Keep Cool with Dehumidifiers

By Mark Watola on 02/02/2021

Ever come home to a stuffy, muggy home in the summer and fire up the air conditioner for relief? Then wonder why your energy bill is significantly higher during warmer months? It’s no secret that electricity bills increase in the summer, just like gas bills typically rise in winter for warmth. But what can you do to mitigate those energy bill increases?

We’ve discussed using humidifiers in winter months, and now we’ll share how using dehumidifiers in summer months also offers benefits in health, energy savings, and home maintenance.

Why does humid air feel hotter?

Warmer air holds more moisture. The moisture in the air prevents sweat from evaporating and therefore cooling the body.

Removing the moisture from the air makes temperatures feel cooler, exactly what you want in the summer. A tall glass of lemonade or a mint julep might refresh the soul, but they won’t stop you from sweating.

Why should I use a dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers draw in and collect moisture from the air to help maintain an appropriate humidity level. Use a dehumidifier in warmer months for the ideal humidity in the home: between 30-50%.

Removing excess moisture provides benefits for health and comfort. Temperatures do not feel as hot, and keeping humidity lower prevents mold and mildew growth which causes respiratory issues for folks with asthma or allergies. Humidity also affects the longevity of your home, causing damage and inviting pests.

In the summer, using a dehumidifier with air conditioning results in energy savings. How? Dehumidifiers require less energy than HVAC systems to run. Using a dehumidifier in a highly occupied room makes the air more bearable, in turn requiring less of a strain on air conditioning to feel cooler.

 
 

How can I tell if moisture levels are too high?

Measure humidity accurately with a humidistat or hygrometer.

Indicators of high humidity include:

  • Unpleasant odors
  • Streaks or water spots
  • Peeling paint or wallpaper
  • Electronics malfunctions
  • Warped wood floors and books
  • Increased pest and insect presence
  • Excessive condensation on windows or walls

 

How do dehumidifiers work?

Plug it in, power it on, and let it run. The dehumidifier draws in air with a fan. Then condenser coils lower the temperature of the moisture until it condenses into liquid form. The water then stores in a reservoir.

Most dehumidifiers have an automatic shutoff function to prevent overflow. Empty the container by simply disposing of the water yourself or use hose attachments to direct water to a drain or pump.

Like any appliance, check filters periodically. When dirty, the filters negatively impact performance.

How do I pick the right dehumidifier? 

Unlike humidifiers, dehumidifiers are not measured in output. Dehumidifier ratings measure moisture removal in pints per 24 hours. But how do you choose the right number of pints per day? This depends on square footage and moisture levels of the room.

Account for 1 pint for every 30-50 square feet. Wetter locations require higher capacity dehumidifiers.

For example, a 30-pint dehumidifier can work in a damp 900 square foot room. But if that same 900 square foot room has standing water, indicative of an extremely wet room, a 50-pint dehumidifier would work better.

Use portable units when seeking moisture control in just one specific room.

Whole-home units enable humidity control throughout the entire house. Pair them with your home’s HVAC system to control humidity on a large scale.

 

Don't wait until summer to scramble for a dehumidifier. Buying applicances and products in the off-season prevents a headache and saves money!

Resources:

https://www.energystar.gov/products/appliances/dehumidifiers/dehumidifier_basics https://home.howstuffworks.com/dehumidifier.htm

 

 

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