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How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

As a Maryland resident, you’re all too familiar with the high humidity that plagues us every summer. The muggy, heavy air makes you feel hotter than ever. Your body sweats in an effort to combat the heat, but the already-saturated air fails to evaporate the moisture from your skin, making you feel miserable.

Fortunately, when you step inside your home, the air conditioner does a pretty good job of cooling you off. Along with removing heat, the AC also dehumidifies the air.

However, on the muggiest afternoons, the air conditioner may reach the desired temperature before it’s had a chance to remove all the desired moisture from the air. This leaves you with a cool but clammy feeling that makes rooms feel stuffy and smell musty. Excess humidity can also be bad for your health, attract pests, and even threaten the structural integrity of your home.

You could keep turning down the temperature on your thermostat to allow the air conditioner more time to remove humidity, but this could leave you feeling cold and drastically increase your cooling bills. Conserve energy and feel far more comfortable at home by running a dehumidifier.

While there are many benefits, it’s important to learn how a whole-house dehumidifier works so you can stay ahead of the upkeep.

humidity and condensation on glass window

How a Whole-House Dehumidifier Works

Most dehumidifiers have five parts:

  • Fan Compressor
  • Compressor
  • Cooling Coils
  • Reservoir
  • Reheater

These parts work together in a simple, yet effective, process. It’s essential to know how these parts operate so that when you need repairs or maintenance, you can accurately tell your HVAC technician what the problem is.

First, the fan draws air into the system and directs it toward the compressor cooling coils. Like the side of a cold soda can, moisture in the air condenses on the cooling coils. When enough moisture collects, it drips into the reservoir. Then, the reheater warms the air slightly and exhausts it back into the room much drier than when it entered the unit.

When looking at how to work a dehumidifier, the reservoir is a removable plastic bucket that you need to empty when it gets full. Most buckets also have a spot to attach them to a floor drain or pump so you can run your dehumidifier without giving it a second thought.

Most dehumidifiers also have a humidistat used to measure the relative humidity in your home. Similar to a thermostat, you can set the humidistat to the desired level so the dehumidifier runs just the right amount. In the summertime, you’ll feel the most comfortable when you program the humidistat between 30 and 50 percent relative humidity.

A whole-house dehumidifier is the best way to keep every room at a comfortable, consistent humidity level. You can hook the unit up to your air conditioner so the two machines work in tandem. You can also set the dehumidifier to run independently of the air conditioner so you can save money and still remain comfortable on mild days just by dehumidifying the air.

Benefits of a Whole House Dehumidifier

Since portable dehumidifiers only affect single rooms, you may end up spending more money by purchasing multiple units. That’s why a whole-house dehumidifier can help you keep costs low while treating the entire home. From increased home comfort to lowered energy consumption, you’ll love the way a whole-house dehumidifier treats your home. There are many whole-house dehumidifier benefits, including:

  • Improved Indoor Air Quality: Whole-house dehumidifiers effectively reduce excess moisture in the air, promoting better indoor air quality by preventing mold, mildew, and dust mites.
  • Energy Efficiency: Balancing humidity levels enhances the efficiency of air conditioning systems, reducing energy consumption and subsequently lowering utility bills.
  • Prevents Condensation: These dehumidifiers help prevent condensation on windows and other surfaces, minimizing the risk of water damage and mold growth.
  • Comfort Enhancement: Maintaining an ideal humidity level creates a more comfortable living environment, preventing that sticky or clammy feeling often associated with high humidity.
  • Health Benefits: By controlling humidity levels, these dehumidifiers contribute to a healthier environment, reducing the risk of respiratory issues and allergies associated with damp conditions.

Signs You Need a Whole-House Dehumidifier

If you’re contemplating whether or not you actually need a humidifier, you should take a look at your home and learn about the various ways one of these devices will improve your comfort levels and safety.

To help you decide if you will benefit from installing a dehumidifier, consider if you are dealing with these issues:

  • High Humidity Levels: Measure the relative humidity with an inexpensive hygrometer. If it’s higher than 50 percent on a regular basis during the summer, you may want to lower those levels. A dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the air and create a more temperate environment.
  • You’re Uncomfortable While at Home: If you feel uncomfortable in your own home due to high humidity, take control. Installing a dehumidifier system will make your home more enjoyable when relaxing.
  • Increased Energy Bills: High levels of humidity can affect your energy bills. You can save energy and money by resisting the temptation to lower the thermostat and using a dehumidifier to keep your home comfortable without running the air conditioner.
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality: By maintaining optimal humidity levels, a dehumidifier helps prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and dust mites, which can contribute to respiratory issues. This simple appliance acts as a valuable way to improve indoor air quality.

Now that you know how a dehumidifier works, speak to local HVAC professionals who can help you choose and install the right unit for your home. Our technicians at GAC Services will thoroughly inspect your home and suggest the best model to improve humidity levels.

Contact us today in Howard County, Montgomery County, and Frederick County, Maryland, to schedule an appointment with our experienced team. Our technicians are dedicated to helping you and your family remain comfortable and safe throughout the entire year.

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