Written by Brad Crawford
A dehumidifier can help even when you don’t have high humidity outside. Today’s airtight homes conserve energy but also accumulate water vapor. Most of this originates from household appliances, human activities or other sources within the home. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends maintaining indoor humidity levels between 40 and 60 percent for greatest comfort, interior air quality and heating/cooling effectiveness. Without a dehumidifier, that’s often a tough standard to meet in a well-sealed house with little natural ventilation. Some of the sources of high interior humidity include:
- Showering, laundering and cooking.
- Water vapor emitted by normal human respiration and perspiration.
- Moisture migrating up from a moist basement or unconditioned crawl space or down from the attic.
- Unvented natural gas appliances such as stoves and space heaters.
Consequences of excessive interior humidity include condensation damage such as structural rot and staining on walls and other surfaces. Increased occurrence of mold and mildew growth, as well as the proliferation of airborne mold spores, dust mites and the allergic reactions associated with these contaminants, may also occur. Other physical symptoms including a general feeling of discomfort and poor sleep may be noted by occupants, as well.
There’s also an energy-efficiency and cost component of air that’s too moist during the cooling season. Humid air feels warmer than dry air, so in homes with muggy or clammy air, occupants are more likely to crank up the A/C. When the humidity is reduced, you can raise the temperature on the thermostat, without any loss of comfort, and save on your monthly electric bills.
Controlling high humidity levels at the source can be a challenge. Fortunately, a whole-house dehumidifier gets the job done even when the sources of humidity can’t be entirely eliminated. A whole-house dehumidifier installed inside your forced-air heating and cooling ductwork treats the entire volume of air in your home as it circulates through your ducts. Activated by a humidistat that continuously senses moisture levels in the air, the technology maintains the humidity level you set automatically with no further user input. The system is permanently plumbed into your household drain system so there’s no emptying of condensation pans or other chores associated with portable room dehumidifiers. Operation is quiet and there’s no footprint taking up space in individual rooms.
Crawford Services provides comprehensive HVAC and plumbing sales and service to Dallas area homeowners. Ask us for more details about the comfort and household benefits of a whole-house dehumidifier.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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