Reasons You Should Be Using a Whole House Dehumidifier
Do you feel it? The clammy atmosphere building in your home? It probably makes you wonder: Should you get a whole-house dehumidifier?
High humidity can be brutal. You can’t cool down. Your air conditioning unit keeps working harder but can’t keep up with the air’s moisture.
At this rate, it won’t succeed. At least, not on its own.
A space dehumidifier might seem like the solution, but would it help with the whole house? Definitely not.
So, you start considering a whole-house dehumidifier, but you have doubts. You doubt whether you need it, whether it will work, and above all, you question whether it’s worth the price.
What Is a Whole-House Dehumidifier?
A whole-house dehumidifier is a piece of equipment for controlling humidity levels in all rooms of your home. It dehumidifies without excessively drying out the air. In a nutshell, it does the opposite of humidification.
Whole-house dehumidifiers come in two main types: The installed type that connects to a home heating and cooling system or the freestanding type that you plug into a power source.
However, some whole-house dehumidifiers even have their own duct system.
How Whole-House Dehumidification Works
Whole-house dehumidifiers come with either of these three dehumidifying technologies: Mechanical (refrigerative), desiccant, and electronic (heat pump). According to research done on whole-house dehumidifiers, mechanical technology is the most common among homeowners.
image source: pvhvac.com
A mechanical whole-house dehumidifier takes air in through the return air ducts and rids it of excess moisture by condensing it with cooling coils. The dehumidified air then passes over warm coils to restore the desired temperature. The dry air then exits back throughout your home at the same temperature, but with less moisture.
The condensed moisture left in the machine drains through a long hose to a reservoir, garden, or drainage system.
image source: uk.trotec.com
Desiccant whole-house dehumidifiers pass humid air over a desiccant material, like silica gel, to dry out the air. They possess fans for continually moving the air over the desiccant material. A heater must also be present in the unit to warm the air before it exits.
Finally, the electronic type uses a Peltier heat pump after the air passes through near-freezing temperatures. Water in the air condenses over the coil and drains out while the dry air reheats and goes back to the house’s rooms. It works quietly, which is an important feature if noise is a problem for you.
Since the air comes back dry, not cool, you can use a whole-house dehumidifier during both warm and cold seasons.
6 Reasons Why You Need a Whole-House Dehumidifier
You need a dehumidifier mainly because your home’s relative humidity is high. But, what the heck is relative humidity?
The relative humidity is the ratio of moisture available to moisture at the saturation point of a specific temperature expressed as a percentage. Yes, that’s a lot of jargon.
Just think of it as the percentage of moisture in the air — simple as that.
That means, the higher the percentage, the higher the humidity. So, what shows that the humidity has gone overboard, and how do you measure it?
Bearable relative humidity for a home should range between 30 to 55 percent. You can use basic humidity tests or a hygrometer to measure humidity.
However, if you live in a damp place, high humidity is inevitable. That calls for a whole-house dehumidifier.
1. Improve air quality
High humidity in your home attracts numerous impurities. They include allergens and odors that cause discomfort.
Even worse, if someone with asthma lives in the home, it presents a dangerous living situation.
You know about dust mites. They thrive best in moist conditions. That means that a humid home will host these tiny nuisances and increase dust particles in the air.
If you’re allergic to dust, whole-house dehumidifiers are great dust combatants. Not to mention, they have the power to eliminate mold and mildew from the air.
Also, do you smell that? A weird, musty smell that you subconsciously associate with damp basements? Yeah, that’s right. A whole-home dehumidifier can fix that, too.
It all boils down to this:
A whole-house dehumidifier will help you eliminate air contaminants, improving the overall air quality. But, that’s just scratching the surface of its benefits.
2. Protect your home
Mold is a nuisance for every homeowner. Worst of all, it thrives in humid homes.
Mold causes intense biodegradation of natural materials. If you see small patches of mold on many places in your home, you should know that it’s time to get a whole-house dehumidifier.
Also, check your HVAC system. It’s not uncommon to see mold growing there.
After you repair any mold damage, constant dehumidification will ensure that it permanently stays at bay.
3. Prevent overheating
Although temperature and humidity don’t always go hand-in-hand, our bodies tell a different story. We tend to feel hotter in high humidity. That’s because high humidity means sweat from our bodies evaporates slower.
Since sweating is the primary way our bodies eliminate heat, slowing down this process can lead to overheating. That’s why you’ll also notice increased breathing and even an increased rate of blood circulation.
All of this eventually translates to dehydration and heat exhaustion.
Consistent exposure to extreme levels of humidity will lead to adverse health effects. A whole-house dehumidifier helps prevent these issues. That’s especially important if you have a toddler, disabled individual, or senior citizen in your home.
The National Weather Service helps explain the risks of high humidity and heat with this heat index chart:
Image: Public Domain, by NOAA, via Wikimedia
4. Increase cooling efficiency
An air conditioner alone can help regulate temperature a great deal. But what happens when humidity levels rise? You may lower your temperature to freezing points, but it won’t ease the discomfort.
Not sufficiently, at least.
Not to mention, you’ll be overworking your air conditioner, and it’ll all be for nothing. Why skyrocket your electricity bill in vain?
When you add a whole-house dehumidifier, you can control both temperature and humidity for a much lower cost.
5. Reduce wet insulation
If you live in an extremely humid area, or one that experiences lots of rainfall, wet insulation probably isn’t a new concept to you. And, you definitely can’t deny how it skyrockets air conditioning costs in the summer.
However, whole-house dehumidifiers can help minimize the damage. The constant dehumidification of your home helps circulate dry air into its nooks and crannies, offering some relief from wet insulation.
6. Maximize comfort
There’s one thing everyone starts to feel under high humidity levels: Discomfort. Not just mold or health problems, but frustrating uneasiness.
Whole-house dehumidifiers help eliminate the awful feeling of humidity in your lungs and on your skin.
Advantages of Whole-House Dehumidifiers
Whole-home dehumidifiers need little maintenance. Apart from annual filter cleanings, there’s little to do to maintain efficiency.
Whole-house dehumidifiers are automated to monitor and regulate humidity levels. This ensures optimum levels and comfortable living at all times.
These dehumidifiers are more durable than portable units. Many come with five-year warranties. That means you can count on long-term dehumidification of your home.
When paired with your air conditioner, whole-home dehumidifiers help make the ultimate cooling system. Since each unit can focus on its particular task, you can save energy, and both machines will have a longer life.
These dehumidifiers are also inconspicuous and, therefore, won’t compromise your interior decor. You can either install it with your existing HVAC system or keep it in another unnoticeable part of your house. Either way, it’ll be practically invisible.
Drawbacks to Dehumidifying Your Entire Home
Chances are, you’re hesitating to invest in a whole-house dehumidifier because of the price. You’re not alone. The upfront cost of purchasing and installing a whole-house dehumidifier is relatively expensive.
Also, you might be worried about a possible rise in your electricity bill.
You also might hit a snag when moving, as it is quite unrealistic to uninstall and reinstall it in your new home.
Always Install Correctly for Maximum Peace-of-Mind
Installing this bad boy isn’t always easy, but it’s simpler than you might think. Either way, we recommend hiring a professional installer to do the job.
Going this route will be more expensive, but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Professional installation also means you won’t void your warranty, something you should care about. Still, if you are confident that you can D.I.Y., the following video should help you outline your steps:
You can also discover additional tips to upgrade your dehumidification experience with this updated installation guide.
Do You Need a Whole-House Dehumidifier in Your Home?
So, is a whole-house dehumidifier worth it? It depends.
Some people can manage with portable dehumidifiers due to their limited needs. But, if you have serious air quality concerns, such as a family member with allergies, space dehumidification won’t cut it.
To maintain the elegance and comfort of your home, you need to look into long-term whole-house dehumidification. There’s one thing you should note, though. It isn’t about increasing energy efficiency.
No, this is about ensuring the maximum comfort and proper maintenance of your home.
So, do you think you need a whole-house dehumidifier? Why? Let us know in the comments!
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