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How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

Jul 10, 2018

how does a dehumidifier work

Image: Window & Door Consumer

Northern Virginia is notoriously humid in the summer. High humidity can leave your home feeling and smelling musty. Plus, excess moisture can lead to mold growth which can damage your home and put your family's health at risk. 

Let's dive into why humidity can be problematic for homeowners and how to reduce humidity with a dehumidifier. 

What is a dehumidifier?

Too much humidity can be dangerous to your home and your health — it can cause mold growth, attract termites and other pests, and create an overall uncomfortable environment to live in. 

The recommended humidity level for your home is between 30 and 50 percent. In areas where the climate is drier, indoor humidity may not exceed that 50 percent threshold. Northern Virginia, however, is a humid region, so homeowners may struggle to maintain that 30 to 50 humidity range without a dehumidifier. 

Dehumidifiers regulate humidity by removing excess moisture from the air, providing homeowners with a healthier, more comfortable living space. Dehumidifiers vary in size and strength, from portable, single-room devices to whole home systems. 

How does a dehumidifier work?

Dehumidifiers work by drawing warm, moist air into the machine and running the air over refrigerant-cooled coils. When the warm air comes in contact with the cool coils, the moisture in the air condenses and is collected in the machine. 

Before the dry air is expelled, it passes over reheating coils to further dry out the air before it exits the machine and enters your home. The warm, dry air will attract the warm, damp air and help maximize the efficiency of your dehumidifier. 

What are the benefits of using a dehumidifier?

High humidity may seem insignificant, but excess moisture in your home can cause major issues later down the line. Here are some ways dehumidifiers can benefit homeowners:

Prevent mold growth 

Large quantities of mold in your home can endanger your health and the health your loved ones. Damp air, ranging from 50 to 65 percent humidity, creates an environment where mold can grow and spread, quickly putting your family at risk. 

A dehumidifier helps draw excess moisture out of the air to prevent mold from growing. However, dehumidifiers can’t eliminate existing mold, so it’s important to look out for signs of mold growth or have your home inspected by a professional to ensure your family is breathing safe air. 

Reduce dust mites and other allergens 

Dehumidifiers also improve air quality by keeping dust mites away, which can relieve allergy and asthma sufferers of their symptoms.

Household dust mites thrive in humid, warm climates. By reducing moisture in the air, dehumidifiers can an unfavorable environment for dust mites, which can help keep them at bay. 

Read more: Does air duct cleaning help my allergies?

Protect the structural integrity of your home

Over time, moisture can cause your home to deteriorate. Wooden beams and flooring can warp, crack, and rot. Metals may begin to rust. Paint can bubble up and peel from the walls. Using a dehumidifier create a dry, safe living environment that keeps your family and your house itself healthy.

Signs you need a dehumidifier in your home

Sometimes it can be hard to tell when indoor air is too humid. Look out for these signs of excess moisture in your home: 

Condensation. Interior condensation on windows or even walls indicates that indoor humidity is too high.

Mold spots on walls or ceiling. Most commonly found in basements and bathrooms, mold can grow on walls and ceilings, around toilets, in bathtubs and showers, and other areas where moisture may be trapped, like closets and crawl spaces. 

Musty smell. A musty odor indicates that mold and mildew are growing somewhere in your home, which can pose a serious health risk to you and your family. 

Water damage. Water stains are another sign that there is excess moisture in a home, however, there are other common causes of water damage, like leaky pipes. If you notice stains on your walls, have a plumber check for leaky pipes and make any necessary repairs.

Rotting wood. Excess moisture can cause wood to rot and split, creating an attractive environment for unwanted pests like ants, cockroaches, and termites. 

Read more: How to recognize signs of termite damage — and what to do next.

Increased allergy symptoms. Warm, damp air allows allergens like dust mites and mold spores to grow and spread quickly, which can trigger symptoms in allergy and asthma sufferers.

Create a healthy, comfortable living space

High humidity can lead to a host of issues for your family and your house. Make sure your home is a safe and comfortable environment by using a dehumidifier to achieve the 30 to 50 percent recommended humidity level. Questions about humidity in your home? Call one of our five-star technicians at 1-877-740-6657 or schedule an appointment online today.



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