Maintaining the quality of air in a home is a challenge that many people face. With drastic weather changes, the air in your home can become too moist or too dry. That’s where humidifiers and dehumidifiers come in.
You may be among those that are confused about which one to use. If so, don’t worry. This article will help you determine which one you need. Below is everything you need to know to make that decision.
The Difference Between a Humidifier and a Dehumidifier
The difference between a humidifier and a dehumidifier is simple. A humidifier adds moisture to the air when air is too dry while a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air when it’s too humid.
While the difference is simple, figuring out which one is right to use seems to be a problem for a lot of people. That’s because, while the basic function of these two machines is controlling the moisture in the air, they are used for many other purposes that relate to the moisture.
Figuring Out Which One to Use
In order to figure out if you need a humidifier or a dehumidifier, you need to know the humidity level in your home, plus the ideal range the humidity level should be in. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), humidity levels should be between 30% and 50%. There are a number of reasons that this range is ideal, and we’ll go over them below.
To determine the humidity level in your home, you can use a small device called a hygrometer. These are available at most home improvement stores. Once you determine the humidity level, if it’s lower than 30%, you need a humidifier. If it’s higher than 50%, you need a dehumidifier.
The answer to a humidifier vs dehumidifier depends on the range mentioned above, but there are quite a few things that can affect the humidity level in your home. These things can tip the scales in one direction or the other.
Things That Affect a Home’s Humidity Level
One of the main things that affect a home’s humidity level is the weather. In general, winter makes the air in a home too dry, so people use a humidifier during winter. Summers are the opposite. Heat adds to the humidity in a home, so people use a dehumidifier in this case. However, this still doesn’t necessarily mean you need both.
Weather varies depending on where you live. For example, you’ll rarely need a dehumidifier in Arizona, even during summer. The weather there rarely gets humid, except during monsoon season and usually, an Arizona home’s HVAC system can handle the bit of humidity that happens during that time.
Other things that can affect your home’s humidity level can be:
- Air conditioners are designed to pull moisture from the air, but not as much as a dehumidifier.
- Dryers add humidity because they essentially steam your clothes dry, especially if it’s not properly vented.
- Boiling water adds humidity.
- Bad insulation makes the air in your home more exposed to the outside air, so it depends on how humid the air is outside.
- Improper ventilation can trap humidity inside your home.
- Showers add humidity to your home.
Putting It All Together
At the end of the day, it boils down to what the humidity percentage is in your house. If you have an HVAC system in your house, your air conditioner may serve just fine as a dehumidifier so you may only need a humidifier. However, if you’re constantly adding humidity to your air using any of the above methods, you may need both to balance out the equation.
The best thing you can do is measure the humidity levels in your home during different seasons. This will let you know how the weather and other factors affect your indoor air at different times. You can also look for signs that indicate high or low humidity. Examples are mold (high humidity) or unexplained dry skin (low humidity). Essentially, if you see a drastic difference from the recommended EPA range of humidity, you’ll know which, if any, machine you’ll need.