If you live in a warmer climate or experience warmer temperatures during the summer months, the odds are that some rooms in your home may become humid. A little increase in humidity once in a while might not be a big deal, but it can cause big problems over prolonged periods of time. Some homes only have problems with high humidity only during the summer months. Other homes have problems with excess moisture in the air year-round.
To help protect yourself and your home from the problems associated with elevated humidity levels you should consider purchasing a dehumidifier. So let’s learn more about dehumidifiers and what they do.
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Signs you may need a dehumidifier
One sign of increased humidity is a lingering musty odor indoors. This usually means that mold or mildew are lurking somewhere nearby. Take a few moments to determine where the musty smell is strongest. If this is near a door or window, it could have been caused by an improper seal. If the smell is coming from your laundry room, it’s a good time to check your appliances for mold. This could be a potentially serious problem because it could damage clothes and spread airborne pollutants.
Rotting or Deteriorating Wood
Wood that’s been left exposed to moisture over prolonged periods of time will eventually show signs of deterioration or rot. It can also attract ants, termites, and other unwanted creatures.
If left untreated, the deterioration can spread to walls, drywall, and even your home’s foundation. Replace any wood that has started to decay and start running a dehumidifier in the affected area as soon as you can. This can help to preserve other areas that haven’t been affected yet.
Mold is one of the most common signs of increased humidity. Fortunately, it’s very easy to identify. Dark patches or spots on wood, ceilings, walls and other areas are signs of mold. Once mold has gotten into a particular area, it tends to spread rather rapidly.
Mold usually forms in areas that have a lot of moisture. Showers, bathtubs, and sinks are some areas where you may find it. When using the shower, make sure to run the exhaust fan to dry the area out more rapidly. If mold continues to be a problem in your bathroom, it may be time to check your current ventilation system. If you see mold on windows or sheetrock, they should be replaced quickly to prevent them from spreading even further.
Water stains on the walls or ceilings can be an indication of excess humidity in the home.
Any time you see water stains you want to make sure that it isn’t due to a leaky roof, plumbing leak or other similar problems.
Some homes in certain areas of the country have consistent problems with water making its way inside. These houses may be in a floodplain or other areas that tend to have a lot of precipitation. They might have landscaping that doesn’t slope away from the house, which allows water the opportunity to collect by the foundation. Houses that have poor foundations or have experienced flooding in the past are usually at higher risk.
If your home matches one of these scenarios, running a dehumidifier can help. You may also want to find the source of the problem. A dehumidifier can be a temporary fix, but the issue should be resolved sooner rather than later. It may not be a quick or cheap fix, but correcting the problem can save you a lot of time and effort in the long run.
How do dehumidifiers work?
Dehumidifiers are used to remove excess moisture from the air. They use many of the same principles as an air conditioner. Here is a good video from Dimplex, a brand of dehumidifier in the UK, that explains how a dehumidifier works in an easy to understand way.
If you prefer to read about how dehumidifiers work here’s the step-by-step process:
- The dehumidifier’s internal fan draws warmer air into the unit.
- The air that’s brought in passes over a cool surface.
- As the air gets cooled, its moisture condenses into water.
- The water that’s produced is collected in a container inside the dehumidifier.
- Air is warmed by the dehumidifier.
- The warmed air is circulated back outside of the dehumidifier.
- The dehumidifier’s internal defroster will de-ice the unit.
- Moisture continues to be collected in the dehumidifier’s container.
- The dehumidifier shuts off automatically when the desired temperature is reached.
Home Benefits of Dehumidifiers
Here are a few things dehumidifiers can do to help your home:
Save money on air conditioning
On those sultry summer days 2 things make us feel uncomfortable:
- Heat (air temperature)
By helping to remove even more moisture from the air than the air conditioner already does a dehumidifier can allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees warmer than you normally would and still feel comfortable because the humidity levels in your house are at a lower level.
Dehumidifiers help with condensation
One of the main reasons why people use dehumidifiers in their homes, garages and storage spaces is to combat excessive condensation. Mold and wood rot tends to occur on windows, mirrors, doors and other areas that are exposed to a lot of moisture.
The air they recirculate is drier and warmer. It’s a simple and very effective way to stop mold and wood rot from even beginning in the first place. Plus, by getting rid of that excess moisture from indoor areas you save money by avoiding those costly repairs that are associated with mold and wood rot.
They can also keep your collections safe.
Anyone who has valuables or collectible items knows how important it is to keep them in rooms that are free from dust and moisture. Newspapers, magazines, comic books, sports cards, photographs, and other collections can easily be damaged by excess moisture. Using a dehumidifier will not only reduce moisture in rooms they are used in, but will help keep those collections safe for future generations to enjoy.
Protect your electronics
You might not know it, but high humidity can damage the electronic devices in your home. With electronic devices playing a part in so many facets of our lives these days taking good care of these expensive products is just common sense.
Keeping the relative humidity level in your home between 30% and 60% will help to extend the life of your electronics.
Health benefits of dehumidifiers:
Having dampness and mold in your home can put your health at risk. So running a dehumidifier in a home with high levels of humidity has many proven health benefits. Here are a few of the most noteworthy things dehumidifiers can do for your health:
Dehumidifiers prevent dust mites from forming
Dust tends to gather in areas that haven’t been cleaned often or aren’t easy to reach. Over time, these dust mites can trigger allergies and other health concerns. The number of dust mites goes up dramatically in homes with high levels of dampness. While dust mites exist in almost every home, using a dehumidifier will help to greatly reduce their numbers.
Dehumidifiers help to prevent asthma attacks.
Several studies have shown that some children who developed asthma were exposed to mold at some point during their youth. Asthma attacks can be triggered by many things, including mildew, mold, dust mites, dirt, cleaning products and other indoor and outdoor pollutants.
Dehumidifiers work to remove these contaminants and other airborne particles. They are even more effective when used in tandem with a good air purifier and/or central heating and cooling system. Dehumidifiers won’t eliminate every asthma trigger, but they can significantly help to reduce your child’s chances of suffering from sudden asthma attacks in your home.
Dehumidifiers can help with allergies
Exposure to mold, mildew, and dust mites – in addition to the more commonly thought of pollen, pet hair, bacteria, smoke, and other airborne contaminants – are frequent allergy triggers. Having a humidifier in your home helps eliminate some of those triggers allowing you to breathe better and have fewer allergy issues.
Dehumidifiers can reduce skin irritation
More and more people suffer from skin irritation every day. Exposure to mold, dust mites, dirt, dust, pet dander, sand, soap, and certain cleaning products are just some of the causes for this increase. Common signs of skin irritation include dry skin, increased itchiness or repeated inflammation.
Because dehumidifiers can help curb the growth of mold and dust mites that along with dirt, pet dander, allergens and other substances that can irritate the skin, people who use them usually have fewer skin problems. They not only help people avoid such problems but in some cases, dehumidifiers can actually help to soothe skin.
These are just some of the many advantages of owning a dehumidifier. Personally, I’m happy to have a lower energy bill because I’ve used my dehumidifier in conjunction with my central heating and air conditioning system at home. Using the dehumidifier during the warm, humid months has made my air conditioner work less often.
If you have problems with mold, mildew, or excess moisture accumulating in your home you should definitely make the investment in a dehumidifier. They help reduce moisture and improve indoor air quality, which will protect your health as well as your home and your belongings.