Are Dehumidifiers Safe? Big Yes! If Properly Maintained
You will need to use a dehumidifier in Florida, and other places that have high humidity. Not only that, but you will also need to run it constantly to lower the indoor humidity level.
But as a responsible homeowner, you need to know whether the dehumidifier that you are buying is safe. Of course, a check on Google can show you the brand names that have had recalls in the past. For instance, some models of Midea dehumidifiers have been recalled in the past.
Thus, it is fair to ask: Are dehumidifiers safe? If there are no manufacturing defects such as would cause recalls, dehumidifiers are safe. However, if you do not maintain yours properly and follow the dehumidifier instructions, it can catch fire. It can also cause smoke, and burns when handled while overheating.
Like any other electrical appliance, dehumidifiers have the potential to go wrong. To be on the safe side, you should arm yourself with information about the possible dangers of this appliance.
Here are the possible dangers of dehumidifiers:
1. It can overheat and catch fire
In another article, we said dehumidifiers blow hot air. However, this air should be warm, rather than hot. When you feel that the air coming from the unit is too hot, well, it could be overheating. Likewise, if you feel that the dehumidifier blows cold air, something is wrong.
It is rare for dehumidifiers to pose a fire risk. However, it is not unheard of, and so you need to be more careful.
Poor usage and manufacturing defects can increase the risk of fire in a dehumidifier. Here are some of the things that increase fire risk in these units:
- Faulty wiring in the dehumidifier
- Blown out power cord
- Overuse of the unit
2. It can cause burns if it overheats
Dehumidifiers can overheat, mostly due to overuse or poor build quality. If you are not careful, it can overheat too much, such that even some parts start melting.
If it gets to this level of overheating, it can burn your hands if you try to hold it. At this level of overheating, the unit could easily burst into flames itself.
It is recommended that you do not touch the humidifier if you smell a burning smell, or see smoke coming from the unit. If it has overheated to such a degree, it can burn your hands.
Switch the unit off at the socket and give it enough time to cool down before taking it outside the house.
3. It can catch fire from open flames
Dehumidifiers are made of plastic and material, but they also have internal electronic parts. Therefore, if you place yours too close to an open fire, the plastic can catch fire. Same as when a humidifier smells like burning plastic, a dehumidifier can also cause the same smell.
The burning plastic smell can cause coughing among some people, and even worse, if the dehumidifier has truly caught fire, it could spread it out. This is a huge concern for people who leave their dehumidifiers on when they are traveling.
4. A dehumidifier can cause mold
While a dehumidifier can prevent the growth of mold by lowering humidity, it can be a double-edged sword.
A poorly maintained dehumidifier spreads mold. This appliance is in constant contact with water whenever it is in use. Thus, if you do not clean the dehumidifier bucket, your problem of mold can start there.
Remember, harmful mold spores float in the air indoors. Therefore, when they find their way into the dehumidifier bucket, they will start a new mold colony there.
Also, a dehumidifier might make the area around it wet. When the mold spores land on the damp surface, they will start a new mold colony.
If you are exposed to this fungus for too long, you will start to experience the symptoms of mold toxicity. The same way that you can have black mold in the humidifier, it is also the same way that it can grow in the dehumidifier bucket.
5. They can cause respiratory illnesses
If you keep using a dehumidifier constantly even when the humidity is not high enough to warranty it, it is going to dry out the indoor air completely.
Inhaling dry air all the time is not good for your lungs. It also causes the inflammation of the airways, causing coughing, wheezing, and breathlessness. Now, if you or someone in the family has asthma, the dry air will aggravate the condition.
For proper usage of your unit, you need to keep an eye on the hygrometer. If the indoor humidity level rises above 50%, turn the dehumidifier on.
Know what the dehumidifier symbols mean so that you can set it up properly to lower the humidity to healthy levels.
Why are dehumidifiers safe?
As we mentioned earlier, dehumidifiers can be dangerous, mostly depending on the usage. However, their benefits for your health outweigh their disadvantages by far.
So, why are dehumidifiers safe for use at home? It is due to reasons such as below:
They lower humidity and keep mold away
High indoor air moisture, say, like 70 percent humidity level encourages mold growth. Mold requires dampness, warmth, and nutrients to thrive.
Low humidity health benefits are many. For instance, allergens like dust mites cannot thrive indoors when you keep the humidity low.
Mold causes sinus infections, so you are better off ensuring you do not have mold. However, make sure the dehumidifier is working correctly. Also, clean the dehumidifier bucket with vinegar all the time. Vinegar kills mold.
You can sleep more soundly
A dehumidifier maintains the best humidity level for the bedroom. That way, you can sleep better, more soundly and healthily.
You will enjoy benefits like improved productivity at work, alertness, and higher concentration the following day.
Just make sure you set the right humidity level. If you lower the air moisture content too much, you will suffer from the symptoms of sleeping in low humidity.
The appropriate humidity level for the bedroom is 30 to 50 percent in summer and 40 to 60 percent in winter.
Better for people with asthma or respiratory issues
If you have asthma, bronchitis, or any other respiratory issue, inhaling air with too much moisture can make the condition worse.
Damp air might have allergens like mold, which would further aggravate your asthma. Damp air is also not good for your airways, as it can make them react badly. If the swell, you could feel breathless.
To help with respiratory issues, the air should be neither damp nor dry. It should be balanced, hence the need to keep the humidity level between 30 and 50 percent.
Some dehumidifiers can run themselves
Imagine getting a Frigidaire dehumidifier, which you can then connect with a drain hose so that you don’t have to empty the bucket. You don’t need to empty the bucket.
The dehumidifier has a built-in humidistat. If the humidity level rises too high, the humidistat sends the signal to the control board, and then the dehumidifier starts automatically. If the set humidity level is attained, the dehumidifier switches off automatically.
When traveling, having such a dehumidifier in a place like Seattle helps a lot. It can switch itself on to lower humidity. Since the dehumidifier has a drain hose, it will drain the water into the sink.
Place the humidifier at an elevated position, and never on the floor.
Wrapping it up
Dehumidifiers are generally safe. However, there have been some recalls of certain models in different brands in the USA, Canada, and elsewhere. In Canada, the dehumidifiers were recalled because they posed the risk of fire, smoke, and burn risks.
AeonAir, Amana, ArcticAire, Classic, Commercial Cool, and Danby dehumidifiers have also had recalls of certain models. This does not mean they are bad brands. It is just that at times, things go wrong, and they have to be rectified.
Most of the recalls revolve around the dehumidifier posing a fire and burn risk. However, that is not the only problem that you can encounter with your unit. Some problems that do not warranty a recall include dehumidifier not collecting water, dehumidifier running constantly, and many more.
To get the best out of your dehumidifier, clean it regularly, at least a few times a week, act fast if you experience a burning smell, and please use a properly sized dehumidifier for your room.