Home dehumidifiers provide unparalleled comfort during humid days and nights.
Since allergies are often caused by excessive amounts of mold, dust mites, and other allergens, it’s understandable that homeowners might lean toward dehumidifiers to get the job done.
Home dehumidifiers alleviate allergies by removing excess humidity that can invite mold spores, bacterial growth, and dust mites. They also prevent your nasal passages from inflaming, reducing the effects of allergies. Keep the ambient humidity between 30% to 50%.
Throughout this article, we’ll explain why dehumidifiers help with allergies, what type you should get, and what to know before getting a dehumidifier.
If you are interested in lowering the humidity of your home without using a dehumidifier, read our article entitled, “Lower Humidity in 14 Ways (With No Dehumidifier Required)” for more information.
Having a dehumidifier will help a lot with allergies for plenty of reasons. However, it’s important not to let the humidity get too low.
Find the perfect balance to keep your home dry enough to prevent mold growth and humid enough to keep discomfort at bay.
Try minor adjustments to find which setting works best for you.
Here’s a list of five reasons home dehumidifiers are great for those with allergies:
- Dehumidifiers prevent black mold spores from growing and spreading. Healthline states mold can grow in the walls and fabrics around your home if there’s too much humidity. Since mold spores increase allergic reactions, it’s reasonable that dehumidifiers would limit allergies.
- These appliances stop dust mites from breeding. Dust mites often prefer humid environments. If your home is damp, you’ll likely have mites on the curtains, bedsheets, pillows, and many other fabrics. Using a dehumidifier can drastically reduce the dust mites in your home, effectively cutting back on your allergy symptoms.
- Dehumidifiers stop bacteria and some viruses from spreading rapidly. Much like mold, bacteria and viruses spread through moist environments. While they can undoubtedly spread when it’s dry, you’ll quickly find these contaminants are much less common when you manage the ambient humidity.
- When the air is too humid, pollen clings to airborne water droplets. Pollen is one of the most common sources of allergies. Reducing the pollen in and around your home can make a massive difference. Use a dehumidifier to make it less likely for pollen to spread through the ventilation system.
- Some dehumidifiers come with filters that remove countless particles from the air. If you’re extra sensitive to contaminants in the air, don’t shy away from getting a filtered dehumidifier. Many full-house dehumidifiers connected to ventilation systems already have filters installed.
Whether you have a full-house dehumidifier or a small unit for a bedroom or bathroom, they’re more than worth it.
You can use a dehumidifier during the summer and a humidifier during dry winters to reduce your allergies.
Some people prefer keeping a small bedside dehumidifier on their nightstand to prevent allergies while sleeping.
The best type of dehumidifier for allergies is one with a controllable hygrometer. You should preferably be able to check the temperature, too.
Full-house dehumidifiers should always have fresh filters to remove unwanted particles from the air. If you have a portable dehumidifier, consider getting one that’s the proper square footage for the room.
Very Well Health suggests getting a dehumidifier with a hydrostat. You’ll be able to measure the humidity and temperature in the air while having the choice to change it if necessary.
Program the dehumidifier between 30% to 50%, depending on your preferences and the humidity outside your home.
Keep these tips in mind when choosing a dehumidifier to alleviate your allergies:
- Check the water tank’s size. It should be big enough only to need to be emptied once every three or four days. You shouldn’t have to empty it daily, which would be a waste of time and an extra job you could do without.
- Figure out how to drain the dehumidifier. All dehumidifiers need to be drained. Some have a removable water tank, while others use drain hoses to drain the water elsewhere.
- Look for the dehumidifier’s optimal operating range. If it doesn’t work in freezing climates or the extreme heat you deal with, it’s time to look for another dehumidifier. You can upgrade a home dehumidifier, but portable models are much easier to replace.
Dehumidifiers help with sinuses because they prevent excessive allergens in the immediate environment.
Too much dust and pollen cause inflame your sinuses. These tiny particles cling to moisture in the air, so using a dehumidifier will drastically reduce the strain and inflammation in your sinuses and nose.
However, it’s important to mention that getting a dehumidifier can worsen the issue if it’s already dry.
Always test your home’s humidity before determining whether you need to increase or decrease it.
Dehumidifiers can take several hours to take effect, so give them a little while before deciding if there’s enough humidity in the air.
Dehumidifiers can worsen allergies if they remove too much moisture from the air.
A little humidity is necessary because it keeps your nasal passages and sinuses from getting too dry. Furthermore, it limits eye and throat irritation.
Leaving moldy water in a dehumidifier can also cause allergic reactions.
Here’s a detailed breakdown of each of these issues:
- Excessive dryness: While too much humidity can be problematic for allergy sufferers, the same can be said for too much dryness. Your mucus membranes play a vital role in fighting allergens and bacterial irritants. Using a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity beyond the recommended levels can prevent your body from removing these contaminants.
- Eye and throat irritation: When the air doesn’t have enough moisture, your eyes will feel dry, and your throat will feel sore. You might’ve noticed this after sleeping with your mouth open under a ceiling fan. It’s essential to have enough humidity in the air to lubricate these body parts.
- Moldy water tanks: Dehumidifiers have water tanks that collect humidity in the air. You must empty them every few days (sometimes a little more or a little less) to prevent them from overfilling. Most units have auto-shutoff features that won’t let the appliance function until the tank is emptied. Stagnant water tanks can grow mold rapidly.
- Strained capillaries: Your nose has fragile skin and capillaries. If they get too dry, they can tear and bleed. Your body reacts by inducing swelling, which can worsen your allergy symptoms. Again, this only happens if you overuse a dehumidifier or don’t pay attention to the built-in hygrometer.
- Skin discomfort and itchiness: Itchiness is a common allergy symptom. However, it can be much worse if there’s insufficient air moisture. Regulated humidity provides natural lubrication in combination with natural body oils. If it’s too dry, your skin will feel itchy and quite uncomfortable (similar to a rash).
Your dehumidifier should never go below 30%. Some people prefer up to 50% humidity, but anything too much higher can have adverse effects.
If you experience any of these symptoms, consider increasing the humidity in the room by 5% to 10% to see (and feel) if it makes a difference.
For allergy relief, you should put your dehumidifier in the same room you sleep in or spend most of your time in.
Ensure the dehumidifier is as far away from you as possible to prevent dryness. It should be slightly elevated on a desk, nightstand, or table.
Many people keep dehumidifiers in their bathrooms to eliminate moisture and prevent black mold.
A dehumidifier should never be closer than a foot away from furniture, walls, fabrics, and other obstacles. They pose an overheating risk, not to mention that they could dry these materials and cause structural damage.
Furthermore, ensure the dehumidifier is on a stable, level surface.
Before getting a dehumidifier for allergies, keep these suggestions in mind:
- Make sure you can adjust and monitor the hygrometer. Some low-end dehumidifiers continuously pull humidity out of the air. The best unit lets you control the humidity, much like a thermostat lets you control the temperature. You should be able to see the percentage of humidity in the air at any given moment.
- Keep the dehumidifier away from places where you sit and sleep. They can be in the same room, but we advise against putting a large dehumidifier right next to you for several hours. They tend to remove moisture from their immediate surroundings, which could cause dryness in your eyes, throat, and skin.
- You’ll have to empty the dehumidifier every week (if not more often). If you don’t empty your dehumidifier, it’ll automatically turn off and could grow black mold. You might have to deal with both problems if you wait too long. Some dehumidifiers have hoses that you can drain the water tank with.
- Consider getting a dehumidifier with a built-in HEPA filter. HEPA filters are considered some of the best filtration systems in the world. The good news is that you can get them in your full-house dehumidifier. Some portable dehumidifiers also have these high-quality filters.
- Dehumidifiers can’t replace allergy medications, but they can reduce the need for them. While you’ll inevitably feel the benefits of using a dehumidifier, you shouldn’t drop your allergy medication. Dehumidifiers simply lessen the chances of encountering allergies while reducing their intensity.
You can run a dehumidifier for more than half of the day, but ensure you don’t run it too much.
You’ll end up with high energy bills, especially if you run the appliance during your utility provider’s high-usage hours.
Many air conditioners have built-in dehumidifiers, which could be worth the investment if you want a whole-house unit.
Humidifiers alleviate allergies if the air is too dry and you have ear, nose, and throat irritation.
However, dehumidifiers are better for allergy relief in humid climates with lots of mold spores, bacterial growth, and dust mites.
Having portable or built-in versions of both appliances is the best way to manage humidity for your allergies.
Ask yourself these questions to know which one you should get:
- Do you live in a dry or humid environment? Richmond’s Air explains that winters are the worst in dry climates because they get even drier. When the humidity gets below 35%, you’ll feel increased discomfort. Only use a dehumidifier when it’s humid; you can use a filtered humidifier during the dry months.
- Do you have a mister or diffuser in your home? Both of these devices work as humidifiers. They might not humidify your entire house, but they’ll add a lot of moisture to the environment. Consider using a dehumidifier to counterbalance the humidity if you’re worried about mold, dust mites, and allergies.
- Is there a fan in your bathroom? Fans can prevent mold spores from growing. Showers are notorious for causing mold in enclosed spaces without ventilation. You could use a small dehumidifier or a home dehumidifier for a couple hours after showering to dry the bathroom and neighboring rooms.
- Do you prefer sleeping with the windows open? Consider the humidity outside when you keep windows open. It might be fine inside, but the external humidity could come through the window. Get a dehumidifier or a humidifier to counterbalance whatever the outside humidity and temperature are.
If you’re still on the fence about whether you need a dehumidifier or a humidifier for your allergies, consider talking to a medical professional. They’d be able to tell you how these appliances can improve your condition.
Dehumidifiers are an effective piece of the allergy relief puzzle.
However, it’s essential to keep a hygrometer in your home to let you know the current humidity around the house.
Dehumidifiers aren’t substitutes for inhalers and allergy medication, but they’ll bring much-needed relief to many people.
For more information on how to test the quality of the air in your home, why not take a look at our article on the subject here?