You’ve likely heard of a humidifier, but have you heard of a dehumidifier? Just as its name suggests, it does the exact opposite of a humidifier. This machine removes excess water in the air to lower the humidity level.
If you’ve ever spent an extended amount of time outdoors, especially during the summer, then you know how humid it can get. Aside from the heat, the air feels heavy and wet. If the air inside your home feels like that, then you need a dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers: an introduction
When it comes to operation, dehumidifiers are more straightforward compared to humidifiers. Dehumidifiers are rather straightforward; just set your desired humidity level and let the machine do its thing. As long as you check the machine’s water reservoir every once in a while, it will do its work with minimal supervision.
Despite the hands-off handling that dehumidifiers offer, their job is somewhat complicated. First, the device sucks in the air and filters any dust and allergens out of it. Then, the air goes through a cold compressor coil inside the machine. The coil’s coolness creates condensation, which in turn draws water out of the air. While the water drips down to the reservoir, the air passes through the reheater before going back out to the room.
In a way, dehumidifiers are similar to air conditioners. The main difference lies in what happens to the air after it goes through the cooling coil. While air conditioners keep the air cool, dehumidifier reheats the air.
Where to use a dehumidifier
The beauty of the dehumidifier is that you can use it anywhere in your house. And by anywhere, we really do mean anywhere, even your crawl space! Believe it or not, using a crawl space dehumidifier is recommended to keep your home’s foundation safe and secure.
You don’t have to have a crawl space to use a dehumidifier, however. Regardless of whether you live in a mansion or a studio apartment, a dehumidifier will work in any room you pick.
Of course, some of the most obvious choices are the bedroom, the bathroom, the laundry room, and if applicable, the basement. These rooms are usually where most of the humidity is located. As long as you can keep that room sealed while the dehumidifier works its magic, your chosen room will have the perfect humidity level in no time.
Preparing to use a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers are pretty much touch-and-go machines, but it always helps to do some preparation before letting them loose in a room. Not only does it cut the working time for the machine, but it also helps prolong the device’s life. These gadgets are not exactly cheap, so it would be beneficial to treat your investment with care.
The first thing you need to make sure is to check the room for any signs of mold or mildew growth. This shouldn’t be a problem if you’re creating a common area like the bathroom, but it’s worth a check anyway. If you’re dehumidifying a more secluded area like the basement or the crawl space, then you must check for mold and mildew first.
Why all the fuss about checking for mold? That’s because dehumidifiers can help spread mold spores if you don’t get rid of them first. Remember how these machines work? They suck in and expel them back into the room. If the air is full of mold spores, the same particles will get blown again out of the machine. Spreading mold spores this way guarantees more of them.
Once you’re sure that the room is free of mold, let your dehumidifier do its thing. Regulating a room’s humidity level prevents mold growth.
Letting the dehumidifier work
The amount of time the dehumidifier needs to treat a room entirely depends on the humidity level in the room, the size of the room, the size of the machine itself, and the desired humidity level. Experts recommended setting the humidity anywhere around 30 to 50 percent. Any higher and it’ll be too muggy, while anything lower than 30 percent dries the air too much and can cause foundation cracks.
While the dehumidifier is working, make sure the room is sealed off and isn’t susceptible to any frequent foot traffic. This is because you want the machine to treat the place as efficiently as possible. Always opening the door to enter the room introduces outside air, which the device has to manage again.
Some dehumidifiers come with a hose for the water to exit. If your unit has a collection tray instead, you’ll have to empty it manually to prevent overflow. Check your machine’s user manual so you can schedule checks while it’s working in a room.
If you’re dehumidifying a less common area such as the basement or crawl space, it might be worth attaching a hygrometer to the dehumidifier. This is especially helpful with a crawl space dehumidifier, where access to the area should be minimal. The machine should be configured to work automatically once the humidity level passes a certain threshold.
Things to keep in mind
While a dehumidifier can be like a lifesaver during a particularly humid day, keep in mind that it still uses electricity. Constant use will drive up your electricity bills, so don’t just rely on it to keep you comfortable. Make sure you do some preventive measures as well, such as keeping doors and windows most of the time. Try not to keep any sources of standing water and try to use ventilation fans in the bathroom and/or kitchen whenever necessary.
With the right use, dehumidifiers can genuinely help you live more comfortably. It makes the air dryer, so you don’t have to think that it’s hot. It helps keep mold from growing inside your house, and it helps prevent rooms from smelling musty. Use it wisely alongside your home’s air conditioning unit, and you’ll be living pleasantly regardless of the time of the year.