What are the disadvantages of a dehumidifier? To understand how a dehumidifier can benefit or detract you from using it, you need to know how this type of device works. This type of device is used to reduce the moisture level of your home. Therefore, it is often purchased by people who suffer from allergies or homeowners with mold and mildew problems. In these instances, a dehumidifier can bring peace of mind, if not comfort.
However, a dehumidifier also has drawbacks that you need to review before you buy this type of device. The following information can help you make up your mind. Before you review these details, you need to understand, again, how the device operates.
How a Dehumidifier Is Designed
A dehumidifier is designed much like an air conditioner. However, a dehumidifier features two sets of coils inside a conditioned space. Air conditioners, on the other hand, feature an evaporative coil on the inside of the unit and a condensing oil on the outside of the device. The latter coil is used to get rid of the heat indoors.
The main difference between a dehumidifier and air conditioner is the speed at which the flow of air travels over the coils. The air moves much slower over the coils of a dehumidifier. This gives the air more time to get rid of its moisture load.
You also have to keep in mind that most dehumidifiers are stand-alone units, unlike air conditioners. Therefore, they are usually not made to be ducted. Their fans are not configured for this type of resistance to pressure or a constrained flow of air.
With that being said, the units are still necessary if you have problems with high humidity in the home. A humidity problem can lead to the formation of black mold and aggravated health conditions, such as asthma. The excess moisture can also lead to damage to your walls, ceilings, and furnishings.
Besides a dehumidifier, you can see about waterproofing your basement or find out about treatments that will reduce the amount of moisture in your living space. These additional measures may make your home more livable and comfortable.
Signs That You May Need a Dehumidifier
Also, before you take a look at the drawbacks, you need to carefully look at your surroundings. A dehumidifier is often indicated if the following issues emerge in a home environment:
- Condensation appears on the windows – sometimes even the walls
- You find mildew spots on the ceilings or walls
- A musty smell is noticeable in your home
- You find watermarks in your basement
- Beams or floors present rotting wood
- Your wallpaper is peeling
If you see mildew spots, these moisture-induced spots are different than mold. Mildew can be cleaned easily with hygienic cleaning products and a scrub brush. A problem with black mold is much more insidious, as the mold is not easily spotted and can be extremely costly to remove.
While these signs may indicate the need to dehumidify your home, it still does not mean you should rush out and buy a device. You can check the humidity level with a device, called a hygrometer. This type of device measures the humidity in a room and is economical in cost. The ideal humidity level in the summer is between 30% and 50% while it should fall around 30% to 40% in the winter time. If your hygrometer reveals a humidity level of 50%, try to find the cause of the humidity first. The prevention technique that you choose will depend on the severity of the moisture problem.
Other Measures That You Can Take
If the problem originates from the bathroom, open the window whenever you shower. If the moisture is coming from the basement, heat up the space to dry out the air. These tips can also be used for reducing the level of moisture:
- Open the windows in the house or switch on extractor fans when you shower or cook to improve the ventilation.
- Use lids on pans when you are in the process of boiling water.
- Remove houseplants in your home as they emit a water vapor.
- Heat your living space with a radiator or heater.
- Make sure your washing machine is properly vented.
- Open the bedroom window to get rid of the moisture from breathing during the night.
- Dry clean your rugs or standalone carpets, as they tend to collect moisture.
- Make sure your home is sealed by using caulk along cracks.
- Use rock salt or charcoal to absorb any excess moisture.
After you take the above measures, check your hygrometer. You may find that these types of techniques will work at reducing the moisture level in your living space. If you find that the moisture level is still above what you would like it to be, you may consider the purchase of a dehumidifier. However, again, you need to review the drawbacks so that you are prepared and know what to expect when using this type of device.
When making a selection, you need to consider the size of the space that needs dehumidification and the water tank size for the dehumidifier. You also have to consider the type of dehumidifier you wish to choose. If you purchase the right-sized dehumidifier, you will save yourself from emptying the tank too often.
Drawbacks to Consider
- Warm and Noisy
A dehumidifier is not exactly a quiet device to include in a room. In fact, the noise can be downright irritating. While this may not upset you if the unit is in the basement, it can be distractive if placed elsewhere.
If you are planning to buy this equipment, make sure that you choose a product that is designed for a lived-in space, one where comfort and quiet are priorities. The unit can also blow warm air from the back, which can be annoying in the summer. If you are dehumidifying a room in the summer, make sure the back is positioned in the path of a doorway or window.
- An Increase in Energy
When you are using a dehumidifier, you have to face the fact, as well, that your energy bill can increase. Some homeowners have complained that their energy bill increased by as much as $50.00. You are most likely to incur this amount during the summer unless, of course, you live in a warm climate throughout the year. You can reduce the amount of energy used by buying an Energy Star unit that is designed for energy efficiency.
- Ongoing Maintenance
When you own a dehumidifier, you regularly need to maintain the item. That is because the devices collect water in their storage tanks that must be emptied and cleaned on a routine basis. If you live in a humid environment, you may have to assume this task at least once a day. To reduce the added maintenance, you might thinking of adding a drain hose that empties any accumulated water into a drain in the floor. Some units offer this feature, and it can save a lot of work.
Are Dehumidifiers Worth It?
And so with the above few drawbacks, are dehumidifiers worth it after all? When you consider the above information, it is important to take a look at the features of any dehumidifier that you may want to buy. Consider this as well – dehumidifiers will only work in higher humidity and warm conditions. They also provide poor performance if the environment is below 15 degrees Celsius or 59 degrees Fahrenheit.
After reviewing the dehumidifiers that are featured for use, you can better shortlist your choices. Make sure that you understand the running costs and strongly consider the type. Some dehumidifiers simply will not work in larger living spaces and thermos-electric models may not remove moisture as quickly as compressors or desiccant styles.
Nevertheless, even though a dehumidifier can increase the amount of energy used, it can still save on your electric bill as dry air takes less energy to heat. You will also open your windows less, which can save on energy-wasting drafts. You can turn down the thermostat a couple degrees, as drier air naturally feels warmer than a moisture laden air flow. The best way to make sure too much energy is not used is to pick a dehumidifier with an Energy Star rating for use.
If you cannot use certain measures for lowering the humidity in your home, you will need to make sure that you can cope with some of the drawbacks with using the device. These drawbacks can be overcome if you are careful in your selection and review the device’s amenities. Some of the key features are indeed advantageous, as they provide the following:
- Mobility – standalone models can be transported to various areas of a home.
- An adjustable thermostat.
- A hygrometer that is built in
- An automatic shut
- An auto reset button.
- A mode for defrost.
If you want to avoid some of the above-listed drawbacks, make sure you choose a listed quiet-running dehumidifier and one that provides continuous drainage. By choosing this type of dehumidifier, you will find that the drawbacks pale by comparison to the overall amenities and functionality. Learn more about your options by carefully reviewing the selections offered online.