A whole-house humidifier can make you more comfortable in winter, and it can help you be a bit greener by making your house feel warmer, which lets you turn down the heat. But most humidifiers waste an enormous amount of water. Here's how to reduce that waste.
Step 1: Recycle Instead of Dump
I recently installed a whole-house humidifier on my home's heater. I bought a Honeywell because it was rated Energy Star. Apparently Energy Star doesn't apply to water use, though, because for every gallon it puts into the air, it dumps at least 5 gallons down the drain. It works by trickling water through a filter and blowing air over the filter. Any water that isn't picked up by the air blowing past just goes down the drain.
I decided to recirculate the water back into the humidifier instead of dumping it.
Start with two 5-gallon buckets. Tape the buckets together, bottom-to-bottom, and drill a pilot hole through the bottoms of both buckets. You might also want to remove the handle on the bottom bucket because it tends to get in the way.
Now pull the buckets apart and use the pilot hole to drill a 1" hole in the top bucket and a 2" hole in the bottom bucket. Also drill another 1" hole in the side of the bottom bucket about 5" from the bottom. Check out pictures in the next steps first and you will see why these holes go where they do.