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Dehumidifiers are useful devices that can either remove excess humidity or maintain the level of moisture in the air inside your home, creating a comfortable and healthy environment for you to live in. If you’re thinking about investing in one of these devices, knowing these frequently asked questions would help you to learn more about your investment and how to care for and maintain your dehumidifier.
1. What is dehumidification?
Dehumidification is the process of removing excess moisture or water vapor from the air in a certain area or space. This can be done by using a dehumidifier. This process, along with heating or cooling of air, is used in several air conditioning applications.
2. Where does the water in humidity come from?
There is always water in the air, inside or outside your home. The amount of water that’s inside the home can vary and be increased by routine activities of daily living such as washing, cooking, showering or even breathing. Uncovered water containers in your home like fish tanks or indoor ponds can also add to the amount of water vapor in the air.
3. Should I use a dehumidifier?
Using a dehumidifier is the best method of removing excess moisture from your home while avoiding issues that are caused by high levels of humidity in the air. These include the following:
- Condensation on the insides of your windows
- Warm, uncomfortable and clammy conditions
- Uneven floorboards
- Structural damage to your home
- Wet stains on ceilings and walls
- Musty scents
When ignored these issues can also trigger allergic reactions, respiratory conditions as well as other health problems. A dehumidifier will help you to avoid these issues by maintaining a proper level of humidity inside your home.
4. Should you open windows when using a dehumidifier?
A room with too much moisture or humidity can breed mildew and mold, causing unpleasant odors and health issues. Dehumidifiers are a great solution for this problem, but they perform at their highest with the windows closed. Opening the windows can allow the outside moisture to come inside which can interfere with the performance of your dehumidifier.
5. Where can I place a dehumidifier?
Keep your dehumidifier in the rooms that have the most moisture in the air such as the bedroom, bathroom, basement or living room. If you’re placing it against a wall, make sure the front is facing outwards so that it can work properly without any obstacles in the way. However, it shouldn’t be placed in dead corners because it can cause a shortage of airflow. You should ideally place it in the middle of the room. Keep in mind that the surface should be flat and solid to avoid noise and vibration during operation.
6. How do dehumidifiers work?
Dehumidifiers are designed to draw in sticky, damp air and cool it down with a condenser which removes the moisture. Then, the dehumidified air is released back into the area with a fan. The moisture that’s removed collects inside a bucket in the dehumidifier. These devices are typically used in problem areas like crawl spaces, bedrooms, basements and commercial areas to maintain healthy humidity levels.
7. What’s the ideal humidity level for my home?
The ideal humidity level is between 45-50% for most spaces. Any more than 50%, and you’ve got an environment in which cockroaches, bacteria, dust mites, mold spores and other pests can thrive. A humidity level that’s too low (less than 30%) can also be equally damaging, leading to an increase in flu and cold viruses, irritated respiratory passages and skin and many more. A dehumidifier that features a built-in humidistat can automatically maintain your room temperature for you.
8. Can one dehumidifier dehumidify a whole house?
If you’re going for a whole-house dehumidifier, then yes, one would be enough to cover your entire house. Portable dehumidifiers do not have the capacity to cover an entire house but will work well in smaller areas like individual rooms in the house. A whole-house dehumidifier is the best option if you want to decrease the humidity levels throughout your entire home instead of just in one room.
9. Is water from the dehumidifier drinkable?
As surprising as it may sound, dehumidifiers actually collect very clean water which is comparable to distilled water, provided that they’re cleaned regularly, and the water hasn’t been sitting around for ages. If the water has just dripped into a freshly and perfectly cleaned tank, then it’s typically safe to drink.
10. How long does it take for a dehumidifier to dry out a room?
If the dehumidifier you’ve chosen is the right size for the area it’s working in and there are no problems with dampness, it should reduce the humidity to the ideal level and get it under control in just a few days to one week.
11. When should I turn off my dehumidifier?
If temperatures run too low or if the area becomes too dry, turn off the dehumidifier. Some models come with auto shut-off features which turn the device off automatically if the humidity levels reach a certain point.
12. How much does it cost to operate a dehumidifier?
The cost of operating a dehumidifier depends not only on the type of the unit you use but also on how long it operates each day and the electricity it uses. Generally, you could expect to spend anywhere from $5 to $30 per month on energy costs.
If you’re interested in cutting down on your energy bills, look for a dehumidifier that’s Energy Star-rated since these operate at a much lower cost.
13. How often do you need to empty a dehumidifier?
How often you would need to empty your dehumidifier’s water bucket depends on the conditions and the size of the unit. The general rule of thumb is to empty the water bucket at intervals from twice a day to once every two days. If your dehumidifier is properly sized, you won’t need to empty it more often than this unless you’ve placed in an extremely damp room for the very first time.
14. How does a dehumidifier prevent mold and mildew?
Dehumidifiers prevent the growth of mold and mildew in two ways. First, it removes the dampness of the room, drying it out so that mold and mildew won’t be able to form and the dampness won’t recur. Secondly, if the dehumidifier has been set to maintain the relative humidity at 50% or less, the air will be too dry for mildew and mold spores to develop.
15. What is relative humidity?
Relative humidity is the amount of water vapor that’s present in air compared to how much the air could hold if it’s saturated. This is shown as a percentage. When relative humidity increases up to 100%, the air will be full of water vapor which will begin to condense on surfaces. If it’s at 50%, this means the air is holding half of the water vapor that it can actually hold. It all depends on the temperature. Warm air holds more water than cool air does so when air cools, the relative humidity rises although the physical quantity of the water vapor in the air stays the same.
16. Do humidifiers add heat into the space where it’s located?
Yes, dehumidifiers do add some heat into the environment, but the amount of heat varies a great deal depending on the size of the device and the area it’s in. If the unit is operating within a warmer temperature, it will be able to remove the moisture from the air more efficiently. In smaller spaces, a dehumidifier can raise the ambient temperature by 5-8 degrees. It will not be able to operate in an environment that’s too cold.
17. What does a dehumidifier’s capacity mean?
The capacity of a dehumidifier is rated by the amount of moisture that’s removed from the air within 24 hours. For example, a 30-pint humidifier is rated to remove 30 pints of moisture within a period of 24 hours. It’s important to remember that even if your dehumidifier may be removing 30 pints of moisture a day, it may have a smaller sized storage tank that holds less than 30 pints which means you’ll have to manually empty the bucket to achieve the maximum capacity of the unit. If this is the case, you have the option of purchasing a unit which offers a direct drain option so that the moisture will be expelled continuously, eliminating the need to manually empty the tank.
18. What is the lowest temperature a dehumidifier can operate in?
Residential dehumidifiers can typically operate in temperatures between 41 to 44 degrees whereas industrial units have the ability to operate in subzero temperatures. However, each unit is different so check the product specifications to find the exact operating temperature.
19. How long will my dehumidifier last?
If your dehumidifier isn’t running every day or 24 hours a day, it will last longer. Most units can typically last from about 5-15 years and as long as it’s not running continuously, the only other thing that will shorten its lifespan is freezing temperatures. Some dehumidifiers come with auto shut-off features that turn off the unit when the temperature runs too low to prevent it from damage and others have a de-icing or defrosting capability to thaw out the frozen coils. However, there are some models that will keep running even in the lowest temperatures and these won’t last long if they continue to do so.
20. Do dehumidifiers kill mold?
Mold is a form of fungi that’s found naturally in our environment and grows quickly in moist areas. It stays dormant on the surfaces around us or in the air even if there’s no excess moisture to help it grow. If the humidity in your home increases, you’ll see mold growing in patches on clothes, walls and other surfaces. While dehumidifiers DO NOT kill mold, they do prevent it from growing by reducing the humidity levels and inhibiting its growth.