Central Humidifier Installation Cost

In this guide

Recommended humidity levels
Humidifier types
Capacity options
Labor
Enhancements
Additional Considerations

How much does it cost to install a central humidifier?

A central humidifier is used to add humidity to the air in your home. It’s usually needed most in the winter, especially if you regularly run heating. Central humidifiers are installed directly into your home’s HVAC system so that the humidity can be controlled along with the temperature. In this guide, we assess the cost of installing a central humidifier.

Keeping your home’s air comfortable for you and safe for the house’s structure depends on maintaining a stable humidity level. The EPA suggests that your home maintain less than 50% relative humidity. In the winter, this goes down to 30% - 40%. Improper humidity levels can cause issues with your house and your health.

Problems associated with low humidity include:

  • Risk of illness: many viruses thrive in low humidity
  • Worsening of conditions like asthma and allergies
  • Static electricity
  • Damaged wood floors, windows, plaster 1, paint, etc.
  • Needing higher temperatures to feel warm

Problems associated with high humidity include:

  • Mold and mildew growth
  • Bacteria growth
  • Dust mite 2 infestation
  • Musty odors
  • Warped wood floors, window frames, etc.
  • Water stains
  • Condensation
  • Peeling paint
  • “Muggy” or “sticky” sensation
  • Labored breathing

Humidifier types

TypeMethodProsConsCost
DrumEvaporation

Least expensive

Easiest to install

High maintenance

Mold risk

$150-$250
Flow-ThroughEvaporation

Low mold risk

No electricity needed

Constant water usage$200-$300
SteamSteam

Most effective

Better humidity control

Low mold risk

Most expensive$300-$1,100+


  • Drum humidifiers use their drums (rotating evaporator pads) to lift water from the resevoir into the air stream, where it’s evaporated.
  • Flow-through humidifiers send water flowing through a porous evaporator pad, where it collects and is evaporated.
  • Steam humidifiers use their own heat source to warm water into steam, which is then released into the air stream.

Powered or bypass

Humidifiers are either powered or bypass types. Powered humidifiers simply run on electricity and they will always fall at the higher end of the price ranges per type.

Bypass humidifiers have a duct that reaches out from the humidifier and attaches to the forced air furnace on the other side. They rely on the warm air coming from the furnace to evaporate water.

Drum and flow-through humidifiers can be bypass or powered types, while steam humidifiers are always powered. Skuttle, Hamilton, and Aprilaire are common brands that make all types of humidifiers. Honeywell and Aircare are popular flow-through and bypass humidifier producers.

Capacity options

The capacity you should choose depends on your home’s size. The table below provides guidelines for suitable capacities:

House Size (sq. ft.)CapacityCost
1,50010-gallon$210-$245
2,00012-gallon$240-$255
3,50020-gallon$305-$335

Labor

HVAC technicians generally charge $50-$70 per hour. Central humidifier installation usually takes between 3.75 and 4.75 hours ($187.50-$332.50). Time required depends on humidifier size: 10-gallons falls at the lower end of the spectrum, 20-gallons falls at the higher end.


Enhancement and improvement costs

Humidity gauge

A humidity gauge (or “hygrometer”) can help you keep track of the humidity levels in your home. The cost of a humidity gage ranges from $10 for low-end models, to $60+ for high-end models.

Additional considerations and costs


Maintenance

Your humidifier will need regular maintenance to keep running properly. You should do your own minor maintenance every month (cleaning, adding water), but have your humidifier professionally maintained at least once per year. HVAC maintenance visits usually cost $70-$100.

Climate

Homes in climates that are naturally humid may not require a central humidifier. In fact, adding a humidifier in these climates may put your home at risk of mold development.

Weatherstripping

Weatherstripping can prevent the loss of humidity through gaps on the sides of doors and windows. If your house loses a high amount of humidity this way, this is a good alternative to installing a central humidifier. It’s also a great way to ensure that humidity produced by your new central humidifier from being lost.

Enough weatherstripping materials to seal a home can be bought for about $100. Weatherstripping can be a DIY project, or you can hire a handyman to do the job ($60-$90 per hour). The project can usually be completed in 4 hours ($240-$360). The presence of complex window and door joints 3 can push the time to 8 hours ($480-$720).

Energy bills

Installing a central humidifier can help you save on energy bills. Maintaining a higher humidity level in the home can help you feel warmer at a lower temperature. This means that you won’t need to turn your heating up so high. The EPA estimates that you can save 4% on your heating bills for every degree lower you set your thermostat 4.

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Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Plaster: A paste composed of sand, water, and either lime, gypsum, or cement, which forms a smooth hard surface on walls, ceilings, and other structures upon drying
2 Mite: Small, often microscopic invertebrates that mostly live in the soil or water. Some mites are parasitic and live on plants and animals.
3 Joints: A fold, line, or groove where two pieces of material join together
4 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off

Cost to install a central humidifier varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Labor cost by city and zip code

Compared to national average
Ashburn, VA
+14%
Austin, TX
+13%
Baltimore, MD
+12%
Bethlehem, PA
+12%
Boston, MA
+40%
Bronx, NY
+32%
Brooklyn, NY
+16%
Buffalo, NY
-1%
Charlotte, NC
+6%
Chicago, IL
+40%
Cleveland, OH
+7%
Colorado Springs, CO
-3%
Columbus, OH
+5%
Dallas, TX
+10%
Denver, CO
+1%
Detroit, MI
+16%
El Paso, TX
-28%
Fort Lauderdale, FL
+2%
Fort Worth, TX
+6%
Fresno, CA
-6%
Houston, TX
+24%
Jacksonville, FL
-1%
Kansas City, MO
+4%
Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Long Beach, CA
+16%
Los Angeles, CA
+11%
Miami, FL
+1%
Milwaukee, WI
+12%
Minneapolis, MN
+25%
Nashville, TN
+21%
New York, NY
+77%
North Las Vegas, NV
+7%
Oklahoma City, OK
-12%
Old Bridge, NJ
+36%
Omaha, NE
-10%
Orlando, FL
+2%
Philadelphia, PA
+40%
Phoenix, AZ
0%
Pittsburgh, PA
+9%
Portland, OR
+11%
Sacramento, CA
+8%
Saint Petersburg, FL
-11%
San Antonio, TX
-4%
San Diego, CA
+11%
San Francisco, CA
+53%
San Jose, CA
+33%
Scranton, PA
-9%
Seattle, WA
+9%
Tucson, AZ
-19%
Washington, DC
+23%

Labor cost in your zip code

Methodology and sources