Dehumidifiers. You’ve noticed them in the corner of basements, heard about them, and finally, you decided that you needed one for your own home and went out and got one. You know the basics of what they do solely based on the name… they dehumidify. However, now you’re asking yourself, “how do I use this thing”.
There’s a happy medium between your home feeling like a tropical rainforest and a desert. That being said, we’re here to help. We’re going to teach you about dehumidifier settings and the proper way to set yours for optimum performance.
Dehumidifier Settings: What Are They?
Most dehumidifiers offer similar settings that make it easy and intuitive for you to set. It is pretty standard to see some type of gauge indicating the water level inside the reservoir, an adjustable panel that allows you to adjust the humidity setting that you desire and fan speed (low to high).
Additional advanced settings offered by some models may include timers, variable settings where you can toggle humidity based on time of day and some may even offer some kind of voltage gauge depending on the model. Again, these aren’t standard, but some advanced options that different models may offer.
What Are the Right Dehumidifier Settings for You?
What is the most critical setting for you and your home is going to be the humidity setting. Specifically, you’re going to be concerned with the relative humidity.
Relative Humidity Explained
Relative humidity refers to how much moisture is in the air as compared to how much moisture the air is capable of holding.
Here’s an example: A reading of 100% relative humidity means that the air is saturated with water vapor and cannot hold any more.
The Optimal Level of Humidity in a Building is Between 30-50%
Anything above this range may promote bacteria growth. In colder climates, during the heating season, humidity levels should be in the field of 30% to 40% relative humidity to prevent window condensation.
Note*: When we say humidity setting, we are referring to what you are setting your desired humidity in the room to.
While many dehumidifiers have a reading that measures the current humidity in the room, some do not.
Your dehumidifier may not have a setting that tells you the current humidity. If so, you can buy and place a hygrometer in the room to serve that function and help you calibrate your settings correctly.
Why Not Understanding Relative Humidity Can Be Dangerous
As we mentioned, having a humidity level that is too high can promote the growth of bacteria.
However, keeping your humidity level in the 30-50% range can do a lot more than preventing the growth of bacteria.
Keeping humidity levels down can prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Mold can be hazardous to your health, cause allergy flare-ups and asthma attacks.
More Advantages of Humidity Control
Here are other advantages of keeping your home within the 30-50 percent humidity level:
- Keeps conditions inhospitable for dust mites
- Decreases favorable conditions for cockroaches
- Helps prevent sinus infections, colds, and other ailments
- Prevents the house or other space from smelling stale or musty
- Protects furniture and valuables (certain items may require a specific humidity percentage to stay preserved)
- You feel more comfortable
Note*: There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. If humidity levels drop below 30 percent you’ll start to notice dry skin, an increase in bacteria that cause cold and flu viruses, it can damage furniture and other valuables and it will cause general discomfort.