On a hot, muggy day, dehumidification isn’t just a matter of comfort; it’s about health. The Texas Gulf Coast is among the most humid areas in the country, and when the humidity gets over 50 percent, it fosters mold, mildew and bacteria, triggering or exacerbating allergies, respiratory ailments and other illness. To keep your Coastal Bend home dry and comfortable, here are some dehumidification basics:
First of all, you have three main choices when buying a dehumidifier, getting a portable model for removing moisture from a room or small area, two or more portable units for more rooms or a larger space, or a whole-house dehumidifier that operates in tandem with your HVAC system. While costing more, a whole-house system will do a better job of removing moisture from throughout the house, since it works by removing water vapor from the home’s conditioned air before it begins circulating through your ductwork. It’s also easier to maintain than portable dehumidifiers, and on a whole-house basis, cheaper to operate than multiple portables.
Before investing in whole-house dehumidification, however, determine whether your existing A/C or heat pump is able to handle dehumidification on its own. Depending on the A/C model and conditions in your home, the appliance may be able to dehumidify the space as it cools. On the other hand, during our humid South Texas cooling season, you may find that additional dehumidification is necessary. One advantage to having a whole-house dehumidifier (and some portable models) is that most of them operate with humidistats. Working similarly to a thermostat, a humidistat allows you to set your ideal humidity level (somewhere between 40 and 50 percent) and monitors your air to make sure it doesn’t get too wet or too dry.
If you’re purchasing a portable dehumidifier, it’s important to realize that it probably will be running steadily for most of the summer and longer. As a result, you’ll want to get one that’s as energy efficient as possible. Look at the unit’s Energy Factor. This measures how much water it can extract (in liters), for the amount of energy it uses (in kilowatt hours). The higher the Energy Factor, the more efficient your dehumidifier is, and the more energy you can save.
For more tips on dehumidification, as well as general cooling and heating issues, please contact our experts at CCAC, Inc. We’ve been the Corpus Christi area’s source for quality HVAC service since 1979.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Corpus Christi, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Dehumidification Basics and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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