Do I Need A Dehumidifier All Year In My Main Line Home?

Do I Need A Dehumidifier All Year?

Most homes on the Main Line only need a dehumidifier in the spring and summer. That’s the time of year when it starts getting muggy and sticky. But, if you have a damp or musty basement, a year-round solution helps keep you healthy and comfortable. 

The general rule of thumb is to keep the relative humidity in your house around 50 percent. Relative humidity measures water vapor in the air but also takes the temperature into account.

Warm air holds more moisture than cold air. So, there’s more water vapor at 50 percent relative humidity in the summer than the same percentage in the winter months.

Montgomery and Delaware Counties are not the hottest places in Pennsylvania. But, they still get pretty sticky in the summer.

Rural areas such as Souderton or Collegeville, suburbs like Haverford and Ardmore, and busier towns such as King of Prussia and Conshohocken can all reach over 77 percent relative humidity in the summer.

Here at John Cipollone, we work with AprilAire products to keep homes dry and improve your indoor air quality. Controlling the humidity levels is about much more than just staying cool. In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • Dehumidification Keeps Basements Comfortable And Safe

  • Whole-Home Dehumidifiers Vs. Portable Models

  • Save Money In Spring And Fall With A Whole-Home Dehumidifier 

  • AprilAire Dehumidifiers And Indoor Air Quality On The Main Line

And, if you want your Main Line home to be more comfortable this summer and with better indoor air quality all year round, reach out to John Cipollone for a free consultation.

A number of dehumidifiers have been recalled recently, none of which are AprilAire.

If you want to see if one that you purchased is on the list, download the guide below Download The Dehumidifier Recall Guide

 Call Us CTA

Dehumidification Keeps Basements Comfortable And Safe

Some basements have moisture in them, no matter what the season. If you don’t manage that, you’ll have humid summers along with indoor air quality and possibly mold growth all year. 

How Water Gets Into A Basement

The two biggest reasons for all that excess moisture are rain and groundwater. Since the basement’s underground, water in the soil around your house seeps through the foundation walls

On top of that is all the rain that gets soaked up around your house. When you get an inch of rain, over a thousand gallons of water can hit the roof. That has to go somewhere. And, it usually ends up in the cellar. 

What happens when it gets into the ground and also if your gutters and roof aren’t set up correctly to handle it.

Laundry And Humidity 

Meanwhile, your appliances can make your home humid. Downstairs, the biggest culprit is the clothes dryer. All that heat mixed with excess moisture makes a big difference. That’s especially so if it’s not vented.

And, even if you air out the cellar, it can cause a problem. If the outside air is warm, you’ll get condensation on the walls when moisture hits the cool air inside.

Why A Humid Basement is No Good 

If you have a finished basement, high humidity levels can make your rec room uncomfortable. You may even notice wrinkling or damage to wallpapers, framed pictures, musical instruments, and other items down there. 

But the more significant problems are mold growth, mildew, and fungus. This stuff can start to grow at around 60 percent relative humidity. And they thrive in dark places.

That makes this part of the house a good breeding ground for contaminants that can affect your health.

Whole-Home Dehumidifiers Vs. Portable Models

 A whole-home dehumidifier is best for damp basements year-round and humidity issues in the fall and spring. But, it’s much more expensive than a portable model. If your basement is ordinarily dry, you may need an off-the-shelf model for the spring or fall or when it’s especially muggy out. 

A whole-home humidifier is attached directly to your heating and cooling system. That way, you don’t have to worry about turning it on or off. And, it empties on its own — no need to pour out a tank of water every day. 

However, the upfront price is significant: Most cost more than $1,000 for the equipment and installation. By contrast, portable ones go for under $300. But, the portable units use a lot more energy. 

Sizing A Whole-Home Dehumidifier

Whole-home systems measure power by pints. You look at how much moisture it sucks up per day. Then you figure out which size you need. Square footage is the most significant factor here. In Pennsylvania, the rule of thumb is:

  • 70 pints for a home under 1,400 square feet
  • 95 pints for homes between 1,400 and 2,200 square feet
  • 130 pints for a home over 2,200 square feet

But, the size of your home is only the start. For instance, if your house is on a high water table, you may need a bigger unit.

That has to do with how much of the ground can get saturated with water. The higher the water table, the more moisture gets into the house.

Ceilings matter, too. Anything over eight feet, and you may need a bigger system. But, sometimes, having smaller rooms means you can use a less-powerful model. It takes a professional eye to factor those the right way.

Save Money In Spring And Fall With A Whole-Home Dehumidifier 

Unless you’re dealing with a lot of basement problems, you don’t need to run your dehumidifier in winter. In fact, we usually need to add moisture during the colder months. But, the fall and summer are different stories.

We call these the “shoulder seasons.” They’re not as hot as summer or the most cold temperatures. But, the temperature can still get pretty high. 

That’s where a whole-home dehumidifier comes in handy: It can take the place of an air conditioner and help keep your home cool. For every six percent of relative humidity you drop, you can turn up your thermostat by one degree and not feel a difference.

A big part of air conditioning is removing moisture from the air. Think about when you hear people say, “it’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” It’s the same idea. You get rid of the extra water vapor, and it’s more comfortable.

But you won’t run the AC once the weather cools a little. Then, you’re not taking care of extra moisture. The whole-home system takes care of that. And, it costs less to run than central air.

So, you can turn off the AC earlier in the fall and turn it on later in the spring. You’ll stay comfortable and pay less on your electric bill.

AprilAire Dehumidifiers And Indoor Air Quality On The Main Line

At John Cipollone, we work with AprilAire products for humidity control, air purification, and other indoor air quality concerns for Main Line homes. Choosing the right solution for your home involves many factors. If you’d like to learn more about how to make your home more comfortable, healthy, and cheaper to maintain, call or email us for a free consultation.

Talk To Someone About Aprilaire Technology For Your Home
Call Us CTA

About the Author