The heat and humidity of summer have arrived! Don’t let summer’s stickiness take its toll on your comfort - or your home. Now is the time to invest in a dehumidifier…
Do I Really Need a Dehumidifier?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends maintaining humidity levels in the home of 30-60% to maintain comfort, prevent mold, and protect your home and contents from damage. The EPA’s Energy Star website points to these common indications dehumidification is necessary in your home…
- ‘Stuffy’ or ‘clammy’ rooms.
- Musty smells.
- Condensation on windows.
- Wet stains on walls/ceilings.
- Mold and mildew issues.
- Rotting wood.
- Pest problems (bugs love moisture).
- Allergies (subsequent to humidity-related mold, bacteria, dust mite and pest proliferation).
What is Dehumidification?
Moisture from the outdoor air, or trapped in your tightly sealed home from cooking, showering, and even breathing, can build up in your home, adding relative humidity to the air. Running your HVAC system helps lower that humidity, but in some cases it may not be enough. Step-in dehumidifiers, a more efficient means of moisture removal utilizing far less energy than your home’s HVAC system – some 80%.
How Does a Dehumidifier Work?
For obvious reasons, dehumidifiers work best in a closed environment. As hot air is capable of retaining more moisture than cold air, dehumidifiers take advantage of this principle. Sucking in air from within the room, they perform dehumidification by passing air over a cold evaporator coil filled with refrigerant to create condensation. Condensation collected on the evaporator is collected in a drip basin or is drained out via plumbing. The dehumidifier then reheats the air and blows it back into the room/your home. As this happens, the refrigerant cycles through a compressor and condenser to be passed through the evaporator coil again as the cycle repeats itself until the desired relative humidity is reached. (Dehumidifier models with a humidistat allow you to set the humidity level, much like you would the temperature thermostat on an HVAC system.) If you think this sounds an awful lot like the way your air conditioner works, you’re right. But your A/C can’t detect relative humidity, and it also can’t reheat the air before exhausting it, which is why if you try to use the A/C for dehumidification - you’ll rapidly overcool your home.
- Whole House Dehumidifier
Whole house models integrate into your HVAC system, thus their alter identity, ‘central air dehumidifiers.’ Adding a dehumidifier to furnace is also possible. Whole home dehumidifier installation is a professional job, as these larger machines tie-in with both HVAC, electrical, and plumbing to drain away moisture without the need to empty a basin. Out of sight, initial investment is more than portable models, however energy usage is up to 4 times less and maintenance far easier than portable models.
- Stand Alone Dehumidifier
Portable or standalone models address humidity in smaller areas and can be moved from room to room. Professional installation is not required, an initial investment is less. Good for problem areas, like basements, drawbacks include shorter lifespan, louder (and unsightly) operation, and more involved maintenance needs including the need to regularly empty the basin on most models. Options vary by model. Better models will feature a built-in humidity sensor, internal condensate pump, and multiple fan speeds.
Don’t let humidity stick it to you. Contact Aire Serv® and discover more about the best dehumidifier options for your home today.
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