To figure out whether you need a dehumidifier, it’s worth considering the factors that raise indoor relative humidity levels. Some of these factors apply to all climates: indoor humidity levels rise when there are many people or pets living in the house; when residents take many showers; when there are lots of houseplants; when residents cook frequently; and even when someone mops the floor.
Other factors — some of which are counterintuitive — apply particularly to houses in hot, humid climates:
- The tighter the house and the better the windows, the more likely it is that you’ll need supplemental dehumidification.
- During the summer, the more you ventilate, the more likely it is that you’ll need supplemental dehumidification.
- According to researcher Armin Rudd, “Moving ducts from the attic to the conditioned space saves energy but increases space humidity levels in hot-humid climates.” (The reason: once you move ducts indoors, your air conditioner won’t run as often.)
Dehumidifiers are optimized to remove moisture rather than to cool air, so they work better at that function than air conditioners. It makes sense to install a dehumidifier when the relative humidity gets high enough to cause significant problems—like growing mold in the home. Most experts suggest that indoor relative humidity levels should be kept below 50 or 60 percent.
Dehumidifiers are effective at removing moisture when cooling isn’t also called for—such as during spring and fall when there might be high humidity but cool enough temperatures that air conditioning isn’t warranted. They can also make sense in highly energy-efficient homes with good cooling-load-avoidance strategies, such as shade trees on the east and west, awnings or overhangs above windows, and very energy-efficient lights and appliances. In these spaces, it may be important to get rid of excess moisture, while cooling isn’t needed.
For more information on Dehumidifying your home or office call A Superior A/C at 850-258-3225 or go fill out a service request online.