Whether you live in a muggy climate or in a cold climate, you may still experience high indoor humidity levels. Warm air contains large amounts of water vapor, so excessive moisture is a common problem in areas with high temperatures and abundant rainfall, as well as in areas located near large bodies of water. Cold air, on the other hand, is quite dry but homes in colder climates also have moisture problems – they are well insulated for energy efficiency which results in decreased air circulation and excessive humidity. Besides, multiple indoor sources add to the moisture of the air you breathe in your home – steam from cooking and bathing, water vapor from wet clothes left to dry inside, evaporation from indoor plants, etc. If the resulting relative humidity level exceeds 50%, however, you may experience a variety of problems, from musty smells and mold growth to structural damage and exacerbated health issues. To keep your living environment healthy and comfortable, you need to find an efficient way to reduce the moisture in your home and improve indoor air quality. Without a doubt, your best bet is to use a dehumidifier.
What Is a Dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is a simple electronic device used to control air humidity in closed premises with limited air circulation.
But how does a dehumidifier work? A powerful fan draws in humid air from the atmosphere and carries it through a refrigerated evaporator. The air is cooled below its dew point, so condensation occurs and water drops form on the cold surface of the evaporator (they drip into a water container you need to empty on a regular basis). The cold dry air is then reheated to a pre-set temperature and released back into the room. The process continues so that indoor air humidity is maintained at the desired level.
Eliminating dampness, however, is not the only benefit of using a home dehumidifier – this small cost-effective device can help you improve your indoor environment in a number of crucial aspects.
Benefits of a Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers allow you to control the air humidity in your home and keep it at an optimal level. This will be beneficial in many ways:
Various allergens, microorganisms, and viruses thrive in humid environment. When dehumidifiers decrease the moisture in your home, they help improve indoor air quality and prevent bacteria growth.
- Fewer allergens – dust mites, mold spores, and other allergy triggers need a certain humidity level in order to breed. So, reduced humidity results in fewer allergens in your home. Besides, dehumidifiers have inbuilt filters that capture dust, pollen, mold spores, and other air pollutants. As a result, the air in your home becomes much cleaner and healthier to breathe;
- Fewer respiratory problems –indoor air contaminants that develop in humid environment (such as viruses, mold spores, etc.) may trigger or aggravate respiratory problems. What’s more, high air humidity can inhibit breathing, especially in sick people, senior people, and children. A dehumidifier will make breathing much easier and will reduce the risk of asthma attacks, infections, respiratory illnesses, and allergy symptoms, such as stuffy nose, itchy eyes, wheezing, skin rashes, general discomfort, etc.
Excellent Property Condition
Proper indoor humidity has a positive effect on the overall condition of your property – dehumidifiers help prevent damage to your household items and materials, get rid of mold and musty odors, etc.
- No mold – more often than not, high humidity results in mold Mold commonly resides on shower walls, windowsills, and other moist areas in the home. Unless timely removed, it can cause considerable structural damage and various health issues. The only way to get rid of mold for good is to maintain low humidity levels in your home, best achieved with the help of a dehumidifier;
- No musty smells – a damp smell in your home indicates high moisture content in the air. It may disappear when you ventilate the premises well and allow plenty of sunlight inside. Musty odor, however, is often the first sign of mold growing in your home, so you can’t remove the smell unless you remove the mold spores that produce it first. Once you have gotten rid of the harmful microorganisms, use a dehumidifier in the room to prevent mold growth and musty smell in the future;
- No condensation – high humidity results in heavy condensation that can harm the structural elements in your home – paint may blister, wallpaper may peel, stains may appear on the walls or on the ceiling, etc.
Running a home dehumidifier while cooking, when doing laundry or washing the dishes, after a shower, etc. can help prevent condensation;
- No corrosion – metal surfaces, door hinges, small tools, and even electronic equipment may easily rust if the atmosphere in your home is too damp. A room dehumidifier will help prevent corrosion and protect your belongings;
- No warping – moisture can cause wood to warp, so high levels of humidity in your home may result in warped wood floors, door frames, and other damaged woodwork. Once again, dehumidifiers provide an effective solution as they help forestall warping;
- No damaged belongings – when you have a dehumidifier in your home, your personal items are less likely to get damaged. Your documents, books, clothes, shoes, pieces of art, and other delicate belongings will be well protected against the effects of moisture – they will stay in excellent condition for long, will not develop mold, and will not absorb musty smells.
Basements, crawls spaces, bathrooms, laundry rooms, and other moist areas in your home are very welcoming for millipedes, spiders, cockroaches, silverfish, and other pests. These little critters may cause damage to your possessions and pose a threat to your health. Removing excessive moisture from indoor air can help get rid of these pests, as they won’t be able to breed and thrive in an environment that is not humid enough for their needs. A crawl space dehumidifier will, therefore, discourage any nuisance creatures from taking shelter in your home.
Lower Energy Costs
It may be hard to believe but using a dehumidifier actually lowers your energy costs. The reason is quite simple – your air conditioner works more efficiently when a dehumidifier is running in the room. When the air in your home is more humid, it is more difficult to keep the ambient temperature at the desired level, so your air conditioner has to work harder. The dehumidifier, however, removes the moisture from the air and helps the air conditioner easily maintain a comfortable temperature. This results in lots of saved energy, as well as in less wear and tear on your cooling equipment. Not only will you have lower energy bills when using a dehumidifier in your home, but you won’t have to repair or replace your air conditioner for quite a long time.
Increased Indoor Comfort
A home dehumidifier helps create a fresh and clean indoor environment, considerably increasing your comfort:
- Indoor air quality will improve substantially;
- Stuffiness in your home will be greatly reduced;
- The ambient temperature will be pleasant all the time;
- Wet clothes will dry faster when placed on a drying rack near a running dehumidifier. Regardless of the outside weather conditions, your clothes will be dried overnight, without increasing indoor humidity. Besides, a dehumidifier doesn’t use as much power as a conventional dryer, so your energy bill won’t soar up as a result;
- Groceries, especially bread and cereals, will stay fresh longer without getting stale;
- Cleaning will be easier as the amount of dust and mildew in your home will be considerably reduced.
Dehumidifiers run quietly and efficiently in the background, providing the best possible solution for your humidity problems without disrupting your daily routine.
When to Use a Dehumidifier
Humidity levels in your home may vary due to changing outside temperatures, weather conditions, energy use, air circulation, etc. Yet, if you live in a humid environment, you are strongly recommended to keep a dehumidifier running all the time. Otherwise, consider using a dehumidifier if you notice evidence of high humidity in certain rooms or areas of your home, or if you suffer from constant allergy symptoms. Watch out for the following signs:
- Inhibited breathing, respiratory problems, or asthma attacks;
- Water damage on structural materials, household goods, furnishing, personal items, etc;
- Water stains on the walls or ceilings of your rooms and/or frequent condensation;
- Musty smells and/or mold growth in your home;
- Corrosion attacks and/or rust on metal surfaces;
- Malfunctioning of electronic equipment.
If any of these symptoms are present in your home, you may want to consider a dehumidifier. Have in mind that dehumidifiers are particularly useful in small enclosed areas (such as bathrooms) and in storage areas (such as basements), as air circulation in them is very limited and water damage is likely to occur. Basement dehumidifiers and bathroom dehumidifiers are indeed widely used in modern homes.
How to Choose the Best Dehumidifier for Your Home
There are several important factors to consider when choosing an appropriate dehumidifier for your home:
- How humid your indoor environment is;
- How powerful a dehumidifier you need;
- What capacity of the water container will fit your needs;
- Where you will place the equipment;
- How quietly the specific model runs;
- How easy it is to clean and maintain the device.
A portable dehumidifier offers a very convenient option as you can take it from one room to the other, depending on your specific needs at the moment. However, the humidity level is different in different areas of your home, so a small dehumidifier that works very efficiently in your living room may not be powerful enough to control the moisture levels in your kitchen or bathroom, for example.
You can choose from small capacity models for a single room, large capacity models for larger areas, and even whole-house dehumidifiers (which are particularly useful if you live in a very humid climate). So, research your options well and choose the one that will best suit your needs and requirements, as well as your available budget.
Just remember – home dehumidifiers offer the most advantageous solution for a healthier and more comfortable living environment.