As a responsible homeowner, you may be wondering which one will be better: a dehumidifier or air conditioner for the basement.
An air conditioner can reduce the temperature of the basement and bring it down to a comfortable level. Many air conditioner models also have a built-in capability to reduce humidity levels.
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However, basements present a challenging environment that can overwhelm air conditioners. Basements build up high levels of humidity, which necessitates the need for dehumidifiers.
So, in addition to an air conditioner, you will also need a dehumidifier in a basement. While the air conditioner will keep the temperature to comfortable levels, the dehumidifier will keep humidity within the optimal range.
Why Do Basements Have High Humidity Levels?
Basements are prone to high levels of humidity since they are located underground where there is a high chance of water leakage through the pipes and foundation. Since there is no opening through which the moisture can escape to the atmosphere, high levels of humidity will build up which can be detrimental in several ways. Firstly, high moisture levels in the air will lead to the development of mold and mildew which can have serious health consequences. Secondly, the build-up of stagnant water and even dampness can lead to the weakening of the structure where it occurs.
Humidity Damages Valuable Items
The problem with basements is that they often have poor ventilation due to which they suffer high humidity. This is extremely unfortunate since basements also serve as storehouses of valuable artifacts that are adversely affected by dampness and moisture.
Photographs and books are susceptible to humidity and will degrade with time if moisture levels are not kept under control. There is a wide array of collectibles that can suffer damage and deterioration from high humidity. Therefore, it is necessary to install a dehumidifier where you will be storing your precious collection.
Besides mold and mildew, high humidity can create the ideal environment for another major allergen – dust mites. These parasites can trigger allergy symptoms and breathing problems in asthma and allergy patients. Dehumidified environments have much lower levels of dust mites as compared to moist environments.
How Do Dehumidifiers Work?
Dehumidifiers work much in the same way as air conditioners. These devices cool down the air so that their capacity to hold water is reduced. At higher temperatures, the air is capable of holding more water, while at lower temperatures it is capable of storing less water. Therefore, dehumidifiers cool down air to such an extent that it is unable to hold all the water vapor in the environment. When this happens then part of the water vapor condenses out. The water vapor content in the air is hence reduced by the action of dehumidifiers. The temperature of the air is increased back again so that its relative humidity rises to comfortable levels.
So when considering a dehumidifier or air conditioner for the basement, you should take into account the high humidity levels in basements. While installing one such device in your basement, you should ensure that you install basement dehumidifiers since these heavy-duty devices are capable of handling the difficult humid environment of a basement.