Dehumidifiers are a common household commodity for many people. They are also commonly used in the commercial/industrial sector. There are countless brands, each with its variety of models, available for buyers to choose from. It is also a fast-growing market that is expected to double in size by 2020 from what it was in 2014. The one common factor that keeps on being missed out, by both the sellers as well as the buyers, is the minimum level of moisture that a dehumidifier maintains, or whether if it maintains it at all! This article assesses why this aspect is not looked at too much and stresses the importance of maintaining some minimum humidity levels.
Because some dehumidifiers are available cheap, the buying decision can be relatively less involved and buyers might just look for the brand name, price, and maybe just one or two technical factors. A good comparison can be drawn with how many people would go through the buying decision when buying laptops. Many consumers face difficulties in trying to find the right laptop and understanding the specifications that are right for them. The most important factor, e.g. the amount of memory (RAM) and the speed of the Hard Drive can get missed out easily as the buyers can just be looking for the more popularly advertised specifications like processor speed. These two aspects (RAM and Hard Drive speed) turn out to have the most impact on the long term performance of a computer or a laptop. Similarly, the energy ratings and level of humidity that a dehumidifier maintains, are two of the most important factors that matter for dehumidifiers in the long term.
When looking at the level of humidity that should be targeted by a dehumidifier, people commonly understand that high levels of humidity are bad and dry air is good. But if the air is too dry, it is also bad. The pros and cons of dry air are stated below:
- Dry air is considered good because first of all, it makes the body efficient at losing heat by the natural process of sweating. The sweat is easily evaporated, which lowers the temperature of the body.
- Second of all, dry air is not a good place for dust mites, viruses, and bacteria to grow. This reduces indoor air pollutants. Mold and mildew are other problems that can be avoided by having a dry indoor environment. People with breathing problems can also suffer from high humidity.
- Dry air helps in maintaining the health and well being of people as well as increases the life of the property, including houses, clothing, and furniture.
But if the air is too dry, there are some problems with that too. Some problems associated with very dry air are dry skin, itchy eyes, and irritated sinuses. In the case of continuous exposure to a very dry environment, the respiratory system’s mucous membrane lining can suffer inflammation, leading to illnesses and infections like colds and influenza. Certain viruses can also actually survive better in low humidity.
According to one study conducted in 2009, the flu viruses not only survive longer, but they also spread more easily in low humidity environments, increasing the risk of infections. Very low levels of humidity also contribute to the evaporation of tears. This can disbalance the moisture needed to be maintained for the normal functioning of a healthy eye. The effects of this disbalance may occur as dry and irritated eyes. If very dry air is combined with colder temperatures (e.g. in winter), it can also damage the skin. The skin can dry, scale or itch and even get cracked. Cracked skin is particularly dangerous as it makes it difficult for the skin to defend the body against harmful external agents.
Since the ideal level of humidity is considered to be between 40 and 60 percent, that is what we should be looking for when buying dehumidifiers too. A dehumidifier should be capable of efficiently lowering the relative humidity levels to 60%, but not more than 40% as the lower humidity levels also cause health problems. A hygrometer can be used to confirm the level of relative humidity to make sure the dehumidifier is not lowering it to harmful levels.
This article looked at an often ignored aspect of using dehumidifiers. Good dehumidifiers should decrease the moisture level efficiently, but not too much that it becomes a health hazard. We hope this helps in making a better buying decision and living a healthier and improved life.