Is it good to use a dehumidifier in the winter?
When it comes to humidifiers and dehumidifiers, the general sentiment is that the humidifier is for winter while the dehumidifier is for summer.
But these are strange times indeed. Due to global warming and other effects, you might find summers being dry and winters being too wet.
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Therefore, some circumstances might warrant you to use a dehumidifier in winter. In the past, we looked at an article on using a humidifier in summer. Indeed, we saw that it is possible to use a humidifier in summer.
So is it good to use a dehumidifier in the winter? If the cold season brings rain and a lot of dampness in your area, crank the dehumidifier up. Too much dampness can cause mold and mildew. It can also damage your paintings, books and furniture. So yes, winter is a good time for when to run a dehumidifier.
As usual, whatever the conditions are outside, you can be sure that it is more or less the same with your indoor air. Therefore, unless you mitigate the circumstances, you will find the home damp and cold.
Things to Know About Using a Dehumidifier in Winter
Do you need a dehumidifier in the winter? More than you know. However, the most important thing is to know that whatever weather is outside your home, it will find its way in. That is why we buy appliances to make our indoors more habitable.
So, buy a hygrometer and check the humidity level in the air. If the indoor humidity is more than 55%, most probably, you need a dehumidifier.
Do not always assume that you need a humidifier just because it is winter, especially if you live in one of the wettest cities in the US.
When should I turn off my dehumidifier?
Now that winter is here, you want to turn off the dehumidifier and turn on the humidifier. In winter, we have to turn on the heat.
Unfortunately, the heat dries the indoor air, thereby warranting the use of a humidifier to raise the indoor humidity level.
While this is the norm, it is not always true. In some instances, you might need to turn on the dehumidifier, to get rid of dampness from your indoor air.
Excess dampness causes the development of mold and mildew. Mold produces spores, which are some of the most sinister indoor allergens. Therefore, if such are the winter circumstances in your place, you need to crank up the dehumidifier.
So, to know whether you need to turn off your dehumidifier in winter, check the humidity level with a hygrometer. In addition, if you turn on the heat and the air feels damp-warm, you could be having more humidity than needed.
Do I need to run a dehumidifier in the basement in winter?
Even in winter, some basements retain a lot of humidity. Unfortunately, this can easily spread to the rest of the rooms. In addition, excess humidity and the dark conditions of the basement could lead to mold development.
If your basement is excessively damp all the time, chances are high that you will need to run the dehumidifier.
Another thing that you should do is invest in a dehumidifier such as the Frigidaire 70-Pint Dehumidifier that has an auto on/off feature. When the humidity level exceeds a certain level, it will turn on automatically and reduce it.
Such a dehumidifier should also be connected with a drainpipe so that you do not have to worry about its reservoir filling up.
With a modern unit, you don’t have to worry about when to run the dehumidifier because it will practically run itself, automatically.
You also need not worry about when to use a dehumidifier in the basement. However, you should also not run a dehumidifier and humidifier at the same time since they would be countering each other
So, stay on top of the appliances running in your home. Just hang a hygrometer on the wall in the basement so that you know the moisture level all the time.
Best dehumidifier setting for winter
Now that we have said that it is good to use a dehumidifier in winter, you must be wondering what settings to enter.
The best dehumidifier settings for winter depend on where you live. Some areas are colder than others, therefore requiring a higher humidity level.
On the flipside, too high a setting is going to cause the development of mold, dust mites and other indoor allergens.
So, what exactly is the best dehumidifier setting for winter? Is it 30, 40, 50 or 60 percent? When you refer to dehumidifier settings charts, you will find that dust mites thrive well in a humidity level that is above 50%.
On that note, you should set the dehumidifier settings for winter in a range of 30 to 55%, the extra 5% to compensate for when you turn on the heat and the humidifier.
When to turn off dehumidifier in basement
Knowing when to turn on the dehumidifier in winter is important but so is knowing when to turn it off.
So, when do you know when to turn off the dehumidifier in winter? First, you need to watch the temperature. If it drops too much, you definitely have to turn off the unit. Since the humidifier coils hold vapor, it could freeze inside them.
Since water expands when it freezes, the humidifier coils would burst.
To keep the dehumidifier working in the basement, ensure that the temperature in there stays at 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above. If it drops below that at night, it is best to turn off the dehumidifier.
Of course, you can enter the right basement dehumidifier settings for winter so that it turns itself on and off depending on the circumstances.
To do this, you need a dehumidifier with a built-in humidistat. That way, if the humidity level exceeds 50%, it turns on automatically. If the humidity level goes back to or goes below 50%, the dehumidifier switches itself on again.
Finally, in regard to when you should turn the basement dehumidifier off, if the temperature is constantly low in winter, turn the unit off. In any case, if it is too cold, the humidity goes down.
Should a dehumidifier run all the time?
If you run a dehumidifier all the time, you might end up dehydrating the air too much. It is possible to remove more moisture from the air than you should.
When your indoor air is too dry, you run the risk of damaging your paintings, your furniture and even your indoor plants.
The key thing here is to maintain the recommended relative humidity level of 30 to 50% all the time. It does not matter whether it is summer or winter, but you must maintain the recommended humidity levels.
Another question that people ask is: do dehumidifiers run in cold rooms? Most probably, the dehumidifier that can work in the lowest temperature is rated for 42 degrees Fahrenheit. But even that is higher than what you get in a cold room.
Because humidifier coils collect water vapor, in a cold room, the vapor would turn into water, freeze and expand and burst the coils.
So, DO NOT use a dehumidifier in a cold room.
Even the basement humidity level in winter is 50%. Anything higher than that is not good. If lower, it should not go below 30%.
To the question of: Is it good to use a dehumidifier in the winter? The answer is it depends on how cold it gets.
If the temperature at night does not dip below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, well, go ahead and run the dehumidifier all the time, as long as there is excess humidity.
You can use a dehumidifier in winter if it has an integrated humidistat. When the humidity level rises, it switches on automatically and vice versa.
So yes, it is good to use a dehumidifier in winter if there is excess indoor humidity.