How Much Does a Whole-House Humidifier Cost?

Typical Range:

$398 - $753

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 843 HomeAdvisor members. Embed this data

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  • Homeowners use HomeAdvisor to find pros for home projects.
  • When their projects are done, they fill out a short cost survey.
  • We compile the data and report costs back to you.

Updated June 2, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The average homeowner spends $575 to install a whole-house humidifier with professional services. Depending on the size of your home, the model you choose, the labor rate, and the service time, this price could range from as low as $400 for low-end, small models to as high as $2,500 for large, high-end models. 

A whole-house humidifier could be the answer to a home that’s too moist or too dry, so here is a guide on the factors that might affect your purchase and installation cost.

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National Average $575
Typical Range $398 - $753
Low End - High End $198 - $1,200

Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 843 HomeAdvisor members.

Average cost to install a humidifier is $750, ranging from $400 to $2,500

Whole House Humidifier Costs by Type

Whole-home humidifiers cost between $150 and $1,100 for the humidifier alone, and you’ll find that prices vary for installing whole-house humidifiers based on the type of humidifier you choose. 

There are four types available: flow-through, drum, steam, and spray-mist humidifiers. Drum models tend to be the most affordable, with flow-through systems in the mid-range and steam being on the higher end.

Steam humidifiersconnect to your heating and air conditioning unit and your plumbing. The cost to attach this equipment to these large components will be higher than choosing a non-steamcentral humidifier, such as a drum or flow-through type. High-end models raise the installation cost. Some have an adjustable humidistat or settings that will kick it off in the summer—a convenience that may be worth the higher price tag to some homeowners.

Tabletop humidifiers simply plug into the wall and don’t require a professional installation service. These will work well for one room, much like space heaters work for only small spaces, but they are not considered whole-house humidifiers.

Humidifier Type Total Cost
Flow-Through $200 – $950
Drum $100 – $300
Steam $500 – $2,200
Spray-Mist $100 – $150

Flow-Through

Flow-through units typically cost between $100 and $500 for the unit and $100 to $450 for the installation. These units use water to flow through an evaporator pad and create humidity. Water releases when a valve opens and flows through a pad, and then drains. Because of this, these units waste more water. The furnace heat cycle triggers the valve. These can also be either bypass or powered (more on what this means later).

Drum

The most affordable type, drum humidifiers cost between $100 and $300. The system involves a belt, motor, and reservoir of water. The motor spins a padded wheel so that the water lifts and evaporates. They can be either bypass or powered. These units don't take much to put in place. They do, however, pose an elevated risk for mold growth and demand a lot of maintenance. 

Humidifier maintenance can rack up the total central humidifier cost. For instance, you can invest in a whole-home air cleanerfor around $2,200 to help keep your humidifier clean and free from mold.

Steam Humidifier Cost

Steam humidifier costs range from as low as $300 to upward of $1,300, with installation prices ranging from $200 to $900. These humidifiers use electric probes to heat water and create steam. That steam disperses throughout your home through the ductwork. Steam humidifiers fall at the higher end of the price point, and they cost more to run—$150 to $500 per year,or over 14 times the energy of bypass humidifiers, according toENERGY STAR

However, some steam humidifiers also run independently of your HVAC system's heating cycle. This saves you money in the long run but increases your chances of rust and mold. The cost of a unit connected to ductwork is more expensive to install because it uses electric heat. 

Spray-Mist Humidifier

These units are priced at $100 to $150 and generally don’t need a professional, so you can get away with DIYing your humidifier installation. This steam system forgoes evaporative pads and relies on an existing heating and cooling system, unlike other steam humidifiers. The HVAC system triggers a moisture "spray," and the forced air carries that moisture throughout the duct system. 

They are inexpensive but not commonly used in homes with low demand for humidity or in offices. However, spray-mist humidifiers will not perform if the water source contains high amounts of minerals.

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Bypass vs. Fan-Powered Systems

Drum and flow-through models can either be bypass or fan-powered. Bypass types rely on the HVAC system heat to work. Since they don’t require an independent motor to run, you can save between $100 to $300 by choosing a bypass system. Keep in mind that they’re suitable for smaller spaces since they don’t have extra power. 

Fan-powered humidifiers work with flow-through and steam models and are suitable for larger spaces. They can also work when your HVAC system is not in use, making them more efficient. 

Bypass

These systems are often the least expensive and easy to install. They need a duct attachment so that the air from the furnace can heat and evaporate water. Their downsides are that they can demand a lot of maintenance, requiring repair expenses, and they might struggle to change the humidity levels in larger homes effectively.

Fan-Powered

Fan-powered systems work similarly to bypass systems, only they have an internal blower, so they don't have to rely on the heat cycle and a bypass duct to work. This means they can generate more power, making them suitable for homes with more square footage. For this reason, you’ll pay more, depending on the size of the motor.

Additional Humidifier Price Factors

When calculating the total price of your humidifier, you’ll want to keep in mind the following additional price factors that could alter the cost of the project.

Humidity Gauge (Hygrometer)

A humidity gauge costs between $10 to $70, though some high-end models can go up to $200. You want to ensure that you're not pumping too much moisture into your home. One way to protect against this is to invest in a humidity gauge that can tell you the percentage of moisture in your air. This will slightly increase the cost of installing a humidifier but will prevent you from having to fix any moisture-related damage in the future.

Humidistat (Hygrostat)

A humidistat costs between $30 to $150, with manual humidistats on the lower end of the price range and automatic or smart humidistat versions on the higher end. This device automatically checks the humidity levels in your home. Unlike hygrometers, humidistats adjust the humidity levels for you. 

For humidifiers without a humidistat, it’s a good idea to add one to your humidifier system. It’s still wise to get a hygrometer to pair with your humidistat, as it can measure humidity levels at varying distances from the humidifier itself and tends to be more accurate than humidistats.

Location

The location of your HVAC system will impact your choice of humidifier and the complexity of installation. In a basement, you have plenty of space to put in any size unit, and your installer will have less trouble accessing the ducts. In a closet, your options are more limited. Your installer will need more time in an attic, and your space constraints will be tighter. 

The best way to get an idea of how the location will affect your cost and choice of unit is to contact an HVAC professional.

Humidifier Annual Maintenance Cost

The price to fix or service a humidifier unit is between $75 and $200.A professional should perform maintenance on your unit on an annual basis. This way, you can extend the life of your equipment and catch potential problems like mold. Too much moisture can cause mildew and mold to grow in your ducts. 

If your HVAC technician finds mold, they will recommend that you test it and have it removed. Such mold testing costs around $600. To prevent mold growth in the first place, have your ducts cleaned regularly. The price of duct cleaning is usually around $400.

Evaporative Pads

Both drum and flow-through models use evaporative pads, which cost anywhere between $70 to $100 to replace, including installation. They collect water that heats, evaporates, and flows through the ducts to serve the home. Spray-mist models do not use these pads.

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Cost to Install Aprilaire, Carrier, and other Brands

Lower-capacity models, such as the 12 GPD Aprilaire 500, cost $1300 to $300 in labor and parts and will take two to three hours of work. A high-capacity steam model like the Goodman HS Series, however, is more complex and will be closer to $500 plus the cost of four to six hours of labor, which is approximately $400 to $600.

Brand Unit Price Total Installation Cost
Aprilaire $130 – $1,000 $200 – $1,900
Carrier $200 – $800 $300 – $1,700
Trane $200 – $900 $300 – $1,800
American Standard $300 – $1,100 $400 – $2,000
Honeywell $150 – $400 $250 – $1,300
Bryant $250 – $650 $350 – $1,500
Goodman $170 – $700 $300 – $1,600
Hamilton $150 – $200 $250 – $1,100

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

Though you can save anywhere from $100 to $900 by DIYing your whole-house humidifier installation, this is not a project for the DIY hopeful. To properly install a humidifier, you need experience with HVAC, plumbing, and electrical. Your HVAC system is a key part of your home, and, if it is damaged, it will cost you money and cause major inconveniences. 

An improperly connected unit can also fool you by appearing to work perfectly, all while working at low efficiency. Mistakes mean higher operational costs, followed by the potentially hefty labor price to correct the work. Hire a pro the first time to guarantee efficient work. An HVAC professional will know the best unit for your home size, humidity levels, and project budget.

Cost to Hire a Pro

HVAC technicians usually charge a flat rate, which is comprised of a service fee, an hourly labor rate, and the price of materials and equipment. The total tends to divide into $100 to $200 per hour, with labor at $50 to $70 per hour. The cost of professional installation will be well worth the value you get, as the technicians will know how to make your humidifier most effective, and they won't damage your air ducts in the process.

Hire a Humidifier Installation Pro
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FAQs

What type of humidifier can I add to my HVAC system?

The type of humidifier you add to your HVAC system depends on the type of HVAC system you have. Here’s a look at the different options:

HVAC System Type Best Humidifier Installation Tips
Gas, Oil and Propane Forced Air Furnaces Flow-through, evaporative humidifiers Factor in fan speed and opt for steam if mold is a concern
Electric Furnaces Compatible with any type Pair two for extra efficiency
Dual Heating Systems Generally don’t need a humidifier Choose steam or evaporative for winter humidity issues
Heat Pumps Generally don’t need a humidifier If humidity is a problem, install a steam humidifier

Note: Our Indoor Air Quality Testing Cost Guide goes more in-depth on the price and benefits of testing your home to find out if your current forced-air heating system needs a humidifier.

Do I need a whole-home humidifier?

You might need a whole-home humidifier system if your home has a humidity level below 30% at any point during the year. Conversely, you might need a whole-house dehumidifier if your home is too humid. Furnaces drive moisture out of the air, especially in colder months, and dry air is unhealthy in the home. 

Energystar.gov recommendsa humidity level of 30% to 50%, though colder regions may need humidity levels between 30% to 40% during the winter to prevent condensation from forming on windows.

How long does a whole-house humidifier last and when do you have to replace it?

A whole-house humidifier lasts an average of 10 to 15 years. You should replace a unit approaching the end of its lifespan, especially if it isn't performing well. Upgrade to a new humidifier to increase efficiency and save energy costs. A professional will be able to assess the viability of your unit properly.

Where do you install a humidifier?

You install a humidifier inside your home's HVAC system or attach the system by way of a hole and a mount. The humidifier connects to the plumbing and often the electricity and can vary in complexity.

How much is it to run a humidifier?

The total annual cost to run humidifiers is between $10 to $500, but prices vary by type. Bypass types only use $1 to $3 in energy annually, while fan-powered types use an average of $10 to $30 per year and steam-powered types use around $150 to $500 annually.

Who puts in or services humidifiers?

HVAC technicians perform this work, though you might need to hire a plumber and electrician for some of the connections. HVAC technicians do the installation, annual maintenance, and repairs.

See our Humidifier Repair Cost Guide for more information.