Molds on the wall, musty scent in the room, uncomfortable indoor air temperature – these are all tell-tale signs of poor humidity levels. It’s definitely a nuisance, especially when it comes to molds as they can be costly to get rid of and can pose a lot of health hazards including poisoning and poor respiratory health.
Having a dehumidifier at home can control high humidity levels. But once you have chosen the right one that fits the size and needs of your home, the next important thing to tackle is how to set your dehumidifier to work in the humidity levels you are dealing with indoors.
How to Determine Humidity Levels
You won’t figure out how to set your dehumidifier if you don’t know the current humidity levels of your home in the first place. That is the crucial information you should get.
There is no constant humidity level since the weather also changes constantly. That said, you would want to invest in a nifty device called hygrometer. This device is designed to check for humidity levels using built-in sensors. It is the most accurate tool to gauge condensation or evaporation in a given space.
You can buy inexpensive mechanical hygrometers but if you are aiming for accuracy, spend a bit more money to get a digital one. There rechargeable ones out there, so you don’t need to wire them into your home’s electrical system.
There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to humidity settings. There are, however, some guidelines that can be used to determine how to create a more conducive environment.
Most people feel good at around 30%-60% humidity levels but for enclosed spaces with poor ventilation such as basements, setting the dehumidifier to 50% of the user’s upper limit. If there is a lot of moisture build-up in the space, less than 60% humidity level setting is ideal.
If you have dust mite problems, set your dehumidifier to 50% or below. For all-around relief, a 45% setting should be the best option.
How to Set Your Dehumidifier Based on Your Needs
The right settings will depend on the part of the house you are putting the dehumidifier in.
Setting it in the Basement
The most common problem experienced in basements is molds. When the humidity level rises to more than 60%, that’s when molds tend to appear. This is why it is ideal to set the dehumidifier to less than 60% humidity settings.
The optimum setting should be around 50% but try to tweak the settings anywhere between 50%-60% and find out which one works best for your basement. Adjust when necessary. If you notice that your dehumidifier is constantly running and is getting no break from its dehumidifying work, it might be because it doesn’t have the capacity in dealing with the humidity levels in your basement. There could also be air leaking into your basement.
If the dehumidifier is working, you will notice it right away with reduced musty smell in the basement. It won’t have an instant effect on molds growth though. That might take time to manifest, so continue using the dehumidifier even if the musty smell is gone.
Avoid using your dehumidifier in the basement in the winter season. There is a chance the coils will freeze, which can cause inefficiency.
Setting the Dehumidifier in the Rest of the House
Although the settings for the other parts of your home is not that different with the settings you might use in the basement, there are a few more factors you need to consider. Dust mite is one of them. Dust mites tend to reproduce when there are high humidity levels. They particularly like living in spaces where there are humidity levels of 50% or higher.
As you know, dust mites are bad for the health because these are allergens. They can cause allergic reactions, skin rashes and many other health issues that can disrupt your life.
Households with pets tend to be more prone to dust mites infestation and they usually take up residence in textile materials such as the fabric of your mattress or couch. If you suffer from allergies or you have trouble breathing without sneezing or coughing, you might want to set your dehumidifier to a lower setting.
We also suggest using an air purifier for more effective removal of dust mites and other microscopic substances in the air such as pet dander. That way, your dehumidifier won’t have to work as hard to deal with dust mites.
In the winter season, minimize your usage of your dehumidifier. Using a heater will cause the humidity to drop, so there usually isn’t a need for a dehumidifier.
How to Control Humidity Levels in Your Home
Aside from using your dehumidifier, there are also other things you can do to control humidity levels. Do the following things:
1. Keep your home properly ventilated.
You might want to install vents in your basement to allow air to circulate. That can help fight the moisture problem. Using exhaust fans is also good, especially in areas that make use of water such as in the kitchen and in the bathroom.
In the kitchen, use an exhaust system to expel the moisture from boiling water as well as remove odor from the food you are cooking. Install exhaust fans in bathrooms that do not have windows as well.
2. Consider setting the thermostat to auto settings.
Many people set their thermostat to on. The auto setting is better because the system determines the ptimal settings needed to respond to the temperature condition of the room.
Such is the case for the thermostat of air conditioners. If it is set to on, the fan will just keep on blowing, which prevents the moisture from being expelled by your air conditioner.
3. Occasionally open windows.
Freshen up your rooms by opening the window every morning. Allow air to circulate freely inside your space.
Dehumidifiers can do a lot in keeping indoor air quality optimal. Check out the best whole-house dehumidifier reviews to learn more about our most reliable recommendations.