8 Benefits of Owning a Dehumidifier
8 Benefits of Owning a Dehumidifier
8 Benefits of Owning a Dehumidifier
If you commonly get allergies, you know that they can get rather miserable at times.
When you live in a humid climate, there are many triggers for these things—dust mites,
mold, mildew, and seasonal allergies. If you find that you are suffering a lot, a good
dehumidifier can help–in more ways than one. Here are some benefits of a
dehumidifier and how to choose the right
one for you.
Allergy Triggers Thrive in Humidity
Many of the most common allergy triggers, especially dust mites, mold, and mildew,
thrive in humid environments. Whether you live in a humid climate, or you just have a
living space that tends to be more humid, you may be suffering from these things. Small
living spaces with limited ventilation, such as bathrooms or kitchens in a small apartment
or basement apartments, are common areas where moisture can build up, even in dry climates.
Mold allergies are also a significant contributor to childhood asthma, which can be a
debilitating and costly disease for children who develop it at a young age. This article
expands on some of the dangers that allergens present when they are in your home.
Benefits of a Dehumidifier
There are several benefits to getting a
in your home, basement, apartment, or office space.
Dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels, making your home less hospitable to allergens
such as dust mites, mold, and mildew.
They are not disruptive to your daily life, and run quietly and efficiently in the
background without most people even noticing.
Dehumidifiers help reduce odors that can accompany mold and mildew in your home—
getting rid of that “musty” or “rotting” smell.
These devices help to reduce the possibility that you will develop mold on your
clothing, furniture, and other linens (such as curtains or bed sheets).
Dehumidifiers reduce irritation to your skin and your respiratory system, allowing you
to breathe easier and feel comfortable in your home.
A less humid environment in your home means clothing will dry faster, breads and
cereals will remain fresh longer without getting stale, and you won’t find signs of rust
or corrosion on things like computer equipment, electronics, and tools.
Running a dehumidifier helps reduce dust in your home, so you won’t have to clean as
A dehumidifier also lowers energy costs because it helps your air conditioner run more
efficiently. When the air in your home is more humid, the A/C must do the function of
cooling the air and removing moisture, which means it has to work harder. This also causes
your A/C to wear out sooner, which means you will need to replace and repair it more often.
In addition to suffering from constant symptoms of allergies, you may want to consider
dehumidifier if you have some obvious signs of high humidity in certain rooms or
areas of your home, including:
Water stains on the walls or ceilings of your home
High humidity rooms with poor ventilation or no ventilation (especially in areas like
bathrooms that have no windows)
Frequent condensation on the windows in certain areas of your home
Small black spots (mold spores) growing on the walls or in areas with high humidity,
such as the bathtub or shower
Must or mildew smells
You may also want to consider a dehumidifier if you live in an apartment building,
since mold and mildew spores can travel through ventilation systems, and can build up in
the walls between apartments. Even if you keep your living area clean, these allergens from
other areas of the building can be harmful to yours and your family’s health.
Choosing a Dehumidifier
There are several different options when it comes to dehumidifiers, and the one you
choose depends on the space in which you plan to use it, as well as the humidity levels.
There are small capacity models for a single small room, large capacity models for larger
areas such as a large room, basement, or an apartment, and there are whole-house models
available as well if you live in a very humid climate, you suffer from significant
allergies, or you have a large home. For more specific and unique needs, consider
purchasing a dehumidifier with special features.
Getting a dehumidifier can help you live a healthier, happier life, so if you are
suffering from allergies and other symptoms, the answer to the question of whether you
should own a dehumidifier is probably yes. Find out more about the different models and
options available, and see which one will fit your budget and help you get clean, healthy
air in your home.
If you live close to the equator or near a coastal region, you probably hear your local
weatherman say the word "humidity" all too often. But no matter where you are,
you've surely experienced it -- that muggy, heavy feeling that fills the air, often
when it's rainy, foggy or hot outside. It can make your hair frizzy and may seem to
dampen everything, including your mood.
When people complain about humidity, for the most part they're talking about
relative humidity. Depending on temperature, air can hold a fixed amount of water vapor;
relative humidity is the ratio of actual vapor in the air to this fixed amount. For
example, at a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 degrees Celsius), one cubic meter
(35 cubic feet) of air can hold about 18 grams (.6 ounces) of water. This would be a state
of saturation, otherwise known as 100 percent relative humidity.
That's a lot of jargon to describe a level of humidity that, for many people, can
feel extremely uncomfortable. When this humidity seeps into your home, it can make rooms
feel stuffy and perhaps even smell musty. Beyond these superficial discomforts, too much
humidity can have some more serious disadvantages, too. An overly humid home can lose its
structural integrity, attract pests like silverfish and centipedes, and even make you sick.
In an average home in which the temperature is 68 degrees Fahrenheit, the relative
humidity should ideally be between 30 and 50 percent. If you're struggling to reach
that range, a dehumidifier may come in handy. Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the
air, improving the comfort and health of your home.
In this article, you'll learn what types of dehumidifiers are available and how you
can get the best results out of the ceiling mounted dehumidifier you have. But first, read on to
next page to find out exactly how a dehumidifier does its job.
Imagine enjoying a soda during a particularly warm day. When you pick up the can, you
might notice that it's wet -- there's moisture on the outside. Why is that? As air
loses heat, it also begins to lose its ability to retain moisture; the colder surface pulls
and collects water from the warmer air, creating condensation. Your dehumidifier does
pretty much the same thing. Most dehumidifiers can be broken down into five component
FanCompressor -- This compresses and expands a refrigerant gas like freon to cool the
dehumidifier's coils. (See How Air Conditioners Work for a more detailed explanation of
Reheater -- This captures and collects heat that the cooling process generates.
Compressor cooling coils
How do all these parts fit together to pull moisture from the air? It's fairly
simple, but very effective:
A fan collects air from the surrounding area and pulls it into the dehumidifier.
As the air passes through, it comes into contact with the dehumidifier's cooled
coils. These coils use condensation to pull moisture from the air. The collected moisture
remains on the coils and drips into the dehumidifier's reservoir.
The dehumidifier reheats the air and exhausts it back into the room.
A dehumidifier usually has a removable plastic bucket for a reservoir; most buckets
also have a place where you can hook up a hose so the collected water can drain straight
into a floor drain or pump. This frees you from having to remember to dump out the water.
But don't worry too much about the reservoir overflowing --
home dehumidifier also
have an automatic shut-off. If you're using a dehumidifier in extremely moist
conditions, however, or if you need to keep your dehumidifier on all the time, you should
look into a unit with a built-in condensate pump, which regularly pumps water out of the
unit's reservoir rather than simply relying on gravity to empty it as a hose does.
Many dehumidifiers also have a humidistat, which allows you to set your desired level
of relative humidity. A humidistat has two parts: a sensing element and a relay amplifier.
The sensing element includes two alternate metal conductors, and changes in relative
humidity will cause electrical resistance between those conductors. The relay amplifier
measures this resistance and sends a signal to turn the dehumidifier on or off. These basic
components add up to a device that may make your home feel a whole lot better.
Now that you know the basics of dehumidifier technology, it's time to learn about
different kinds of dehumidifiers. Which one may be right for you? Read on to find out.
While refrigerative dehumidifiers may be the most well-known, desiccant dehumidifiers
also do a great job of keeping a space nice and dry. True to their name, these
dehumidifiers pull in air and pass it over a desiccant material such as silica gel.
Desiccants naturally absorb moisture -- that's why you'll find little packets of
silica gel in new shoes or electronic goods. Because desiccant dehumidifiers don't need
to cool air before dehumidifying it, this technology is really ideal for sub-zero
Since the technology behind them is so simple and effective, dehumidifiers mostly vary
in size and strength. Portable dehumidifiers are the kind that you usually see in the home
improvement aisle; they're often plastic, relatively cheap and very lightweight.
They're designed to be most effective in smaller spaces like a bedroom or kitchen.
Restoration humidifiers are heavy-duty machines that can withstand harsh conditions --
they're usually used to repair heavy water damage caused by hurricanes or other natural
The largest models on the market, whole-house dehumidifiers, usually augment a
home's existing heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. You'll
have to hire a professional to install one of those. Some manufacturers have also created
specially sized crawlspace dehumidifiers to address the humidity in storage areas and
powerful dehumidifiers that are targeted toward the high humidity created by some indoor
pools and spas.
Whichever kind of dehumidifier you choose, it may help make your home a little greener.
Read on to find out how.
A portable dehumidifier can consume 160 kilowatt hours per month (kWh) -- that's
more than your refrigerator eats up. However, it does burn less energy than the average air
conditioner, which tears through about 300 kWh per month. Also, since excessive relative
humidity makes us perceive temperature as being higher than it is, keeping your home drier
may lead you to reach for the thermostat less, which could result in lower energy
To really save on your utility bills and diminish your carbon footprint, work on
maximizing your dehumidifier's efficiency. Don't keep it on all day, set the
humidistat at a reasonable level (50 percent rather than 30 percent), and keep your doors
and windows closed when it runs. Most dehumidifiers discharge air from the top of the
machine, but if yours does not have top-mounted discharge, make sure that it's placed
well away from walls and furniture to keep air circulating freely. Keep it away from
sources of excessive dust or dirt, since this can very quickly clog the machine. For that
matter, be sure to check and clean your dehumidifier's filter regularly -- this will
help ensure that it's operating as efficiently as possible.
In addition to saving energy, you also might be able to recycle the water that your
dehumidifier collects. The water that shows up in your dehumidifier's bucket is
considered greywater. That means it's not suitable for drinking, but can be great for
watering houseplants and flowers, since it's less salty than tap water. However, you
should check first to see if there are any restrictions on using greywater in your area.
While the benefits of dehumidifier ownership are many, there are some potential
downsides, too. For one thing, cost may be an issue. Dehumidifiers can be somewhat pricey
-- many models sell for more than $150. Or you may just object to having a bucket of
standing water sitting around in your home. No matter what your reservations are, it's
worth figuring out if you really need a dehumidifier before you take the plunge and buy
one. Read on for some tips that may help you make that decision.
Do you need a dehumidifier?
Start by taking a look around your home. The most noticeable symptoms of excessive
humidity may include wet stains on your walls and ceilings, rotting and weakened wood, mold
and fungus, condensation on your windows, peeling wallpaper, blistering paint, and a
generally musty, stuffy feeling.
In addition to those somewhat obvious signs of humidity, there are also some more
subtle conditions you can watch out for. For example, you may want to look into a
purchasing a dehumidifier if your doors, cabinets or windows are sticking, or if your
floors are especially creaky. When wood absorbs moisture, it swells. This pushes apart
joints, loosens screws and nails, and generally compromises your home's strength. While
your noisy stairs might be a simple nuisance now, if humidity is the underlying issue, your
problems could get worse.
Dehumidifiers can also help mitigate the effects of common allergies to dust mites,
fungus and mold; if the air in your home is excessively moist, it can encourage the growth
of these allergens.
Even if you don't have allergies, preventing mold growth is a good reason to
consider getting a dehumidifier. Mold only requires a bit of moisture to grow, and it can
set up shop in your home as soon as one of its airborne spores finds a hospitably damp
surface. A mold problem in your home can cause serious illness. And once it shows up, mold
is a pain to eradicate and can permanently stain or damage whatever it's decided to
live on. The easiest strategy is to just keep it from showing up at all.
You can also use a dehumidifier to discourage insects from moving in with you. Roaches,
silverfish, spiders and centipedes all love a moist environment. Keeping the air in your
home relatively dry will drive away those unwanted tenants. Additionally, if you've got
a cold or a particularly bad, congested cough, using a dehumidifier may free up your
breathing and help you sleep better at night.
As you can see, there are plenty of good reasons why you might consider using a
dehumidifier. To find out more about these devices and related topics, follow the links on
the next page.