“When Is It Time to Invest in a Whole-House Dehumidifier?” If you’re noticing that the humidity levels in your home are consistently higher than 50%, it might be time to invest in a whole-house dehumidifier.
A whole-house dehumidifier is a unit that is installed in the home’s HVAC system to help reduce humidity levels. It helps to remove excess moisture from the air, making the home more comfortable and reducing the risk of mold and mildew growth.
My Love Affair with my Whole House Dehumidifier
I love whole-house dehumidifiers for three very BIG reasons:
1. A whole-house dehumidifier manages the humidity throughout my entire home. Unlike a stand-alone, portable dehumidifier that manages air quality in only one room, the whole-house unit is attached to my hvac air-duct system. So, it’s managing the humidity in every room that is served by that air-duct system!
2. The whole-house dehumidifier is in my crawlspace, so I never hear it running. And because it’s attached to my hvac equipment, the condensate drains into the small pump that removes the AC condensate. So, it’s virtually maintenance free! I never have to empty the bucket, as in a portable dehumidifier.
3. My whole-house dehumidifier is completely automatic. I set the machine to maintain 49% humidity. My Aprilaire unit has a small fan that cycles on for 5 minutes every hour, to “test” the humidity in the air passing through the duct system. When the humidity is higher than my set point (49% RH), the dehumidifier clicks on. At the same time, the furnace fan clicks on and begins moving air through my duct system – passing that air through my dehumidifier. It’s wonderful!
Click here for more articles I’ve written, where I go more in-depth about managing indoor humidity levels and the wonderful, magical whole-house dehumidifier!
So, what are the signs that you may need a dehumidifier?
Here are a few indications that it’s time to invest:
1. Humidity levels consistently above 50%.
As humans, we prefer humidity levels in the mid 40% range for the most comfort.
2. Condensation on windows or walls.
3. Musty smells in the home. Especially those of you with homes built over vented crawlspaces.
4. High levels of dust and allergens.
5. The house seems uncomfortable to you – such that you are prone to run the AC, getting the house colder-and-colder. What you are actually doing is using the AC to dehumidify the air inside your home.
If you are noticing any of these signs, it might be time to invest in a whole-house dehumidifier.
How Much Does a Whole-House Dehumidifier Cost Me?
The cost to operate a whole-house dehumidifier will vary depending on the model and size, but is typically between $0.08 and $0.25 per kilowatt hour. Having the right dehumidifier is important, as it must be sized for the volume of air inside your home. Too small, and it never shuts off (high operating cost and short equipment life) and it labors to keep the relative humidity in a comfortable range.
You should expect to spend between $3500 and $5000 for one of these beautiful machines to be installed. At this writing supply chain issues and high price inflation make it impossible to give you a more accurate price estimate.
High Humidity in Atlanta is Year-round
Many Atlantans (wrongly) think our high humidity is limited to the summer months. But that is not true. Our high humidity runs year-around. We literally are surrounded by water, 365/24! And, as we tighten up our homes with air-sealing measures, replacement windows, and more insulation – we’re feeling the uncomfortable consequences of trapped humidity inside our homes.
Poor Indoor Air Quality is not limited to pollution. It also includes high humidity, which makes us feel yucky in our homes. It’s really not fun to lay in bed, with 70% humidity in my bedroom, and the temperature stuck in a narrow band so that my AC refuses to click on. This exact scenario is where the whole house dehumidifier becomes my best friend, night-after-night!
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