If you contend with allergies, you likely notice they worsen when humidity levels increase, and this is especially true in areas with high humidity, like Atlanta. In addition to removing humidity from the air, dehumidifiers offer a whole host of benefits.
How a Dehumidifier Works
First, let’s look at what a dehumidifier is and how it works. A dehumidifier is a device that extracts water from the air to reduce humidity. Not only does the dehumidifier lower the levels of humidity in your home, but it also works to continuously maintain a consistent level of moisture in the air. The ideal range of indoor humidity is 45%.
Experts recommend keeping humidity levels between 35% and 50%. Percentages over 50 can create an environment that welcomes allergens like dust mites, mildew and mold. Dark areas, such as basements, allow for even more rapid growth of such allergens, so these spaces will likely require special attention.
How to Determine Humidity
You may wonder how to tell if the humidity levels in your home exceed what is considered healthy. A hygrometer is a device that measures humidity. Hygrometers can be found in hardware stores or online retailers and are relatively inexpensive. Using a hygrometer will regularly provide you with a clear picture of the humidity levels in your home.
You may already suspect you’re dealing with excess moisture levels if you notice signs that are often associated with high indoor humidity. A musty or mildewy smell is a sure sign of trouble. You may even see visible mold in certain areas of your home, and your windows may be foggy. Perhaps you or a family member’s allergies have intensified, or you just feel clammy on hot days. Rotting wood can be another indicator that the air in your home contains too much water.
Types of Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers fall into two main categories. Compressor dehumidifiers are ones you may be familiar with, as they are quite common and easy to obtain. These units remove moisture from the air through a system of coils and condensation and return the air to the environment. These models can be loud and require you to empty a disposal tank.
The second main kind of dehumidifier is known as a desiccant dehumidifier. A desiccant is a substance that is comprised of silica gel, and it is designed to dry out the air around where the dehumidifier is located. A desiccant dehumidifier works by pulling moist air across a desiccant wheel to create dryer conditions. A heater inside dries the air and regenerates the desiccant to ensure the humidity remains at acceptable levels. A desiccant dehumidifier runs quietly and does not need to be emptied. These can be pricier in cost and use more electricity to run.
Dehumidifiers come in various sizes. Smaller devices are used to lessen the moisture in individual rooms and can be effective if you only need coverage for a small area. However, it may make more sense to consider a whole house dehumidifier if moisture levels are high throughout your home.
What Are the Benefits of a Dehumidifier?
The benefits of a dehumidifier are numerous. The six most common benefits are the following.
1. Lower Moisture Levels
Of course, the most obvious benefit of a dehumidifier is to lower the levels of moisture in your home. Excess moisture causes condensation, which can have detrimental effects on the structural integrity of a building. Warping and wood decomposition is often caused by moisture or by the mold that added humidity can attract. These structural problems can be incredibly expensive to repair. In some cases, the mold infestation is so great that the building must be demolished.
Even if mold problems do not become significant enough to condemn your home, you can still contend with expensive damage. Paint and wallpaper can peel off your walls, and your furniture, bed sheets, curtains and linens can get infested. Moisture can also penetrate your electronics and ruin their inner components. The average mold remediation job can cost around $2,000, and you will spend even more replacing the items you lost to the damage caused by mold and moisture.
In addition to causing property damage and loss, mold can cause serious health problems. The annual cost of treating health problems caused by indoor mold in the U.S. amounts to $3.7 billion. If there are children living in your home, there are even greater concerns when there is mold present. One out of 10 children die annually from respiratory conditions that result from mold. Indoor mold can also cause cognitive problems in children. Children who are exposed to high levels of toxic mold will develop neurological problems that impair brain function because trichothecene mycotoxins kill neurons in the brain.
Controlling the moisture levels with a dehumidifier will significantly help to mitigate these risks. When moisture is kept at recommended levels, mold does not have the conditions it needs to survive.
2. Reduced Allergy Symptoms
If you have an allergy sufferer in your home, a dehumidifier can make a world of difference in their symptoms. Mold, mildew and dust mites accumulate in moist areas. You’ll reduce these allergens by removing the excess water from the air in your home. Particularly moist spaces like bathrooms and basements should be checked. Such areas of high humidity can also host bacteria growth.
Asthma sufferers also struggle to breathe when the air is humid. If you or someone in your home has asthma, you must take measures to reduce humidity levels to keep asthma attacks at bay.
Even pets may suffer from the allergens that build up in damp environments. If you’ve noticed respiratory issues in your furry friend, too much humidity can be the culprit. You’ll improve your pet’s health and lower your vet bills through this simple solution.
3. Eliminate Odors
You can eliminate musty and mildewy odors with a dehumidifier. You’ll notice the effects most dramatically in damp areas like basements and bathrooms.
4. Fewer Pests
Did you know that there are several pests that are attracted to high moisture levels in the environment? If you do not keep humidity levels in check, you can develop an infestation of roaches, centipedes or spiders. A dehumidifier will help create an environment that is less inviting to such pests.
5. Reduced Energy Costs
While it may seem counterintuitive, adding a dehumidifier to your home can lower your energy costs. A dehumidifier will give your air conditioning system an efficiency boost. With the added assistance of a dehumidifier, the AC doesn’t need to work as hard to remove moisture from the air.
6. Improved Comfort
Finally, your comfort will dramatically improve. You will not feel muggy or sticky, which will improve your sleep and overall well-being.
Call Our Home Service Team
Our experts at Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing strive hard to improve indoor air quality for our customers with dehumidifying and purification systems. We also provide a wide variety of other services in the Atlanta area. These include heating and air conditioning installation, repair and maintenance, along with a full range of plumbing offerings. Call Bardi Heating, Cooling & Plumbing today for more information.