What You Need to Know about Your Dehumidifier

Aire Serv

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It’s Time for a Dehumidifier

The heat and humidity of summer are around the corner! Don’t let summer’s stickiness take its toll on your comfort - or your home. Now is the time to invest in a dehumidifier…

Do I Really Need a Dehumidifier?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends maintaining humidity levels in the home of 30-60% to maintain comfort, prevent mold, and protect your home and contents from damage. The EPA’s Energy Star website points to these common indications that dehumidification is necessary in your home…

  • ‘Stuffy’ or ‘clammy’ rooms.
  • Musty smells.
  • Condensation on windows.
  • Wet stains on walls/ceilings.
  • Mold and mildew issues.
  • Rotting wood.
  • Pest problems (bugs love moisture).
  • Allergies (related to mold, bacteria, dust mite and pest proliferation).

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

For obvious reasons, dehumidifiers work best in a closed environment. As hot air is capable of retaining more moisture than cold air, dehumidifiers take advantage of this principle. Sucking in air from within the room, they perform dehumidification by passing air over a cold evaporator coil filled with refrigerant to create condensation. Condensation collected on the evaporator is collected in a drip basin or is drained out via plumbing. The dehumidifier then reheats the air and blows it back into the room/your home. As this happens, the refrigerant cycles through a compressor and condenser to be passed through the evaporator coil again as the cycle repeats itself until the desired relative humidity is reached. (Dehumidifier models with a humidistat allow you to set the humidity level, much like you would the temperature thermostat on an HVAC system.) If you think this sounds an awful lot like the way your air conditioner works, you’re right. But your A/C can’t detect relative humidity, and it also can’t reheat the air before exhausting it, which is why if you try to use the A/C for dehumidification - you’ll rapidly overcool your home.

If your home feels humid or sticky, a dehumidifier can improve indoor air quality and enhance comfort, but it’s important to get the humidity settings right to experience the benefits.

Not sure how to determine which setting is right for your home? We’ve got you covered with our guide to achieving the perfect humidity setting for any room, so you can get the most out of your dehumidifier.

Dehumidifier Humidity Settings: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?

The first step to determining the proper dehumidifier setting is understanding how your dehumidifier works. Dehumidifiers operate by removing water vapor from the air to keep your room dry. A fan draws in and traps moist air from a room, and coils inside the humidifier work to cool down the air. This process causes the moisture in the air to condense into water droplets that the dehumidifier collects in a bucket or drain hose. Then, the dry air is released back into the room. In this manner, dehumidifiers help regulate the moisture levels in a room.

The humidity setting that you should select depends on the humidity level of the room where the dehumidifier is located. In rooms that have high levels of moisture and humidity, such as basements, a dehumidifier will help regulate the humidity level to prevent mold and other bacterial growth. Your dehumidifier’s specific setting is important because if it is not set appropriately, your room may remain muggy or become too dry.

Optimal Dehumidifier Humidity Setting

So, what is the best humidity setting for a dehumidifier? To prevent mold growth and keep your home’s relative humidity at a comfortable level, we recommend aiming for 30%-50% humidity in your home. Ideally, that should equate to a dehumidifier humidity setting of around 40%, but you may wish to adjust it up or down to find the humidity level that feels most comfortable for your space and your household.

Now, you might be wondering: How do I check the current level of humidity in my room to make sure it is within the acceptable humidity range? Many dehumidifiers can read the current humidity level in a room automatically. If your humidifier is not equipped with a built-in humidity reading, you can purchase a standalone hygrometer.

For more information about protecting the quality of your air, please contact Aire Serv® today.

Call Aire Serv at (540) 692-6955 for an Appointment! We’re like EMTs for your HVAC!