There’s more to home comfort than temperature alone. Relative humidity (RH) plays an important role in how you feel and the quality of the air you breathe. A dehumidifier can reduce wear and tear on your AC, lower your energy usage and save money in the long term. Let’s look at nine indications that a whole-house dehumidifier is a good investment for your home.

1. Your RH Is Above 60%

You can test RH with a handheld hygrometer or via a thermostat with a humidity sensor. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns against RH above 60%. At this level, your home may have mold spores and dust mites. It’s more difficult to breathe, and people tire easier. There can also be more airborne pollution due to the increased water vapor in the air.

2. Your RH Is Above 50%

While it warns against 61% and up, the EPA recommends between 30% and 50% RH. Somewhere in this range is where people feel most comfortable, making the air easier to breathe. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is superior in this range. Pests of all kinds are much less likely. You’ll also feel cooler at a higher temperature. With a dehumidifier, many homeowners can increase the temperature by several degrees in summer and remain cooler.

3. You Feel Muggy Even When Running Your AC

You may not have a hygrometer to measure RH, but you can feel it if it’s high enough. An odd sensation in a home is when the AC is on and it’s cool, but there’s still mugginess. It’s important to understand that an AC or heat pump isn’t a dehumidifier. There is some dehumidification as a byproduct of the cooling process. Still, if the humidity is too high, the cooled air will be ripe with water vapor and not feel as comfortable.

4. Creaky Floors

Excess moisture in the air causes the wood in your home to swell. That swelling isn’t ideal for the long-term health of your wood furnishings. It can also manifest as creakiness not only in hardwood floors but:

  • Doors
  • Cabinets
  • Windows
  • Wardrobes

5. Heightened Allergic Reactions

As mentioned, more water vapor in the air can lend itself to an elevated presence of allergens. The humidity can also make you more prone to those allergies because of fatigue and respiratory irritation. People with asthma and allergies may experience more attacks and worse symptoms. People without respiratory conditions may be more prone to sneezing, coughing and headaches.

6. Elevated Pest Presence

Dust mites aren’t the only pest problem in humid conditions. Pests seek out moisture, and high humidity in a crawl space or home makes those areas much more inviting. At higher humidity levels, your home may attract:

  • Ants
  • Rodents
  • Termites
  • Silverfish
  • Cockroaches

7. Condensation on Windows and Mirrors

Condensation in the home indicates that humidity is too high. This is most common in winter when humid air contacts the colder glass. You can experience it around your water heater as well. Condensation on mirrors is also cause for concern if not caused by a shower.

8. Unexplained Mold Growth

Mold and mildew require moisture to thrive. A bad mold problem is usually due to a leak, but high RH can lead to airborne mold spores. These are allergens. They also create mustiness, such as from ducts and in basements. Left unchecked, they can lead to colonies on walls and other surfaces.

9. Unidentifiable Unpleasant Odors

You don’t necessarily need mildew for humidity to cause bad smells. Water vapor traps scent molecules. This can cause a closet or wardrobe you haven’t opened in a while to smell bad. If you’ve ever laid down on a vacuumed carpet and noticed it didn’t smell great, that’s probably due to the humidity.

Would You Like to Install a Whole-Home Dehumidifier?

Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning has served Spokane and the neighboring communities for over 75 years. Our IAQ team specializes in dehumidifiers, humidifiers, air cleaners and duct cleaning for residential and commercial customers. We employ NATE-certified specialists who service furnaces, boilers, heat pumps, air conditioners and mini-splits. Our HVAC team will install, repair and upgrade ducts. We also have plumbers who install, maintain and repair tankless and tank water heaters. If you’d like to schedule an appointment or have questions, contact us online through our website.

Sturm Heating & Air Conditioning

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