When the air in your home is too moist, you can end up dealing with a huge array of issues, from mold growth to premature deterioration of insulation. If a lot of wood is used in the construction of your home, it may begin to rot and break down when exposed to moist air for a long period of time. In order to avoid these and other issues, it's important to keep an eye out for signs that your air is too moist -- and then consider your options for dehumidifying your air.
Signs Your Air Is Too Moist
If your basement or even other rooms seem to have an always-present musty odor, this is a sign that your moisture levels are too high. There may be mold growth beginning inside your walls or in other areas you can't see, and this could be contributing to the odors.
Perhaps you actually see mold spots popping up on the walls, floor, or ceilings in your home. This is especially likely to happen in your basement. Check first to make sure there's no source of moisture you can address directly. For instance, if you have a leaking sink, this could be contributing to moist conditions, and you'd be wise to fix the sink before investing in a dehumidifier.
Your Air Conditioner Is Not Cooling Properly
You're more likely to have problems with moisture in your air if you do not have an air conditioner, as air conditioners do remove some humidity as a part of their normal function. However, if your humidity levels are very high, your air conditioner may not be able to reduce the level of moisture in your air sufficiently. This high level of moisture might even interfere with your air conditioner's functioning. Maybe you turn the thermostat lower and lower, but the home never seems to cool below a certain level. If you've ruled out the possibility that your air conditioner is broken, this is a sure sign that you need to do more to combat humidity in your home.
Condensation in Windows
Do you see water pooling in the corners of your windows? When the air in your home hits the cooler glass, the water it contains condenses and trickles down the window. If there is more than a drop of water on occasion, this is an indication that the air in your home is too moist. If you do not combat the issue soon, you're likely to end up with moldy, rotten windows.
If you do not yet have an air conditioning system, adding one is a good first step towards reducing the humidity levels in your home. As described above, air conditioners remove moisture from the air as they cool. Your HVAC contractor can evaluate the levels of moisture in your home and tell you whether adding an air conditioner will be sufficient for reducing your moisture levels, or if you will need to also add a portable or whole-home dehumidifier.
A portable dehumidifier is a separate appliance that you can place in any room of the home. Many people use this option when just their basement seems to be too moist but the rest of the home does not show overt signs of high humidity. The dehumidifier will remove moisture from the air and collect it in a container, which you will have to empty from time to time. Portable dehumidifiers are generally cheaper than whole-home dehumidifiers, but they are not capable of dehumidifying an entire home effectively.
If your whole home appears to be too moist and you already have an air conditioner, installing a whole-home dehumidifier is the best way to remove more moisture from the air. This type of system integrates with the rest of your HVAC system. It pulls moisture out of the air as it is circulated through your air ducts, which keeps humidity levels throughout the entire home under control.
If you think you may have a humidity problem, talk to your HVAC contractor about the best solutions for you. Whether you already have an air conditioner and need a little boost, or you need to start from scratch with cooling and dehumidifying, it's always wise to do some research before committing to an upgrade.