Should you use a dehumidifier in Winter?

Dehumidifier in Winter, Fall and Spring

Should you use a dehumidifier in Winter? or Fall? or Spring? What do you do about the moisture that comes through your concrete foundation, most of which is below the frost line, and brings dampness and moisture into your basement in the non-Summer months?

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Most people have and understanding about the use of a dehumidifier in the summer. It gets very humid and eventually you go down to the basement and turn on the dehumidifier. The only time you give much thought is when you have to empty that heavy bucket. But a dehumidifier in Winter, that’s a different story.

The technology of the dehumidifier is over 100 years old. Invented by Mr. Willis Carrier in the first decade of the 20th Century, the dehumidifier hasn’t changed much in the last 100 years. The dehumidifier has a big electric motor that is usually 500 watts or higher powering a condenser which makes the refrigerant cold. A weak fan then pulls air into the machine where it comes into contact with the coil. The warm air touching the cold coil causes condensate to drip into the bucket. The air then passes over the big electric motor (which can use $1.00 a day in electricity) gets heated from the motor and sent back into the room.

The dehumidifier works on humidity which is really relative humidity. The amount of humidity that the air can hold is relative to the temperature of the air. Warmer air can hold more humidity than cooler air. Since the dehumidifier is in the basement, we must consider that the air in the basement comes from the upper floors of the home. The air in the home gets replenished from outside air. This occurs from the opening of doors and windows as well as the induction of air from soffit vents and gable vents on the house.

This now brings us to the query; what to do with the air in the basement after the dehumidifier stops working. If you remember that concrete is porous and that it does rain in the Fall, Winter and Spring, then you will know that the ground water can wick through the walls and floor of the basement all year round. You do need warm air to have relative humidity, but you can have moisture in the basement without having humid air. With that moisture are the odors and smells associated with bad air in the basement.

Odors and smells within a home not only cause discomfort but can also be the result of bigger problems such as mold. Mold in a home can cause headaches, nasal irritation, dizziness, fatigue and nausea. The main culprit of lingering, unpleasant odors in a home is the lack of proper ventilation and poor air quality.

Indoor odors are caused by both natural and man-made sources. These odors can be removed by improving the home’s ventilation, purifying the air and being aware of everyday activities. A home’s odor problem can be caused by a variety of sources including: bacteria, dust mites, animal dander, and mold, as well as cleaning and cooking.

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A whole home ventilation system such as the E·Z Breathe ventilation system can take care of all ventilation issues including air purification and odor removal. Unlike the dehumidifier in your basement, a ventilation system runs year round. A ventilation system removes harmful contaminants that cause odors and replaces the home with fresh, odor-free air. You should notice a big difference immediately.

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