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What a Dehumidifier Can Do for Your Home, and How to Choose One

The presence of excessive moisture (above 50 percent relative humidity) in the air inside your home has adverse consequences for occupant comfort, energy bills and the integrity of wooden structures, furnishings and possessions. With humidity well above optimal levels for most of the year in Northern Virginia, learn what a dehumidifier can do for your home and occupant comfort, and save energy.

Affects of high humidity

The moisture contained in household air seeps into wooden and porous objects and possessions, and can actually change an object’s shape or integrity. Examples include:

  • Minor: A sticky door during periods of high humidity opens and closes smoothly in dry weather.
  • Significant:   Excessive moisture may damage musical instruments, and exposes occupants to potential health issues, such as allergy or asthma attacks from airborne contaminants that thrive in humid conditions.
  • Major: A home’s wooden structure can deteriorate and rot years ahead of its time, requiring expensive repairs.

Personal comfort and cooling bills are affected by excessive humidity. Even with the air conditioning on, indoor air feels warmer and stickier than optimally humidified air (30 to 50 percent). Also, occupants may lower the thermostat to try to achieve comfort, which increases energy costs.

Dehumidifier basics

Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air by circulating the air across a cold coil with a blower, air handler or fan. Moisture condenses on the coil and drains away. Air conditioners provide some dehumidification benefits, but may not make a significant impact in our Northern Virginia climate, especially if the A/C is old or oversized for your home.

Whole-house or portable unit?

The dehumidification capacity of a whole-house dehumidifier compared to that of a portable dehumidifier is like comparing a central heating system to a space heater. A whole-house dehumidifier provides homeowners the full benefit of optimal comfort from excessive humidity, protects all wooden and porous structure, furnishings and possessions, better protects your health, and can help lower cooling bills.

A portable unit requires more maintenance with the need to regularly empty a water bucket and monitor controls, plus it occupies living space. A whole-house system is fully automatic for water drainage and humidistat controls, and it’s tucked away inside the ductwork.

Contact HVAC Unlimited to learn more about what a dehumidifier can do for your home in northern Virginia.

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