Excessive humidity is uncomfortable and a downright burden in any household. If you experience a sensation of heaviness, sticky and clammy skin, overbearing heat and an atmosphere thick with water vapor that settles on everything, you know it is time to invest in a dehumidifier.
Not only will too much humidity lead to your personal discomfort, but it also contributes to structural breakdown of your home. High humidity levels will promote mold growth, and develops a breeding party playground for bacteria and dust mites.
On our site, you will find helpful hints and tips on how to buy the right dehumidifier for your home. We will also look at different dehumidifiers for bathrooms and basements, and very important, dehumidifiers for a crawl space.
Now, how much do you know about dehumidifiers and their function? The next section aims to answer a few basic questions
What does a Dehumidifier Do?
In a nutshell, a dehumidifier sucks all the excess moisture out of the air and restores it back to the optimum humidity level.
You get different kinds of dehumidifiers, but the operation principle remains the same. A fan collects air and literally pulls air into the dehumidifier. A typical dehumidifier has cool coils at the entry point, and heated coils at the exit point. The air passes over the cooled coils, and as a result, condensation takes place to remove the moisture.
Does a Dehumidifier Cool a Room?
The answer is both yes and no. A typical standard dehumidifier does not cool the air, since the air passes over hot air coils before it is blown back into the room. This restores the area back to room temperature. You might however experience a significant cooling effect, now that humidity levels have been restored.
Air conditioners, on the other hand, are also considered to be dehumidifiers, and as we already know, these units do cool a room down considerably.
Why Does a Dehumidifier Ice Up?
There are a couple of reasons why the dehumidifier might ice up. As already explained, the dehumidifier collects moisture from the air by the process of condensation. Water then drips down into the holding tank. When the temperature in the room is too cold, like in basement or crawl space, the air chills the coils, and the moisture freezes.
Another reason might be that the fins are dirty. This prevents the water from dripping down fast enough, so it turns to ice.
How Long Does it Take to Work?
There is no strict time limit on this. It all boils down to the floor size, the size of the dehumidifier itself, and the level of moisture in the air. The bigger the humidifier, the quicker it will work. On an average estimate, in extreme conditions when using the dehumidifier for the first time, it will need to run for 24 hours to get rid of all the excess. From there on, it should take roughly between 2 to 4 hours to do its job, assuming that you have the right size dehumidifier for the right room.
Can a Dehumidifier Get Rid of Mold?
Yes. It is a dehumidifier’s one claim to fame. Mold flourished in damp and moist conditions. Because a dehumidifier gets rid of the moisture, it prevents mold and mildew from setting in.
Are Dehumidifiers Expensive to Run?
Unfortunately, the running cost can be quite expensive. They use roughly the same amount of electricity than a refrigerator, but less than an air conditioner. That is why it is important to look for energy star rated models. These will save you a lot of money in the long haul. Remember to purchase the right size unit. A smaller unit in a big room will have to work twice as hard, increasing the electricity consumption. Dehumidifiers with a built in humidistat is a blessing, since it switches off once the ideal level of humidity has been reached.
Is the Water from a Dehumidifier Distilled?
The water in the container or holding tank is considered to be distilled, and can be used around the house.
Can you drink water from a Dehumidifier?
No. This is what we call “greywater”. It means it is not suitable for human consumption, but is ideal for watering plants as it contains less sodium and chloride than tap water. Dehumidifiers with a built in pump usually leads directly to a drain outlet, but can be diverted to a garden or yard. The same applies to dehumidifiers with a drain hose.
What to Look for in a Dehumidifier
With so many options and features to choose from, you will be spoiled for choice, but you need to know what you are looking for before you invest. Consider the following;
- Space: The floor space will determine how big the dehumidifier will need to be. Smaller dehumidifiers will be used in bathrooms and cupboards, while a basement will require a much bigger unit.
- Holding Tank Capacity: If the unit does not have an automatic draining system or pump, how often are you willing to clean the reservoir? If the air is very humid and lots of moisture will be removed on a daily basis, it is better to invest in something that can accommodate a large capacity.
- Automatic Restart Capabilities: Dehumidifiers with auto restart are best used in basements and crawl spaces, or any other place where they are out of sight and out of mind. The restart feature enabling the unit to start up again after a power failure without the press of a button
- The Controls: Many models will have additional features that you will read more about on our website. These can include humidistats, programmable timer cycles and frost sensors.
- Energy Use: One of the biggest deciding factors when purchasing a unit. Look for something eco-friendly, not only to spare your pocket in the long run, but to contribute to a greener environment.
Establishing the basics will put you well on your way of making a sound financial and practical choice. Bigger is not always better, but small is not always cost effective.