Frequent rain and temperatures in the 80s or higher are common during Charlottesville’s muggy summer months. Your home should be a haven. Yet, mid-year mugginess can feel inescapable when indoor moisture is also excessive. Without a whole-house dehumidifier, maintaining comfortable and healthy humidity in your home can be a challenge.
Even routine activities and common household problems can contribute to your discomfort. Here are a few.
- Running your dishwasher, clothes dryer, or shower
- An air conditioning unit that is not running efficiently
- Leaky pipes
- Inadequate caulking or weather-stripping that is letting moisture indoors
- Poor ventilation, especially in your kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms
- Water that enters through your home’s foundation
Luckily, there’s an easy and affordable step you can take to create a more comfortable and even healthier home environment: installing a whole-house dehumidifier.
How Do You Know If the Humidity in Your Home Is Too High?
You feel it: Be aware of moist air that feels clammy on your skin or a room that feels stuffy.
You smell it: As you enter a room or enter your home after being away, you notice a musty smell. People describe mold and mildew as smelling like dirt, rotten wood, or sweaty socks.
You see it: Common signs are condensation or foggy windows; damp spots or water stains on the ceiling, floor, or walls; warped or rotten wood; or visible mold.
You can also measure the “relative humidity,” the measurement of water vapor in the air. According to the government organization Energy Star, your home’s relative humidity should be between 30% and 50%.
Charlottesville area residents can call Fitch Services. We will come out to measure your indoor humidity and look for the signs above. If you’re not in our service area, contact your local HVAC company. You also can purchase a digital hygrometer from a hardware or home improvement store.
Whole-House Dehumidifier Benefits
Here are five surprising ways a house dehumidifier protects you and your home.
1) Create a Comfortable Environment
Our bodies cool down with perspiration (sweat), which is moisture rising to the skin’s surface and evaporating, making us feel cooler. However, when water saturates the air, sweat can’t evaporate, and we can’t cool down.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of a whole-house dehumidifier is that you’ll feel the difference right away. Your days and nights will be more comfortable. It’s tough to get a good night’s rest when a room feels stuffy. High humidity can cause congestion and breathing difficulties that make sleep even harder for those prone to snoring.
2) Deter Insects
Every living thing needs water, even the microscopic dust mite. Instead of drinking water, mites absorb it from the air. Dust mites can be found in any home. They live in carpets, blankets, curtains, and any fabric, so there is always a risk. According to the American Lung Association, the most crucial factor contributing to the number of dust mites in a home is humidity. Mites can cause allergic reactions, aggravate asthma, and affect your immune system.
Do you know which other pesky insects thrive with moisture? Spiders and roaches. While only some spiders have harmful bites, they all can make your skin crawl. On the other hand, cockroaches carry bacteria that can cause salmonella, staph infections (staphylococcus), strep infections (streptococcus), and intestinal diseases. Plus, they can cause respiratory problems and trigger asthma attacks. Roaches have a specific organ designed to seek out moisture in the air. For many homeowners, making cockroaches unwelcome is reason enough to install a whole-house dehumidifier.
3) Reduce Mold and Mildew
Mold will flourish in warm, moist environments, leading to annoying symptoms like a stuffy nose, wheezing, or red and itchy eyes. Mold can also result in dangerous health conditions like fever, breathing difficulties, asthma attacks, and damage to your immune system. Mildew is an earlier stage of mold but causes many of the same problems. It is easier to treat at that stage, and a whole-house dehumidifier can help prevent it or keep it from multiplying.
4) Protect the Structure of Your Home
Water is one of your home’s worst enemies – a broken water heater, a leaky pipe, or heavy rain. High humidity, though, is a slow and hidden foe. That is why it is essential to have an HVAC company like Fitch Services perform an inspection for high humidity levels.
Too much moisture in the air leads to a wide range of problems. For example, high humidity can cause wood to rot and deteriorate, contribute to rust, damage drywall and paint, and introduce moisture to your home’s insulation. A whole-house dehumidifier protects your home, minimizing water-related damage and repairs.
5) Lower Your Electric Bills
Above, we talked about how our skin cools when our sweat (perspiration) evaporates. Unfortunately, when the air is heavy with moisture, perspiration can’t evaporate, leaving us feeling sticky and sweaty even when running the air conditioning. By reducing your home’s humidity, your sweat evaporates as nature intended. As a result, you can actually run your air conditioner at a higher temperature and still feel cool or run it less often. On the other hand, a home with high humidity may be making your air conditioning unit work harder, adding to your energy usage costs.
Contact Us for a Free Inspection
There is much to gain from a whole-house dehumidifier. We install well-known brands like Honeywell and Aprilaire, which we have been recommending for years. Call us today at 434-296-9980 to schedule an in-person visit for us to look for signs that high humidity may be a problem in your home. Fitch Services will help you select the best whole-house dehumidifier for the needs and size of your home and then install it for you.
Contact our HVAC service and maintenance experts in the Charlottesville, Va., area to learn more about whole-house dehumidifiers or schedule an appointment for any HVAC, plumbing, or electrical service.
Photo by Hans Reniers