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13 Step Guide to Buying a Dehumidifier

 


 

1. Introduction

 

Damp in your home! This is a huge problem in a cold, wet climate like the UK, and since warm air can hold more moisture, the use of central heating increases the chance of damp build-up too. With damp often comes black mould. This is not only extremely unsightly but also potentially dangerous for your belongings – and your health! The cause of this problem is usually too much moisture in the air (high humidity) and poor ventilation, which results in lots of condensation. High humidity results in problems like:

• Black mould
• Aggravated health problems (e.g asthma)
• Damage to your home and possessions
• Slow drying laundry

humidity! But you can’t stop doing these things.

What to do?

First, make sure there are no leaks inside your home. If there is a leak, this is probably the primary cause of your damp and you need a professional to fix it. A dehumidifier won’t help.

Detect a leak: Damp detectors are electronic devices that tell you if there is damp inside your walls. You can also just use your hand to see if the wall is damp. If you think the leak is coming from your water mains, contact your water supplier.

 

2. Do you need a dehumidifier?

Perhaps you are suffering from some allergies and sneezing or coughing a lot. Maybe you have noticed some signs of high humidity like:

• Condensation on windows.
• Mildew spots on the walls.
• A musty smell hanging around your home or in certain rooms.
• Watermarks in your basement.
• Rotting wood (beams or floors)
• Wallpaper peeling

 

If you notice any of these signs, you might have a problem with too much humidity. Basements, bathrooms, kitchens and attics are hotspots for high humidity.

NOTE: Mildew spots are different from mould. Mildew can be easily cleaned with standard cleaning materials and a scrubbing brush. Black mould is more insidious and can be more difficult and costly to remove.

These may be signs you need a dehumidifier, but not necessarily. The first step is to test the humidity in your home using a hygrometer, taking note of the visual signs.

 

Hygrometer: It’s a digital device that measures humidity in the air of a room. You can buy one for less than £10.

The ideal humidity level is between 30-50% in summer, or 30-40% in winter.

If your hygrometer shows humidity above 50%, try to remove the root cause of the humidity first. The prevention method depends on the severity of the problem, the time of year, and the location of the dampness.

If the problem is in the bathroom, the solution could be as simple as opening the window when you have a shower. If the room is a damp basement, simply heating the space might be enough to dry out the air. Tips for reducing humidity:

 
 
 
 
  

 

• Open windows (or turn on extractor fans) when cooking or showering to improve airflow
• Use lids on pans when boiling food to reduce steam
• Dry clothes outside or open windows when drying
• Remove houseplants as they release water vapor
• Heat the room with a radiator
• Make sure your washing machine (or tumble dryer) is not leaking and venting properly
• Open your bedroom window in the morning to release moisture from breathing in the night
• Dry clean your rugs as they collect moisture
• Ensure your home is sealed, plugging cracks with caulk or sealant
• Use charcoal or rock salt to absorb moisture Some of these solutions may not be possible for you, or the problem is too severe. But it’s not the sort of problem you can comfortably ignore.

Black mould starts to grow at 50% humidity. Prevention is definitely better than cure when it comes to black mould. Buying a dehumidifier is a good way to prevent the conditions that lead to its growth.