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What is a Dehumidifier and Why Do You Need One?

Humidity is simply a part of our daily lives. If the humidity is overwhelming it can make you feel uncomfortable especially when it affects the air quality inside your homes. A simple but effective solution to the high humidity is to get a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier can resolve the problem, make the home more comfortable and protect the property from damage. Yes, high humidity can also damage a home. Let’s explore what a dehumidifier is, why you need one, and how to install it.

What is a Dehumidifier?

In the simplest terms, a dehumidifier is a machine that reduces the amount of moisture in the air by drawing in moist air, cooling it down, and then reheating it to remove excess moisture. The air passes over evaporator coils that are at a temperature below the dew point of the incoming air. As the air passes the coils, the moisture in the air condenses into water droplets which drip into a collection tray. The drier air is then recirculated back into the home or business. Dehumidifiers can be set to a predetermined humidity level so that the home or business always stays comfortable.

Why You Need a Dehumidifiermold problems

Prevents Health Problems

When the humidity level is high in a home, allergy related problems arise. For example, mold and mildew love humid environments so they tend to flourish when humidity gets to or exceeds the recommended range. The ideal range is between 30 – 50 percent. If your home gets close to or exceeds 50%, then allergy conditions may be more present leading to allergic reactions including respiratory problems or asthma. Adding a dehumidifier to the home can control the moisture level making mold and mildew less likely to grow.

Protects Your Home

Excessive moisture can also cause damage to your home. When the air inside the home stays at a high level of moisture for a long period of time, it can lead to the paint peeling, the wood warping, along with other forms of water damage that can lead to expensive repairs. To avoid damage to the home, adding a dehumidifier can relatively quickly lower the humidity and keep these issues from happening.

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Reduces Energy Costs

When the humidity level is high, it can feel warmer than normal. You may be inclined to turn on or turn up the air conditioning in order to feel more comfortable. What the air conditioner is doing is reducing the temperature in the home and subsequently the humidity. However, running the air conditioner for the sole purpose of removing humidity can make the home too cost and of course lead to higher electric bill. Plus, you may not like the cooler temperature in the home. A better solution may be to install a dehumidifier that can bring down the humidity in the home at a fraction of the cost of running the air conditioning.

Choosing the Right Dehumidifier for Your Home

There are 2 main types of dehumidifiers you can get for your home. First is the portable type which can be placed anywhere you like in the home. They are convenient to move around but tend to have the following concerns:

  • May be less effective for large open spaces
  • Require you to empty the water reservoir on a regular basis
  • Can be rather noisy
  • Generally unattractive to have in the middle of your space.

The 2nd type is a whole house dehumidifier which works in conjunction with your HVAC system and can be installed in a non conspicuous area of your home. The unit monitors and maintains the desired humidity level in the living area. It is setup to adjust the humidity as air flows through the duct work, covering a larger area of the home. The whole house dehumidifier can also be setup to automatically pump the excess water to the outside of the home.

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How to Install a DehumidifierWhole House Dehumidifier Front

Choose the Right Size

If you are going with a portable dehumidifier then you can choose from a wide assortment of options which vary significantly in price, how much space they cover and the amount of moisture removed per hour.

A whole house dehumidifier, on the other hand is a simpler choice as capacity is measured in how many pints in a 24-hour period (PPD) that the unit is able to remove. To determine the correct size dehumidifier for your home, you need to consider the size of the air to be covered and the level of humidity. Below are 3 different options of whole house dehumidifiers:

  • 60 PPD model that covers 11,000 cu. ft.
  • 85 PPD model that covers 15,000 cu. ft.
  • 120 PPD model that covers 21,000 cu. ft.

Find the Right Location

Finding the correct location in the home depends on the type of unit you bought. Once you have chosen the right size dehumidifier, the next step is to choose a good location in the home. It is best to place the dehumidifier somewhere near the center of the home or floor, depending on your floorplan. It should be placed away from walls and other obstructions so that it can work efficiently and remove the most amount of humidity from the room. To ensure that the unit works correctly and efficiently, the whole house dehumidifier should be installed by a licensed contractor. They are skilled in determining the ideal location for your house and will also typically install a vapor barrier.

Plug it in

After finding the right location, the next step is to plug in the dehumidifier. Portable dehumidifiers come with a 3 prong power cord that can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet. Make sure that the cord is not kinked or tangled, as this can damage the cord, reduce the efficiency of the unit and possibly cause a fire. If you are having a whole house dehumidifier installed, your HVAC contractor will place it in an ideal location close to a power source and connect it to power for you.

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Set the Humidity Level

The final step is to set the humidity level on the unit. Most dehumidifiers come with a built-in sensor called a humidistat that allows you to set the desired humidity level. The ideal humidity level is between 30% and 50% according to saveonenergy.ca. What is the correct level for your home. Well, this depends on what level you are most comfortable. You should try different levels within the ideal range and see what feels best to you. Setting the humidity level too low can cause the air to become too dry, which can lead to other problems, such as dry skin and static electricity and higher humidity can cause the problems we discussed early.

Controlling humidity in the home may not seem like something most people think about, and you are right. However, there is a significant cost to your health and the health of your home, if problems with humidity are not fixed. Not only can high humidity lead to having allergic reactions including respiratory problems, but it can cause damage to what many consider their most valuable asset. Installing a dehumidifier is a straightforward process that involves choosing the right size, finding the right location, plugging it in, and setting the humidity level. Anyone that lives in a humid climate should consider installing a dehumidifier.

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