Good Life Blog

Demystifying the Dehumidifier: Indoor Humidity Control

indoor humidity control You have probably heard the phrase, “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity!”  So if that statement applies to the INSIDE of your home, it’s a lot less comforting!
 
High indoor humidity (the amount of moisture or water vapor in the air) can make your home feel very uncomfortable. Excessive levels may affect electrical equipment, expensive heirloom furniture, musical instruments, and more.  Air conditioners or heat pumps may remove some of the indoor humidity as it cools your indoor spaces, but depending on the steamy circumstances, it may not be enough!
 

Indoor Humidity Assessment

If you have experienced or witnessed any of the following in your home, you may have an issue with excessive humidity.

  • A lingering, musty odor in your living areas, basement, or crawl space
  • Water stains or condensation on the inside of the windows of your home
  • Cupped wood paneling
  • Warping wood floors
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Blistering paint on walls
  • Rooms that feel “cold and clammy”
  • Rooms that feel “muggy”
 
If you notice any of these issues, the relative humidity level in your home may be too high. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor relative humidity levels should be kept below 60%, ideally between 30%-50%.1  Depending on the geographical location of your home and the time of year, a solution for elevated indoor humidity control is a dehumidifier.

The Basics of Dehumidification

Indoor comfort is more than adjusting the temperature on the thermostat. Your thermostat controls the temperature in your home, not the humidity. Lowering the thermostat setting below your “normal” in an attempt to lower the humidity may just result in higher energy bills.  Some smart thermostats or HVAC control systems offer a dehumidification setting that will cause your cooling system to achieve a specified humidity level instead of a temperature setting.

The dehumidification process works in one of two ways:
 
  1. Refrigeration Cycle – The refrigeration process removes moisture from the indoor air as it passes over a refrigerated coil. Dehumidification is often a by-product of turning ON your air conditioner or heat pump in cooling mode.
  2. Absorption/adsorption – Moisture is absorbed into or adsorbed onto a drying material and then removed.  
 
If you have questions about the level of humidity in your home, you should contact a licensed professional HVAC dealer who can assess your home’s specific scenario. 

What does Dehumidification do for My Home?

Your home is supposed to be your sanctuary. So the last thing you want is for it to feel damp and uncomfortable!  If you have learned that your home has excess indoor humidity, a dehumidifier may help you say “hello” to a new state of comfort. A dehumidifier may:
 
  • Lower the relative humidity in your home to a comfortable level
  • Reduce the cold, clammy feeling that comes from lowering the temperature on your thermostat to reduce the humidity level in your home
  • Help create an environment where dust mites can’t survive (when the air is maintained below 50% relative humidity)2
  • Help protect your hardwood flooring from warping
 
To learn more about available dehumidifiers and which product is right for your home, talk to your licensed professional HVAC dealer. 

This article was included in the 2018 summer edition of Good Life™ Magazine


1 Environmental Protection Agency. Why and Where Mold Grows. n.d. https://www.epa.gov/mold/mold-course-chapter-2. 24 October 2017.
2 Journal of Allergy and Clinic Immunology, Volume 104, Number 4, Part 1.