Installing a dehumidifier lowers your home’s overall humidity levels, making it harder for mold, dust mites and mildew to stick around in your home. Their absence can help reduce allergy symptoms, while protecting children from childhood asthma caused by mold.
Why Use a Dehumidifier?
How to choose the right dehumidifier for your home:
To find the right dehumidifier, you must first understand your home’s humidity levels. A hygrometer will measure the relative humidity in your home, and you can pick one up at any home goods store. An ideal relative humidity is between 40 and 50 percent, though it may be lower in the winter, especially in very cold climates. You will also need to measure the size of the space you want to dehumidify in square feet.
The size of the room compared to the reading on your hygrometer will provide you with the information you need to find the right sized dehumidifier. Dehumidifier manufacturers often provide sizing charts to help you determine the right product for your space and humidity level.
Dehumidifier sizes are typically expressed in terms of the number of pints of moisture they can remove per 24 hours. Most portable household dehumidifiers range from about 30 to 90 pints, though smaller and larger units are available. If your needs are right on the border between two sizes, or if you’re uncertain about your estimations, it’s best to go with the larger model.
There are also whole-home dehumidifiers that work with your home’s HVAC system, but you’ll need to shop around among HVAC installers for sizing consultations and price quotes.
How to Use a Dehumidifier
There are key differences among dehumidifier models, so you should always refer to the documentation specific to your model for usage, maintenance and safety instructions. Two of the biggest differences among models are energy-saving features and the mechanisms for storing and moving water.
Basic models may not have any energy saving features at all, but more advanced models may have built-in timers or humidistats. With a timer, you can set your dehumidifier to turn off during late night hours if the room is usually empty. A humidistat is better, because it allows you to set a desired humidity level, just like you use your thermostat to set the temperature in your home. The dehumidifier will then cycle on and off as needed to maintain the desired level. Learn how to use these settings on your model to save energy and money.
A dehumidifier uses a fan, condenser and evaporator to suck moisture out of the air, and all that moisture has to go somewhere. In some models, it goes into an internal tank. Other models may have an optional drain tube that can divert the water to a floor drain. The most advanced models have internal pumps that can pump water to sinks or other drains without relying on gravity to take the water away. Whichever setup you use, there will be regular maintenance involved, such as emptying the tank or periodically cleaning the drain tube.
Whatever type or size humidifier you use, be sure to place it on level ground and only plug it into a grounded outlet. Place it at least six inches away from walls or other surfaces to ensure airflow.