Adding moisture to the air is one thing, but removing it is a whole other ball game. This crash course in dehumidifying your home will help you get started.
Chances are, you’ve got a humidifier somewhere in a storage closet that you take out whenever the air feels dry. But sometimes, you might run into the opposite problem: too much moisture in the air. What then? Dehumidifying the air in your home doesn’t necessarily mean breaking out an industrial-grade dehumidifier, There are steps you can take to ensure you’re living in a healthy humidity level. Here’s what you should know.
Dehumidifying doesn’t just keep the air in your home comfortable — it can also help preserve household fixtures, mitigate mold growth, keep pests away and reduce dust mites.1 The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping your home humidity levels between 30% and 50%.2 To figure out what the relative indoor humidity (RH) of your home is, you can buy a hygrometer or indoor humidity monitor for a few dollars. If you find the humidity in your home is higher than 60%, it’s time to dive into dehumidifying.
It’s not always easy to tell what’s causing excess humidity in your home, but there are common causes that you can check for. Steam radiators, clothes dryers, combustion appliances (AKA, stoves and ovens) and broken bathroom fans can all contribute to increased moisture in the air.2 Keep an eye on the kitchen, basement, laundry room and bathrooms — where there’s steam, there can potentially be mold, mildew and insects that thrive in humid environments.2
Just because you don’t see mold or pests doesn’t mean there’s no reason to dehumidify. If you or someone at home is sensitive to mold, consider running a dehumidifier at the beginning of summer and through the fall, when outdoor mold is most prevalent.3 Dehumidifying after a big rainstorm can help mitigate indoor moisture, too.
You’ve probably noticed that dehumidifiers aren’t as easy to come by as regular humidifiers. Dehumidifiers are effective at removing moisture from the air, but they can be noisy and expensive. Unless your home has just experienced a flood or you’ve got serious mold or pest problems, there are other tools and methods you can try first:
1. Dehumidify the bathroom: Keep fans running frequently and deep clean your sink and showers at least once a month. Mold and mildew thrive when surfaces get covered in soap or other films.3
2. Dehumidify the kitchen: Empty the trash and clean garbage bins often. Clean the drip pans and door gaskets in your refrigerator a few times a year by soaking them in warm water and baking soda — these parts can hold onto water and grow mold.2
3. Dehumidify the laundry room: Leave your washing machine door open when it’s not in use, and don’t let damp clothes sit inside or outside the machine for extended periods of time. Run a fan while using the dryer to circulate air, especially if your laundry is in a closed-off area like a basement.
4. Dehumidify the whole house: Route drain pipes away from the house and clean your gutters once per season. When the humidity outside is lower than the humidity inside, open the windows to get fresher air circulating.2
5. Invest in an air purifier to help filter mold and mildew particles out of the air. Filtrete™ Smart Air Purifiers use True HEPA filters, which captures 99.97% of airborne particles.* Plus, you can control the device from the Filtrete™ Smart App, so if there’s a rainstorm when you’re out of town, you can start cleaning your air right away.