Managing humidity without ducts
I am playing around with possible scenarios for my HVAC setup in the house I am planning to build. One possibility I am really looking into is that of not using any ducts. I'm not certain why I am so opposed to having ducts, but I think it has to do with the idea of blowing dust around, having drafts, and general complications - even if the ducts are straightforward, it seems like equipment connected to ducts tends to be complicated.
What I am thinking about is radiant heating (and possibly cooling) combined with Lunos ventilation fans to handle our ventilating requirements. Neither of these systems requires forced air ductwork, which I very much like. (One side question I have, if anyone can provide some insight, is whether a Lunos fan running on the lowest setting would be louder, quieter or equivalent to a vent connected to one of the less noisy central HRV systems.)
My main concern with this configuration is controlling humidity. We are planning to install 5" wide solid wood flooring, and are concerned about cupping - they recommend staying within the 35-60% relative humidity range. We would be building in Kelowna, BC, which looks like Zone 6, and although I've always thought of it being dry there, the mean RH during part of the year does get up to 85%. With the above configuration we wouldn't have any real way to dehumidify incoming air during the part of the year when outdoor humidity is too high.
We are planning for 2 stories (about 1250 sq ft each) plus a basement, so it seems like it would be tricky to get everywhere with a stand-alone unit located somewhere in the house. Also, we have a fairly open main level, and I don't even know where we would put a stand-alone unit there. We are planning to have plaster walls, which may help to buffer the humidity levels by absorbing some moisture from the air and releasing it when it gets drier, but I'm not sure how much difference it will really make.
My question is this: Is there an effective way to manage humidity throughout the whole house without ducts? Should I just embrace ducting and get a whole house HRV with de-humidifier? How much dehumidification should I really need to keep the indoor humidity below 65%?
Thanks for the insight!
Posted Jun 30, 2014 9:47 AM ET
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