Basement dehumidifiers are commonly used across various regions of the United States. They provide an efficient answer for humidity issues related to local climate and weather. They are also a temporary solution to moisture intrusion due to foundation or structural issues. Be that as it may, they aren’t the fix for every problem, so you should understand when to use a dehumidifier in basements before investing in one yourself.
What is a Dehumidifier?
In general, a dehumidifier is a piece of equipment that reduces humidity by removing excess moisture from the air. Still, it’s essential to know that many different types of dehumidifiers are used in various applications.
Industrial dehumidifiers, for instance, can provide rapid moisture removal during disaster restoration, such as after a flood. On the other end of the spectrum, you can find portable dehumidifiers often used to deal with isolated humidity issues.
As such, if you’re asking, “Do I need a dehumidifier in my basement?” then the type of unit you should be looking for is one that’s installed to directly support your home’s HVAC systems, as it will be able to regulate the moisture issues throughout your basement and even your entire home.
What Does a Dehumidifier Do?
Depending on the specific type of dehumidifier you have installed, it will either remove humidity from fresh air entering your HVAC system or circulate air within your home as it removes moisture. In either case, the result is more control over the humidity in your home.
Each type of dehumidifier works on the same basic principles, functioning very similarly to an air conditioner. Dehumidifiers use a compressor and condenser to cool a refrigerant and pass it through coils. Then, as humid air passes over those coils, the moisture condenses into droplets that are collected and drained, thus allowing the unit to provide dry air.
Now, should you run a dehumidifier in the basement all the time? When you have a professionally installed dehumidifier, the answer is yes. Once installed, a dehumidifier will keep the air in your basement at a consistent humidity level, which you can set the same way you set the temperature using a thermostat. You can simply set the appropriate humidity and let the unit cycle on its own for consistent, efficient, and adequate moisture removal.
Removes Moisture From the Air
High humidity is often a source of discomfort, especially on super hot days. It can leave you feeling muggy and sweating, ruining your time in that environment. Simply put, you won’t feel like doing much of anything with a home that feels like that.
Thankfully, a dehumidifier works to remove moisture from the air, keeping humidity under control. You can enjoy a comfortable home environment no matter what the weather is like outside, even on the hottest and muggiest summer days.
Deters Mold Growth
Mold thrives in areas with high humidity, which becomes problematic after basement flooding or leaks. However, consistently high humidity levels can allow mold to form on virtually any surface in your basement, including its walls, ceilings, and furniture, without any other apparent water source. As such, getting a dehumidifier for basement mold can help prevent these issues and recurrence after other mold mitigation efforts.
Supports Respiratory Health
High humidity can also contribute to a variety of respiratory health conditions. Anyone with asthma or allergies often sees their symptoms worsen in such sticky environments, as the humidity supports dust mites that contribute to many allergic reactions.
In general, everyone will breathe easier with a dehumidifier in place to regulate moisture levels. You’ll be helping those with respiratory conditions in your home and reducing the risk of anyone else developing similar issues in the long run.
Your dehumidifier works by pulling in the existing moisture in the air. However, water condenses on any cool surface at high enough humidity levels. It often occurs around windows, but it can also impact your walls, ceilings, and floors. Given enough time, that condensation can eventually affect paint and wallpaper, leading to distinctive blistering and peeling. A dehumidifier helps prevent these issues related to overall humidity and the impacts of things like cooking and taking showers.
Protects Furniture and More
High humidity can affect a variety of objects throughout your home, such as increasing rust on metal fixtures and appliances, but if you have furniture made of wood, medium-density fibreboard, or any other wood byproducts, high humidity can ruin everything incredibly quickly.
These materials absorb moisture from the air, which causes them to warp over time, leaving you with bumpy tables and wobbly chairs. With that being said, regulating humidity levels with a dehumidifier can let you effectively preserve countless items around the house.
Do I Need a Dehumidifier in My Basement?
A dehumidifier is a handy piece of equipment for regulating humidity, but only some homes need one. Depending on your existing HVAC system, as well as your local climate and weather, your home may already maintain a consistently safe and comfortable humidity level. Still, homes that serve to benefit from dehumidifiers should install them sooner rather than later.
You can reach out to the professionals to find out more about your options or watch for the following common signs at home that indicate you may need a basement dehumidifier:
Your Home Is Too Humid
You can always measure your home’s moisture levels to determine its humidity. Instruments used to measure humidity are called hygrometers, and they’re affordable and easy to find. In fact, they’re often paired together with thermometers in one unit.
Make sure to measure the humidity at different times, as it will fluctuate. The ideal range is between 30 and 50%, with anything above that putting your basement at risk of mold and other issues.
Dehumidifiers are often used in hot environments, as hot air can hold more water. More importantly, your body feels heat more acutely when that air is humid. If your home feels sweltering despite temperatures not being all that high, then a dehumidifier is likely the solution you need.
Spot Mold or Mildew
Dark spots on walls, ceilings, or furniture are visible signs of mold or mildew and are something you should act on right away. You’ll need to hire mold removal services to make your home safe, and you might need a dehumidifier to offer lasting protection afterward.
Signs of Illness
If you have recently developed a consistent cough or find yourself constantly sneezing, what you attribute to allergies or a cold could actually be related to humidity. High humidity can exacerbate these symptoms in individuals with existing conditions or cause them to develop in otherwise healthy people.
How to Install a Dehumidifier in Your Basement
When determining when to use a dehumidifier in the basement, if it’s apparent the time is now, your next action should be to choose the right dehumidifier, size it appropriately, and install it correctly.
While that’s easy enough to say, you can run into some challenges if you don’t go with professional installers. When exploring how to install a dehumidifier in the basement, some individuals opt for shortcuts by merely selecting a portable model, which has its drawbacks.
For one, it likely won’t have the power or airflow to handle an entire basement. You’ll also have to routinely empty its water collection bucket. You can find a portable dehumidifier for the basement with a pump, but by that point, you’ll either be running hoses throughout your basement or limiting the unit’s placement to directly beside a drain.
In addition, as an isolated appliance outside of your home’s HVAC system, a portable dehumidifier can also significantly heat the air inside the room it’s running in. If you’re in the middle of a hot and humid summer, that’s the last thing you want.
If you are looking for a dehumidifier to prevent mold in the basement reliably, you’ll have to call in professionals. They’ll visit your home and evaluate your existing HVAC system, current humidity and temperature levels, the size of your basement, and other factors while also looking for signs of foundational issues or poor waterproofing that could be contributing to your home’s moisture issues.
Based on these factors, your local HVAC professionals will provide you with some options for dehumidifiers that provide the necessary moisture removal capacity and features for your home. That includes determining where to put the dehumidifier in the basement, with HVAC-integrated or on-wall units available.
The installation involves physical mounting, electrical work, and plumbing for drainage, which are all critical areas best left to the professionals to ensure lasting results and safety from your new dehumidifier.
Protect Your Home With Basement Waterproofing Solutions
If you’ve noticed issues in your basement, such as high humidity, condensation on windows, flooding or leaks, or visible mold, take action now to find a professional solution, whether that involves a basement dehumidifier installation, a variety of other solutions, or both.
You can let the experts at Basement Waterproofing Solutions identify when to use a dehumidifier in your basement and when other solutions are needed to address the root cause of the problem. We provide professional dehumidifier installation, waterproofing services, and mold removal that Staten Island residents can count on to protect their homes. Contact us today to get started!