If your home suffers from signs of excess condensation or dampness, you may need a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers can help to keep your room’s humidity in check. This will go a long way in improving your indoor air quality and eliminate any physical signs of damp air. A dehumidifier will also boost your health by eliminating common allergy triggers such as mold, dust mites, and mildew.
To understand more about how a humidifier works, it’s essential that you know what humidity is. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in your indoor air. When there is a lot of water vapor in the air, your indoor humidity will be high. This makes your house feel damp or wet, and it can be visible through condensation in your windows. The level of humidity in the air needs to moderate for your home comfort.
What is a Dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is an appliance that regulates the humidity of a room by removing excess water vapor from the air. This will improve your living condition by eliminating allergic organisms, mold, and dust mites. Dehumidifiers have mechanisms that allow them to take water vapor in gas form and remove it as liquid water.
How Does a Humidifier Work?
There are two mechanisms by which dehumidifiers work. The first one is refrigeration, where they use a similar technology like an air conditioner or refrigerator to cool air to remove moisture. The second is the absorption mechanism, where water vapor is absorbed onto a drying material where it is released.
When you plug in a refrigerant dehumidifier, a series of sensors that check the humidity level in the air and around the unit is activated. When they detect water vapor beyond a certain threshold, they start removing it.
An electric reversed fan draws the warm, moist air inward through a grille. The air then passed over cold pipes that contain a specialized type of coolant found in a refrigerator or air conditioner.
As the air cools, the water vapor condenses into liquid water and drips down the pipe to a specialized basin at the base. The cool and dry air passes through a heating element or compressor unit, warms back up to room temperature, and is blown back into the room through another grille.
A plastic float switch rises in the basin as the water rises upwards until the tray is full. After reaching the tank’s total capacity, the switch automatically turns the entire unit off, stopping the fan then turning on the indicator light, and finally the machine stops.
The main advantage of refrigerant dehumidifiers is that they are more economical when dealing with warmer and damp air. They are also more affordable and easy to manage thanks to automation. On the other hand, they can be a little noisy, and the filters may need more regular cleaning.
In terms of appearance, the absorption or desiccant dehumidifiers look almost similar to refrigerant dehumidifiers, with the exception of the slotted grille. Absorption dehumidifiers have a set of sensors that automatically detect when the indoor air is high. It then uses an outward-facing duct to draw in the moist air.
The air is channeled to a large rotating wheel which is covered in an adsorbent gel or desiccant that removes the excess moisture from the air. As the wheel spins, it collects up water vapor from the passing air. An electric motor fan draws the air, and once the air is dry, it is circulated in the room.
The rotating wheel can circulate the air multiple times before it passes to the heater that dries the air before returning to the room. Absorption dehumidifiers have a slower action, but they can manage your humidity using a thermostat. They also have a quieter operation and more efficient at lower temperatures. However, they tend to be slightly more expensive.
Features to Look for When Choosing a Dehumidifier
There are various types of dehumidifiers. The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America gives two main measurements: efficiency and water removed per day.
Water Removed Per Day
This is the amount of water a dehumidifier removes, measured in liters or pints collected every 24 hours of continuous operation. A bigger dehumidifier will remove more water than a smaller one.
The amount of power of your dehumidifier determines its efficiency. If you live in a damp environment, you may end running your machine for a long time. The efficiency of a dehumidifier is determined by how much water it removes divided by the power it consumes, given in liters per kilowatt-hour. The wattage or power consumption is not enough to measure the efficiency of a humidifier. Although, high wattage will mean that your dehumidifier will work harder to remove more water per hour.
Signs You Might Need a Dehumidifier
Maintaining proper humidity in your home will enhance your comfort. A dehumidifier will aid in removing excess water. Most humidity problems are seasonal, but you could be having high moisture levels all year-round. Here are the common signs that you need a dehumidifier.
One of the most common signs of too much moisture in a room is condensation on the interior glass. This can result from a humidifier that is too large for the room producing too much moisture. When too much moisture builds upon the window, it can encourage mold and eventual rotting wooden casings.
If you notice mold growth, turn off the humidifier and change the setting for a lower amount of moisture output. You can also open the window to increase air circulation to the room and correct the moisture level.
Construction materials such as cement and improper sealing of sheetrock can cause moisture buildup in your home. Prolonged rain can also lead to high humidity issues in your home. Some areas naturally have a high humidity factor, leading to high levels of moisture in the air. Installing will help to remove excess moisture and improve your comfort.
Musty Smell or Odor
If you have a musty odor in your crawl spaces, basements, or entrances, you may have mold growth. You can have a recurring humidity problem or a one-time event. This can be caused by a range of issues, including:
- Construction sealing issues
- Improper door or window seal
- Groundwater seepage
- Inadequate tile installation
A dehumidifier will help to lower the humidity, but you may need further investigation to check for any recurring issues. A front-load washer can cause a musty odor or musty-smelling beddings and towels. Not all washers lead to mold issues, as some are designed to be more efficient and reduce the problem.
Another cause for a musty odor can be a neglected interior dryer lint filter and a plugged exterior vent. The musty smell is a result of moist air from the dryer being trapped due to restricted airflow.
Bathrooms usually have problems with mold, especially if they do not have efficient fans to divert steam and humidity outside. This can lead to mold growth on the ceiling, walls, behind the bath or shower surround, or under or around the toilet. The presence of mold in your home can lead to serious health issues.
While a dehumidifier will help to remove the excess moisture, it is crucial that you find a long-term condition for the underlying problem. A mold expert can help you remove mold from your home, but they mostly use new mildew-resistant paint. Other areas that you may find mold include basement rooms, closets, and storage areas. Rotting casings and faulty window seals can lead to mold growth below the windows.
Recurring Spring Water Run-Off Dampness
Spring groundwater dampness can increase the level of moisture in your indoor air. You may notice signs like grayish and white level marks in the basement. This could be due to unsealed concrete, inadequate weeping tile around your home or the house was built on a low plain or river bed.
A common sign of too much humidity in your home is discomfort while you are sleeping. Your body is forced to evaporate sweat to cool, according to the National Sleep Foundation. This may make it hard for you to get and maintain sleep.
You may also find difficulty in breathing due to asthma symptoms such as wheezing and chest tightness. A dehumidifier will help you to get rid of the excess moisture and improve your home comfort.
Benefits of a Humidifier
Improves Air Quality And Absorbs Moisture From The Air
Dehumidifiers play a crucial role in improving your indoor air quality. It helps to eliminate dust mites that may lead to asthma and allergy-related symptoms. These bugs thrive in a humid environment, and a dehumidifier will help you prevent possible health-related issues.
Protects Your Home
High levels of humidity can destroy the structural integrity of your home. It affects wooden structures causing them to crack, warp and even split. It can also lead to rusting of metal fittings and objects. A dehumidifier helps to remove excess water and prevent your home from deteriorating. This creates a healthier living environment for you and your family.
Prevents the Growth of Mold
High levels of moisture in your indoor air encourage the growth of mold. They break down natural materials through the process of biodegradation. It also affects your health by triggering allergic symptoms, including skin rashes, eye and throat irritation, skin rashes, itchy throat, sneezing, and coughing. A dehumidifier will eliminate the excess moisture and inhibit the growth of mold in your house.
1. How long does it take for a dehumidifier to dry out a room?
Various factors affect how long a dehumidifier can dry out a room, including the dampness and dehumidifier capacity. Other factors include the room size and design, area of the country, and temperature of the surroundings.
2. How much water should a dehumidifier collect in a day?
Most manufacturers claim it can collect from 10 to 20 liters of water per day. However, the amount of water a dehumidifier can collect in a day will depend on the moisture level in your home. During periods of high humidity, it can collect more water in a day.
3. When should you use a dehumidifier?
The main reason to use a dehumidifier is if you live in an area with high humidity. However, some signs will tell you it’s time to use a dehumidifier. They include: when you notice condensation on your windows, musty smell, and mold growth in your home.
4. Is it OK to sleep in a room with a dehumidifier?
Yes, it is OK to sleep in a room with a dehumidifier. Ensure it has a low noise level so that it does not disturb you.
5. How does a dehumidifier work?
A dehumidifier works in two ways. The first one is refrigeration where it uses the same technology as in an air conditioner or refrigerator. The second one is through absorption, where water vapor is absorbed onto a drying material.