If you are looking to improve the air quality in your home, you can consider a dehumidifier. But what does a dehumidifier do for your health? Simply put, a dehumidifier reduces the excess moisture level in the air.
Too high levels of humidity could potentially lead to minor issues in your home, which, if left unmanaged, can eventually evolve into more serious problems for your health. That’s why it’s useful to understand all the benefits of a dehumidifier but also its drawbacks. You can assess if a dehumidifier is an appliance you need at home.
How Do Dehumidifiers Work?
A dehumidifier manages the air quality of your home through humidity levels. Dehumidifiers use cooling equipment and miniature ventilation systems to take in warm air with excess humidity and reduce the moisture content.
You may be asking, what are humidity levels? We’ll break down the keywords.
- Humidity level. Humidity levels pertain to the amount of water vapours in the air. These water vapours create more moisture and humid conditions.
- Relative humidity level. Relative humidity (also known as the RH unit) measures the water vapour content in the air.
Pro Tip: You might be able to tell that a room has high humid levels if the air appears muggy or there is a musty smell.
How Does a Dehumidifier Fix this Extra Moisture Content?
- The dehumidifier takes warm air currents into its system by using a fan.
- These warm air currents are then met with the coils inside the dehumidifier.
- Once the warm air touches the cold coils, the air “contracts.”
- This causes condensation to happen inside the dehumidifier. Condensation is the process of extracting water from air particles.
- The water droplets are now retained inside the dehumidifier instead of in your room.
- Then, the air inside the dehumidifier, which is now cooler and drier, is sent back into your living space.
The dehumidifier works to reduce the content of water vapour in the air – also known as the relative humidity level to 30-50%, which is the range safest for you and your family’s health. Modern dehumidifiers will have a handy feature: this is the personalisation setting. You can set the level of humid content you want in your room or home by adjusting the setting on the dehumidifier.
What Humidity Level Is Best for Your Home?
Keeping your home at the right humidity level for you and anyone living with you is extremely important. Different levels of humid climate in your home can affect the people’s health in the house. This ranges from a dry cough to mould growth to a stuffy nose and, more often than not, causes asthma symptoms.
Now, the ideal level to aim for inside a home is 45% RH, but the safe range is between 35-and 50%.
Here is a breakdown of the problems that could arise if going above or too far below this range.
- Damage to the skin: drier air can cause your skin to break up. You will be more likely to suffer from chapped lips and itchy skin and eyes if your humidity levels are too low.
- Scratchy sinuses and watery eyes: you might increase common allergy triggers with a low humidity climate, such as irritable sinuses, a runny nose and watery eyes. Allergy symptoms can indicate that you need to increase the humid conditions.
- Nosebleeds: the blood vessels in your nose can begin to crack, much as they can do in cold weather.
- Damage to wood and wallpaper: dry air can cause wood to crack, and wallpaper can begin to detach in low humidity conditions. Protect the structural integrity and furnishings in your home by checking them regularly for signs of wear.
Avoid low humidity by investing in a humidifier – this is the opposite of a dehumidifier as it will add moisture to the air. Dry climates can be solved with the simple solution of making your own humidifier, too! These methods can be especially useful in the winter months.
Pro Tip: In winter, you should not use a dehumidifier because the air already has lower humidity levels.
45% Indoor Air Humidity
It would be best to aim for 45% RH; this is the ideal humid level. Why not purchase a hygrometer to measure the humidity in a room or house? That way, you can keep on top of your room’s climate level.
Or, look for a humidifier/dehumidifier with built-in settings to maintain a specific RH level. This technology will automatically shut off when the level has been reached and turn back on when the level changes. In the long run, this can help lower energy costs because the technology is not on all the time. Having a dehumidifier simultaneously as an air conditioner may prove to be useful in reducing costs when you only need one room’s climate to change.
Furthermore, look for a dehumidifier that is Energy Star Certified, as they use less energy, helping you save money over time by reducing energy costs.
Excessively humid environments can cause other types of problems.
- Bacteria growth: warm and humid air can encourage bacteria growth. If left unmonitored or treated, bacteria in the air, such as legionella bacteria, can make you very ill.
- Mildew and Mould Spores: basement apartments or basements have poor ventilation. This increases the chances of mould and mildew development, which can cause a lot of health problems. Make sure to check these areas for signs of development regularly.
- Dust mites: poor air circulation can be a paradise for dust mites. An excessively humid environment also promotes dust mites. Central air conditioning can help with this, and a dehumidifier can be a valuable investment for your basement or rooms with high humidity.
Indoor air quality needs to be monitored, and using a dehumidifier can be one way to effectively solve the problem of high humidity levels in your indoor air.
The Benefits of a Dehumidifier
Using a dehumidifier has its benefits which should not be ignored. These dehumidifier benefits range from removing excess moisture to reducing allergy symptoms and clearing up your environment of allergens and toxins. Here is what a good dehumidifier can do for your health:
Reduce Allergy Symptoms
If you have a consistent cough that is dry and if you experience allergy symptoms for longer than the usual allergy window (summer months), you might find that a dehumidifier can help you. In addition, if you are allergic to dust mites or pet hair, then a dehumidifier can improve the limited ventilation of your rooms.
Remove Musty Odours & Prevent Mould
A musty odour can be off-putting and can seep into other rooms. The source of the musty smell could be mould and moisture. As we already know, mould can grow on almost anything, such as stored bed sheets, ceiling tiles, your carpet, and even your walls. Hence, removing musty odours accompanying mould is a dehumidifier purpose that convinces consumers to invest in the appliance.
After clearing the mould, invest in a dehumidifier, as this will help prevent the return of fungus. If you can see visible water stains on your walls, you should also probably invest in a dehumidifier to deter the growth of mould and mildew.
Help Manage Asthma Symptoms
If your asthma symptoms seem worse than usual, it might be worth checking your house for excess moisture. It can become quite difficult to breathe with excess moisture, so if you have asthma, you might love the benefits of a dehumidifier. When the air in your home is clearer, you can breathe easier. You want to be completely comfortable in your own home.
Rid the House of Creepy Crawlies
A bonus that comes with the dehumidifier is that it can ward against creepy crawlies such as spiders, cockroaches or moths. There are unwanted pests that thrive in high-moisture environments.
Pro Tip: Staying in a humid environment for extended periods may be detrimental to your health. Using a dehumidifier will vastly improve indoor air quality, preventing many health problems.
The Disadvantages of a Dehumidifier
You should know that there could also be some potential disadvantages of using a dehumidifier.
- Dry skin: lowering the humidity level can cause your skin to dry out more. This may cause skin break-outs or rough hands. Ensure that you do not use a dehumidifier too much or the humidity level too low.
- Hydration Issues: Since water molecules are being pulled out of the air, make sure that you drink lots of water and maintain a healthy fluid intake. This will ensure that you stay hydrated.
- Some illnesses can be exacerbated: Using a dehumidifier is not suitable for those suffering from pneumonia and sometimes just a congested nose. Using a dehumidifier can make the air too dry.
It would help if you always tried first to take care of the root problem. For example, if you have mould, you need to remove it and get a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will not get rid of mould but can be a useful tool to prevent the problem from occurring again.
Maintaining Optimal Indoor Humidity Levels
Now that you know the health benefits of having a dehumidifier, you can assess if you need one in your home to lower the moisture from the air. You might be satisfied just with an air conditioner, or you could find that, instead, a dehumidifier might be the answer to your problems.