Confused about whether you should use a dehumidifier during winter months? Some people will tell you that you shouldn’t while others will tell you that you should. So, who’s right and who’s wrong? Find out more below.
The ideal relative humidity of a home is around 50-55%. If you dry wet clothes on clothes horses or radiators, or your bathroom or kitchen has no ventilation or you have a leak in the roof or chimney breast, the humidity of the air will increase. You’ll be able to see that you have a problem with humidity if you see water condensation on the inside of your windows or you begin to see mould growing on damp walls. Basements are particularly prone to dampness.
Why Colder Weather Contributes To Unhealthy Indoor Air Quality
The homes are built to hold heat in during the winter months and keep heat out during the summer, when the temperature starts to drop, we will stop the cold from outside entering our homes.
However, this seals off the home from any fresh air from the outside and raises the likelihood of impurities in the air. When these impurities cannot escape the house, they gather and multiply quickly because they thrive in moisture. These include dust mites, mould spores and other contaminants that can very quickly impact those with respiratory problems and a weakened immune system.
The air in all our homes holds moisture to some degree; showering, cooking, drying laundry and even breathing are just some of the tasks that we do every day that add moisture to the air that has to end up somewhere. If we add bathing, boiling kettles and ironing into the mix, all of which are typically part of our daily routine, a household of one person will produce approximately 1.5 litres of water a day if we look at this over a week that contributes to 10.5 litres just for one person! That’s the equivalent of 18 pints of water per week!
Like we touched on earlier, before, when homes weren’t built like sealed boxes to hold heat in it could escape through gaps in windows, lofts and cracks in walls where it would be replaced with fresh air from the outside. Alas, because homes are built to have no natural escape route, this trapped air only makes the problem worse and creates unhealthy indoor air quality through the build-up of excess moisture.
What are the dangers of unhealthy indoor air quality?
The impact unhealthy indoor air quality can have on a home, and the people in it can cause acute and chronic illnesses and, in extreme cases, fatalities, so it is crucial to control and maintain the right humidity level in the home.
While not enough humidity can cause some discomfort issues like dry, irritated eyes and cracked itchy skin, too much moisture can lead to some severe health issues like:
- Allergies and Asthma
- Flu-Like Symptoms
- Shortness of Breath
- Sinus Congestion
What method you choose to remove moisture from the home to prevent these symptoms depends on the severity of the problem and the season. However, with the cold weather forecast, using a dehumidifier will not only allow you to adjust and monitor humidity in the home but to reach the ideal level despite the weather.
Similarly, your basement may also need to turn on the dehumidifier in winter
With very little exposure to heat and sunlight from outside, basements tend to trap excess moisture and provide an excellent breeding ground for moisture-related damages.
For those homeowners who live in cold climates and keep their basements cold, running a dehumidifier is of little use. In fact, between the lower temperature and the water vapor sucked in by the dehumidifier, if you try to use it under these conditions, it may eventually cause the coil to freeze and the function of the dehumidifier will be impaired. Using the Aptook‘s commercial dehumidifier will avoid this problem. The device has an automatic defrost function to ensure normal operation at low temperatures without damage.
Just because you live in a warm climate does not necessarily mean that you will use a dehumidifier, and your climate conditions also require relatively high humidity. Generally speaking, if your humidity stays above 50% most of the time, it is a good idea to use a dehumidifier in winter.
3 ways to run the dehumidifier correctly in winter
If you choose to run the dehumidifier in winter, you will need to pay close attention to what is said next! The following are the 3 main ways to operate equipment normally throughout the season.
1. Regularly monitor the dehumidifier
Whenever you decide to run a device, always pay attention to it. If the temperature or humidity drops below the ideal level, you will need to turn off the dehumidifier. You should never let the coil or water freeze, because it may cause permanent damage to the device.
Don’t have time to continuously monitor your equipment? Set automatic humidity threshold! For beginners, we recommend setting the automatic threshold of humidity to 30%.
2. Check the room temperature
Next, if you happen to find that the room is cold but the humidity is still high, please run the heater for a few hours a day. This will help regulate the temperature of the room and make it easier to control the relative humidity.
3. Watch out for mold
Notice the signs of mold growth? Use natural bactericides such as white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or rubbing alcohol to kill it immediately. Next, use a dehumidifier to completely dry the room. This will ensure that the nasty mold will not continue to spread.
For most families, dry winter weather requires more humidity, not less humidity, to maintain higher comfort. But if you live in an area that is both cold and humid, you may benefit from running a dehumidifier in your basement or other humid areas of your home. If you need to buy a dehumidifier in the winter, you can consult Aptook professionals, I believe you will get the dehumidifier you want!
Choose the right size dehumidifier for your basement-shop here!