Ashburn, VA

How much does a humidifier cost to install?

$400 – $1,200 whole-house humidifier cost installed

Get free estimates from humidifier installers near you, or view our cost guide below.

December 8, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 3 expert HVAC services on HomeGuide.

Whole-house humidifier cost

A whole-house humidifier costs $400 to $1,200 installed, depending on size, type, and the home's HVAC system. A furnace humidifier alone costs $100 to $500 for drum and flow-through units alone or $300 to $1,300 for steam. The labor cost to install a humidifier adds $100 to $900.

Whole-house humidifier cost - chart
Whole-house humidifier cost - chart

Whole-house humidifier cost
Home size (square feet) Unit price Total cost installed Gallons per day (GPD)
1,000 – 2,000 $150 – $280 $250 – $730 12
2,500 – 3,000 $200 – $500 $300 – $1,400 17
3,000 – 5,000+ $250 – $1,100 $450 – $2,000 18+

Average humidifier installation cost

The following table shows the average cost for a whole-house humidifier with installation.

Average humidifier installation cost - chart
Average humidifier installation cost - chart

Whole-house humidifier installation cost
National average cost $750
Minimum cost $200
Maximum cost $2,500
Average cost range $400 to $1,200

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Furnace humidifier cost by type

Furnace humidifiers cost $100 to $1,300 for the unit alone or $200 to $2,200 installed, depending on the type and features.

Furnace humidifier cost by type - chart
Furnace humidifier cost by type - chart

Furnace humidifier cost by type
System type Unit price Total cost installed
Drum humidifier $100 – $300 $200 – $750
Flow-through humidifier $100 – $500 $200 – $950
Steam humidifier $300 – $1,300 $500 – $2,200
Spray-mist humidifier $100 – $150 $100 – $150 (DIY)
  • Flow-through humidifiers are the most common and best option for most homes.
  • Drum and spray-mist models are high-maintenance but cheaper and better for small spaces.
  • Steam humidifiers—the most expensive and powerful—are ideal for large homes.
  • Flow-through and whole-house steam humidifiers require water, electrical, and drain lines.
  • Drum humidifiers require water and electrical connections but not a drain line.

Drum humidifier cost

A drum or reservoir humidifier costs $200 to $750 with installation or $100 to $300 for the unit alone. Drum models are easy to install but are prone to mineral and mildew buildup from stagnant water. Drum humidifiers use a rotating pad that absorbs water from a reservoir.

Flow-through humidifier prices

A flow-through humidifier costs $200 to $950 installed or $100 to $500 for the unit alone. Flow-through models use more water than drum units but stay clean longer because they don’t contain standing water. The HVAC system passes air through a moistened panel and circulates the air throughout the home.

Whole-house humidifier system installed in furnace
Whole-house humidifier system installed in furnace

Whole-house steam humidifier cost

A whole-house steam humidifier costs $500 to $2,200 installed or $300 to $1,300 for the unit alone. Steam models are typically wall-mounted and work separately from the home's heating system. A steam humidifier is the cleanest, healthiest choice because the hot water used to create steam kills most germs.

Spray-mist humidifier cost

A spray-mist humidifier costs $100 to $150 on average. Spray-mist models are typically installed DIY and humidify the home by releasing mist through a fine nozzle into the HVAC system ducting.

Homes using well or hard water may require a water filter and softener to prevent clogs and mineral buildup in the humidifier’s spray nozzle. Installing a water softener costs $800 to $2,500 on average.

Bypass vs. fan-powered humidifier systems

Bypass vs. fan-powered humidifier systems
Bypass humidifier Fan-powered humidifier
  • Cheaper and quieter
  • Works well in small spaces
  • Uses the HVAC system's airflow
  • Breaks down less often due to fewer moving parts
  • Drum and flow-through models available
  • Bigger and louder
  • More efficient
  • Better for larger homes
  • Can run even when the HVAC system is off
  • Flow-through and steam models available

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Central HVAC humidifier cost by brand

The following table shows current pricing for the top whole-house humidifier brands. Most brands require professional installation and registration within 60 to 90 days of purchase for the warranty to be valid.

HVAC humidifier cost by brand
Brand Unit price Total cost with installation Warranty length (years)
American Standard $300 – $1,100 $400 – $2,000 10
Aprilaire $130 – $1,000 $230 – $1,900 5
Bryant $230 – $630 $330 – $1,500 5 or 10
Carrier $200 – $800 $300 – $1,700 5 or 10
Emerson $160 – $750 $260 – $1,600 2
Generalaire $130 – $800 $230 – $1,700 5
Goodman $170 – $700 $270 – $1,600 5
Hamilton $160 – $200 $260 – $1,100 1
Honeywell $150 – $400 $250 – $1,300 1 or 5
Lennox $150 – $400 $250 – $1,300 5
Rheem $220 – $400 $320 – $1,300 5
Trane $200 – $900 $300 – $1,800 5 or 10

Aprilaire humidifier prices

Aprilaire humidifier prices are $130 to $1,000, depending on the type. Aprilaire is a popular and highly rated brand with most models boasting dual sensors and digital controls. Steam humidifiers like the Aprilaire 800 cost $700 to $1,000 and are ideal for arid climates or homes over 3,000 square feet.

Aprilaire humidifier prices
Model Unit price Max coverage area (square feet) Gallons per day (GPD)
500 Small Bypass Evaporative $130 – $200 3,500 12
400 Water Saver Bypass Evaporative $170 – $300 5,000 17
600 Large Bypass Evaporative $150 – $250 5,000 17
700 Fan-Powered Evaporative $250 – $350 5,300 18
800 Steam & 865 Ductless Steam $700 – $1,000 10,000 11.5 – 34.6

*Not including installation.

Trane humidifier prices

Trane humidifier prices are $320 to $1,800 on average with installation. Trane units must be purchased from and installed by a licensed Trane Comfort Specialist dealer. Trane humidifiers come with a 10-year warranty when registered within 60 days.

Bryant humidifier prices

A Bryant humidifier costs $800 to $1,400 with installation, depending on the type. Bryant offers fan-powered or bypass flow-through humidifiers as well as a steam unit. All models come with a 10-year warranty if registered within 90 days of installation.

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Whole-house humidifier installation cost factors

The following factors affect the cost of installing a whole-house humidifier:

  • Humidifier brand and quality – Higher quality units may cost more but typically include a longer warranty.
  • Humidifier type – Steam humidifiers are more expensive than drum or flow-through models but are more powerful and efficient.
  • Heating system type – Steam humidifiers cost the most and are recommended for homes using a heat pump.
  • Geographical location – Homes in dry climates may require larger capacity humidifiers. Humidifier capacity ranges from 12 to 30 gallons per day (GPD).
  • Insulation / seal – Well-insulated homes with tight seals and weather stripping do not require as many GPD as uninsulated or poorly sealed homes.
  • Installation complexity – Installations requiring extensive electrical or ductwork modifications, or in a hard-to-access location like an attic or crawlspace increases labor costs.
  • DIY vs. professional – Installing a whole-house humidifier DIY saves $100 to $900 for 2 to 6 hours of labor.
  • Permits – A permit is required to install a dedicated electrical circuit, which is necessary for most steam humidifiers. Installing a drum or flow-through humidifier does not require a permit.
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Labor cost to add a humidifier to HVAC or furnace

The labor cost to add a humidifier to an HVAC system or furnace is $100 to $900, depending on the humidifier type, current local rates, and whether installed by an HVAC technician or handyman.

Forced-air humidifier installation factors

The best humidifier for a forced-air heating system depends on the system type and fuel source:

  • Gas, oil, and propane – A flow-through humidifier is typically the best choice for an average-size home due to its mid-range price point and efficiency. Bypass models are not recommended for modulating furnaces due to the furnace's low fan speed.
  • Electric – All humidifier types are compatible with electric furnaces. The addition of a whole-house humidifier typically increases the furnace's efficiency.
  • Dual fuel – Humidifiers are often unnecessary when using a dual fuel heating system. Dual fuel systems primarily use a heat pump and only use the furnace's dry heat when temperatures drop very low. Homes in areas with long, cold winters may still need humidification.
  • Heat pump – Steam humidifiers are best for homes using a heat pump. The air released by a heat pump is not hot enough to run a drum or flow-through humidifier effectively.
Homes with a heat pump typically do not need a humidifier. Low humidity may be due to excessive air leaking through improperly sealed windows and doors.

Humidistat cost

A humidistat costs $30 to $50 for a manual model or $90 to $200 for an automatic digital model. Humidistats or hygrostats operate like thermostats but sense humidity instead of temperature. A humidistat turns off the humidifier when the home's humidity reaches a preset level.

Humidity gauge cost

A humidity gauge or hygrometer costs $10 to $70 on average and measures the room's current humidity level. High-end models cost $75 to $200 and feature data-logging and LED backlighting. Most hygrometers measure both temperature and humidity percentage.

The EPA recommends an indoor moisture levels and humidity between 30% and 50%.

Cost to run a humidifier

The annual cost to run a humidifier is $10 to $250 on average, depending on the system type and usage. Using a whole-house humidifier may reduce overall energy consumption in the winter due to improved comfort at lower temperatures.

Cost to run a humidifier
Humidifier type Cost to run (per year)
Bypass $1 – $3
Fan-powered $9­ – $28
Steam-powered $150 – $480

Humidifier annual maintenance cost

Humidifier annual maintenance costs $70 to $150 on average for a complete professional service check. Keeping the humidifier and ductwork clean is essential to prevent mold and mildew and ensure proper functioning.

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Frequently asked questions

How long do whole-house humidifiers last?

A whole-house humidifier lasts 10 to 15 years or more if properly installed and well-maintained.

Is a whole-house humidifier worth it?

A whole-house humidifier is worth it for homes with arid climates or seasons. Homeowners in southern states typically do not need a whole-house humidifier because humidity levels are naturally higher most of the year.

Choose an automatic whole-house humidifier to reduce moisture damage risk. Excessive moisture leads to mold, wood damage, and surface staining. Automatic models regulate the humidity levels based on the current outside temperature.

Do whole-house humidifiers work?

A whole-house humidifier regulates a home's humidity by adding water vapor into the air through the heating system ducts. Whole-house models are safer and more efficient than tabletop units, provided the humidifier and ducts are clean and well-maintained.

Benefits of a whole-home humidifier

Benefits of a whole-house humidifier include:

  • Improved health – Reduces the risk of colds and flu and improves asthma and seasonal respiratory symptoms
  • Preserved interior – Prevents wood cabinets, floors, and furniture from splitting or cracking
  • Overall comfort – Reduces static electricity and improves dry skin and chapped lips
  • Savings – Heating bills are typically lower due to the air feeling comfortable at a lower temperature.

Who installs humidifiers?

HVAC technicians and handymen install whole-house humidifiers. Most manufacturers require installation by a licensed HVAC professional for the warranty to be valid.

Where to install a whole-house humidifier?

The best place to install a whole-house humidifier depends on the humidifier type and the available space on the home's HVAC system:

  • Bypass models may be installed on the return or supply ducts.
  • Fan-powered units are typically installed on the supply duct.
Whole-house humidifiers are easiest to install when replacing a furnace, but may be added to an existing furnace.

How long does it take to install a whole-home humidifier?

Installing a whole-house humidifier takes 2 to 6 hours, depending on the type and if modifications are needed to make space for the unit.

  • Bypass and fan-powered humidifiers take 2 to 3 hours to install on average.
  • Steam humidifiers take 4 to 6 hours to install.

How to install a whole-house or furnace humidifier

Installing a whole-house humidifier is a complex job and best left to a professional. The HVAC technician will follow these general steps to install the humidifier:

  1. Turn off the HVAC system or furnace power.
  2. Cut a hole in the return duct and position the humidifier in the spot, level, and with an airtight seal.
  3. Run a bypass duct from the humidifier to the supply line if applicable.
  4. Mount a humidistat at least 6 inches from the humidifier.
  5. Wire the humidistat to the furnace or transformer and the humidifier's solenoid valve.
  6. Connect the water line and install the drain piping.
  7. Turn the HVAC system back on.
Failure to closely follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing a whole-house humidifier may result in leaks, flooding, or electrical issues.
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Finding and hiring a humidifier installer

Before hiring an AC service or handyman to install a humidifier:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.
  • Look for a NATE-certified technician with experience installing whole-house humidifiers.
  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business for more than five years.
  • Ask for references.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Use a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask pros

  • Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
  • What experience do you have installing whole-house humidifiers?
  • Which type of humidifier do you recommend, and why?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • Is there a warranty, and if so, what does it include?
  • What is and is not included in the estimate?
  • What additional costs should I expect?
  • What do you charge for an annual maintenance check?
  • How often do you recommend changing the filter?
  • How do the humidifier controls work?
  • Is the humidifier automatic, or will I need to turn it on and off?

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