Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers: Knowing What You Need
Metro-Atlanta indoor comfort specialists at Gagne A/C discuss the differences between humidifiers and dehumidifiers, along with steps to determine which one you need
You may notice that the air in your home has a clammy feeling. Or you may notice that your air is so dry it gives you a headache. But how do you know for sure when you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier?
In the Northern Georgia climate where summers are hot and humid but where winters can require a fair share of supplemental heat, you may actually need both a humidifier and a dehumidifier, obviously used at different times of the year.
The climate control and comfort experts at Gagne Heating and Cooling will discuss how to know when you need a dehumidifier and/or a humidifier, and how whole house models can be a great investment for your home’s comfort.
You Might Need a De-Humidifier If…
During the summertime, your indoor humidity should stay somewhere between 40 and 50%. That’s a pretty low number considering that the average humidity level in Atlanta during August is 89% according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. To gauge the indoor humidity of your home, you can purchase a humidity gauge, called a hygrometer, for under $20 at your local home improvement store. If your humidity is over 50%, you may need to look into a dehumidifier.
Luckily, you probably have an air conditioner, which by design dehumidifies the air as it cools. There are some instances though when an air conditioner may not be adequate. The first case is during parts of the year when the humidity outside is still high but the temperature may not be hot enough yet to start using the air conditioner.
Another instance is with newer, tightly built homes that are so well insulated that their heat gain requires less air conditioner use, but the air still needs dehumidification. If you’ve ever turned on your air because you just felt sticky and not actually hot, and then felt cold when the air kicked on, you might have this problem in your home.
Besides comfort, keeping relative humidity under 50% is important to preventing dust mites and the growth of molds. This lower humidity is important for people who suffer from allergies and asthma, as well as for protecting your belongings from the harm that mold and mildew breakouts can cause.
While there are smaller, room-sized dehumidifiers for households with a central air conditioner, a whole house dehumidifier is ideal.
This dehumidifying system connects into the existing ductwork in your system, working independently of the central air. The dehumidifier is connected to your unit’s drain system so that you never have to empty the dehumidifier, making it a generally low maintenance system that your air technician can service seasonally along with your air conditioner.
These systems, which require installation by a professional, can remove up to 140 pints a day.
You Might Need a Humidifier If…
During the winter season, your home’s humidity will inevitably be lower, since heating systems tend to pull moisture out of the air as they heat. Your home’s humidity should stay above 30% in the winter. If you’re getting headaches at home, have dry skin, or a stuffy nose, you may want to use that hygrometer again to check your indoor humidity.
Besides adversely affecting your health, dry air can also damage your furniture and woodwork.
If you have low humidity, you’ll want to consider a humidifier. While there are many tabletop and tower humidifiers, they can be a pain. Besides needing multiple units or having to move them from room to room, you also have to worry about keeping them out of reach of children and pets. Plus, many humidifiers are loud and you have to remember to add water.
Homes that operate a forced air system have the option of a whole house humidifier, which must be installed by a professional. The benefits of these whole home systems are that they humidify your whole home. They’re also attached to your home’s water system so that you never have to worry about filling them up.
These humidifiers are attached to your existing ductwork and may use around 9 gallons of water a day, humidifying up to a 3,000 sq foot home.
Call Gagne Heating and Cooling for your indoor comfort needs
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