How do home dehumidifiers work and why you may need one
A dehumidifier can be a valuable purchase for certain home situations. For instance, if you live in an area with a hot and humid climate, this appliance can reduce moisture levels inside your home and help keep your home more comfortable during those hot, humid and sticky spells.
Dehumidifiers also work well in high-humidity spaces of the home or areas with poor air circulation, such as laundry rooms and bathrooms or attics and crawl spaces.
If you’re wondering how a home dehumidifier works and if this option is a good choice for your home, this article discusses the ins and outs of this appliance and when you may want to consider one for your home.
How do home dehumidifiers work?
If you live in an area with high humidity, you’ve likely experienced frizzy hair and the damp, thick and heavy feel of the air. It’s not enjoyable, and when humidity seeps inside the home, it can make your living space uncomfortable.
Home dehumidifiers work to reduce the humidity level in a room, which not only makes the room more pleasant but can also help reduce pests or musty odors and maintain the structural integrity of the home.
So, how does a dehumidifier work? Much like a home’s air-conditioning system, a home dehumidifier houses components that draw in warm, moist air, reduce its temperature over cold coils, and pull the liquid water moisture, known as condensation, from the air molecules. The condensation drips into the collection tank reservoir inside the dehumidifier, and it recycles drier air into the room. This can bring the relative humidity down to a more comfortable level.
What dehumidifiers can and cannot do
Dehumidifiers can work their magic and help create a more comfortable living space. With different types of home dehumidifiers on the market, you can take your pick and choose a model that works best for your needs. We’ll cover some of the most popular home dehumidifiers and their uses later on in this article. The following list includes a number of functions you can expect from a home dehumidifier.
- Removes excess moisture from the air
- Minimizes the growth of mold and fungus
- Deters moisture-loving insects, such as silverfish and roaches
- Reduces allergens in the home, such as dust mites
While the functions of a home dehumidifier are useful in many circumstances, these appliances have some limitations. Often confused with an air purifier, dehumidifiers do not clear particles from the air, but they help dry the air in indoor spaces and reduce the relative humidity within a space.
Dehumidifiers cannot do the following:
- Clean or purify indoor air quality
- Prevent illness
- Solve allergy problems
- Resolve poor insulation issues
Who should use a dehumidifier?
Certain home and climate situations can create symptoms of high moisture levels. A high indoor humidity level can show up as water vapor on windows, moist and clammy air on skin, visible condensation or water damage, a musty smell from mildew growth, visible water stains or mold growth.
If the inside of your home shows these symptoms, a dehumidifier can help. It works to mitigate the high concentration of water molecules in your indoor air and lessen further damaging effects brought on by this situation.
What to consider when buying a dehumidifier
Buying a dehumidifier to combat rising humidity levels in the home is a great choice. When you consider your specific needs, you can choose the right dehumidifier for the job. As with any appliance for the home, you can find an assortment of different dehumidifier models with unique features — differing energy efficiency, noise levels and even smart features.
When shopping around for home dehumidifiers, you’ll come across different types, so it’s important to consider your needs before purchasing. You can ask yourself some questions and get a better feel for the type of dehumidifier you need, for instance:
- Do you need a dehumidifier year-round or only in the summer?
- Is the entire home affected by high humidity or only specific rooms?
- Do you prefer smart features, such as app support or control from your phone?
- Is portability a factor?
- Is noise level or energy consumption an issue?
The answers to these questions can help you choose the best model and features for your home.
If purchasing a home dehumidifier for the first time, you probably feel uncertain about which type of dehumidifier best suits your needs. When shopping, you’ll come across refrigerant and desiccant dehumidifiers. As a newbie, you may wonder how these dehumidifiers differ and how to know which is best for your situation.
- Refrigerant dehumidifiers use, you guessed it, refrigerant to cool the inner coils and remove excess moisture from the indoor air. These work well for the summer months but provide little relief or effectiveness in cooler temps, so they make an ideal choice for those seasonal hot, sweltering months of the year. These are widely available and come in different styles, such as portable or whole-house dehumidifier models. Although these run a bit noisier than their desiccant counterparts, they can offer more energy efficiency.
- Desiccant dehumidifiers run quietly and work in any room temperature, including subzero, making them an ideal solution for spaces requiring less noise, cold spaces (such as basements and attics) and year-round use. Instead of traditional refrigerant-cooled coils, air passes over a desiccant substance, such as silica gel. This material dries naturally and helps create a moisture-free space. Unlike refrigerant models with many internal components, desiccant models feature a more simplistic interior design and run refrigerant-free, offering lower maintenance and a longer life span.
Aside from model type, many wonder about ease of use. Although a slew of great features can make a model stand out, if it’s difficult to use, it can quickly become a nuisance and chore.
Some features that can make your life easier include an auto-shut-off function, an easy-to-clean filter and water tank, and, if portable, caster wheels for ease of moving from room to room. Nowadays, you can find a wide range of smart dehumidifiers with Wi-fi capabilities and features, such as a water-tank indicator (showing the amount of water without touching the machine), a built-in hygrometer (which monitors room humidity level and self-adjusts), an adjustable humidistat (for setting humidity control right where you want it), and app control options on your smart device, such as your phone or Alexa.
Last and certainly not least, no one wants to see a skyrocketing energy bill. To save on the operating costs of running a home dehumidifier, many opt for Energy Star-certified models that run more efficiently. You can find energy-efficient models at many home improvement stores.
Discover how Cinch protects your HVAC system from costly repairs
Many homeowners living in climates with high humidity enjoy the benefits of a home dehumidifier and working air conditioner. Together, these can help reduce the buildup of humid air inside the home and create a more comfortable space to live.
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