EVERYTHING HOMEOWNERS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HUMIDITY AND DEHUMIDIFIERS

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Humidity is a problem here in Kansas and Missouri for most of the year. Sure, in the dead of winter when your skin is dry, your lips are chapped, and you’re getting zapped by static electricity every time you touch a doorknob, you might long for a little extra humidity. The rest of the year, however, you’re calling the Olathe air conditioner service pros to help battle that muggy, humid yuckiness in the house.

A word on humidity. Here in the Kansas City area, we suffer from high humidity during the hottest part of the summer, when that hot air retains more moisture and turns everything into a sticky sauna. Though it might be hard to see the advantages of humidity on a sticky summer day in Kansas and Missouri, humidity is not all bad. In fact, a little humidity in the air is a good thing. It keeps your skin from drying out and cuts down on static electricity. The trick is to keep your humidity within a certain comfort range. Inside the house, that’s usually somewhere between 35% and 50%.

The problem with high humidity. Unfortunately, if the humidity goes above 60%, it does more than make an already hot day even more miserable. High humidity can exacerbate the problems that we already associate with high temperatures. It can raise your blood pressure, make your sleep worse, and increase the risk of fatigue and heat exhaustion or heat stroke. And that’s just what happens to you. When you’re suffering from high humidity, your house is, too. Humidity can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, which can worsen allergies, increase the likelihood that your house becomes infested with insects and other pests, and even damage furniture or cause paint and wallpaper to peel.

You might need a dehumidifier. So yeah, high humidity can be a problem. Your air conditioner helps to cool the air, which causes a certain amount of natural dehumidification, but in the midst of summer in Kansas or Missouri, that may not be enough. What is a dehumidifier and how does it work? The simple answer is that a dehumidifier is a machine that removes moisture from the air. How? It’s similar to the way your air conditioner helps to dehumidify the air somewhat simply by cooling it. A standalone dehumidifier pulls air in and across cooled condenser coils. This cooling process causes the moisture to drop out of the air and into the dehumidifier’s reservoir. It’s as simple as that.

Of course, standalone dehumidifiers aren’t the only option. There are also humidity-control options that combine with your home’s HVAC system to control in-home humidity, using a built-in detector called a hygrometer to add or remove moisture in the air as needed.

The benefits of a good dehumidifier. You know all those problems we just mentioned that come with high humidity? A dehumidifier will solve just about all of them and make your home more comfortable for you and your family. It’ll also help inhibit mold growth, protect furniture and wallpaper, you name it. It does all of this by simply pulling some of the moisture out of the air when there’s too much of it.

What are the ideal spots for a dehumidifier? Every house is different, but the most common areas are those where you might expect to find higher humidity levels. These include the basement, kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms, and bedrooms, especially master bedrooms that may have an adjoining bath. You might also consider any place in the home that has experienced water damage. A hygrometer will tell you where the highest humidity levels are in your home, allowing you to install a humidifier where it will do the most good.

What are the ideal dehumidifier settings for your home? For starters, when you set up a standalone dehumidifier, make sure it’s not touching any of the walls. The dehumidifier works by pulling air in and releasing it, which means that it requires adequate airflow to operate. You should also remember to drain your dehumidifier regularly, since most models will shut off automatically once the water reservoir is full. As far as actual settings are concerned, though, those will depend a little on you and where you’re comfortable. Just remember that the goal is a comfortable humidity level between 30% and 60%. If your dehumidifier doesn’t tell you the current humidity level, you can always buy a hygrometer or two to help you keep tabs on the humidity levels throughout your home. In fact, it’s not a bad idea to buy and place hygrometers on all the different levels of the home (don’t forget the basement!) before you set up your dehumidifier to give yourself a baseline.

Do you need to run a dehumidifier during the winter? The short answer? Usually not. Humidity levels tend to naturally drop as temperatures do, and the winters here in the Midwest are usually quite dry. In fact, a little extra humidity during the winter can not only help your home feel warm and cozy, it can also help to eliminate those annoying static electric shocks that often accompany cold weather. Some people even run a dehumidifier during the summer and a humidifier during the winter for maximum comfort.

Consider a dehumidifier as part of your home comfort system. You can think of your HVAC setup as your home comfort system, and a dehumidifier works with all the other parts of your HVAC system to help keep your home comfortable all year long. In the summer, it works with your air conditioner to help keep the stickiness out of the air. It can also be extremely helpful in the rainy spring and autumn months that we experience here in Kansas City. Your dehumidifier is never working alone, though, and it’s important to get regular HVAC service in Olathe to keep your whole home comfort system working like it should. Fortunately, a Preventative Maintenance Agreement from Davenport Service Company makes it easy to keep your home comfort levels ideal all year round.

For Olathe air conditioner service, to join our VIP Maintenance Program, or to learn more about how to incorporate a dehumidifier into your total home comfort system, just call Davenport Service Company at 913-441-2222 today!

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