HVAC.com’s Guide to Dehumidifiers: FAQs, Cost, Benefits, Brands, & More
May 23, 2019
It’s getting warm and steamy out there – now is the time of year when homeowners rely on dehumidifiers the most! Remove excess moisture from your indoor air to improve air conditioning efficiency, indoor air quality, and home comfort.
There are many options available for house dehumidifiers, from whole home models to portable units. Learn your options, what they do for your household, how to care for them, and more in our Guide to Dehumidifiers.
What Does a House Dehumidifier Do?
Many areas of the country experience high humidity levels, especially during the summer months. When outdoor humidity is high, the humidity levels inside your home rise, too, if not kept in check. A house dehumidifier pulls this excess moisture out of your indoor air, to leave your home with balanced humidity levels for better comfort.
Homeowners have two basic options for house dehumidifiers: portable and whole house.
- Portable dehumidifiers are smaller units that serve smaller spaces. You may use multiple units throughout your home, or use just one in a targeted area. Users must empty the unit on a regular basis to get rid of the moisture it pulls from the air.
- A whole house dehumidifier is installed to work with your HVAC system. It treats air across the entire home as air circulates through your duct system. These units have a dedicated drain to expel moisture, so you don’t have to empty a holding reservoir.
With a house dehumidifier, there are many advantages for better health, comfort, and protection. Learn how a dehumidifier helps through these top dehumidifier benefits:
- By controlling humidity in the indoor environment, dehumidifiers reduce the number of allergens in the air. Contaminants that induce allergy symptoms, such as dust, mold, and pollen, are more concentrated when the air is more humid. Reduce allergy symptoms and improve the comfort of sensitive family members when you keep humidity levels balanced.
- To build off the dehumidifier benefit above, lower humidity inside keeps your home cleaner! With fewer contaminants concentrated in your air supply, less dust and debris move around your home with air movement. Your home stays cleaner for longer periods with balanced humidity.
- When the air inside a home is too humid, there is a great risk of mold and mildew growth. Not only does growth and exposure lead to potential health issues, mold and mildew have the ability to severely damage your home. Dehumidifiers remove excess humidity to lower the likelihood of mold and mildew growth.
- House dehumidifiers help you stay more comfortable. With more moisture in the air, you feel hotter, which often leads a homeowner to turn up the air conditioning. In reality, removing humidity is your main need, which a dehumidifier takes care of. By removing excess humidity, your home stays comfortable at lower temperatures. Less air conditioning use means lower energy bills, making summer comfort way more affordable.
When shopping for a new portable or whole house dehumidifier, there are many equipment brands to choose from. The following are popular house dehumidifier brands which include a number of options suited for your home.
Humidity in a home should be kept balanced between 35 and 50 percent. This range is ideal to deliver better comfort while lowering the risk of mold and mildew development. The right indoor humidity level varies based on outdoor conditions. You may find some adjustment is needed when temperatures rise and fall – don’t worry, no matter the temperature, your dehumidifier can help you manage indoor conditions.
House dehumidifiers are useful in any home, as balanced humidity is important throughout the country. Some signs you should absolutely be using a dehumidifier include: condensation, water spots, mold growth, ground water dampness and musty spells.
The useful service life of a dehumidifier depends on the type of unit you use. Portable dehumidifiers typically last between three and five years, while a whole house dehumidifier offers a service life of approximately eight years. The length of service you’ll attain with your dehumidifier depends on how you care for it over the years. Proper maintenance is essential for prolonging service life. The more you use your air conditioner, the less your dehumidifier has to work as air conditioners also help dehumidify the air – this helps your house dehumidifier last longer.
Both portable and whole house dehumidifiers require cleaning of their filter. A portable model needs this maintenance more frequently because the unit is smaller. Check your unit’s owner’s manual to determine how often you need to clean its filter, and learn the manufacturer’s recommended cleaning methods. The water reservoir should also be cleaned to prevent mold and mildew growth within the unit.
Dehumidifiers produce some noise when they operate, but it’s typically not intrusive. Components within the dehumidifier such as the fan and compressor are the sources of operating noise. Portable dehumidifiers are louder than whole house dehumidifiers, because they sit within the room or area where they are used. The amount of sound produced varies from one unit to the next. A whole house dehumidifier is the quietest option, as it is installed with your HVAC system, which is typically located outside of your living areas.
The appropriate size of dehumidifier is different for every home. Two things to consider are the size of the space you want to treat and the moisture level within that space. Dehumidifiers are measured in capacity, which explains the maximum amount of moisture the unit is able to remove from the air over a 24-hour period.