When it rains a lot, things get a little uncomfortable… to say the least. Humidity is part of that heat, and it can lead to mold, insects, peeling paint or wallpaper, and even rotting wood. It’s important to understand how dehumidifiers work in order to determine which kind you should buy.
Depending on temperature, air can hold water vapor. The maximum amount of water that 35 cubic feet of air can hold at 68°F is about .6 oz. When that is the case, it’s considered 100% humidity, and boy can you feel it. Everything feels sticky and can even smell musty.
The ideal humidity percentage for a home sitting at 68°F internal temperature is between 30-50%. If you’re above that range, you may need a dehumidifier to remove the excess moisture from the air in your home.
Dehumidifiers work by pulling water from the air. A fan compressor compresses and expands gas that will cool coils within the dehumidifier. When the air is pulled in, it comes into contact with the cooled coils. Those coils pull moisture from the air, which then drips into a reservoir within the dehumidifier. The remaining air then goes back into the room and everything starts to feel a little better.
You can sometimes place a hose into the reservoir to directly drain the collected water, or purchase a dehumidifier with a built-in condensate pump that will remove the water. Otherwise, you’ll have to regularly empty the reservoir manually, or the humidifier may manually shut off when the reservoir fills. It all depends on the model you pick.
A lot of dehumidifiers feature a humidistat, which helps to automatically control the level of humidity in a room. With one of these, simply set the moisture level you want and the humidifier will turn off and on accordingly, all on its own.
Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes for different applications. Usually, the size of the room/home in question determines whether or not you need a smaller, larger, or whole-house dehumidifier. Be sure to measure the square footage of the space you will put your dehumidifier to make sure you get the right size. A dehumidifier will tell you roughly how much water it will remove in a given room size.
The whole-house dehumidifiers connect to your home’s HVAC system and a drainpipe discards the collected water into a sink or even outdoors. This plays a role in choosing what type of dehumidifier you want, too—consider how you want to drain the water: manually or atomically.
For smaller dehumidifiers, there are typically two types that work best with paired together. They each have their own strengths and are classified as:
By using a refrigeration system, these dehumidifiers work to remove moisture from the air. These are a more economical option for high temperatures and high moisture levels.
This type of dehumidifier works by using a desiccant material to naturally absorb the moisture in the air. These are great for sub-zero conditions because they do not have to cool the air to dehumidify it.
Here are some great, practical tips for choosing the right one for your home:
In small spaces, you can simply use silica gel packets. Because why waste a humidifier on just your closet or attic?
On top of regularly emptying the reservoir, always make sure to check and clean the filter. The filter can catch dust. You can always use the water that your humidifier collects to water your plants, but do not drink it. Also, before you start with watering said plant babies, check the restrictions using greywater, which is what collected dehumidifier water is called, in your state here.
Kayleigh is a content writer with a BA in technical writing/literature and an MA in creative writing. When she’s not at work writing, she’s at home writing, reading, or binge-watching television shows… for research, of course. A big do-it-yourselfer and crafter, Kayleigh loves testing out projects and gifting them to friends and family—all in preparation for when she owns her own home one day and decorates with her own personal creations. Her work has appeared on The Writing Cooperative and as an Honorable Mention in East Meets West American Writers Review.