Two primary factors affect the comfort level of the air in your home: temperature and humidity. Even if the temperature is at a level you should find comfortable, if the humidity is excessive, you may still feel hot and sticky as perspiration accumulates on your skin. If the humidity level is low, the atmosphere readily absorbs the moisture from your skin, making you feel cooler and drier. A dehumidifier contributes to your comfort and lowers your utility bills, as cooling the home to a comfortable level consumes less energy.
How much is too much?
The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers tells us that 31 to 37 percent relative humidity at 90 degrees Fahrenheit is a comfortable level for most people. At 42 percent, most people begin to feel uncomfortable and at 62 percent, they become extremely uncomfortable. High moisture levels will also tax the air conditioner and increase your electric bill.
How do I know how much humidity is in the air?
You can purchase an instrument known as a hygrometer, which measures humidity levels in percentages, from your local home improvement store. Available in both analog and digital models, prices begin at just a few dollars. For about $10-$15, you can buy a digital version that will provide you with an accurate reading.
How does a dehumidifier work?
A fan draws moist air from the room and passes it across a cold coil. The moisture in the air condenses and collects in a bucket. The air then passes back across a hot coil to warm it back up again and circulate it back into the room.
What size unit do I need?
The larger the unit, the greater amount of moisture it can collect in 24 hours. In a small home that is very damp, the unit may be required to collect 12 pints of moisture daily. In a 2,500 square foot home an equally moist environment may need to collect 32 pints.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hauppauge, New York and the Long Island area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about dehumidifiers and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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