Summers in Virginia and Maryland get extremely humid. Humidity is a major contributing factor to discomfort in our homes. In fact, increasing humidity in your home is a common tip for making your home feel warmer in the winter. But in the summer, excess humidity is the last thing you want. Even with a good air conditioner, you may still find that humidity makes your home more uncomfortable.
Other problems caused by excess humidity include:
- Mold and mildew growth
- Bad or musty odors
- Increased allergy symptoms
- Reduced AC efficiency
- Warped and damaged wood surfaces, window frames, and doors
- Excessive wear and tear on painted surfaces
So, how do you decrease humidity in your home? You may have heard that installing a dehumidifier is the best solution for this problem.
How Do Dehumidifiers Work?
The primary function of a dehumidifier is to remove excess moisture from the air in your home. To achieve this, a fan pulls the humid air over a condenser coil, turning the moisture into a liquid (water). The dehumidified air is then blown back over another coil and back out into your room. Finally, moisture removed from the air is drawn through a drainpipe and collected in a reservoir that must be emptied regularly.
Do I Need a Dehumidifier?
If you are struggling with excess humidity in your home, you may need a dehumidifier. However, they are not necessary for everyone, and choosing the right dehumidifier can be challenging. Therefore, it is important that you get a model that is appropriately sized for your home and which is designed to deal with the particular issue you are dealing with.
Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes, including whole-house dehumidifiers and small, single-room units. If you have humidity issues throughout your home (sometimes a problem for older homes that are not sealed well), you may want to install a whole-home model. However, if you just have humidity issues in your basement, you may be fine with a smaller model that you place in that specific area.
At Donmar Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing, our goal is to help our customers make important decisions about their home and HVAC systems with confidence. With this in mind, we have reviewed a few of the benefits and potential drawbacks of dehumidifiers. Keep reading to learn some of the pros and cons of installing a dehumidifier in your home.
Pro: Supports Your AC System
When there is excess humidity in your home, your air conditioner must work harder to cool the air. In many cases, the AC is not up to the task. This causes the AC to run more often and for longer, leading to increased wear, tear, and repair issues. Additionally, when the AC has to run more often, it uses more energy, costing you money.
A dehumidifier not only supports the efficient functioning of your AC system but can also enable you to set your thermostat to a higher temperature. Air with less moisture feels cooler, and consequently, you may be able to run your AC at a warmer temperature and still be comfortable. This, again, will help save you money on your utility bills.
Con: Requires Regular Maintenance
Though the dehumidifier is great at supporting your AC system, it does require regular maintenance. Depending on the time of the year, the capacity of your unit, and the humidity situation in your home, you may need to empty the water reservoir daily. You will also have to replace your dehumidifier filter monthly (depending on the model). Before purchasing and installing a dehumidifier, you should research the different makes and models available to you and be sure you understand the required maintenance.
Pro: Improves Indoor Air Quality & Allergies
With reduced moisture and humidity in the air, you may also notice that your indoor air quality and allergy symptoms improve. This is especially true if you have mold and mildew issues. With less moisture in the air, mold and mildew will struggle to reproduce and grow. Furthermore, dust mites will also struggle to thrive, further reducing irritation and allergies.
Con: Requires an Initial Investment
Because a dehumidifier is an additional appliance that supplements your HVAC system, it does require an initial investment. Depending on the make, model, and size of the unit you choose, this can cost you quite a bit. For example, the average price of a whole-home dehumidifier is approximately $1,500-$2,000. While this is significant, the cost may be offset by the cost of dealing with major humidity issues. For example, if humidity is causing damage to your home (such as warping wood surfaces and causing dangerous mold growth), the cost of installing a dehumidifier may be significantly less than constantly repairing and mitigating these other problems.
Whether you should buy a dehumidifier will depend on your personal situation. If you need help determining if installing a dehumidifier is right for you, reach out to one of our technicians. We are always here to help, and we will never pressure you to buy something you don’t need or want. We will also help you explore all of your options for reducing humidity in your home.
For more tips on reducing humidity in your home, review our blog post here.