Damp, moist air is not ideal for a home, which is supposed to be a place of comfort and coziness. Unfortunately, wet air in your home doesn’t only cause extreme discomfort because it can also induce health risks and cause damage to your home. The good news is that this issue is fixable and preventable. If your home has terrible air quality, this could be one of the signs you need a dehumidifier.
What Is a Dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is a useful, powerful appliance that sucks the excess moisture out of the air in an enclosed space. Depending on the size of the home you have, you may need anywhere from a small dehumidifier to a large, industrial one.
Dehumidifiers, small or large, work by pulling in the water vapor in the air and transforming it into water. Most units have a vent and a water reservoir, which you empty periodically.
Just like an air conditioner, a dehumidifier pulls in warmer, moist air and then pulls it through cooled metal coils. The coils then cool the air and condense it into a liquid, or water. The air is then warmed and pushed back through the vent, delivering drier, cleaner air. Depending on the type of unit you get, the water may be drained or collected in a water tank.
So, how do you know if you need one of these magical humidity-canceling machines?
There are plenty of sure-fire ways to tell that a dehumidifier will work wonders for your home. If you are suffering from the discomfort of damp air, condensation, musty odors, mold or allergy issues, these are signs you need a dehumidifier. Once you invest in one of these machines, the difference in air quality will change your home life.
Here are the 5 signs you need a dehumidifier in your home.
5.) Humid, Damp Air
Damp air is the most obvious sign you need a dehumidifier.
Most of the time, you’ll know whether you have excess humidity in your home. The discomfort alone will prompt you. The damp air not only feels gross it also transfers moisture on to your furniture, clothes and other household items.
Ever sat on your couch and felt that it was unnecessarily damp? Or maybe you have a stuffy closet and notice that all of your clothes are mysteriously damp all the time. These are all signs you need to suck that extra moisture out of the air in your home.
How does a home get damp air? There are many possible causes for this:
- Climate: If you live in a rainy area that is wet for most of the year, this dampness could transfer to the inside of your home. Homes in humid climates (hot or cold) without air conditioning are also prone to humidity issues.
- Poor ventilation in small rooms: It is also common to have a specific place in the house that harbors a lot of moisture. Bathrooms, kitchens, and closets are often culprits. Bathrooms hold a high amount of moisture in the air post showering, flushing, and using the sink. While many bathrooms have ventilation systems in place, not all do, and some function poorly, which can lead to a bathroom with trapped, moist air.
- Building structure and insulation: Lastly, the construction of the building could also cause humidity issues. An old, cold building with subpar insulation is more likely to suffer from uncomfortable damp air.
All of these things can be reasons for why you have humid air in your home. Luckily, a dehumidifier does the job and solves the issue for you.
Not sure of the humidity level in your home? You can use a smart thermostat or a hygrometer to check the levels. Your home is the most comfortable at around 30 to 50% humidity level. Seventy percent is considered abnormally high and could lead to severe issues with your home.
4.) Foggy Windows
Maybe you can’t tell if it’s humid, but you’ve noticed that your windows are always foggy on the inside. Any signs of condensation are a sign that you need a dehumidifier in the room.
Foggy windows usually occur during the harsh winter months when the inside temperature is significantly higher than the temperature outside. This temperature difference causes condensation on the windows. It may seem harmless because you’re cozy and warm indoors, but the foggy windows indicate that the humidity levels in your home are too high.
Condensation could lead to damage in your home if it goes untreated. Because of gravity, the foggy windows cause water droplets to fall and generate bigger water bubbles. Excess water buildup could lead to paint or wood damage under your windows, which can cause the growth of mold or mildew, which is an even bigger, more expensive problem.
You may also notice condensation build-up on walls, too. If you rub your hands along the walls and find there’s water on them, this is an indication of poor insulation and too much moisture in the air.
3.) Mold and Mildew Spots
Mold is one of the first signs you need a dehumidifier to spot. Mold and mildew are an instant red flag for many reasons and may mean you need to take action. Invest in a dehumidifier to remove the moisture from the air that causes mold to grow and fester.
Although people use the names interchangeably, mold and mildew aren’t the same things. Both aren’t good, either.
What is the difference between mold and mildew?
- Mold is an invasive fungus that usually appears as a black, green, or red fuzzy texture. Once you have a patch that you can see, you probably have a much deeper issue. Mold may show up on the surface of something, but it lives deep within various materials including wood, wallpaper, and carpets. This fungus is often more severe than mildew because it is harder to eradicate.
- Mildew is also a fungus, but it isn’t as invasive as mold is. Its a lot easier to get rid of this issue if you find it. Mildew is usually found in an area that is damp with poor ventilation. This fungus is often a grayish white or brown with a powdery look, and it gives off a musty, foul odor.
If you find mildew spots, you can remove them with a little leg work. On the other hand, mold may be a more challenging, expensive thing to remove. Either way, your body will thank you when these harmful substances are gone because they both release toxic spores into the atmosphere.
The best way to keep mold and mildew from growing in your home is to properly ventilate areas like the bathroom that have constant moisture in the air. For example, if your bathroom doesn’t have an air ventilator, use a small dehumidifier after you shower to pull the water out of the air. This will prevent issues like mold or mildew growth.
If your mold issue is serious, you may have to replace whatever surfaces are affected. Tackle the problem as soon as you notice it.
2.) Musty Odors
Does there always seem to be an underlying musty or foul smell in your bathroom or basement?
Musty odors are a sign of a bigger issue: mold or mildew. Even if you haven’t located spots, it may be lurking beneath the surface. Mold and mildew thrive in damp, wet environments, so if an area of your home has excess moisture or sitting water in it, you can expect this fungus and the resulting smell.
The smell is difficult to get rid of because no matter how much air freshener you use, the space will always be stuffy and give off a bad odor.
If you have a musty smell in your home, investigate the area for signs of water buildup. You can usually find water buildup in places like bathrooms, basements, or around windows that may not be properly sealed.
If you can’t get rid of the musty, stuffy smell in your home, here are a few things you can do:
- Find the mold or mildew that’s giving off the terrible smell.
- Repair the issue that is causing the water to build up or the excess moisture in the area.
- Use an air purifier to get rid of the smell and clean the air of the harmful agents.
- Let your dehumidifier come to the rescue and help prevent this issue from happening again in the future.
Check to see exactly where this musty smell is coming from. If it is near your kitchen or pipes or other appliances like a washing machine, check to see if mold is present. Mold could mean contamination or toxicity in your water or clothes, so remove it immediately to clean the environment and improve the smell.
1.) Allergies or Asthma Issues
People with allergies know that breathing clean air is crucial to your wellbeing. You can tell when something is triggering your allergies, and the constant discomfort of a stuffy nose will be enough to tell you that something isn’t right. If you start to notice a rise in your allergies when you get home, you could have a mold problem.
People with asthma issues will also be able to tell if there is a mold issue because mold also affects your breathing. If you become short of breath after spending a prolonged amount of time in a specific room, mold is the likely culprit.
The mold is there because of the same underlying issue with the levels of humidity in your home. Mold and mildew will fester in quickly spread in damp, swampy environments. You experience allergies or asthma because of the nasty spores and toxins released by the mold and mildew in your home. Excess amounts of mold in your home can spread and cause serious health issues.
Similarly, warm and moist air also cause allergens like dust mites to spread. The humidity in your home will make it difficult to get rid of the dust mites that cause your allergies to flare up.
Breathing clean air is essential to you, and investing in a dehumidifier is one of the best ways to prevent these issues.
Dehumidifiers significantly improve the air quality in your home so you can live a clean air, allergen-free life.
To sum it up, if you experience any of these issues listed above, the best thing to do is act fast and get a small dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is a small investment that could prevent dangerous and costly problems in your home.
To find out what kind of dehumidifier is the right one for you, check out our reviews by reading the next article.