A whole-home dehumidifier set up on the living room floor on a home

Controlling humidity levels in your home can be an integral part of maintaining a comfortable living space. Depending on your climate, you may struggle with too much humidity or too little. Both can have adverse effects on your health and your home. 

Let’s take a look at what happens when you have too much humidity in your home and what you can do about it.

Negative Effects of High Humidity in Homes

The optimal range for home humidity is 40-60%. This range is ideal for home comfort and air quality.

High humidity can promote mold growth and wood rot in your home. You might notice excess condensation on your windows, warping woodwork and peeling paint. Allergy and asthma sufferers will see a significant drop in air quality and could have serious health concerns. 

Even those who don’t regularly suffer from allergies will often find themselves experiencing chronic cold-like symptoms.

From an HVAC standpoint, too much humidity will make your AC system work harder to cool your home, leaving you paying a higher utility bill as well as waiting longer for your home to cool.

Whole-House Dehumidifiers vs Portable Dehumidifiers

Portable dehumidifiers are easily accessible and can be found in most home and hardware stores. They are much cheaper than whole-home dehumidifiers but have limited use. These units are ideal for removing humidity from small spaces or single rooms. 

If you have one or two spaces in your home that are affected by high humidity (like a basement), a portable unit might be exactly what you need. However, if your entire house is suffering from high humidity, a portable unit won’t keep up.

Whole-home dehumidifiers are connected to your central HVAC system. These units will regulate the humidity levels of your entire house. They are more expensive than portable units and should be installed by a licensed HVAC technician.

If you are seeing adverse health conditions or home damage from high humidity levels, you are likely going to need a whole-home unit.

Pro Tip: If you see high humidity on the weather forecast, turn on your AC. Don’t wait until your home starts to feel hot. Removing humidity can be difficult but that’s what your AC system was built to do.

Keeping your AC at a consistent temperature during humid weather should be able to keep most of the humidity at bay. If that’s not enough (or you don’t have AC), then you’ll need to look into one of the above dehumidifying options.

How Much Does a Dehumidifier Unit Cost?

Prices vary depending on brand, installer and location but whole-house units don’t often cost more than $3,000. The average range in the current market is between $1,300-$2,800 for the unit. However, you can find small models for less than $1,000.

If you are looking for high efficiency, you can expect to pay a little more. Keep in mind that these prices don’t include installation costs.

To get a truly accurate quote, you should call around to a few local HVAC companies and see what their current prices are. Most companies will come to your home and give you a free estimate if you are interested.

Does a Whole-House Dehumidifier Save Money?

Whole-house dehumidifiers save money by letting you use your air conditioner less often. Higher temperatures are more bearable when there’s not too much moisture in the air.

Reducing the humidity throughout the house allows you to enjoy lower utility bills whenever it’s humid and hot outside.

So, why does getting a whole-house unit save you money down the road?

You’re not going to see much direct savings on your utility bills after installing a whole-home dehumidifier but you will see some other benefits besides increased air quality and home comfort.

 Your AC is going to have less work to do to cool your home. A big part of the AC’s job is removing humidity from the indoor air. With a dehumidifier in place, the AC’s job is much easier. That means less wear on your AC and a longer lifespan.

You might notice your AC filters have to be changed less often too. Since the dehumidifier improves air quality and reduces airborne contaminants, you should get more life out of your filters.

While these do technically count as savings, your biggest improvement from a dehumidifier is definitely higher home air quality and removing the potential for mold growth and moisture damage.

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