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Does Your Home Need a Dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier in a living room
Mariia Boiko/Shutterstock.com

Dry winter air prompts many people to purchase humidifiers for their homes. But what about humid summer air? If you live somewhere that gets humid as the weather heats up, you’re probably starting to deal with foggy windows, curling photographs, and mold concerns right about now.

Fortunately, we live in an era where there is a solution for everything, and in this case, the solution for you might be a dehumidifier. Here’s everything you need to know about purchasing this appliance.

What is a Dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier in a room
Mariia Boiko/Shutterstock.com

Simply put, a dehumidifier is a device that helps reduce and maintain humidity levels in your home. It works by pulling in the air in a room, removing the excess moisture, and then releasing drier air back out.

Dehumidifiers usually have a fan to circulate the air, a cooling system to condense the moisture, and a water collection tank or drainage system to remove the extracted water from the air. If you live in a humid climate, these appliances can help create a more comfortable living environment by keeping humidity levels balanced.

SIMSEN 95oz Dehumidifier

A highly-rated pick that covers up to 720 square feet.

Dehumidifiers use different methods to lower humidity levels. The most common type is a refrigerant dehumidifier, which works by pulling in humid air and cooling it down as it passes over cold coils containing a refrigerant. The moisture in the air condenses on the cold coils, forming water droplets that are collected and removed. The dehumidifier then releases the drier air back into the room.

A desiccant dehumidifier works by using a moisture-absorbing material, called a desiccant, to remove humidity from the air. The desiccant attracts and traps moisture from the air, effectively drying it out. The dehumidifier then releases the dry air back into the room.

Why Are Dehumidifiers Important?

A woman works on a dehumidifier
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Dehumidifiers are important for several reasons, and understanding their significance can help you create a more comfortable and healthy living environment. One key benefit of dehumidifiers is regulating humidity.

“Homeowners should make sure to maintain an ideal humidity within their home, and dehumidifiers help do exactly that, keeping the right moisture level and removing humid air,” said Traci Fournier, Vice President of Operations of One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning.

If you’ve noticed excessive moisture in your house or apartment, like condensation on windows or musty odors, a dehumidifier can help regulate humidity and prevent more issues like mold. Excess humidity can lead to mold and mildew growth around your home, which can cause damage and pose health risks to your family.

High-humidity areas, like coastal regions, are more prone to moisture-related problems, so if you live in this climate, you will probably benefit from a dehumidifier. However, even in drier climates, certain rooms like basements, bathrooms, or laundry rooms might experience moisture-related issues due to poor ventilation or water seepage.

Frigidaire FFAD2233W1 Dehumidifier

Maximize your comfort with customized control over the amount of humidity in your room.

Dehumidifiers also offer health benefits, Fournier noted. High humidity levels can make allergies and respiratory conditions like asthma worse. If you or your family members suffer from these conditions, a dehumidifier can reduce triggers, improve indoor air quality, and create a healthier living environment.

Musty odors are also usually a result of too much moisture in an area, so a dehumidifier can eliminate dampness and get rid of unpleasant smells in your home.

What Are Signs Your Home Needs a Dehumidifier?

Condensation on a window
Paul Maguire/Shutterstock.com

Many homes can benefit from a dehumidifier. Here are a few signs that you should think about purchasing one.

Condensation on Windows and Surfaces

While it’s normal to fog up the bathroom mirror while you shower, you shouldn’t see condensation around your home throughout the day. Consistent moisture on windows, walls, and mirrors is a sure sign that your home’s humidity levels are higher than they should be.

Condensation occurs when warm, moist air comes into contact with cooler surfaces and forms water droplets on those surfaces. Installing a dehumidifier can reduce excess moisture in the air and prevent condensation around your home.

Musty Odors in Your Home

Unpleasant, musty odors are usually a sign of excess moisture in an area. If you notice persistent musty smells, especially in areas like bathrooms, laundry rooms, or poorly ventilated areas, it is likely an indication of mold or mildew growth. If you see mold in your home, that’s also a good sign that you could benefit from a dehumidifier, according to Steve Leasure, Vice President of Operations, Rainbow Restoration, a Neighborly company.

“Mold remediation can remove existing growth,” Leasure said. “And reducing the humidity level will help stop it from returning.”

A dehumidifier can help eliminate the excess moisture that fosters these odors, improving the air quality and eliminating the musty smell. These appliances are especially helpful for areas of your home where it may be impossible to get good airflow, like basements or crawl spaces.

hOmeLabs 4,000 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier with Pump

This dehumidifier covers up to 4,000 square feet.

Frequent Allergy Symptoms

Excessive humidity can contribute to the growth of allergens like dust mites and mold spores, triggering allergic reactions in individuals who are sensitive to those allergens, said Leasure. If you or your family members experience frequent symptoms like sneezing, coughing, or watery eyes while inside the home, it could be a sign that your house has high humidity levels.

Investing in a dehumidifier can help reduce allergens and alleviate allergy symptoms. It is also important to note that mold and mold spores can cause health issues in otherwise healthy individuals, especially when exposure occurs for a long period of time. If you suspect there is mold in your home, it is crucial to figure out where it is before it begins to affect your health.

Peeling Paint or Wallpaper

Paint or wallpaper peeling? Corners on photos curling? These are all signs that there is too much humidity in your home.

Not only can this be aesthetically frustrating, but it can also cause long-term damage, like bubbling wallpaper, that can be expensive to fix. By controlling the humidity of your house with a dehumidifier, you can help preserve interior surfaces and prevent the need for costly repairs.

Increased Pest Activity

Humid environments are attractive to many pests, including dust mites, cockroaches, and silverfish. If you notice an increase in pest activity in your home, it might be due to high humidity.

Installing a dehumidifier can create a less favorable environment for pests, making your home less inviting to these unwanted guests. It may not make your pest problem go away completely, but it can’t hurt to try.

TABYIK 35 OZ Dehumidifier

A great budget-friendly option for small spaces.

A dehumidifier can be a valuable addition to your home, helping you maintain optimal humidity levels and improving overall comfort and air quality. Here’s everything you need to know about this appliance to help you make an informed purchasing decision.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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