You want to keep the humidity in your home at 40% to 55%. The best way to do that is with a dehumidifier that extracts excess moisture from indoor air. It will make your home more comfortable, and will also reduce allergens like mold and dust mites.
To dehumidify smaller spaces, a plug-in, portable dehumidifier that you can buy at the hardware or home improvement store may be the best solution.
For significant issues, though, you may want a central whole-house dehumidifier that uses your home’s heating and cooling system to reduce the humidity in the entire house. Even though they may cost $2,000 or more, they are the right solution if you have humidity issues throughout your house. Also note now that summer is drawing to a close, you might be able to get a better deal than if you bought one at the beginning of the season.
There are three types of whole house dehumidifiers, each with its own pros and cons.
- Heat pump dehumidifiers are generally considered among the most effective. They extract water from the air by using a heat pump similar to an air conditioner pump.
- Chemical absorbent (desiccant) dehumidifiers use a chemical drying agent – or desiccant - on a heat exchange wheel to absorb water molecules from the air. This damp air is sent outside via vents. The downside is these dehumidifiers use a lot of energy, and may be more appropriate for industrial settings.
- Dehumidifying ventilators have a sensor that activates the unit when humidity reaches a certain level, and the unit then uses an exhaust fan to dehumidify the room. These units are less effective in muggy climates because they draw outside air into the house.