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Common dehumidifier questions answered in lieu of hurricane disaster

Did you know? Dehumidifiers are often used for disaster relief due to flooding. This large commercial dehumidifier was used when the IRS building in Washington D.C. was flooded to help it dry faster. Many people also use them indoors after painting a room to make it dry faster.

Did you know? Dehumidifiers are often used for disaster relief due to flooding. This large commercial dehumidifier was used when the IRS building in Washington D.C. was flooded to help it dry faster. Many people also use them indoors after painting a room to make it dry faster.

With the tragic onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, there going to be a lot of flooding, mold and water damage. Many of us have seen the shocking photos of flooded Manhattan and New Jersey. While safety and emergency evacuations are the highest priorities, many are now looking ahead to the monumental task of rebuilding and repairing their cities. Heavy-duty commercial dehumidification is a crucial first step in removing flood and water damage. This post is dedicated to recovery and rebuilding for the victims of 2012′s Hurricane Sandy, also known as the “Frankenstorm.”

It will take time for many of the homes and apartments in New York, New Jersey, and the Northeast in general to bounce back from the hurricane’s flooding and wind damage. Many may start looking at a residential dehumidifier for their space to reduce the excess moisture and standing water.

So according, we thought it would be a good time to provide some dehumidifier facts and mythbusters. Here are some common questions we found:

Do dehumidifiers work?

If you mean in decreasing humidity effectively, yes! A dehumidifier is primarily an appliance used for humidity control. Basements, musty areas beware: a dehumidifier can change your space around. A powerful dehumidifier can even reduce wall seepage and standing water.

Do dehumidifiers lower temperature or cool an area?

Temperature has two aspects: the literal number you see on the thermometer and how cool it “feels.” A dehumidifier usually only deals with how cool it “feels” by reducing humidity, or the amount of moisture in the air. Even if the temperature is not as hot as you think, if it is very humid you will still feel hot and sweaty. Air conditioner units often do a little bit of both – temperature and humidity control – to control your indoor air. However, areas like basements are often not air conditioned and become musty from water seeping into the walls from the surrounding earth. Some dehumidifiers actually can get warm while operating. In general, dehumidifiers extract water from the air to control humidity, which can make you feel cooler.

Do dehumidifiers use a lot of electricity?

Like any appliance, it depends on the dehumidifier. Energy Star dehumidifiers are models proven by the EPA to be about a third more energy efficient. In general energy usage, residential models compare to a small air conditioner. If used correctly, they can actually save energy by making it easier on your air conditioner.

Do dehumidifiers add heat to a room?

In a word, yes, most dehumidifiers slightly heat a room while operating. Often they are used in basements where it is not a problem, but some users recommend putting a dehumidifier in a different room than your bedroom.

How do dehumidifiers work?

Dehumidifiers pull air over a pair of hot and cold refrigerant coils. They wring out moisture from the air and drain it into a hose or to be stored in a bucket. Basically, they convert sticky humid air into comfortable air and give you the water from it!

How long do dehumidifiers last?

They can last from a little over a year up to 15 years. It all depends on the model and manufacturer; look for higher quality models with from companies with a good reputation. One way to check out the quality is to look at the warranty. If the company is confident it is a good product that won’t break down, they will offer you an extended warranty. 5+ year warranties are the best. Avoid cheap plastic parts and remember that you get what you pay for in quality.

How long do dehumidifiers take to work?

Most users say they can tell the difference right away, often within a day or two. Dehumidifiers vary in how much moisture they extract per day, usually between 30-70 pints.

Can dehumidifiers kill mold and dust mites and help with asthma?

If you have breathing problems or are bothered by mold, you’re in luck. Mold releases spores that can irritate the respiratory system, but it thrives in moisture which dehumidifiers extract from the air to stop it from growing. It is advised to clean out preexisting mold, however. They also reduce the number of dust mites in your home. Many insect pests such as centipedes, millipedes, water bugs, and crickets thrive in moist areas so a dehumidifier will discourage them from invading your home as well as kill off their living environment.

Do dehumidifiers work in basements?

Dehumidifiers are a great choice for basements because they are often not air conditioned and can become extremely moist from seepage in the ground. A dehumidifier can save you a lot of time messing with a sub pump and can even remove standing water. Many basements can also have minor flooding after a heavy rain which a dehumidifier can help reduce.

Why do dehumidifiers break?

Often the parts inside a dehumidifier can wear down; the fan can break or the coils can freeze. Make sure you’re using a dehumidifier that can operate in the climate that you live in, most do not operate under 41 to 40F inside.