What Do the Numbers on a Dehumidifier Mean?-11 Question Set

What do the numbers on a dehumidifier mean?

Dehumidifiers can be a mysterious thing when you first begin to mess with one.
The different settings and symbols and not to mention the numbers can be confusing.

The main number that appears illuminated on a dehumidifier is the relative humidity inside of the room where you have the device.

It’s the number that you are attempting to lower by using a dehumidifier.

According to the national library of medicine-PubMed, 40 to 60% relative humidity is the Ideal moisture level to avoid problems with either high or low humidity.

BLACK+DECKER 4500 Sq. Ft. Dehumidifier for Extra Large Spaces

Are dehumidifiers safe to leave on?

Dehumidifiers are safe to leave on because they almost exclusively come with an auto shut-off that turns the machine off when the bucket or the basin is full of water.

That means you’re not going to come home to a floor full of water if you happen to leave the house with your humidifier running.

Should I run a fan with a dehumidifier?

Running a fan and a dehumidifier at the same time can be advantageous because both the fan and a dehumidifier have a drying effect on the air.

After all, if you have done a recent painting project that you need to dry  faster you would probably put a fan blowing on it to help it do so.

The same goes for drying your hair, if you want to dry it faster, you can sit in front of a fan or better yet use a hair dryer. Which is essentially a hot fan.

A fan will also help move the humid air in a room towards the dehumidifier where it can do its job better.

And the entire purpose of a dehumidifier is to extract moisture from the air to dry it.

Not to mention that the two can be purchased together in one unit.

So there is no conflict in using a fan and a humidifier at the same time.

Should I run a dehumidifier with an air conditioner?

Using a dehumidifier at the same time as an air conditioner can actually help reduce the wear and tear on your air conditioner because even though an air conditioner dehumidifies as it cools,
It has to work harder when the air is extra humid.

Running a dehumidifier can’t take the strain off of an air conditioner and help it cool easier.

But, remember dehumidifiers operate much like a window air conditioner that exhaust heat out of the rear. Which helps with the humidification process but tends to make the room feel a little swampy.

  So if you’re using a portable dehumidifier, the room that you place the dehumidifier on is not exactly going to feel cooler even though the air conditioning may be working better.

How to know if you need a humidifier or dehumidifier?

If you live in an area that is typically dry, then higher humidity is easy to identify. Your skin is clammy and your hair is frizzy.

But if you’re used to living in an area where high humidity is part of the climate, you may not even be aware that your humidity is spiking.

A hygrometer is a gauge that is designed to tell you what the relative humidity is inside of a room or your house.

If the humidity inside your home is above 60%, then running a dehumidifier is needed to bring that number down below the 60% mark.

Honeywell Small Room Dehumidifier

Is it okay to sleep in a room with a dehumidifier?

Sleeping in the same room as a dehumidifier doesn’t have any adverse effects health wise, there is no threat of dehydration or anything that will harm you but..

Dehumidifiers can be compared to running a window air conditioner. If you’ve ever walked behind a window air conditioner, you probably remember feeling the heat coming off of the rear of the machine.

Dehumidifier works much the same only the heat that comes off the rear of it does not expel outside but inside of the room.

Dehumidifiers are also not the quietest of devices.

Technically there’s no problem with sleeping with a dehumidifier in the same room,

But you may be looking at a swampy feeling, loud night.

What’s better: a dehumidifier or an air purifier?

Dehumidifiers and air purifiers both reduce allergens.

Dehumidifiers reduce humidity problems like high dust mite populations and mold growth which results in high populations of mold spores.

These devices, by reducing the humidity, reduce the allergens caused by the humidity.

Air purifiers reduce allergens by filtering them out of the air.

And they do so regardless of whether the humidity is high or low.

Air purifiers are not dependent on the humidity being at a certain level for them to do their job whereas a dehumidifier is useless when the air is dry. Which is about half the year.

Which is better? A dehumidifier or an air purifier? An air purifier is more useful throughout the year than a dehumidifier.

But it is definitely better to own both and use a dehumidifier when needed.

When should you not use a dehumidifierWhen should you not use a dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers or devices meant to extract moisture out of the air when the humidity level is too high inside of a house.

If the humidity in the home is already at the optimal level of between 40 and 60%, then you should not use a dehumidifier.

  Another issue that can interfere with a dehumidifier that can keep you from using it is lower temperatures.

As you probably will know if you have read the rest of this article, dehumidifiers run very similarly to window air conditioners that use refrigerant to condense the humidity out of the air.

Just like on an air conditioner, if the temperature is too cold, the condenser coils on a dehumidifier will freeze over.

There are many dehumidifiers that come with a defrost setting for this very problem.

There are also dehumidifiers called desiccant dehumidifiers that do not use a compressor at all. Though not as powerful at removing moisture from the air, it can be a good alternative if your primary issue with humidity is during the cold season.

How long should you leave a dehumidifier on?

40 to 60% humidity is the optimal humidity inside of a home or building according to the national library of medicine.

If you are using a dehumidifier to bring down the moisture level inside of your house, then you should be prepared to leave it on till you have reached the relative humidity of 60% and below.

ThermoPro TP50 Digital Hygrometer

Do humidifiers make the room colder?

Dehumidifiers can have a cooling effect on a room when the temperature is not too hot and humidity is the main thing that is making the room uncomfortable.

But unlike an air conditioner or a fan, the dehumidifier is better left to run before you are planning on using the room.

Even though in theory, you are lowering the humidity which is the main threat to your comfort, The heat that expels from a dehumidifier will have the opposite effect of making a room cold while the dehumidifier is running.

Should a dehumidifier run constantly?

There are times when the humidity is so high that a dehumidifier may seem like it constantly runs and never turns off.

For instance, running a dehumidifier in a crawl space or a humid basement will require a humidifier to run much longer to reduce which is essentially an everlasting problem.

On the other hand, if the humidity level in a room does not warrant the use of a dehumidifier, then the dehumidifier may run constantly because it can’t extract enough humidity to ever reach the point where it shuts off.

  That also answers the question of why your dehumidifier may not be collecting any water. There is simply not enough humidity for it to do so.

But if the relative humidity is high, and your dehumidifier is not collecting any water, you have definitely ruled out the relative humidity being a problem, and can focus on the issue being a mechanical problem with the device.

Negatives to Crawl Space Encapsulation

Crawl space encapsulation is a broad term that includes the entire gamut of things you can do to weatherize the space underneath your house.

The main items that make up the encapsulation process are:
placing a plastic barrier on the ground and beams underneath the house , sealing any openings, insulating the walls, and installing a dehumidifier.

This can be quite a big list considering we’re talking about that space underneath the house then no one really ever thinks about it in the first place.

That’s until you’re forced to get under the house to repair your foundation or plumbing and find out that you’re going to have to pump the water out first to be able to do so.

Or if you have recently found out that the air quality in your house is as much as 50% dependent on the air quality underneath your house.

And that the air quality underneath the house is coming from a place where the formation of mold is very high.

It’s at that point you began to realize this is a project you’re going to have to tackle.

Negatives to crawl space encapsulation

 

crawl space encapsulation expense1. Expense

Easily the biggest negative to encapsulating the crawl space beneath the house is the expense.

Experts say that you can expect to spend about $5,500 to adequately weatherize and protect your crawl space.

Not only is the project going to cost you the materials and labor to have it done,

There is the upfront cost of a dehumidifier that can carry the load of practically running day and night and the added energy that it will require to do so.

And running a dehumidifier is basically the same as running a refrigerated air conditioner.
Which unfortunately falls at the top of the list of appliances that use the most energy.

Aprilaire Dehumidifiers  Whole Homes up to 5,200 sq. ft

2. No Room to Work.

Crawl spaces are tight. If you’re lucky, you have an area that is big enough for you to walk or to hunch over and get around, but if you’re not, you’re probably looking at crawling around on your hands and knees or even scooting along on your belly or your back.

As you can imagine putting a plastic barrier on the ground underneath your house, and doing so that there are no leaks, is a huge undertaking whether you plan on doing it yourself or paying someone.

3. Muddy

The ground underneath the house in the best of circumstances is going to be moist. After all, moisture underneath the house is one of the main reasons that people consider encapsulation.

If you have moisture under the house, then you are probably having an issue with water rivering from the yard under the house, or pipes that are leaking somewhere beneath the house.

Which adds up to having a muddy surface beneath the house in which to work.
Standing water under the house is going to have to be pumped out before you can do any work.

Which circles back to the original problem of bad air quality coming from your crawl space.

Standing water in a dark muddy place is the ideal environment for mold and bacteria to grow.

Mosquitoes may well be an issue also.

4. Nasty

You probably don’t want to think about it, but the area beneath the house is providing shelter for a whole lot of pests.

Pest like rodents that can basically get in through a crack in the wall or if there hasn’t been properly blocked entry access the area,

You’ve probably provided a living environment for stray cats, possum, foxes, you name it.

That means a lot of excrement. And it could mean clearing out some dead animals.

5. HVAC Zoning

If you have your central heat and air installed in the crawl space, sealing off the area can interfere with the airflow originally figured into the design of your HVAC venting.

If that is the case, it would be well worth your time and money to have a HVAC tech involved before starting your encapsulation process.

Crawl space encapsulation is definitely not something you want to have to do twice or go back and fix because of something like HVAC zoning that you did not think of in the first place.

advantages of crawl space encasulationAdvantages of Crawl Space Encapsulation

Fortunately the advantages of encapsulating a crawl space can be worth the effort and expense.

1. Improved Air quality

The air quality in a crawl space can be responsible for as much as 50% of what is being breathed inside of your home.

And because the air quality inside of the crawl space is more likely being tainted by mold and bacteria growing in standing water,

It’s not that hard to add two and two together and realize that many of the issues that stem from bad air quality like allergies and headaches and so forth, could be originating from the bad air that you are breathing.

Encapsulating the crawl space is a huge step to creating a healthy breathing environment.

2.  Reduce Pest and insects

Most insects including termites need moisture to survive. Not only does the crawl space provide shelter for pests and insects, it supplies nutrition for them to populate.

Encapsulating the crawl space will dry out the area which in turn will start out insects.

Termite damage will be reduced significantly when the source of nutrition and moisture that termites need to live is removed or greatly hampered.

3.  Minimized Mold Damage

Mold damage beneath the home will cause rotting wood. Rotting wood will eventually cause your foundation to start falling.

Which can cause everything from the floor rotting out to the walls cracking.

Encapsulation is a small expense compared to fixing the foundation of your house.

4. Extra Storage

By drying up and sealing space under your house you will be creating extra storage space.

However large your home, as time elapses, you quickly realize how little storage space you actually have.

Depending on the size of the crawl space beneath the house, you could be sitting on a big chunk of real estate that could be easily used for storage if it were sealed up properly.

Even a small crawl space can make a good storage area for non-perishables or holiday decorations, etc.

5. Energy saver

Though it is easy to see the expense it takes to encapsulate the crawl space,

The result of encapsulation will be closing off open windows and leaks that can cause your central heat and air to work much harder and cause your bill to spike much higher.

Encapsulating the crawl space is like shutting the door that’s letting the air out.

And in turn making your home much more energy efficient and the amount of money it takes to heat and cool your home.

Recap

Encapsulating the crawl space beneath your home is definitely not a desirable task.

The expense and the less than favorable conditions to work in make the disadvantages stand out and loom large.

But when you measure the disadvantages against the advantages of crawl space encapsulation,

The advantages outweigh the disadvantages for most people.

The improvement in air quality and the additional savings in energy, plus the protection of your home from mold rot make encapsulation well worth it.

And the additional storage real estate is a big plus.

Do You Put Water in a Dehumidifier?

It can be a little confusing deciphering all the different types of devices on the market that do something to your air.

For instance, You got air conditioners, air purifiers, air humidifiers, air compressors, just to name a few.

And trying to understand what each one does compared to one another is a pretty big demand to place on the consumer.

Humidifiers and dehumidifiers are a couple of devices that people seemingly confuse with one another quite often.

And why not, they practically sound like they’re the same machine.

But the similarity in name is where it ends.

Do you put water in a dehumidifier?

You do not add water to a dehumidifier like you do to a humidifier.
Dehumidifiers are the opposite of a humidifier. They are a device that removes moisture from the air.

Compared to a humidifier that effectively adds moisture to the air.

Dehumidifiers pull the moisture out of the air by reducing it to condensation and funnel it into a container which is built-in as part of the machine.

When the container gets full, you dump it out. Dehumidifiers often come with a garden hose hook up to drain the water from the machine rather than dump the container when it fills.

Humidifiers on the other hand, are made to add moisture back into the air.

So they do require you to add water to them before they can perform their function.

Dehumidifiers – remove moisture from the air and require you to dump it out of the machine.

Humidifiers- add moisture to the air and require you to add water to the machine.

What is the purpose of a dehumidifier?

The purpose of a dehumidifier is to remove excess moisture out of the air.

One of the most popular ways of using a dehumidifier is to help dry out a basement.

Basements, being carved underground and basically sitting in moist soil, tend to be very moist inside as well.

The air in the basement can be very humid compared to the rest of the house.

And where there is excess moisture in a home, there is the high possibility of mold growth in that region.

Areas like basements that have high humidity also tend to have a lot of bugs because moisture provides  a source of nutrition for them.

High populations of dust mites are another symptom of having high humidity that often occurs in a basement.

Using a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture inside of a humid room like a basement helps cut down on the amount of mold and allergens caused by mold and dust mites, making it easier to breathe, and protecting the area from mold damage.

In short, it means getting an overall better use out of the room.

do i need a dehumidifierDo I need a dehumidifier?

For a lot of people, the dry mode (dehumidifier mode) on their air conditioning may be plenty to keep the high humidity inside of their home in check.

But there are many times when the temperature does not warrant running an air conditioner but the humidity is still high.

The basement for instance.

So if you have above normal humidity but the temperature does not warrant using an air conditioner, then you do need a humidifier to reduce the excess moisture from the air.

What is the purpose of a humidifier?

Humidifiers are machines that intentionally add moisture into the air.

Humidity is fickle and in order to maintain optimal health and environment, a relative humidity of between 40 and 60% is required.

While dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air when the humidity is too high, humidifiers add moisture when the air is too dry.

Dry air is usually associated with winter for a couple of reasons.

One, the climate produces less humidity, and two, heaters are used regularly. And heaters have a drying effect on the air.

Dry air is air that has a relative humidity of 40% and below.

The symptoms of dry air are many.

1.Dried and cracked nasal passages and skin top the list.

2.Low humidity also aids in the spread of colds and viruses.

3. Sinuses and allergies are also symptoms of low humidity.

  How does a humidifier help with so many of these everyday problems?
  Simple.

Moisture droplets are heavier than dust.

Without enough humidity in the air, dust, including dust particles like pollen, viruses, and bacteria,

are free to float and travel further through your air and eventually come in contact with your eyes, mouth, and nose.

  Humidified air causes dust to be too heavy to float and out of the ambient air that you breathe.

Most of us have no idea how impactful the relative humidity is on our health.

Hygrometer

You may be thinking, that’s all fine, but how do I know what my relative humidity is or how would I track it?

Fortunately, there is a handy device that you can purchase cheaply at your local hardware store that measures humidity.

It’s called a hygrometer.

They are usually paired with a thermometer. Called a thermohygrometer.

  How do you read a hygrometer to know when to run a humidifier?

A hygrometer gives you your relative humidity in the form of a percentage.

If the hygrometer reads 40% or below, you need to run a humidifier to raise your humidity to about 50%.

If the hygrometer reads 60% or more, reducing the humidity is necessary.

That may mean using a dehumidifier unless the temperature is high and the dehumidification process of the AC can handle the humidity.

Recap

It’s easy to get confused between what a humidifier is and a dehumidifier is.

There are so many air related devices that sound similar, and knowing which device does what is not always intuitive.

Dehumidifiers are appliances that remove moisture water from the air and do not require any water to be added to them.

Humidifiers add moisture to the air and do require water to be put in them.

One is for removing moisture. One is for adding moisture.

60 Percent Humidity in the House? 70? 80?

Humidity has a big effect on your health and property, and the truth is, it is much more serious than you probably ever gave it credit for.

Both high and low humidity comes with its own problems and symptoms.

This article is about many of the symptoms and problems that you can expect with high humidity. And some solutions too.

40 to 60% relative humidity is the optimal range to protect your home and family from the spread of germs and avoid damage to your personal property.

A direct statement by ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
says “health effects caused by road of humidity would be minimized by maintaining indoor levels between 40 and 60%”

60 percent humidity in house

 

At 60%, the humidity in the house is nearing the outside of the range of what is considered comfortable and safe humidity inside of the home.

At 60% RH, you have already begun to enter into an area of relative humidity that can provide enough moisture in the air for mold to take root.

As that number increases, the likelihood of mold being found somewhere in your home increases.

70% humidity is the ideal moisture level that you will find mold growing.
And with mold comes mold spores. A significant household allergen.

70 humidity in house

 

At 70%, you are already noticing the telltale signs all around you.

The AC will begin to feel like it’s not running at all and condensation will be nearly pouring from it.

You will undoubtedly feel very clammy and will have no chance of dealing with your frizzy hair.

You might also find yourself sneezing and rubbing your itchy eyes.

Why is that?

It’s because dust mites thrive in temperatures that hover around the 70 to 80° range with a relative humidity of 70 to 80%.

80 humidity in house

At 80% humidity, you may start wheezing because of the amount of dust mites and mold spores in the air.

And the risk of dehydration will become a real threat because your body will not be able to produce sweat nearly as easily at that level.

Your performance will be off and you will find that you’re not able to do as much without getting tired.

Humidity sustained at that level will begin to rot the wood around your home including window sills and floorboards.

And any musical instruments you have around the house will have probably gone way out of tune by now. And the risk of them bowing to a point that they may never play well again is serious.
violin i

Uhh!!

As you can tell, a sustained high level of humidity is not good for your health or your home. If any of this describes your situation then you should be taking steps to remedy the situation.

Determining the Origin of the Humidity

 

Climate

Of course there’s not too much you can do about the weather. And if the outside humidity is shooting up then you’re inside humidity is going to shoot up with it.

Solutions

Air Conditioning

Refrigerated air conditioners, either the type you have built into your house via the HVAC

or window air conditioners which would include portable air conditioners that vent out of the window,

will reduce the humidity inside of the house.

This type of air conditioner pulls humidity out of the air, reduces it to condensation, and either drips or funnels it outside.

And most refrigerated ACs you find these days have a dehumidifier setting that will reduce the humidity in the room without having to have the cool function running.

The dehumidifier setting on an AC is usually called “dry mode”. It’s symbolized by a water drop, if your unit has symbols instead of words.

Dehumidifier

The dehumidifier is a device that is similar to a refrigerator air conditioner except that it doesn’t have any type of cool setting.

It’s only function is to reduce the humidity.

Humidifiers exhaust heat similar to the way a window air conditioner does.

If you have ever walked behind a window air conditioner then you probably remember feeling heat coming off of the unit.

  But the heat that is exhausted on a dehumidifier is expelled inside of the room.

A factor you’ll want to consider when you’re thinking about operating a dehumidifier.

Depending on the reason for the humidity, the heat exhausting from the machine it’s not exactly a welcomed feature if the temperature is already hot outside.

70 humidity in house

When is the AC not useful in humidity?

Even though refrigerator air conditioning is the easiest and most effective way to bring them the humidity level indoors, there are times when air conditioning will do the opposite.

AC humidity problems

1.  Running the AC with “fan on” setting engaged.

There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to running the air conditioner with the “fan on” setting engaged versus the “auto on” setting engaged.

The “fan on” setting well actually makes your home feel more humid.

The reason is, one of the primary ways that an air conditioner cools down a room is by extracting the humidity and turning it into condensation.

But when the “fan on” setting is engaged, the humid air that is being pulled into the air conditioner does not have a chance to stay in front of the condenser coils of the AC long enough to turn into condensation.

So the result is humid air being pulled into your air conditioner and redistributed throughout the house without the humidity being extracted.

2.  Too Large of an Air Conditioner

Another problem that can occur with air conditioning and humidity is that you have too large of an AC unit.

The result of running an AC unit that is too large for a home is a phenomenon called “short cycling”.

Which means that your air conditioner turns on and off more frequently.

This affects the way a air conditioner extracts humidity because the air conditioner is continually turning on and off,

and not giving the condenser coils enough time to turn the humidity into condensation and funneled out of the house.

humidity in house3.  Evaporative cooling

 

Evaporative coolers are essentially a large fan blowing over water as a means of cooling the air off.

Evaporative coolers are also known as swamp coolers because they can make a room feel swampy.

Number one, if you were trying to use a evaporative cooler when the humidity is high, you will not be able to feel anything much more than a fan coming from the unit at that point.

Number two, you are only adding more humidity to an already elevated moisture level.

And for some people this may be the reason your home feels humid in the first place.

Any devices or machines like evaporative coolers or humidifiers that disburse water droplets into the air, should not be operated when the humidity level is high in the house.

Humidifiers are for dry air only.

Leaking pipes

If you have above average humidity in your home but the climate outside is not especially humid, then you have another problem altogether.

Basements are usually known to be extra humid because of being located beneath the ground.

The moisture in the ground can find itself inside of your home.

  Dehumidifiers can be outfitted with pumps and drainage hoses to reduce the humidity inside of a basement.

  Leaking water pipes are also found in the basement quite often and can cause the humidity level to soar.

Telltale sons of leaking pipes inside of your home usually appear as drywall that is bowing or that feels damp to the touch.

Discoloration of the walls usually indicates a leak of some sort also.

Leaks in the ceiling are usually very easy to locate and are very noticeable because they appear as some liquid that has been spilled on the ceiling.

If the high humidity inside of the home is due to leaking pipes, then as you probably guessed, you’re going to need a plumber.

Symptoms of High Humidity in Your Home (A Long Frizzy List)

If there is one thing that I have learned this past summer season is that a little humidity goes a long way.

This has been, no doubt, one of the rainiest spring and summer seasons I have ever lived through.

The heat has been through the roof and the air conditioners don’t even feel like they’re on half the time.

  I guess we all know how miserable, excessive humidity can feel going through our regular work and school days.

And just about everybody has had an experience with their hair looking terrible because of the humidity outside,

But comfortability and great hair could be the least of your worries when the humidity has risen sky high in your home.

Symptoms of high humidity in your home

If you tell tale signs that the humidity inside of your house is too high.

symptom of high humidity in your home1. Condensation on the windows

Everybody knows what it looks like in the bathroom when they get out of a hot steamy shower.

The mirror gets completely fogged over in the windows get a layer of condensation on them.

That’s par for the course and completely understandable in the bathroom.

But if you have condensation on the windows in other parts of the house, that’s not normal.

That is definitely a symptom of high irregular moisture in the air.

2. Allergies and breathing issues

Air that is heavy with humidity can be harder to breathe. Especially if you’re coming from an area that is dry and traveling to an area that is extra humid like the tropics.

  But adapting to breathing extra wet air is not the only thing that makes humidity tough on your respiratory system.

Humidity just happens to be one of the main ways that dust mites get their nourishment.

Heavy humidity can cause an explosion of dust mites. Which are a common household allergen that can cause you to have multiple symptoms like sneezing, itchy eyes, and coughing.

Another allergen known to be spurred on by higher humidity is mold. More specifically the mold spores that are released from the mold and travel through the air looking for the next place to take root.

Allergies and breathing problems while in the house can definitely be a symptom of high humidity.

3.  Visible mold growing on the wall

If you have mold on the wall, there is no doubt that you have an issue with high humidity in the area of said mold.

Humidity is not only caused by climate, you can just as easily because of a leaking pipe.

Mold only needs a simple recipe of dampness, darkness, and something to feed on.

That’s why you find mold growing in places like under the kitchen and bathroom sinks so often.

If you find mold growing on the walls, you will also find a source of moisture fairly close by. Guaranteed.

4.  Wet drywall

If a room is exposed to heavy humidity for too long, the drywall can begin to absorb moisture out of the air.

The result can be areas in the drywall that are damp to the touch or slightly bowing.

Damp drywall can also be a symptom of humidity inside of the walls caused by a leaking pipe inside and near the damp part of the drywall.

Discoloration of the drywall is also a telltale sign that you have excessive humidity somewhere in the area.

If you have a dark discoloration in the drywall, you can be fairly sure that you have a leaky pipe in that area.

You probably noticed the leak like this in the ceiling before.

5. The smell of mildew

Mold and mildew have a specific smell that is hard to miss.

Even when you don’t see any signs of mold growing on the walls or find any areas of dampness,

The smell of mildew is a surefire indication that there is mold growing somewhere.

Your nose always knows so follow your nose.

Excessive humidity in your house can cause mildew to grow in any dark corner it can find.

Which means it will not be obvious to your eyes. So trust your nose, if you smell mildew, you are smelling a symptom of high humidity.

6. Air conditioner doesn’t feel like it’s running

High humidity can make the air conditioner feel like it’s doing very little or nothing at All.

If you got the air conditioner on and you know the filters are clean and there’s nothing going on with the thermostat,

There’s a good chance that the humidity level is just at a point that it’s causing the AC to feel pointless.

An Air conditioner not feeling cold can definitely be a symptom of high humidity and excessive moisture in the air.

7.  Excessive condensation coming from your air conditioner

If you are running a window air conditioner or using the air conditioner in your HVAC system and you notice a lot of condensation building up and dripping out of your unit,

You can bet that the humidity is high.

That is because these units convert the humidity in the air to condensation and funnel it outside.

Another way the air conditioner can provide you with a symptom of high humidity.

8.  AC is set to “Fan on” instead of “Auto”

If your air conditioner is set to the fan on position, the humidity that is typically funneled out of the air conditioner doesn’t have enough time to evaporate and is blown back into the house through the vents.

This can also happen when your air conditioner unit is too big for your house.

If your unit is too big then it can cause rapid cycling which will also not give the humidity enough time to evaporate before it’s blown back into the house.

Improper settings and unit size of an air conditioner can cause and be a symptom of high humidity in the home.

Summary

Symptoms of high humidity in the home come in the form of condensation on the windows and mold growing on the walls.

Other symptoms that suggest does the humidity is too high inside of the home is an air conditioner but just doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything

or having a hard time breathing because of the amount of dust mites and mold spores traveling through the air because of the high level of moisture feeding them.

And if you are smelling the musty smell of mildew, you can bet there is mold growing somewhere around you.

Another symptom that you have high humidity in your home.

What to do?

Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a device that pulls humidity out of the air. Dehumidifiers come in all sizes and range from simple ” dump the water out yourself models” to modern Wi-Fi units that include humidistats with a pump and a hose attachment that make it super convenient to use.

Dry mode on the AC

There’s a good chance that the settings on your air conditioner include “dry mode”.

“Dry mode” is the dehumidifying function of a refrigerated air conditioning unit.

The AC itself

Though the humidity can get to a point that it makes the cool function of an air conditioner seem like it’s not doing anything,
Running the air conditioner, provided we are talking about a refrigerated AC, will still reduce the humidity inside of your home.
And many times, it’s not the temperature that’s making your home uncomfortable, just the humidity itself.

My Portable AC Keeps (5 Pain in the A** Issues)

Does your portable air conditioner have a few issues that keep coming up regardless of how many times you think you have the problem resolved?

A portable air conditioner can be a very useful way to keep cool when you want the ability to move the AC from room to room.

But it is no secret that portable does not exactly mean convenient when you’re talking about an AC.

And the number of issues that can keep coming up with a portable air conditioner may make it seem like it’s not worth it in the first place.

LG 10,000 BTU -Smart Portable Air Conditioner

Here is a list of some of the most popular issues that pop up with portable air conditioners.

1. Portable AC Keeps Turning Off

A portable air conditioner that keeps turning off is most likely getting too hot.
There are a few different reasons this could be happening.

a. Kink in the exhaust hose. If the exhaust hose is not positioned so that the heat expelling from the AC is not able to exhaust easily, heat will build up around the compressor eventually causing it to shut off.

Solution: Make sure the hose is not wound up or is kinked. Also, be sure that the hose is not being obstructed where the air exits.

b. Automatic shut-off is enabled. Make sure you don’t have the timer set to cut off the AC before you’re ready.

c. The temperature programmed into the thermostat has been reached.

d. Vent grates are clogged or obstructed.

The vents on the side of the AC are there to provide ventilation to the compressor and evaporative coil department inside the machine. If these get covered or clogged, the unit can overheat.

2. Portable Air Conditioner keeps filling up with water

All refrigerated air conditioners create condensation as the air is pulled across the cooling coils. That’s why there is a drain pan in the first place for the portable air conditioner.

If the pan keeps filling up with water, there are only a few things it could possibly be:

a. The air is extra humid. Humidity comes and goes and sometimes the humidity and the ambient air is extra high which means that you’re your portable AC is going to create that much more constant as it pulls the humidity out of the air.

b. Dry mode. Make sure that your unit is not in dry mode. Dry mode is specifically the dehumidification mode that extra humidity from the air. Sometimes the simplest answer is right in front of you. Maybe the thermostat has been changed to dry mode at some point and has gone unnoticed.

3. Broken mister. Most portable ACs evaporate the condensate at a rate that it is able to expel out the window along with the exhaust heat. If you have a portable AC that at one point never filled up with water, but now fills up quickly, there is probably a broken flinger that is not doing its job. Causing all the condensate to fill up the pan instead of being flung out the window.

3. Portable AC not cooling

 

 

a. Exhaust hose has come off either partially or all the way.
The exhaust air that is pumped out the window, as you know, is very hot and humid.
If the hose somehow comes unattached even partially, and you will have a mix of hot and cold air coming from the machine which will cancel the cool air.
b. Filter needs to be changed. The filter on an AC is the first place to look for just about every AC problem. If the filter is clogged, then there is no way for air to be pulled into the unit freely enough to condition the air and re-release it.
c. Exhaust hose is kinked or covered.
If the exhaust is not allowed to freely Flow away from the AC. The buildup of heat will cause diminished cooling.
d. Ventilation grates
The ventilation grates on the side and top of your portable AC are there to help cool the evaporative coil and compressor department.
If they are covered or gunked up, you will experience diminished cooling from your unit.
e. Faulty sensor
Portable air conditioners contain a sensor that measures the temperature of the air being pulled into the air conditioner so that the thermostat has a baseline to cool off of.
If the sensor goes bad or gets dirty, it can give a wrong reading that can either prevent your AC from getting cold enough or vice versa, making it too cold so that it freezes over.
If you’re a handy person, it’s not that hard of an operation to check the sensor. Otherwise, it’s not that hard to call a handyman over to check it for you.

 

GE Appliances 12,000 BTU 3-IN-1 Portable Air Conditioner

portable air conditioner keeps turning off4.Portable AC keeps freezing

 

a. Clean or replace the filter. A dirty filter will inhibit airflow. If the air is not capable of moving past the refrigerant coils fast enough, the humidity in the air will freeze instead of drain off.

b. Thermostat setting is too low.
If the thermostat is set too low, then the condensation that is supposed to drain or evaporate from the machine will freeze.
Solution: run the AC on the fan only to thaw out the coils.

c. High humidity
When you are experiencing higher than normal moisture in the air, the moisture in the air has a better chance of freezing before it is evaporated. This is especially so if you have a dirty filter.
Solution: run the unit on dry mode
The dehumidifier function (dry mode) is made to extract humidity out of the air faster.
Also when the humidity inside of the room is too high, often you will find that running the dehumidifier only is enough to bring the comfort of the room back to a decent spot.

6. Portable air conditioner keeps blowing the breaker.

 

 

a. A breaker shuts off when it is overloaded. That is the entire function of a breaker.

If the breaker is shutting off when the portable AC is started, there’s a good chance that you have too many appliances on one circuit.
Turning the breaker back on every time it snaps will cause it to eventually get to where it won’t stay on at all.

b. Unit is too small.

If the unit is too small you may find that it is running Non-Stop causing it to trip the breaker.

c. Turn the thermostat down

Turning the thermostat down may lessen the load on your breaker and allow the machine to keep running.

If you do not have an overloaded circuit and the AC continues to trigger the breaker, then you should call an electrician.

6.Portable AC keeps tripping the power strip.

Most surge protector power strips are not rated to be able to handle the startup of an AC. It is recommended that you never plug an AC into a power strip. Power strips are meant to be temporary solutions that are unplugged and stored afterward.

The same goes for using an extension cord with a portable AC. Most extension cords are not rated to be able to handle the surge of an AC compressor starting up. If you need to use an extension cord, be sure that it is rated to be able to handle a large appliance like an AC. 

Recap
Though a portable air conditioner can be a good idea when you want the convenience of being able to move an air conditioner from room to room, it’s important to remember that convenience doesn’t exactly mean “ease of use”.

Proper use, maintenance, and upkeep are the name of the game. As long as you keep your filter cleaned, the unit properly exhausted, and keep up with the drain, making sure the department isn’t filled and that it is not neglected to the point of growing mold, your unit should last a long time.

If window access is the primary reason that you’re thinking about purchasing a portable air conditioner, there are also evaporative portable air conditioners available that don’t require a window to vent out of. Just food for thought

Homemade AC Coil Cleaner- 5 DIY Recipes

Is it time too deep clean the HVAC system again?

Keeping the components of the central heat and air unit that you rely on for warm and cool air clean are essential for not only getting the best results out of your AC but also making sure your energy bill stays manageable.

The air conditioning evaporative and condensing coils carry a lot of weight in determining how well your AC unit is able to cool off your house.

When they get dirty it
can decrease the capacity of your unit to cool your home and increase the amount of energy it takes to do so. A air handler with dirty coils can actually increase your energy bill as much as 40%.

But the good news is, you do not have to pay somebody or spend a lot of money on a specific degreaser or cleaner to revive your AC’s copper coils back to their original shine and performance.

A perfect homemade AC coil cleaner for both your evaporative and condenser coils is as easy as going to your cupboard or medicine cabinet and pulling out a couple of household items that most people are sure to have around.

Frost King ACF19 Foam Coil Cleaner

Homemade AC coil cleaner- Homespun Recipes

 

1. Vinegar and alcohol

  1. Half cup of vinegar
  2. Half cup of rubbing alcohol
  3. Baking soda

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it’s basically the same ingredients as DIY window cleaner.

Nevertheless, alcohol and vinegar are an excellent combination to make sure that any tiny debris stuck on the coils breaks completely loose.

If you have debris that won’t come off without a little scrubbing, baking soda is a natural cleaner that has a mild abrasive element to it that will help with scrubbing without damaging the coils.
Vinegar is also one of the best cleaning tools to remove mold and mildew.

Homdox 2500 PSI,1.5GPM Pressure Washer

2. Soapy water and baking soda

  1. Water
  2. Dish soap
  3. Baking soda

Another easy recipe with ingredients that most people have around the house. A bucket of water with a little bit of dish soap and some baking soda if you need something abrasive to loosen up anything stuck to the coils.

With any type of homemade AC coil cleaner, remember to use a light brush and take it easy on the coils. You don’t want to scratch the coils or bend the fins that protect the coils.

3. Bleach and Water

  1. Bleach
  2. Water

A three to one combination of water and bleach (bleach being the smaller portion) in a spray bottle is an excellent homemade solution to clean the coils on your air conditioner.
Not only will bleach kill mold and mildew, it will also help prevent it from coming back.

Warning: If you don’t like the smell of bleach or if you have any type of adverse challenges with bleach, you probably want to stay away from this option. The reason is there is a chance that the smell will creep into your ventilation and into your home.

Cleaning air conditioner coils with vinegar

4. Vinegar and water

Using a homemade AC coil cleaner made up of simply vinegar and water is an excellent easy do-it-yourself solution for cleaning the coils in your AC unit.

Equal parts:

  1. White vinegar
  2. Water

White vinegar is one of the most effective mildew and mold cleaners there is. It not only removes mold, it leaves behind disinfectant properties that hinders mold from coming back.

5. Compressed air and dust buster

What could be an easier solution to cleaning the AC coils than using an air compressor to simply blow off any debris.
Using a compressor to blow the debris and dirt off of the coils is very effective but just hitting the area with a sudden force of air will scattered dust and debris all through your AC unit.

So before using forced air to clean the unit, it is best to take a dust buster or vacuum with the right attachments to get and get as much dirt and debris up as you can beforehand.

Another reminder. The fins that surround the coils are made out of very light tin. Be careful not to barrel down with the air. Keep it three or four inches away to ensure you do not bend the fins.

 

DEWALT Pancake Air Compressor

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5. Garden hose

On the evaporative side of the AC which is outside, you will find that keeping the area tidy around your AC unit will help your AC run much more efficiently.

Simply taking a garden hose and applying some of pressurized water to the outside of your unit and even into any of the inside that you can actually reach with a garden hose spray attachment will help your AC run easier and along with keeping the air conditioner filters replaced will give you less opportunities with your unit freezing over.

Why Does My Room Smell Musty?

Musty is a word that is sometimes used to describe the feeling you get from a stale or a stuffy room. It’s usually a smell that you just can’t quite put your finger on, but you know that there is something that is not quite right. But in most cases that “not quite right feeling” is the presence of mold and mildew.

Why Does My Room Smell Musty?

A musty smell in a room is an indicator that you have moisture coming in somewhere that along with dirt or grime has become a source of food and nutrition for mold and mildew to take root. Mold can take root and grow very fast when given the right ingredients. A musty smell should be taken seriously as a warning that there is an issue with mold close by.

I’ve had a personal experience with this.

In my neighborhood there was an issue with heavy rains that washed over the curbs and went up the driveway and eventually seeped into the backdoor of the house.

It didn’t seem like much at the time so we really didn’t do too much about it besides put some towels down to soak up the water. And it was the very back of the house that doesn’t get a lot of traffic anyway.

A couple of months later I noticed a rotten smell coming from that area.

I pulled out a bookshelf that was in that corner and pulled up the edge of the carpet only to find that dark green and black mold had spread heavily underneath the carpet and had made its way all over the wall and the back of the shelf, including all the books on it.

It was pretty shocking to see how much the mold had taken over.

We had to take the carpet up and remove and replace the drywall on that side of the room.

Luckily the mold did not turn out to be the dangerous Stachybotrys or black mold.

All that to say that if you have a musty smell in your room, it’s a situation that you should take seriously.

Mold can do more destruction than you may be giving it credit for. And do it much faster than you may think.

Mold can also exasperate allergies and is known to be a trigger for asthma.

What you are looking for in your room when you have a musty smell is an inappropriate source of moisture.

According to the National Library of Medicine , Mold spores are practically everywhere and there is really no way to get away from them or keep them out of your house. But without an adequate source of moisture, they cannot grow and colonize into a problem.

So the fundamental thing you’re looking for in the case of a musty smell is moisture and the supply of that moisture.

Wet moldy carpet

Why Does My Room Smell Musty in The Morning?

What could be some reasons your room smells musty?

  1. Wet carpet
  2. Wet drywall
  3. Window seals
  4. Excessive humidity
  5. Dew
  6. Leaves
  7. Moldy items in trash
  8. Moldy food laying around
  9. Mold inside of the HVAC duct work

1. Wet carpet

Remember that you are looking for the source of the moisture.

If you have wet carpet then the ideal is to figure out why it is wet.

Some reasons may be as simple as a soaking wet towel laying on the carpet or has there been a big spill that was not cleaned up?

If you have a large area that is damp, then there may be a leak that has sprung from a pipe beneath the flooring.

it will be worthwhile for you to peel the carpet back and make sure that your floor is not soaking wet beneath.

And if it is, you should make it a priority to have it fixed as soon as possible to avoid further damage and mold growth.

2.  Wet drywall

It can be a smell can be coming from the walls if a pipe inside of the wall has busted. Examine the walls and see if you can find any areas where they are bubbling, swelling, or peeling which would indicate that moisture has gotten inside of the drywall.

3.  Window seals

One area that moisture can get into the house easily is the windows. If the windows are not sealed properly, you can find moisture creeping in around the window. If it has been going on for a long time, you will also find the frame around the window rotting.

4. Excessive humidity

If you live in an area with a climate that is prone to high humidity, you may find that it is the humidity that is causing moisture to build up inside of your room. If this is the case, then mildew is probably showing up on your walls or ceiling somewhere.

This is the case in many basements. The level of humidity inside of the room causes condensation to build on the walls and create a natural food source for mold and mildew.

The best solution in that case is to use a dehumidifier to pull moisture out of the air so that it does not have a chance to become a problem in the form of mold.

Dew

5.  Dew

Many people claim to be more concerned with the dusty smell in their house in the morning time.

That morning musty smell is usually associated with the moisture that develops in the air in the early morning hours.

It’s the moisture that is commonly known as dew.

Dew can help turn the volume up on the smell of mold and mildew in the morning.

6.  Leaves

Leaves, specifically in the Autumn season can pile up in gutters and around the house and make an excellent environment for mold to take root. And once the mold has colonized inside of the leaves, any sort of rustling around caused by the wind or by kicking the leaves can unleash mold spores into the air.

7.  Moldy items in trash

Sometimes a musty smell is coming from a moldy item that has been thrown away and just sitting there stinking. The trash can is one of the first places to look when you smell something musty in your room.

8.  Moldy food laying around

Moldy food can cause a very pungent musty smell when it is laying out or in the trash can. Items like half eaten hamburgers and apple cores are best disposed of in the main kitchen area where the trash is taken out more frequently.
If you have a musty smell in your room, looking for any food that has been left out to mold is a good place to start.
Another place that you can find moldy musty smells is in the kitchen sink where the garbage disposal is. If the garbage disposal has not been cleaned properly in a while, you are liable to smell moldy food coming from there.

9. Mold in HVAC ductwork

If there is mold in your ductwork, you can be sure that it will be distributed throughout the house every time the heating or air conditioning comes on.

According to this study, mold can be commonly found inside of an air handler, specifically the wheel fan blades, the ductwork, and the cooling coil fins.

Another source of mold coming into the house through the ductwork is the evaporative coils. Dirty evaporative coils contain all the ingredients for mold to flourish and find its way inside of the house.

If you have a musty smell coming from your HVAC ductwork, cleaning the evaporative coils located on the outside section of your unit is a good place to start to reduce the volume of mold spores coming in.

Another trouble area for HVAC systems when it comes to mold is the drip pan. If the drip pan is not draining sufficiently, water can build up in the pan and become a source of mold.

Clearing any blockage from the drip pan to the outside drainage is also a good way to ensure that you do not have mold growing and coming in through your HVAC.

UV systems are often used to target areas like evaporative coils and drip pans so that mold does not have a chance to colonize and become a problem in your air quality.

Does a Michigan Basement have a Higher Potential for Radon?

What is a Michigan basement? A Michigan basement is basically an oversized crawl space. An area under the house that has been dug out to make room for storage. And most known for the location they stem from. You guessed it, Michigan.

Though they are not typically made large enough to be able to walk around in some people do put their washer and dryer there. Other major machinery and appliances that can be located in a Michigan basement for easier access include the water heater, the HVAC, and the electrical breaker box.

Access to plumbing underneath the house is also a reason people may dig out a larger crawl space beneath the house.

Michigan basements are rarely finished beyond cementing for breaking the walls so that the walls do not cave in. The floor it’s typically just left as dirt.

The climate inside of a Michigan basement is is damp and cool. For this reason the dugout crawl space is often used as a wine cellar.

A wine cellar needs to stay around the 45°, to 60° range and maintain a relative humidity of about 60%. That describes the climate inside of a Michigan basement pretty well.

As you can imagine, being that the floor in the Michigan basement is usually just dirt, it is easy for this type of basement to flood. Especially in heavy rain.

Sump pumps with radon mitigation and dehumidifiers are generally kept on hand to keep the area dryer during the rainy season.

Michigan Basement radonOther drawbacks too keeping a Michigan basement is the exposure to Radon.

The air pressure in a home can perform like a vacuum pulling radon out of the soil beneath the house.
Digging out the dirt beneath the house for a Michigan basement adds to the danger of radon exposure.

Radon is an odorless gas that comes from soil and is the second leading cause responsible for lung cancer when exposed for long periods of time. A Radon test is the only way to know whether or not you have a problem.

Radon Barrier.

The environmental protection agency recommends covering the floor of a Michigan basement with plastic and venting the area outside underneath the plastic to avoid radon exposure.

The plastic sheeting could be as simple as your standard 6 mm polyethylene. But if you go with a contractor you will probably have to upgrade to a fire rated membrane. The plastic won’t stop the radon but it will cause the radon to travel through the path of least resistance. As long as there’s some type of exhaust fan at the edge, the result is good.

Insulating a Michigan basement is also a must to keep right on from leaking into the house. Spray foam is the easiest way to get around joist and makeshift walls.

If you find you have high levels of radon, then you may be looking at installing a radon removal system which could include pouring a cement slab over a radon guard insulation and a vapor barrier to keep the radon from leaking up and also providing a way to capture it.

hardhatThough all houses have the potential of radon coming Getting in, a home with a Michigan basement has a higher potential for Radon.

Homes with Michigan basement should test for Radon often and employ a radon mitigation system for her a radon abatement service to ensure that radon levels in your home are below the accepted safety standard of 4.0pCi/L

Dehumidifier vs. Fan for the Bathroom

Using a dehumidifier versus a fan for indoor humidity. Which one is better?

Excessive humidity inside of your home can happen for multitude of reasons including flooding, leaks, poor insulation especially in the basement and crawl spaces, or the rainy season has just descended on you. But the most common place that you find excessive moisture in the air is the bathroom.

Regardless, living with high humidity inside of the house not only effects your  level of comfort and overall wellness, it also effects the structure of your home as well as your belongings.

Dehumidifier vs. fan 

A fan can be useful to reduce indoor humidity as long as it is blowing dry outdoor air into the room, but it is not controlled or measured.

On the other hand, a dehumidifier will reduce a controllable , measured amount of humidity and does not depend on the outside air being dry.

If you have an issue with high humidity inside of your home, the humidity outside is more likely going to be very high than low.

In a circumstances where the humidity is not overbearing but not exactly helping you out either, placing fans around the room can have a drying effect on the air. If you were trying to paint or some other type of similar art project where you need a dry environment, having a couple of fans osculating and moving air around the room can probably give you the amount of dryness you need for your project.

But other indoor humidity issues, like a damp basement, you need a way to control the amount of humidity in the room because of the problems of mold and fungus it comes with it.

The only way you can get this type of control is by using a dehumidifier that will extract the humidity out of the air to the proper relative humidity is reached.

Dehumidifier vs exhaust fan

Dehumidifier vs exhaust fan

Most people have exhaust fans in their bathrooms so that the moisture left in the air by the shower and bath can be expelled out of the house so but it does not have a chance to promote mold in the drywall and window frames.

But though you typically do fine exhaust fans in the bathroom and the kitchen, they are really not found too much in other areas of the house.

Dehumidifiers and fans or exhaust fans are not enemies. Nor do they have to work exclusive of each other.

Using the exhaust fans in the bathroom in the kitchen or a great idea and do a great job. But they do not work for the whole house.

A Dehumidifier can only help an exhaust fan to reduce the humidity in the house. Likewise, exhaust fans can only help with the dehumidifier do its job.

“The main difference is that a dehumidifier can extract and remove the exact amount of humidity that you need it to whereas a fan doesn’t have the capacity to be measured.”

The second way a fan can help a dehumidifier is the use of a high-powered air mover fan. An air mover is a fan created especially for drying and is usually used on construction sites as a means of speeding up the time it takes for paint to dry and blowing away the fumes left behind by the paint.

An air mover is not generally a piece of machinery that you’ll want to use in your home unless you plan on removing everything from the walls and putting everything away that can be blown away.

Recap

A fan and a dehumidifier can both help reduce humidity in the air but the difference is, it is the job of a dehumidifier to remove humidity from the air and it does so according to how it is programmed.

A Fan on the other hand, even though it does have some drying capacity because oh the natural blowing on something to dry it aspect, does not extract humidity from the air and does not do nearly as good of a job as reducing humidity as a dehumidifier. Nor is it measurable or controllable like a dehumidifier.

One exception is an exhaust fan that is put inside of a bathroom or kitchen for the express purpose of removing moisture created by showering and cooking. Another exception is the use of a commercial air mover, which is a high velocity fan meant that is used to help dry out construction sites as well as remove fumes.
Yet even in these cases it’s not measurable or controllable.

But as a fan, a dehumidifier is only good for blowing hot air on you. Not usually the effect you want from a fan.

See Also: Humidifier vs. Vaporizer