If the relative humidity (RH) level in your home is too high or too low, it can wreak havoc on your health and your life. A good dehumidifier can help if you live in an area that has especially high humidity, but does this mean you should only use one of these units during the summer time when it’s hot and humid, or even in the winter time when the humidity is generally lower? The answer depends on a lot of things.
Examine Your Home and Conditions First
Before you start to wonder when to use a dehumidifier: winter or summer?, you need to take a look at your specific situation. The answer to this question depends on the area of the country you live in, the age and general condition of your home, and even your daily habits. Although it certainly does no harm to run a dehumidifier all year long, you may not want to do so for practical reasons, which means you’ll have to do your due diligence to determine how long to run the dehumidifier throughout the year.
If the humidity level is too low, you can experience dry, itchy skin or throat and even breathing problems. If it is too high, mold and mildew is always a possibility, not to mention clothing and furniture that can become damaged or uncomfortable. If your clothes feel funny or there is mold starting to grow on your shower curtain, it is definitely time to purchase a good dehumidifier.
Is it Safe to Run a Dehumidifier All Year Long?
As a general rule, you can run your dehumidifier all year around, provided you take a few precautions. Mold and mildew thrive when it’s humid outside and even when the temperature is cool, but does this mean that running a dehumidifier 24 hours a day, seven days a week is a good idea? Not necessarily. During the cold winter months, the dehumidifier can freeze up and stop working if it runs constantly, and this is never a good thing.
One idea is to run a heater for several hours a day alongside the dehumidifier, or use the dehumidifier only at certain times of the day. You won’t want to use the heater all day long or your utility bill will be too high, but using it for three to four hours per day is a good way to make sure the dehumidifier doesn’t become damaged because it gets too cold.
Also, keep in mind that dehumidifiers turn on and off throughout the day once the humidity level gets above or below a certain level, and keeping the humidity level set between 30% and 90% is usually recommended. This way, it will be set at the right level and will work efficiently regardless of how long you use it, so even using it for a few hours a day will be beneficial.
Read more: Can you run a dehumidifier?
Preventing a Host of Problems From Occurring
Humidity that is too high or too low can cause a host of problems. During low-humidity times, it can cause dry skin, nosebleeds, and even the easy spread of viruses, contributing to the intensity of your illnesses. When humidity is too high, you can experience allergies, asthma problems, and even many upper-respiratory illnesses.
If you’re going to run your dehumidifier all year long, it is a good idea to check the humidity level on your dehumidifier continuously because you may need to change it at certain times during the day. This is especially important during the cold winter months, because running a dehumidifier 24/7 during the warmer months doesn’t cause nearly as many concerns.
Read more: How long should you run your dehumidifier?
The Benefits of a Good Dehumidifier
During the summer months, a good dehumidifier helps you stay more comfortable in your home and will even allow you to sleep better at night. If your skin becomes dry because the humidity has gotten too low, all you have to do is turn the dehumidifier off for a few hours at a time before turning it back on once the humidity level gets high again.
When it’s winter time, running a heater with your dehumidifier for a few hours a day can result in a home that is much warmer and a big reduction in the amount of mold and mildew growing, providing you with great peace of mind every time.
You should also make sure you get a dehumidifier that can accommodate the space you need taken care of. If you have a small home, you’ll likely need a dehumidifier that removes around 30 pints of moisture per day, whereas a bigger basement or home may require one that removes 70 pints of moisture per day. The packaging will tell you how big an area the dehumidifier can accommodate, so it’s best to start there when trying to find the perfect dehumidifier.
In the winter months, your benefits can include a decrease in your heating costs, while benefits in the summer months include decreasing harmful high humidity and keeping your home much more comfortable. In the spring and fall months, operating your dehumidifier can be a bit more challenging because the weather won’t be cold or hot, but warm or cool instead. This simply means you’ll have to continuously check the humidity level to make sure it doesn’t get too low or too high.
Continuous Monitoring Is Important
Because the humidity level can fluctuate from season to season, you’ll want to keep an eye on your dehumidifier and take notice of any problem areas, including allergic reactions, upper-respiratory problems, mold or mildew on your clothes or bedding, and any other ailment you consider directly related to the humidity level in your home.
Humidity levels on a dehumidifier should never be set any lower than 30% and never any higher than 90%, because let’s face it, you’re using the unit because you want the humidity level to be just right. You can easily tell when the setting is too high or too low because you’ll start to experience certain symptoms, but the good news is that you can get almost instant results by immediately resetting the humidity level to a more comfortable number.
Make Your Dehumidifier Run More Efficiently
Regardless of the season, you’ll want your dehumidifier to run efficiently so that it can keep your home as comfortable as possible, and this is simple to do once you learn a few important tips, which include:
- Make sure you place it in the right location, which means away from walls and your furniture. You should also make sure all of the windows and doors are closed so the unit will work more efficiently.
- Thoroughly vacuum the room before you turn the dehumidifier on so it doesn’t spread the dust and make your allergies worse instead of better.
- If you plan to use your dehumidifier during the winter months, make sure it has an automatic frost-control feature. This way, it won’t get so cold that the unit stops working on its own.
- Make sure the water bin is emptied regularly, which is usually once a day. Most dehumidifiers will shut themselves off once the bin gets full, but it won’t turn itself back on until the bin is empty again.
- If possible, purchase a dehumidifier with a high energy-efficiency rating. This way, you’ll know you’re getting the most out of the unit and that it will always work its best.
Read more: How long do you run a dehumidifier for?