) are developing sheets of ice at night. In the day time, these sheets turn into pools of water.
on February 2, 2014
I decided to replace my White Rodgers HSP2000 Steam Humidifier with this Aprilaire 800 unit.
Readers bear in mind that I was a professional installer back in the day, so my pleasant experience with this unit should not inspire the average DIY. This project was performed by a professionally trained technician in both electrical and HVAC. Please use gloves and safety glasses (PPE) when installing/servicing any HVAC equipment. SAFETY FIRST!!
FYI, this unit is manufactured by CO. called Research Products. This is the same unit that Carrier, York and Aprilaire puts their label on.
The unit was easy to install; About 5 hours which includes the removal of the old W/R unit and plating off the hole in the duct where the old W/R unit's plenum box was.
I wired it for 220V, so I had to run a new dedicated line since my old unit was only 115v. I did a 40ft run in an open basement with a non-fuse disconnect box. I used 12ga for the run and stepped up to a 10ga THHN stranded wire appliance greenfield whip ($12-Home depot) from the load side of the disconnect switch to the unit. The electrical work was the most timely part of the installation.
The A800 Humidifier was installed on a Carrier Infinity vertical condensing furnace with the existing Carrier Corporate Thermidistat control. I cannot give details on the Aprilaire digital humidistat that came with the A800 because I chose to use my existing Carrier Thermidistat.
The installation was a breeze because the supply duct was close to where I mounted the A800 and the supplied steam hose was more than enough to go from A to B.
Upon start-up my home recovered from 28% RH to 40% RH-70df within 2HRS!!!
My old W/R unit was struggling to maintain 25% RH due to the Dry Polar Vortex winter conditions we've been having lately. I recently replaced the electric heater and always maintained it, so I knew it was working properly. Yet it was huffing and puffing to keep up.
My new Aprilaire 800 smoked circles around my old W/R unit. I read some feed back here about the Aprilaire 800 being very expensive to run. Quite honestly I think Aprilaire 800 is going to be more energy efficient than my old W/R unit and will use less water than most constant drain BY-Pass type humidifiers. Simply because of short run times. It's a super unit and the only thing missing is a cape with a big "S".
My advice is to wire the 208-230 option for Max capacity, run with a 20 micron water filter, and you're good to go.
I only gave the unit 4 stars considering the structure and materials to manufacture this unit. $634-$900 cost does not yield what dealers are charging for this piece of equipment.
$634.00 with free shipping was an excellent price from "SAME DAY SUPPLY CO." thru Amazon. They even beat my local supply warehouse that give me dealers discounts thru my Company. The best price I got was $658 before local sales tax.
But still; a bit pricey not to mention the fact that the canister needs replacement possibly once a year. I guess Aprilaire, Carrier, and York are paying "Research Products" a bit of change to put their name on it.
on January 31, 2014
I'm a retired chief engineer. I've installed and did maintenance on commercial types of these humidifiers back in the day. This home system is by far the best out of all of them. I had a Honeywell system I installed in my home 2 years ago. Couldn't keep up or maintain a constant humidity. I even wired in a control relay to override the the main fan to start when furnace would shut down on via T-Stat. Grant you, it was a fan powered evaporative type but it doesn't even compare to to Aprilaire Model 800 Steam type. You have the option of choosing to wire it either 120V or 240 Volt. I went the 240 Volt route which puts a gallon a day into your house. The 120 V option is about 1/2 the capacity delivered or about 1/2 of a gallon per day.
The Aprilaire 800 humidity controller is second to none with several options like setting it up manually, automatic with outside air reset and it keeps the humidity within a 1.5% throttling range of set point RH. It even flushes the tank out automatically to keep residue from building up. Excellent design, kudos to the engineers whom designed it! The controller even overrides the main fan, normally controlled by T-Stat, to keep humidity constant. Everything is dependent on how you wire the humidifier controller in to do the things you need to keep your % RH within guidelines. Even comes with real outside air temp. charts to manually set it as not to over humidify your house during extremely cold outside air temperatures. I was truly impressed by this product and would recommend it for any residential type application. The instruction manual is extremely easy to understand and the electrical wiring diagrams are very clear for even easier installation of a do it yourself type individual. I live in a log home where humidity is critical to maintain the logs from splitting or cracking. I wish I knew about the product prior purchasing two other humidifiers from Honeywell. Tip: I added an ice cube water filter in the 1/4 in. plastic feed line to humidifier. This will help remove any sediment that gets by my whole house water filtration system. They're good for about 2000 gallons before having to change them.
The whole system was a breeze to install and I've never been happier with using this newer steam system. All I can say is WOW!
on December 3, 2014
This replaced my Honeywell Truesteam (hereafter, TS) unit which was nothing but trouble. Because I already had the water, electrical, and drain for that unit the Aprilaire install was brief (2 hours). If you don't have all that in place, it's a good all-day weekend project, though it is only warrantied (and probably only truly safe) if done by a professional installer. I am not that. I'm a software guy but didn't have any trouble. The construction of the unit is orders of magnitude more simple, robust, and elegant compared to the plastic thing I had before. It's an all metal case with removeable front (end user access) and side (electrical access) panels. Leave yourself some room on the right hand side for access (manual says 16 inches, that's way more than enough).
My only concern at this point is that our municipal water is not very hard - it's a 4 on their scale. So far I haven't gotten it over 6 amps without adding salt to the intake tank. If your water doesn't have a lot of mineral content you are limited on how much conductivity it has and the amount of voltage you're supplying (unless it steps up internally, not sure). In my case I'm going to get it hardwired to 220V by an electrician in the hopes the higher voltage will let it get closer to capacity. None of this is an issue for the TS because it uses heating coils, not electrodes, to heat the water.
When it needs service (scaled up or worn out) the entire heating section (tank, electrodes, and water sensor) gets replaced as a single cartridge unit. That's sort of like replacing the imaging unit in a printer when it only needs toner, but it keeps it simple and the cartridges are not that pricey. In a sense they've made that part of the unit disposable so that the -whole- thing isn't disposable. I found the Honeywell TS units to be largely disposable on their own annually.
If you have a scale filter and your water isn't very hard, try without the filter. Do NOT use a humidifier filter that contains an additive, as it will contaminate the electrodes and prevent full operation, possibly spoiling the cartridge.
If it were able to run at full capacity without me worrying about mineral content (you can remove minerals easily but not add them) it'd be a 5-star unit. If the 220V mode gets me there, I will revise the review.
I also see it's the top seller in the Steam Shower section. No idea if it's even approved for that, but it gives you a sense of the amount of steam that it'll kick out when really rolling. The TS steam was usually foggy, but if you disconnect the discharge hose the steam coming out of this is most clear until it hits something, so it must be hotter. Probably better for atomization into the airstream.
The humidistat is pretty basic - the TS unit was a little more advanced, although I prefer this one. This has an analog dial but the guts are all digital and the LCD display is continually backlit with a blue LED which is very nice. On the older digital one I replaced you had to hit a button first to see what's going on. The display of the humidity is also about an inch tall vs the tiny 1/4" display, so if you're over 40 you'll appreciate that.
The control wires to the humidifier are only a single pair (HUM+, HUM-). The humidistat in turn controls the furnace and turns on the fan and so on, which is different than the TS setup where the humidifier itself ran the show and the humidistat just displayed and controlled humidity calls. The humidistat in turn is the piece that receives the 24V transformer power and the incoming fan call signal and outputs the fan call on to the furnace if either your thermostat or the humidistat demands it.
The discharge tube that goes into the air duct is metal, not plastic like the TS. It's also longer (about 7 inches) and has multiple discharge "tubelets" and apparently some internal design so that condensed water is returned to the hose, if I read the manual correctly.
They includes most everything - clamps, hoses, and water tap. They really ought to include discharge hose insulation, as they call for it and the manual indicates better performance and more output with it. I had to steal my old insulation from the Honeywell I'm throwing out; I'm not sure if it was included with that unit or why I had some, but it didn't come with the Aprilaire.
on January 3, 2015
This Aprilaire replaced a Honeywell steam unit that was plagued with poor performance from the get go. It finally took a dump this heating season and thus why I purchased the 800. This thing is designed and constructed in a far superior manner as compared to Honeywell. I especially like that the steam pod is designed to be replaced and is reasonably priced. Another plus is that it is not necessary to have a R/O water filter to try to keep lime & scale out. I have an old house that isn't real tight and even though I only connected 120 volts which produces less steam than 220 volts, this unit has maintained my humidity at 40% without issue. It isn't cheap, but in this case, you get what you pay for. As for warranty or customer service, none of these companies that make this kind of product want to warranty a DYI installation. That's the gamble when you don't use a licensed professional. So if the thing malfunctions within the normal warranty period, I'll have to eat it, but that's no more than it would have cost me to have it installed.
So this Aprilaire 800 has been running for less than 2 months. I was out of town for a few days and when I returned, the 800 had shut down because the fill solenoid would not close. Contacted a Aprilaire Tech (he was very helpful) and we went through a number of diagnostics after which he concluded that the upper circuit board had failed. That's the part #4982 current sensing board. Of course, I took the gamble and have no warranty, so I'm out of pocket on the part. It's almost $260 on Amazon, but less than half that from other internet sellers. OH WELL!! Stuff happens, but I would not give it 5 STARS today. Disappointing.
The good news is the current sensing board was replaced under warranty. Cost me the return shipping of $10. The bad news is that I received the new current sensing board today. Unfortunately, that is not the problem. The water/steam pod will not stop filling and the water overflows out the drain at the bottom continuously as it did previously. Since the wiring is correct and the fill valve will close and the high water sensing probe works and the current sensing board is good, it must be the main/internal control circuit board. If a new internal control circuit board doesn't fix it, I'm going back to a bypass humidifier. I don't need this frustration or expense any more.
Just received the primary or internal control circuit board and installed it. Unit is working properly once again. obviously, the trouble-shooting diagnostics published by Aprilaire are simply lacking. Diagnostics clearly indicated the current sensing circuit board was the culprit, but it was actually the internal control circuit board. That ended up costing almost $200. I ain't happy with the whole notion of a steam humidifier for residential purposes at this point or with Aprilaire or Honeywell.
on February 19, 2015
We are VERY happy with this humidifier and we recommend it to anyone who wants to take serious control of the humidity in their home. It works completely as advertised, raising the humidity in our 4,800 sq ft Denver, CO home from 12% to 45% in just a few hours. There is plenty of control headroom to dial it back to whatever we want; probably 35% will be about right. Already we are seeing the benefits of higher humidity – softer skin on everyone, reduced asthma symptoms for our 7-yr old, and an all-around cozier kind of warmth everywhere. We have even been able to stop running our bedside humidifier units.
The decision to go with the Aprilaire 800 came after a poor experience with a bypass humidifier system in our previous home. The bypass device never raised the RH higher than 20% and just seemed to drain away a ridiculous amount of water when it ran. The Aprilaire 800 is a steam system and does not waste water like that at all. It only drains away water if it has been idle for over 24 hrs, to extend the life of the internal water canister. Otherwise, it turns all water into steam for the house. This efficiency and reliable performance most certainly justify the higher cost of a steam system over the bypass variety.
For those considering self-installation, I want to highlight a few things…
First, the price of the unit may be around $700, but I was quoted a total installation price of $2,400 due to the constraints of my existing furnace. The home was built in 2006 and has a modern forced-air duct system, but the furnace itself has a few oddities which make the installation a little bit harder. I refused to believe it would be THAT much harder, so I opted to buy the humidifier on Amazon and install myself.
I am by no means a professional HVAC / Electrical / Plumbing guy, so this felt fairly ambitious. However, the installation instructions are excellent and I completed the installation without any major disasters. It required a few trips to the hardware store and some additional online purchases, but I probably spent less than $200 in additional supplies overall, saving $1,500 by doing it myself!
The installation process felt like the intermediate-home-improvement-do-it-yourselfer’s FINAL EXAM, where everything you have ever learned will be on the test! There were 6 main phases of the project – here’s a cheat-sheet:
Phase 1 – Mounting the humidifier
* Supplies: wood and screws to build a sturdy support on the wall in close proximity to the furnace
* Tools: tape measure, saw, drill, screw driver, level
Phase 2 – Connecting to the HVAC ductwork
* Supplies: (all included in the box, but you could need additional parts if you can’t position the unit close enough to the furnace)
* Tools: drill, 1-¼” metal-cutting drill bit, hex driver for sheet metal screws, slotted screw driver for hose clamps
Phase 3 – Supply water
* Supplies: ¼”-diameter copper tubing (same as for a refrigerator’s icemaker)
* Tools: pipe cutter, two small wrenches (a locking wrench is helpful), philips screw driver
* Note: the copper tube connects in a compression-style fitting - you do not need to flare the end of the copper tube
Phase 4 – Drain line
* Supplies: mounting hardware to support the drain tube, 1”-diameter PVC pipe and connectors
* Tools: slotted screw driver for hose clamp
Phase 5 – 240V Electrical
* Supplies: 240V breaker module, electrical wire (12-2 or 12-3 gauges), u-nails, outlet box, 2-pole switch, switch plate, twist-on wire connectors
* Tools: fish tape (if routing wire from the outside), wire cutters, wire strippers, slotted screw driver
Phase 6 – Humidistat control
* Supplies: all wire connecting the controller to the furnace and to the humidifier (none included in the box), and more wire to connect an outdoor temperature gauge to the controller (2-conductor is sufficient, but I needed 50 ft), electrical tape, twist-on wire connectors, ¾” (min) sheet metal screws
* Tools: fish tape, wire cutters, wire strippers, drill, ¾” metal-cutting drill bit, soldering iron, mini slotted screw driver
* Notes: for the wires going to the controller, I found a 10-conductor ribbon cable at the local wire shop – this allowed for a very tidy wire run from the controller to the furnace; no connections are visible.
Additional operation observations…
- The control panel for the system has the humidistat built-in to the back of the panel, so you have to mount it directly on the furnace ductwork, a certain distance upstream from the steam injection point. For my furnace, this meant it had to be below eye-level.
- The digital display on the control panel cannot be read if you are looking from above – you have to crouch down so it is above eye-level.
- The unit does not run if the outside temperature is above 60 or below -30 degrees F, per the outdoor thermometer. It was a warm day when we initially tested it and it seemed for a minute that the system was malfunctioning, but it was just in an override condition until later that night.
- The humidifier fills with water frequently when running, and the water flow can be heard faintly around the house. It is very much like when the ice maker fills up in the freezer and is not a disturbance for us.
- The humidifier will require occasional maintenance, which involves replacing the water canister. You will need sufficient space in front of the humidifier to do this, but the stated spec in the manual is quite a bit more than you can get away with, if space is a constraint for you.
- The water supply needs to come from the COLD supply in your house because it uses cold water to cool down the boiling-hot water in the canister when it is in a drain cycle. The resulting water temperature at the end of the drain tube is very mild and the flow is steady but gentle.
on November 25, 2012
Works perfectly like a champ. Installed in Oct 2011 on a hybrid gas furnace/heat pump system. Worked perfectly last winter. Replaced canister in Oct 2012 (replacing it is a snap) and continues to work fine. I run mine on 240V and it runs wide open at about 23 gpd most of the time when the OAT is below 40 or so. The improvement over a bypass humidifier is like night and day; it achieves 40-45% RH nearly all the time. Of course, it cost $$$ to operate because boiling water takes energy. Figure about $300 per season. But I didn't buy it to be cheap. I bought it to create comfort rather than just the illusion of comfort that a bypass humidifier provides, and it succeeds in every aspect.