- Updated March 28, 2018
- Posted by: Shannon Ward
- Category: Guide
It’s normal for the air we breathe to contain some water vapors but, for various reasons, the level of air humidity can increase until it becomes very unpleasant and even dangerous. A healthy and comfortable level of humidity should not exceed a 50% for you to breathe normally and to feel at ease. As this level increases, the signs start to be noticed firstly in the aspect of your home and secondly in your health condition.
How Humidity Affects Your Life
The effects of a high indoor humidity can be first seen in the appearance of mold, which is encouraged by moisture and dampness. Mold spores thrive in humid areas and spread rapidly as the humidity penetrates walls, floors, furniture, and fabrics. A room with a high indoor humidity is likely to develop condense and mold which damages the structure of the walls and floors. A crawlspace or a basement affected by mold can be less resistant and can lead to bigger damage to the house. As mold and mildew get deeper into the plaster and the cement, they are very hard to get rid of and rapidly spread to other areas of the house.
Furthermore, the appearance of mold due to a high air moisture shows effects in the way you feel. As you breathe humid air, your lungs inhale the water and the mold spores and you can suffer from serious illnesses like bronchitis, pneumonia or asthma. There are various types of mold and the most dangerous ones can even be deadly as the symptoms worsen by the day. Mold spores are also known as allergens that can trigger severe allergies that are very hard to cure. Sleeping in a moldy bedroom or spending your day in an office attacked by mold can make you experience itchy eyes and nose, coughing, and difficulties in breathing.
The Best Solution for Fighting Air Moisture
Given how unpleasant the effects of humidity can be, it’s mandatory that you search for the most effective and fast methods of lowering the air moisture. This way, you will prevent mold from spreading and you will keep your health safe from all the problems.
- In order to dry the air, you should ensure a proper ventilation that will circulate the air and prevent moisture and condense from developing. An increased air circulation minimizes the chances of mold and dampness so make sure you keep a window opened in rooms that are prone to becoming moldy.
- Sudden changes in temperature or big differences between the indoor and outdoor temperature can be another cause of mold so you need to ensure a constant temperature if you want to fight air humidity. Try to keep your entire house warm during the cold season to prevent mold spores from appearing in cold rooms that are only heated occasionally.
- Steam is a common cause of the appearance of mold spores because it increases the level of air moisture. The bathroom and the kitchen are the rooms of the house where steam is formed very often, therefore, these are the places that require special attention. Keeping the venting hood on while you cook and ventilating the bathroom after a shower are methods that reduce the air moisture.
- Nevertheless, the most effective and hassle-free method is to use a dehumidifier, a device that absorbs water vapors from the air. Dehumidifiers work by a principle that sucks in the air along with the water particles that make it feel damp and heavy. As the air goes trough some chambers, the water is retained and the air that comes back out is drier and cleaner than before.
Important Things to Know About Dehumidifiers
Many people have heard of dehumidifiers and while some have never used one, others have one at home but ignore important things about these useful units. The most obvious aspect is the fact that they are used for removing excess moisture from the air in order to bring it to a more comfortable level for breathing. What you should know is that the dehumidifier also filters the air along the process as it retains mold spores and dust mites from the air. This contributes to improving the air quality.
Another thing worth mentioning about dehumidifiers is that they don’t affect the user in any way as they never release any sort of emissions into the air like some air purifiers often do. The air that is absorbed is dried and then released back into the room, cleaner and fresher than before.
When choosing a dehumidifier, you must know that size is the most important criteria because it influences the efficiency. Take a close look at the size and absorbing capacity of a dehumidifier before buying it.
Health Benefits of Using One
What people are most concerned about are the effects of an increased humidity level on their health, which are not to neglect. Considering how many serious illnesses are linked to mold and mildew, keeping their health safe by using a dehumidifier is an important decision to make. Without further ado, let’s have a look at what a dehumidifier can do for one’s health.
- It prevents allergies
Many allergens travel through the air and are multiplied by humidity, including dust mites, spores, fungus, and bacteria. With the help of a dehumidifier, these impurities are absorbed and retained so that the risks of allergies are drastically decreased. You will feel better both during the day and the night and you will no longer experience a stuffed nose, itchy eyes, or coughing.
- It reduces the risk of respiratory problems
Humid air feels damp and is harder to breathe, hence, the discomfort felt in a moldy room. The musty odor and the feeling of heavy air lead to coughing and difficulties in breathing, thus, increasing the risk of developing a severe respiratory condition. Asthma is commonly seen in people who struggle with an increased level of air moisture at home and the dehumidifier can prevent it by adjusting the air moisture.
- It eases asthma symptoms
Not only can a dehumidifier prevent asthma but it can also keep it under control in case you already suffer from it. Breathing humid air filled with mold spores can only worsen your condition so having a dehumidifier to take care of this issue will make you feel better and will prevent asthma attacks.
- It protects the lungs
As you breathe humid air, it gets into your lungs and it can cause severe and deadly diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, or other bacterial infections. By keeping the bacteria and spores away from your lungs, you can prevent contracting these diseases and you will be able to strengthen your immune system.
How much you will spend on a dehumidifier depends on the type you choose, the brand, and the technology it uses. Large units are more expensive than the smaller ones due to the more efficient operating mode and the higher capacity. As such, commercial dehumidifiers cost more, with prices that can reach $1,500 and above. Residential models have a price range between $20 and $300, depending on their size and type, being a more affordable choice. More advanced models designed by more popular manufacturers are more expensive but they will pay off in time. Also, keep in mind that you will also enjoy wider warranties and better customer support, which also reduces the maintenance costs in the long run.
The costs of a dehumidifier also imply the energy consumption, an aspect also related to the quality and reliability of the product. A standard model with an average energy usage of 280 watts per hour costs around $13 per month if you keep it running for around 10 hours per day. The costs, however, may vary according to how much humidity it needs to absorb and the electricity costs in your area. Energy Star rated products have an energy consumption 10 or 20% lower than the other models so you will manage to save money on the electricity bill. Newer models have been designed according to the Energy Star regulations, so keep your eyes opened for the label.
Different Types of Dehumidifiers
In order be able to choose a fine dehumidifier, you need to understand how a dehumidifier works, depending on its operating mode. On the market, there are three basic types that work according to a certain type of technology, each type being more or less efficient and packed with a series of features. We will present them based on their popularity and performance.
Also known as refrigerant, this type is the most common on the market and the most efficient as well. It involves a fan, a heat pump, and heat exchange that help it absorb moisture from the air and turn it into water drops. The fan pulls the air, passes it over the condensation coils that create heat exchange and turn vapors into liquid, then release the dried air back into the room while the liquid goes into a bucket. This simple process ensures a complete drying of the air and is highly effective in every house application.
The second type of dehumidifiers is very similar to the previous one, only that it uses a desiccant material such as the silica gel you can find in your shoe boxes. The reason why the manufacturer puts silica gel packets in shoe boxes is that this material can absorb moisture and keep mold away. The biggest advantage of desiccant dehumidifiers is that they don’t need to cool the air before drying it so you can use them in cold rooms.
Last, there is the ventilating dehumidifier that is the simplest in operating but not as efficient as the others, which is why it’s not so popular. This device simply pumps out humid air from the room through an outside vent.
Choosing the Right Model for Your Needs
This part is the most difficult one and it requires some thorough research. You shouldn’t rush into buying a certain model until you are certain that it’s the one that best fits your needs. Otherwise, you will regret your purchase.
What size do you need it to be?
The size of a dehumidifier is related to both the design and the operating capacity. A large dehumidifier can definitely handle a medium to large room while a more compact unit is designed for a smaller room. You need to know the size of the room you will be using it in so that the device will be able to handle the entire area. Also, the size is related to the power of absorption because a larger model relies on a bigger motor. You need to analyze the CFM of the product, namely the cubic feet of air per meter that it can circulate in order to see how powerful it is.
What room do you need it for?
Dehumidifiers are divided into a few categories according to their designated utility. As such, you can find commercial and residential dehumidifiers, units designed for basements or for dehumidifying crawlspaces, and dehumidifiers that can handle bathrooms or living rooms. This classification is based on their size, type, and features, making it easier for you to pick the right one judging by the room you will be using it in.
How much humidity is in the air?
For a dehumidifier to yield as expected, it needs to be appropriate for the humidity it will have to deal with, which is why you need to know the level of moisture in your house. Using a hygrometer, you can find out the percentage of air humidity in the room so that you will be able to choose the dehumidifier with the right absorbing capacity. For example, for a humidity level below 70% in a medium size room, you will need a dehumidifier with a 50-pint capacity. As the room size and the humidity percentage increase, the capacity must also increase.
What features are important?
The operating of a dehumidifier is quite simple, all you have to do is turn it on and leave it to work. However, there are some features that make it less hassle and more effective, as such:
–an automatic shut-off feature
–an evacuating pump
–a built-in humidistat
–a programmable timer
Top Brands on the Market
Now that you know more about the various types of dehumidifiers, it’s also helpful to know which are the brands that you can rely on when it comes to durability, promptitude, and reliability. Although a unit designed by a popular manufacturer is more expensive, the investment is worth it if you judge by the larger warranty or the better customer service.
Among the most reliable dehumidifiers, you will find the ones designed by Frigidaire. Models like Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 or FAD704DWD are proof of the quality of the brand and their attention to details. Any of the dehumidifiers offered by Frigidaire can successfully handle the highest levels of air humidity at the lowest operating costs.
When it comes to precise humidity control and convenience in use, Friedrich knows which are the features that matter and includes them in their products. These are ideal for absorbing moisture from the air in basements, garages, bathrooms, or any other area with humidity problems.
Designed for heavy-duty use, the Keystone dehumidifiers are the perfect combination of performance and affordability. You can choose from a wide range of products like KSTAD70B, KSTAD706PB, or the stylish KSTAD707A that are packed with intelligent features for the highest efficiency.
This is another renowned brand that specializes in top-of-the-line appliances, including top rated dehumidifiers. Their products are designed with innovative technologies and provide a high performance in reducing the level of humidity in any room of your house. The DeLonghi DD70PE and the DD50PE are benchmark products that raise the standards in the field.