Tips for Choosing and Using a Dehumidifier
By B. E. Conrad
Keeping the proper level of moisture in a home can be a difficult balancing act, and a dehumidifier can be a big help when the problem is excess moisture. Some parts of the home, such as the basement, seem to be especially prone to too much moisture, and over time that excess dampness can have serious implications for both the health of the residents and the structural integrity of the home itself.
A dehumidifier works to remove this excess moisture from the air by moving the warm air through two coils, similar to the functioning of an air conditioner. The water then drips down into a reservoir, or out through a hose which is connected to a drain. The other coil in the dehumidifier warms the air, which is in turn expelled back into the room.
Dehumidifiers can be particularly useful in rooms that tend to accumulate excess heat as well as excess moisture. That is because even though the dehumidifier does not cool the air, it does remove excess moisture, making the room seem more comfortable by decreasing the humidity level. This decrease in humidity can also retard the growth of mold and mildew that would otherwise accumulate in the home and cause health problems down the road.
When deciding whether or not a dehumidifier is needed, there are several tell-tale signs to look out for. One of the classic signs of excessive moisture is condensation on the windows. If you notice moisture inside the windows, chances are that room could benefit from a dehumidifier.
Wet spots on the ceiling tiles or walls can also mean excessive moisture is in the air, as can a musty odor, stuffiness in the room or an increase in allergies and allergic reactions among family members. If the home has recently been involved in a flood or other natural disaster, a dehumidifier can also help remove that excess moisture from the home.
When choosing a dehumidifier for the home, it is important to purchase one that is large enough to handle the job that will be required. If the dehumidifier will need to remove the moisture from an entire basement, a large unit is probably best. For smaller rooms, a smaller unit may be sufficient. Check the reservoir capacity of any dehumidifier you are considering, since a larger reservoir capacity will mean a more efficient unit and less need for emptying.