Whole home dehumidifiers are excellent for removing humid air from your entire home. When the humidity increases beyond an acceptable level, it can work as a stand-alone unit or with your HVAC system. You can also install it along the return ductwork to remove water vapor from the air in your home.
The air that passes through the dehumidifier is cooled, condensing the water vapor into the water and making the air dryer.
Your air conditioner also acts as a dehumidifier, but most energy is spent cooling your home rather than reducing humidity. While a whole home dehumidifier also cools the air in order to condense the water vapor, it is more focused on decreasing humidity than cooling.
If you have lived through a humid season or stay in an area where the air holds more water vapor, you are no stranger to how muggy, sticky and uncomfortable it can get without an active dehumidifier. You also might be familiar with the damage humidity can cause indoors to hardwood floors, walls, and your basement.
Working with a dehumidifier and an AC is the best way to decrease humidity in your home and cool air efficiently. It also serves other essential functions that we consider below to determine if it’s worth it as we answer the question, “how does a whole home dehumidifier work?”
Table of Contents
- 1 How Long Does It Take for A Whole House Dehumidifier to Work?
- 2 Where Does a Whole House Dehumidifier Drain?
- 3 What Are the Benefits of a Whole House Dehumidifier?
- 4 Should a Whole House Dehumidifier Run Constantly?
- 5 Whole House Dehumidifier Pros and Cons
- 6 Pros of Whole Home Dehumidifiers
- 7 Cons of Whole-Home Dehumidifiers
- 8 How Does a Whole Home Dehumidifier Work: Frequently Asked Questions
- 9 Is a Whole Home Dehumidifier Worth It?
How Long Does It Take for A Whole House Dehumidifier to Work?
The three factors that affect how long a whole home dehumidifier takes to create ideal moisture levels indoors are
- The dehumidifier’s capacity
- The size of your home
- The indoor humidity level
If conditions are ideal, it should take up to 12 hours for humidity to be at a comfortable indoor humidity level.
Capacity translates to the amount of water vapor the dehumidifier can condensate and extract in a day. To determine which degree you’ll need, you must consider the size of your home and the indoor humidity level.
Ideal indoor humidity levels are between 30 to 50%, so if your home always feels damp and muggy, your indoor humidity level is considerably higher. If you live in a wet environment, you will probably have a higher indoor humidity level and need a higher capacity dehumidifier.
On a general note, as the size of your home increases and the dampness of your home increases, the dehumidifier’s capacity will also increase. The time it takes for your dehumidifier to bring humidity levels to the ideal range will be longer.
Where Does a Whole House Dehumidifier Drain?
Once Humid air runs through the cold dehumidifier coil, the moisture is collected as condensate into a reservoir, automatically drained directly outside your home, like your HVAC unit.
You don’t have to collect the water yourself like a mini dehumidifier. Even if you installed your whole home dehumidifier as a stand-alone unit, it still works this way because they are built for the whole home and not a single room.
What Are the Benefits of a Whole House Dehumidifier?
Apart from removing excess moisture from your home, installing a whole-home dehumidifier has many advantages – like filtering out particulate matter, allergens, and other microscopic particles from your home.
In addition to protecting your furniture and increasing the efficiency of your air conditioner, a whole house dehumidifier also:
Improves Indoor Air Quality
Although tons of particulate matter are present outdoors, outdoor air quality is considered better than indoor air. In most homes, the air is stagnant, and allergens and particulate matter have no escape routes.
This affects your health more easily and can cause allergies. Most whole home dehumidifiers also have filters. They remove moisture from the air and filter it simultaneously—removing allergens, microscopic pollutants, dust, and molds that pollute indoor air.
Protects Your Home from Excess Moisture
If you’ve started noticing the expansion of furniture, walls, musical instruments, or anything made from wood, the excess moisture in humid air is already doing damage. The humidity a whole-home dehumidifier removes will keep your precious wood furniture and accessories intact.
It also goes beyond wood to help prevent mold formation that loves to grow in moist places like your basement. These zones soon start fostering insects and dust mites if unattended.
Improves Your AC’s Cooling Efficiency
There will be less stress on your HVAC unit when cooling air. As we alluded to earlier, air conditioning also dehumidifies indoor air but not efficiently as it does more cooling.
However, with your ac being fed dry air, no extra energy is spent on dehumidification. It means home rooms get cooler faster, and you can save energy in the long run.
Increases Overall Comfort When Relative Humidity Is High
Excess humidity can be intense sometimes—it will make you feel sticky and muggy, cause musty odors in your home and even affect the quality of your sleep.
Even when you’re cold and not sweating, high humidity indoors can make it feel like sweat, as moisture from the air sticks to your clothes and skin.
A whole home dehumidifier will work in conjunction with your HVAC unit or alone to reduce the humidity in the air and increase your comfort in these situations.
Should a Whole House Dehumidifier Run Constantly?
Whole home dehumidifiers can run constantly, but you should occasionally turn them off to save energy and increase efficiency. Most whole home dehumidifiers ship with humidistats that monitor your home’s humidity levels like a hygrometer to maintain or restore a desired preset humidity level.
So instead of setting your dehumidifier to run constantly, you can monitor the humidistat after it has run for more than 12 hours a day. If the level is at the desired level, turn it off.
Or preferably, if it works automatically, the humidistat should shut the system off when the humidity level is within your optimum range and turn it off again after it slips above the set range.
If your whole home dehumidifier doesn’t have a humidistat, you should consider getting a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your home.
The ideal indoor humidity level is between 30% and 50% humidity. Any higher and the air starts getting too moist, where mold formation starts and insects flock.
Of course, depending on your situation, you can also consider running your dehumidifier constantly. Just be aware that the increased energy consumption will increase your energy bill.
Suppose you use a portable dehumidifier and struggle to keep humidity levels low. Or if you are using a small dehumidifier compared to the size of your home, you can choose to run your dehumidifier constantly.
There’s simply no hard and fast rule about how frequently you should run your whole house dehumidifier.
The best decision is always to monitor humidity levels with a humidistat or a hygrometer and regulate it according to your needs.
If you’re on a budget, consider running your dehumidifier during off-peak hours when electricity usage is lowest, and rates are down to cut costs.
Whole House Dehumidifier Pros and Cons
When you think of the benefits of a whole-home dehumidifier, it is usually enough justification for most people to consider installing a unit.
But suppose you live in a naturally dry city and only deal with rising humidity levels. You may want to consider the pros and cons of choosing a whole home dehumidifier over a portable dehumidifier.
Pros of Whole Home Dehumidifiers
The great thing about humidity is that it diffuses naturally from high humidity regions to areas of your home with low humidity.
So installing a whole home dehumidifier is one of the best ways to achieve uniform dehumidification across every room in your house.
The Humidistat will monitor the humidity levels and keep extracting moisture until it is uniform.
Even if there is only one point of extraction, the humidity in the air will keep moving to the low areas at the point of extraction until its uniform.
This is possibly the most significant advantage of whole home humidifiers compared to portable humidifiers.
A whole home dehumidifier will reduce your energy bills by reducing the energy consumption of your HVAC unit. It keeps the indoor air level free from excess moisture and ready for immediate cooling.
As a result, your AC receives this dry air and cools it quicker and more efficiently without expending additional energy on dehumidification.
Unlike a portable dehumidifier, you don’t have to frequently clean the suction grooves or empty the water tank of a whole-home dehumidifier from time to time.
It is also less prone to developing minor faults because of its enclosed unibody design that can easily last for more than a year with minimal annual or bi-annual maintenance.
Automatic drainage is built into whole-home dehumidifiers to drain your house with no supervision once it is installed.
Visible Space Savings
This might surprise you because whole home dehumidifiers are visibly bigger than portable humidifiers, but you actually get some space saving from a whole home dehumidifier, considering where they are installed.
It is out of sight and doesn’t take any space in your day-to-day living areas inside your home. This is even more evident if you’d have to have multiple portable units inside various rooms in your home.
Apart from having minimal maintenance schedules, a whole home dehumidifier also has an extended life span. It can last up to 10 years if used with proper maintenance and maintained as recommended by the manufacturer.
Lifespan is an essential factor if relative humidity levels are higher around your home and you want a lasting solution to reducing moisture and maintaining healthy indoor air quality.
Efficient and Effective
Lastly, whole-home dehumidifiers are efficient and effective.
They are the best way to remove moisture from indoor air and allow you to exert some level of control over how comfortable your home feels, even during high humidity periods in summer.
Cons of Whole-Home Dehumidifiers
Increased Upfront Cost
The only cons of a whole home dehumidifier is the increased upfront cost it will run you.
Even this supposed con is not to be considered a bad investment. Because in a few years, you can recoup your investment in energy savings.
How Does a Whole Home Dehumidifier Work: Frequently Asked Questions
Do I Need a Whole-House Dehumidifier?
If you want to maintain your home humidity levels for an extended period, a whole house dehumidifier is your best bet.
Suppose you have also started noticing mold growth and moisture-riddled furniture that expands or is deformed somehow. Or maybe you want to improve your indoor air quality and reduce humidity in humid weather, you might also need one.
How Much Does a Whole Home Dehumidifier Cost?
A whole home dehumidifier cost ranges from $1000 to $2500 on the high end. Additionally, the total cost rises when you factor in the additional cost of installing new ductwork or reconnecting the system to the existing return duct.
Can a Dehumidifier Be Added to an HVAC System?
Yes, you can add your dehumidifier to your existing HVAC system. Additionally, you don’t need to run your HVAC to run the dehumidifier.
This is especially useful in those “shoulder months” in Fall when you don’t want any additional cooling but still want dry air.
How Much Electricity Does a Whole House Dehumidifier Use?
Whole home humidifiers consume up to 0.427 kWh on average. The general consumption rate ranges from 0.2 to 0.9 kWh. If you use your dehumidifier for 24 hours every day, the cost can quickly increase.
Is a Whole Home Dehumidifier Worth It?
The information presented should fully answer how does a whole-home dehumidifier work. Now that you are aware of the intricacies of whole-home dehumidifiers and have enough information to determine if they are worth it, what’s next?
Weight the benefits and the pros to the cons to determine if you need one. If you do, buy one with the suitable capacity for your home, the exemplary efficiency, and a complete whole home dehumidifier for all your needs.
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