How to Control the Humidity in Your Home
Humidity is the measure of how much moisture is in the air. Even the driest climates on Earth have some level of moisture in the air, since water is needed by all lifeforms to survive. Plus, the planet is 70% covered by water, so all that moisture, combined with the wind, clouds, rain, and other types of weather, makes our atmosphere really wet. While this wetness is excellent for plants, it’s not so good for our homes. The more humid the air around you, the more moisture is in it.
What Are the Problems that Come from Too Much Humidity?
Moisture is one of your home’s greatest enemies, since it rots wood, erodes concrete and brick, and creates a breeding ground for insects, mold, and mildew. Water can get everywhere, since it’s a liquid and conforms to any environment. In the battle to keep moisture away from your house, it’s your walls, floors, furniture, and fabrics that can really suffer. Some rooms are so moist with high levels of humidity that they might as well have three inches of standing water in them at all times. It’s especially a problem in wetter climates that are near the ocean, rivers, lakes, or in tropical and subtropical environments.
Regardless of the temperature or season, every bathroom becomes very humid after hot showers. Homes that have more than two people living in them struggle with maintaining dry bathrooms. A bathroom fan can only do so much to keep the moisture levels under control.
Growing mold and mildew can also produce excess health problems, like asthma, allergies, difficulty breathing, runny noses, and even develop into bronchitis or pneumonia.
That’s why it’s so important to control the humidity level in your home. While we all need water to live, we don’t want that moisture to ruin our homes.
Choosing a Dehumidifier
The best way to control the humidity level in your home is by getting a dehumidifier. These amazing machines act like reverse air conditioners, using fans, filters, and compressors to suck air through them, remove the moisture, store the excess water in their water tanks, and then release the de-moisturized air back into your home. They do all of the hard work for you.
Using a dehumidifier during both cold and warm months will also help offset the moisture that is put out by other machines and appliances in your home, like the condensation from air conditioners and the warm, moist air emitted from dishwashers.
Dehumidifiers come in different sizes, water tank capacities, and filtering power. Before you purchase one, check the square footage of the size room or basement where you want to control the humidity levels. You don’t want to get a machine that can’t cover the area you have. Some models are ‘whole house,’ which means they can cover up to 4,000 square feet.
For an especially humid room, you’ll want to get a dehumidifier that has a continuous drainage option. That way, you don’t need to frequently empty the water tank; instead, you can have a hose hooked up that continuously drains the tank.
You’re also best off purchasing a dehumidifier that has specific controls to let you program exactly the humidity percentage you want in your home. That way, the machine will help you best control the humidity level.
If you choose a machine without humidity controls that simply filters air, then how do you know for certain you’ve decreased humidity levels? You wouldn’t, which means you wouldn’t be controlling humidity levels; rather, you’d be estimating by feel whether or not the dehumidifier was actually working. Yes, it’s true that every dehumidifier comes with a water collection tank to let you know it’s operating correctly. But to get the most out of your dehumidifier and the money spent on it, choose one with percentage controls.
Tracking Humidity Changes
Once you have your dehumidifier set up and controlling the humidity levels, then you’ll want to track the changes. Set your machine’s control to around 45% humidity levels to start. If it gets less than that, the air will become too dry, and it will feel just like it does in the winter, when static electricity increases, the inside of your nose gets dry, and you get chapped lips. You don’t want the humidity level to be too great at over 50% either, since then it will be too moist and feel like you’re living in a tropical jungle.
Depending on the power of the machine and the size of its water tank, it will take several 24-hour cycles for the humidity to decrease down to the recommended 45% level. You’ll have to empty the water tank frequently within the first week of use. But gradually, the amount of moisture should begin to drop and remain as steady as the climate, with natural fluctuations to be expected during seasonal changes. Some homeowners only run their dehumidifiers during the summer, finding that the drier winter air is just fine for their home.
In either case, check on the dehumidifier every couple of days to ensure it’s in proper working condition. You might also want to invest in a humidistat, which is a handy tool for automatically regulating the air’s humidity. That way, you can rest assured your dehumidifier is doing its job.
Controlling Your Home’s Humidity
Having problems with humidity is definitely a problem that can be controlled, and you can solve it by using an excellent dehumidifier. Humidity is linked to temperature, but is not necessarily analogous to the temperature outside. Think of those warm desert summers with no humidity; that’s much more pleasant than having 80% humidity in the summer, creating a rainforest feel.
Use your dehumidifier, along with the recommended humidistat, to regulate and control your home’s humidity levels. Removing gallon after gallon of water from your home’s atmosphere means that water won’t end up on your wood floors, your furniture, or your clothes – a worthy investment that will increase the overall health and wellbeing of everyone who lives there.