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When Should You Use a Dehumidifier?

Last updated May 3, 2022

This post may contain affiliate links.

Author avatar Danny Ashton

Danny as been writing about air purifiers for 10+ years. He is a major fan of home technology, which makes him the perfect person to test and evaluate products for HouseFresh

If you’ve noticed that your home feels hot and muggy all the time, then you’ve probably thought about purchasing a dehumidifier, but in truth, there are many other reasons why you might want a dehumidifier in your home. Not only can a dehumidifier be beneficial to your overall health, but it can also help preserve your furniture and even the foundation of your home. 

In this article, we will go over everything you need to know about dehumidifiers, including what a dehumidifier does, the benefits of using a dehumidifier, and when you should use a dehumidifier in your home. 

What Does a Dehumidifier Do?

Dehumidifiers pull humidity out of the air in your home, and there are a number of very good reasons why that’s a good thing. So, let’s briefly go over the benefits of using a dehumidifier so that you can decide if it’s the right decision for you and your household.

What Are the Benefits of Using a Dehumidifier?

Too much humidity in your home can cause mold and dust mites, but it can also diminish air quality and aggravate health issues. By operating a dehumidifier in your home, you can improve your overall health and wellbeing, prevent your home from being damaged, and much more.

Here are a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy when using a dehumidifier in your home:

  • Mold prevention. Mold and mildew are serious problems for homeowners. Not only can mold damage your property, but it’s also a serious health risk, especially for those with allergies and respiratory ailments. This problem is compounded when the mold spreads, which it definitely will if left unchecked. Mold requires a warm, moist, and humid environment in order to grow and thrive; therefore, by running a dehumidifier, you can deprive mold and mildew of the conditions they need to live, saving your home and aiding your health. 

  • Eliminating dust mites. Like mold, dust mites can become a potentially serious health risk. For those who have dust allergies, asthma, bronchitis, or other breathing issues, the risk of having dust mites in the home cannot be overstated. Fortunately, you can prevent dust mites from moving into your home by operating a dehumidifier. This is because, like mold and mildew, dust mites require a humid environment to thrive. 

  • Improving air quality. By eliminating mold, mildew, and dust mites from your home, you can dramatically improve the overall quality of the air that you breathe, which is perhaps the biggest benefit of running a dehumidifier. Considering that most people spend the majority of their time at home, the effects of poor air quality can be quite severe over time and, as such, a dehumidifier can be a great investment both for your home and for your health in the long run. 

  • Alleviate health issues. Finally, people who have chronic respiratory problems or trouble breathing are often at risk when the relative humidity in the home becomes too high. When your home has too much humidity in the air, it means that you are breathing in water, and that water can settle in the lungs of those with respiratory conditions, worsening their symptoms and making it hard to breathe normally. A dehumidifier can make a profound improvement for those suffering from these sorts of ailments. 

So, now that we’ve looked at some of the benefits you’ll enjoy when operating a dehumidifier in your home, let’s now turn our attention to the matter at hand, which is identifying when you need a dehumidifier. To be clear, it’s not a good idea to run your dehumidifier all the time. In fact, if the air is too dry in your home, that can pose a number of other serious problems. The trick is to maintain optimal relative humidity throughout your home.

That said, here are seven signs that you have too much humidity in your home and should use a dehumidifier ASAP.

Top 7 Signs that you Need a Dehumidifier in Your Home

Keep in mind that these are not the only signs that you should use a dehumidifier, but they are certainly the biggest red flags that you have way too much humidity in your home at the moment. If you notice any one of these signs, then it would be wise to use a dehumidifier, but if you notice more than one of these issues, then not using a dehumidifier means that you’re putting your home and your health at risk.

1. Relative humidity levels of over 60%

As mentioned, it’s important that you have some humidity in your home, as having air that’s too dry is just as bad as having air that’s too moist. However, if the relative humidity level in your home rises about 60%, then you’re likely to start encountering problems, and if you do have respiratory issues, then you could notice that your breathing becomes strained. The best way to monitor the relative humidity in your home is with a hygrometer which is an inexpensive device that does just that.

2. There’s a musty smell

If you start to notice a musty smell emanating from your home, then there’s a good chance that you have way too much humidity in the air. Musty smells are typically a by-product of mildew, and so by the time you notice a musty smell, chances are that you may have a much bigger problem on your hands. Therefore, as soon as you notice any musty smells in your home, you should plug a dehumidifier in somewhere nearby the smell, which can prevent the mildew from spreading any further.

3. Warped laminate flooring

High relative humidity levels can cause water vapor to settle into your wood and laminate flooring features which can quite rapidly cause your flooring to become warped and uneven. Not only does warped flooring look bad, but it’s uncomfortable to walk on and can be very expensive to repair. By running a dehumidifier, you’ll be able to reduce the relative humidity in your home, which can prevent your floors from becoming warped as a result of moisture, saving you money and preserving the aesthetic integrity of your home.

4. Patches of mold appear

As discussed, mold is a by-product of having too much humidity in your home. So, if you see patches of mold appearing on your walls and ceiling, then odds are that moisture is the culprit. If you catch the problem early enough, then you may be able to prevent the mold from spreading, so try running a dehumidifier near where you found the mold, and hopefully, that will resolve the problem.

5. Bubbling or peeling wallpaper

When humid levels exceed 60% in your home, then moisture can settle into your walls, causing your wallpaper to crack, bubble, or peel. Peeling wallpaper is notoriously difficult to repair and often requires that you remove all of the wallpaper and install new wallpaper, which is both time-consuming and expensive. So, if you notice that your wallpaper seems to be degrading in its appearance, consider running a dehumidifier as soon as possible to prevent the problem from getting any worse. 

6. Rotting wood surfaces

Not only can high levels of humidity damage your wood and laminate flooring, but moisture can also cause your home’s wood finishes to deteriorate. This is a major problem for those who have wooden ceiling panels or walls as it can compromise the structural integrity of your home, necessitating major repairs. The same goes for your wooden furniture. As such, it’s important that you run a dehumidifier right away if you notice any of your home’s wooden surfaces starting to rot.

7. Condensation

Last but not least, one of the most obvious signs of having too much humidity in your home is that you actually see water forming on the ceiling or dripping down your walls. If you ever see condensation throughout your home, then that’s a clear sign that you need to plug in your dehumidifier immediately; otherwise, all of the other problems we’ve discussed are likely to manifest sooner rather than later.

Final Thoughts

When your home becomes humid and muggy, then a dehumidifier can help restore the humidity to a more comfortable level, but there are many other good reasons to use a dehumidifier. When the relative humidity exceeds 60%, then your home and health become at risk, and if left unchecked, this can lead to serious problems. There are a number of benefits you’ll enjoy by using a dehumidifier when the relative humidity in your home is high, including better air quality, reduced airborne allergens, and protection against mold and mildew. 

You definitely don’t want to run your dehumidifier all the time as having dry air is just as bad as having air that’s too moist, but if you notice any of the warning signs outlined above, then by running your dehumidifier, you can prevent your home from being damaged and improve your overall health and wellbeing.