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    Honeywell HE-300 Humidifier problems... (10 Posts)

  • Anchorage Anchorage @ 3:58 PM
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    Honeywell HE-300 Humidifier problems...

    I have recently installed a honeywell HE300 humidifier in my house in Anchorage, Alaska. The climate is dry, dry, dry and HUM is definitely a huge plus. Most older houses in AK have hydronic base board systems (no ducts). I have mounted the HE-300 on a custom made hydronic fan coil/plenum which is set up as zone 1 (biggest zone) of my hydronic base board system. The house is approx 3000sqft.
    The installation is fine, and is controlled by an Ecobee smart stat. Overall the system functions as designed with the exception of generating humidity. The ecobee website logs all the temp and HUM data, which also documents the problem over time.
    I have noticed that the DC powered solenoid valve on the HE-300 modulates with some form of on-off cycle/time. I cannot find any technical manual or trouble shooting information from Honeywell that explains the operation of the water circuit, modulation and control. This is a mystery because I would have thought the water solenoid should be on constantly with a call for HUM? Is their a inbuilt sensor in the HE300 that shuts down the water on some form of high limit?
    Honeywell do not provide any water flow information which could help troubleshoot the lack of humidity. It is possible to place a 16oz cup or catcher beneath the water injector nozzle (with the media pad removed). How much water flow should I be getting in a minute, or 3, 5 minut minute period? This can be fine tuned by the needle valve (supply pressure dependent) but no guidance is available.
    If the unit is started and stopped frequently (zone turned on and off) their can be a reasonable puff of HUM visible on the ecobee log, timed with the solenoid cycle. If the zone is on for a long time (recovering from setback etc) the HUM does not work that well and usually stops completely.
    I have tried turning up the water rate using the needle valve to the point the discharge line is overwhelmed, then turned it back a little....plenty of water going through when the valve is on.
    I am currently thinking of "hacking" the unit, put in a hard wired 100% on time solenoid valve wired to the fancoil, or rip the HE300 out, junk it and try an Aprilaire 400.
    Do any of the forum members have any documentation/test guidance on the HE300 beyond the walmart type information available from their website?
    Thanks Ryan
  • Empire Empire @ 8:28 PM
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    Honeywell Humidifiers

    There is no easy response to your Q;, but I would call Honeywell and ask to talk to humidification design engineer.  They can point you towards literature that can answer most of your questions.  Now, having said that, each unit model # is rated to add humidity to the envelope at a given rate of water flow over time.  There are countless variables in play that are constantly changing, effecting the absorption of water vapor into the air.  Evaporative humidification (which most buildings use) is not something that is done over the course of an hour or 2.  Days and weeks are where the effectiveness is measured. "Heat is the train on which water vapor or humidity rides".  Warmer air is able to hold more moisture than cooler air.  Generally during the cold days of winter, it is not unlikely to see RH% at 12 to 20% RH.  Homes that have means to humidify the air can expect to see 45% to 55% RH during normal operation inside the envelope. 
         Example:  10,000 cu/ft of air at 70*f will hold 10.95 pints of water,... No more.  This means the air in a home 25 x 50' with 8' ceilings (10,000 sq/ft) could hold nearly 11 pints of water when the temp inside is 70*f.  This would represent 100% RH conditions.  If there is only 2 pints of water in the same home at 70*f,. the relative humidity would be 2/11 or 18% RH. Quoted from Audel library. 
         I am merely trying to give you some idea of what and how the humidity is measured and at what conditions it will exist.  As far as modulation of water due to waste, I would be more concerned with the full output of the humidifier.  17 gal per day does not seem like a waste to me.  I hope this helped a little bit.  Remember it takes time to accomplish humidification in the home using evaporative humidification.

    Mike T.
  • Anchorage Anchorage @ 11:24 PM
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    Honeywell customer service were not helpful!

    Thanks for your reply,

    At this stage I would like to eliminate any problems with the HE-300 unit, and getting good documentation on it's off/on solenoid cycles would be a great start. Understanding the design water flow rate range through the pad is also needed. I suspect the evaporative pad has a pretty low efficiency so to evaporate 18 gallons in 24hrs into the house atmosphere, it will probably need 2-4 x the water through the pad...i.e 40-80 gallons.

    Any technical info from Honeywell would be much appreciated. I did not mention it at first but because this unit is "tagged" contractor install, they (Honeywell customer service/tech support) will not offer any help at all. They basically want to know if the green light is on, and water supply turned on..thats about it. When I told them the solenoid appears to be controlled/modulated with a duty cycle(not always on) they did not understand and had no information whatsoever.

    I have attached a PDF file with some of the HUM versus time graphs to illustrate the poor response, and changes over time depending on whether the zone is run continuously or is cycled fairly quickly.

    Do you know anygood Honeywell Tech reps out there on the wall?

    Thanks Ryan
  • BillW BillW @ 6:31 PM
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    The HE300 is a fan-powered unit.  That means it moves ambient air thru the pad with its own fan. The solenoid valves are 2 position, on or off.  The units use about 18GPD, and usually are controlled by a humidistat, or by a home control system, or a thermostat with a humidity sensor included.  Check out the following website for tech sheets and info. go to "homes" and type in HE300, and you should be able to download any info you need. 
    If it is not meeting your needs, it may be undersized, the building may be "leaky", letting in outside air, or the air it is putting thru may be too cold to allow evaporation.  Possibly, using hot water instead of cold to supply the unit might help.  I imagine incoming cold water in Alaska is about 40 degrees, and moving 50 degree basement air thru the pad isn't terribly conducive to evaporation.  Humidity is effected by ordinary activities like showers. cooking and laundry.  If you use a setback thermostat, and the house is vacant during the day, it may not be possible for the unit to "catch up".  You might want to consider a steam humidifier, if tight humidity control is what you need.
  • Anchorage Anchorage @ 11:32 PM
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    Still need better Honeywell Technical information on HE300...


    The web link provided does not appear to bring up anything to help troubleshoot the HE300. Actually I got no hits from either the "home" or "business" search on that site.

    I have hooked the HE300 up to hot water so the incoming stream is 100+ degf. The HE300 is mounted on a fan coil plenum which is heated by 140- 160DEGF water or hotter depending on the outdoor reset etc. The HUM is slaved to the coil meaning that the HUM only turns on when the coil is heating.

    At this point, without some better trouble shooting information from Honeywell I am about to toss the HE300 on the scrap heap and install an Aprilaire 400.

    From what I can observe the water pad retains very little moisture when the solenoid is actually on, but as it spends more than half its time off the unit barely humidifies. A direct duct humidity reading downstream on the HUM and fan coil shows negligible HUM gain prior to the exhaust grille and mixing.

    Does anyone on this Forum have any technical/professional contacts with Honeywell that can provide more detailed information such as:

    1) Design on/off time cycle of 24VDC solenoid, based on heat calls from HVAC

    2) Max flow rate of water at design conditions (for 18 gpd HUM absorbed into the air stream) as measured with the pad out directly under the nozzle. I guess this is approx double...32 GPD...equivalent for the solenoid on time?

    3) Should I change the solenoid control board on this new machine?

    4) Should I change the water pad for better water distribution and retention?

    Thanks Ryan
  • Empire Empire @ 1:34 AM
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    April air is too small for your 3000sq/ft. You'd be better off with the 600M bypass humidifier.

    Mike T.
  • BillW BillW @ 12:35 PM
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    Humidifier issues

    Did you try the Honeywell tech line at 1-800-468-1502? Try contacting the distributor you bought the unit from, and ask them for technical help, or ask them for the local Honeywell rep's name and phone number. If you are a member of Honeywell's ContractorPro program, you have an exclusive technical support number to call.  I don't know if the site is still active, but used to connect you with PDF versions of all the tech sheets. 
  • BillW BillW @ 12:49 PM
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    some more info

    Here is another website  I haven't used that before.
  • EddieG EddieG @ 12:39 PM
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    Another thing...

    I agree with items others have mentioned, but I wanted to share an issue I had. I had a customer that we installed a Honeywell True Steam Humidifier with an Ecobee. Discovered that it was short cycling. After some troubleshooting and finding no obvious issues, I suspected the Ecobee didn't have enough humidity differential. So I contacted Ecobee and the tech. informed me that it had been an issue and they added a diff. setting to the t-stat. So the tech. accessed the Ecobee via the web and updated the logic. Problem solved! Along with some other features. Best part it was free!
  • Buster Buster @ 11:04 AM
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    I can't find the actual info on paper but I know that unit uses a timer function for the solenoid to "Save Water" In my opinion the unit is working properly but just wont give you the output you require. If you are thinking of replacing it I would suggest an Aprilaire 800 steam unit that will give you much better results! A steam humidifier can produce much more humidity no matter if you have hot air (heat on) or just air moving.

    Look on page 3, very little info but does say about saving water
    This post was edited by an admin on May 23, 2014 11:06 AM.
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