Are there any side effects of dehumidifiers? If you’re asking that question then you most probably know what a dehumidifier is. But just so we’re all on the same page, let’s look at the dehumidifier definition.
A dehumidifier removes excess moisture from the air and collects it in a tank. When the tank is full you’ll need to empty it. Removing moisture from the air brings down the relative humidity level, which makes the air easier to breathe and much more comfortable to live in.
By keeping humidity at a comfortable level, dehumidifiers also prevent mold and mildew from forming which can have damaging effects on your health and wellbeing.
Are there side effects of dehumidifiers ?
The dehumidification system has been constantly researched and developed for over fifty years. In the latter stages of that time, health issues have become a prominent concern when developing products of any kind.
Today, for a product to be successful, the company and the technology behind it needs to be transparent. If there are proven health concerns surrounding a product, it will fail. The dehumidifier has been refined to ensure health issues and side effects don’t arise.
However, like any sophisticated product on the market today, there are guidelines for safe use. If you follow the guidelines, then issues will not arise. If you don’t then side effects could arise, which could potentially affect your health.
1: Use the right sized dehumidifer
It may seem obvious, but if you use a dehumidifer that’s too small for your room, it won’t clear enough moisture from the air. If it’s not operating effectively and removing enough humidity then mold and mildew can start to grow, which can lead to harmful respiratory conditions. Try and find a dehumidifier with a built in humidistat. This will turn it on when humidity is too high and turn it off when humidity reaches a comfortable level. If your dehumidifier doesn’t have a built in humidistat then you can purchase a stand alone humidistat fairly cheaply to check the humidity level in your room.
Ok, what size dehumidifer do I need?
Work out the size of your room in square feet. (Length x Width) and have a think about how humid your room gets and use this table provided by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to work out what capacity of dehumidifier you need.
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What humidity level should my room be ?
When we talk about humidity, we’re referring mainly to the atmospheric humidity, which corresponds to the water vapor contained in the air. Although humidity is usually invisible and not felt directly, we can sometimes feel its presence. At 10% relative humidity, the air seems dry, at 50% it is comfortable, at 80% we feel a certain heaviness, and at around 100%, the humidity starts to condense: fog, haze and even rain appear.
- 10% Relative Humidity : Air Seems Dry
- 50% Relative Humidity : Comfortable
- 80% Relative Humidity : Air Feels Heavy
- 100% Relative Humidity : For and Haze begin to appear
For more about relative humidity levels take a look at What humidity level is uncomfortable?
2: Don’t overuse the dehumidifier
If you dehumidify the room too much you’ll end up with air that is too dry. Dry air can cause problems for you AND your home and this is probably one of the reasons people ask ‘are there side effects of dehumidifiers ?’
Dry air can cause problems by:
- It can dry up your respiratory system, which means it has a less effective defence against bacteria
- Build up of static electricity
- Your skin will become dry and itchy
- Your eyes will become irritable
- Your hair will start to look lifeless
- Wooden furniture and doors will start to crack
3: Remove Mold and Mildew before using a Dehumidifier
If you think that a dehumidifier will remove existing mold and mildew then this is going to cause havoc with your health. A dehumidifier will prevent mold and mildew from forming but IT WILL NOT REMOVE EXISTING MOLD AND MILDEW. You must remove mold and mildew first. You can remove mold with white vinegar – here’s how to do it…
How to remove mold with vinegar
- Get some white distilled vinegar – you can get this cheap from most supermarkets
- Get a spray bottle and pour the white vinegar into it
- Find the mold and spray it with the white vinegar.
- Leave it for at least an hour
- Wipe the area clean with water and let it dry naturally
You can also use bleach to do this. Use a ratio of 1 part bleach / 8 parts water.
If however you have a large concentration of mold in your room casting a musty odor then you need to take further special precautions. You need to make sure you’d don’t contaminate the rest of the house with mold and you need to protect yourself from breathing in the spores.
- Protect yourself with a mask, gloves and goggles.
- Ventilate the room by opening any available windows
- Use a box fan, in the window to pull any spores outside
- Remove mouldy carpets, you can’t repair mold infested carpets. Wrap them up in plastic and throw them away.
If the odor is unbearable and you have mold and mildew all over the walls, then you’ll need to bring a specialist in to remove it all.
4: Clean the dehumidifier regularly
The water tank is always going to contain moisture, and surfaces that come into contact with moisture are always going to be prone to mold growth. You need to regularly clean and disinfect the water tank to make sure mold doesn’t start to form inside the dehumidifier.
Also make sure you clean the filter regularly. Consult the product manual to see how you can do this.
5: Ensure doors and windows are closed
If your windows or doors are open when you’re running a dehumidifier, the process of removing moisture from the air will take much longer. The air outside may be humid and it could constantly be drifting through the open window into the house. You’d be emptying the tank forever. Close all the windows and your dehumidifier will work much more effectively.
The benefits of using a dehumidifyer come with some responsibility. If you use them correctly, by following the tips above and by following the product guidelines, then you’ll feel the full benefits of bringing down the humidity to a comfortable level. If you don’t follow all these guidelines then you could start to experience side effects caused by mold, mildew or the humidity level being too high or low.