The eternal question: humidifier or dehumidifier? Well, maybe it’s not a big deal in your house, but for those of us who suffer from allergies almost the whole year, knowing when to keep things humid or dry makes a big difference. For the most part, though, removing humidity is the way to go since too much humidity can lead to damage in your home and can spur allergic reactions and respiratory problems. It’s also plain uncomfortable. Even if you run your AC consistently, that’s not going to get high humidity down to the ideal level. So, today I’m going to tell you about dehumidifiers and why having one in my home has made things that much better.
How Dehumidifiers Work
First things first: Dehumidifiers suck in the surrounding air and pull it over a refrigerated and a heated coil. That air is returned to your room, free of moisture. The water vapor pulled from the air collects in a receptacle of your humidifier or, in some models, flows directly into a drain. There are more heavy-duty dehumidifiers, but we’ll only deal with smaller models today.
Why Use a Dehumidifier?
As I mentioned before, dehumidifiers are ideal for decreasing high levels of humidity in your home, which could otherwise trigger allergic reactions or cause damage to your home. All kinds of things thrive in high humidity: bacteria, mold, dust mites, and mildew. My son is allergic to a lot of this, and I tend to get sneezy around a lot of dust, so using a dehumidifier is a no-brainer for us. But even if you don’t have allergies, using a dehumidifier is smart. Mold is unhealthy and unattractive, and too much moisture in your home can weaken or warp supports, dampen fabrics—curtains, upholstery—or damage flooring, among other things. Most people run dehumidifiers in areas already prone to higher levels of humidity: bathrooms, basements (especially if they tend to flood), and crawl spaces. But you can really use a small-capacity dehumidifier anywhere in your home.
Types of Dehumidifiers
If you do a quick search to look up dehumidifiers, you’re going to get dizzy looking through all of the results. But let me break it down: there are small, medium, and large capacity dehumidifiers and whole-house dehumidifiers. Small, medium, and large capacity dehumidifiers are generally classified as single-room, but they remove different amounts of moisture from the air per day. A small capacity dehumidifier removes about 25 pints of moisture from the air a day, while medium dehumidifiers remove 40, and large removes about 75. You can even install a whole-house dehumidifier as part and parcel with your HVAC system, and that will work to remove moisture throughout your entire home. Neat, huh? You can also find mini dehumidifiers, which are good for stuffy closets. Look for energy-efficient dehumidifiers, too, so you can remove humidity conscientiously. Do your homework. Before I bought our dehumidifier, I looked on Consumer Reports for guidance.
How Much Do Dehumidifiers Typically Cost?
Dehumidifiers are worth the investment, especially if anyone in your home has allergies or if you live in a humid climate. You’ll save yourself frustration and money in the long run. Small and medium capacity dehumidifiers will run you anywhere from around $40 to a couple thousand dollars. Large and whole-house dehumidifiers will understandably cost you more. In addition to the upfront cost, you’ll probably pay anywhere from $5 to $30 a month in energy bills for running the dehumidifier. Trust me, it’s worth it.
How to Use Your Dehumidifier Effectively
Determine the areas in your home experiencing high humidity. Place your dehumidifier at least six inches away from all walls so that air flow is unimpeded. How long and often you run your dehumidifier is up to you, and you’ll be able to determine this better once you assess your situation and set up a humidifier of the right capacity for your space. Keep the dehumidifier’s coils clean of dust, as that will affect its performance.