(a heating climate is where you spend more money on heating your home in the winter than money spent cooling your home in the summer)
Dehumidifiers should be considered a necessary part of the home mechanical system, just as you would have a heating system and running water. While some older homes (pre 1950’s) may not have to have one, certainly any newer home should have one. Not only should you have a dehumidifier, but it should also be running year-round.
Many people do not understand that they need to run in the winter time, but this is the most important time to run one relating to condensation/mold problems. Equally misunderstood is that the typical refrigerant dehumidifier used needs to operate in a room that is at least 70°F, or else it will freeze up and consume huge amounts of electricity. It sometimes is difficult to find a place to set the dehumidifier, and sometimes placing it near the furnace is a viable option.
The winter time is when we keep our homes closed up and we trap moisture inside the home in the air. While running our bath fans is an excellent first-method removal method, the dehumidifier is still necessary. Moist air is attracted to cold surfaces where it condenses into water. If there is a condensation problem on walls or windows, it is an indicator that the moisture level of the air is too high in relation to the temperature of the surface it is condensing on. When this condensation occurs, there is a risk of decay and mold growth.
There are other viable options to dehumidifiers such as Humidex ventilators and air exchangers that may eliminate the necessity of using a dehumidifier.
Humidifiers, improperly used, can cause severe damage to a home from decay and mold problems. Newer technology on the humidistat controls has lessened the chance of excessive moisture, but it still can be a problem. If the home is experiencing condensed moisture on the inside of the windows, on exterior walls, or in attics while the humidifier is running, it is set wrong.
My personal belief, resulting from years of consulting relating to moisture and mold issues, is that most well-built homes that are built post 1990 do not need a humidifier. These homes are so tight that the biggest problem is dehumidifying, let alone humidifying.
*All of the above information is trademarked and is the property of RESTORx. We feel it is the most current and accurate information available but we do not guarantee it be the only proper solution. Written by Stephen Gitz, CR, WLS, CMP