Dehumidifiers: An Often Overlooked Way of Keeping Cool!
By Elli Davis, August 7, 2012
Water Drops by Axel Rouvin
Most people think to crank the air conditioning during a scorching summer day, but what about using a dehumidifier? Many overlook how helpful they can be during hot days. The aim of this article is to explain how dehumidifiers work to help keep your home cool and how to select and use one.
What are Dehumidifiers for?
Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air. At 100 per cent relative humidity, water starts to fall from the air. A ‘normal’ house should keep its humidity at around 30 to 50 per cent. Humid homes are not very pleasant, as you know. Overly humid places do not smell nice; they attract pests and can even cause sickness. Dehumidifiers are here to save the day, however. Their main job is lowering the relative humidity of the air and keeping even the dampest places (like basements) dry.
Unsurprisingly, not all dehumidifiers are the same; we can divide them into a couple of separate categories. These include ‘heat-pump dehumidifiers’ (the most common), ‘chemical adsorbent dehumidifiers,’ and ‘dehumidifying ventilators’. All of these work differently, but if you are a regular customer, that most likely does not interest you very much. What is important is that the final effect is the same with all kinds of dehumidifiers: a lower level of humidity in your home.
You might be wondering what is better: air conditioning or dehumidifiers. It is a tough question, but here is a short response. Air conditioning (the number-one choice for the majority) is usually enough to deal with dampness all around the house. Dehumidifiers are often purchased only if the air conditioner is unable to reach some the rooms. Dehumidifiers are, in my opinion, greatly underrated,. In many cases, they would sufficiently deal with humidity, but people opt for air-conditioning without thinking twice. The right combination of a high-quality dehumidifier and some of the tips I mentioned in my previous article could even make air-conditioning unnecessary.
Choose the Right Dehumidifier
Dehumidifier Partially In Parts
by Wikimedia Commons
My opinion when it comes to appliances is simple: the purchase price is not the most important factor that should shape one’s decision whether to buy or not to buy. Many people are happy if they find a low-priced product, but they ignore the fact that its operating costs might be a lot higher than those of a more expensive product. Always consider this aspect when purchasing something new.
What you ought to think of when choosing a dehumidifier is (apart from the operating costs) your floor area and the level of dampness of your home. The basement is usually most affected by humidity; it therefore makes sense to put your dehumidifier there. There are other possibilities too, though: it depends on your specific conditions. You need to do what is most effective for your home, so do not follow general rules blindly, as they might not apply to everyone.
When choosing THE ONE, there are two capacity rankings for dehumidifiers that you have to take into account (again, according to your needs): extraction capacity and tank capacity. Extraction capacity tells you how much water the dehumidifier can draw out of the air in 24 hours. Tank capacity refers to how much water the tank can hold. You know how serious your humidity problem is and hence you ought to pick the right one based on your situation. I would suggest you also be environmentally friendly and look at the energy factor when buying a dehumidifier. The more water it extracts per kilowatt, the better, which means higher numbers are what you want, unlike with other electronic devices.
Once you purchase a dehumidifier, you do not actually need to do much to take care of it. A little regular maintenance (such as keeping the air filter clean) is just enough for the dehumidifier to keep functioning perfectly. Obviously, the best and most energy-efficient solution to humidity problems is prevention. Keeping surface and ground water out and reducing moisture production is not easy, but it certainly is worth it. If you are planning to make some changes to your home, consider whether it is possible to prevent humidity by renovation, and if so, go for it! If not, a dehumidifier is worth a try.