Essick Air 696-400 Variable Speed Whole House Humidifier Review

Essick Air 696-400 Variable Speed Whole House Humidifier
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(More customer reviews)
The good news is, it humidifies. That's what I bought it for and that's what it does. The level of humidity is adjustable, allowing the unit to automatically cycle on and off as needed. And yes, you can adjust the fan speed, but getting it anywhere near the upper range makes it sound like a B29 taking off. IT'S LOUD! I leave it on med-low and it's not bad at all.
It has two plastic 2.6 gallon water bottles and at the med-low fan speed I use, I go through about 1 bottle per day. It keeps the rooms close to it quite comfortable, but rooms farther away don't get much. Your mileage will vary depending on humidifier location, floor plan, and normal air circulation.
As far as being built "sturdy" (as one reviewer pointed out), I have to disagree. The entire housing is made of plastic. Without the water bottles in it, it's so light that on a hard floor it easily rolls away with the lightest bump. Unless you are on carpet, I recommend NOT installing the castors that come with it. The weakest part of the whole unit is the stupid lid. It's constantly falling off it's hinges when I'm replacing the water bottles. It's just poorly designed.
I highly recommend buying the optional "air cleaner filter" (model #1051) that fits on the back. It helps clear your house of dust and pollen and also makes your internal wick last longer. For allergy sufferers, this is an absolute MUST.
Speaking of making wicks last longer, it wasn't until I read the owner's manual that I found out soft water is NOT recommended as it's supposedly not good for the wick. Oh well. The only NON-softened water I have is my outdoor hose and there's NO WAY I'm going out there every morning in the snow to fill my humidifier bottles!
All in all, I give it a 5 in performance, 4 in construction, and a 2 in convenience. (Hey, refilling and lugging 22 lbs of water every morning gets old!) Since performance is really what we want out of it, it gets an overall score of 4 stars from me.
BTW, use about 1/2 as much of the anti-bacterial additive as the bottle recommends and it does just fine.

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Credenza style whole house Humidifier,clean, healthy evaporative humidification in a classic design. Automatic humidistat maintains humidity level, variable speed control, quiet nighttime setting, refill lights, automatic shutoff, 11 gallons of output per day, 5.2 gal.water-holding capacity,humidifies 2300 sg.ft. 2-stage air-care filter,bemis-patented super wick, replaceable 2-stage air-care filter which traps airborne particles and eliminates odors, easy-fill dual water bottles with refill hose, removeable power pack for easy cleaning, ez-roller casters, 29 5/8x14 7/8x25 3/8, 29lbs, Color-Light Oak

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