Humid South Texas Air and Dehumidifiers
As a resident of South Texas, you’re already familiar with dampness and humidity, especially in the summer. Humidity can wreak havoc on your home’s comfort level. But maintaining optimal humidity levels isn’t just a comfort issue. Left unaddressed, excess humidity can damage your home and even affect your family’s health. A dehumidifier can help. These handy appliances come in a range of styles, from small portable units to whole-house units that work in conjunction with your HVAC system.
What Does a Dehumidifier Do?
Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air and maintain an optimal indoor humidity level of between 30 and 50 percent. Excess humidity can cause a number of issues, such as:
- Musty odors
- Uncomfortable “sticky” atmosphere
- Foods that mold or go stale quickly
- Peeling paint and wallpaper
- Damp upholstery and carpet
- Rotting wood
- Attracting pests such as ants and termites
- Mold and mildew growth
- Favorable environment for dust mites
- Respiratory issues
Ways to Tackle Dehumidification?
All dehumidifiers remove water vapor from the air, but they do so using one of four different methods:
- Refrigerative dehumidifiers use a fan to draw air over a refrigerated coil. The coil condenses moisture and a fan forces out dry air.
- Desiccant dehumidifiers use a substance that absorbs moisture, such as silica gel.
- Ionic membrane dehumidifiers remove water from the air using a process called electrolysis.
- Electronic dehumidifiers pull moisture out of the air using a heat pump.
There are two ways to tackle dehumidification in a home:
1. Multi-stage air conditioning equipment. See our Multi-stage HVAC systems. Generally, dehumidification in the winter is unnecessary because it is usually dry. This makes using air conditioning equipment to dehumidify a viable option for this part of the country. Adding a whole-house dehumidifier to a house is more expensive than upgrading to multi-stage equipment and is much more efficient to run.
2. Add a dehumidifier which can be either a small, single room unit or a whole-house unit. For the homeowners that want a portable unit or a single unit, they can choose between portable and whole-house units. Portable models come in a range of sizes and can be moved from room to room. They’re classified by the volume of water vapor they can remove and the size of the area they can dehumidify. Most only dehumidify one room at a time. Portable units cost less upfront but require more maintenance. Most must be emptied at least once per day and cleaned regularly to prevent mold growth. Whole-house units connect to your existing HVAC ducts to keep your entire house comfortable. They’re low-maintenance, quieter, and more energy-efficient than portable models.
Bottom line: the best way to manage the indoor humidity in south texas is with Multi-stage HVAC systems. And since generally, dehumidification in the winter is unnecessary because it is usually dry. This makes using air conditioning equipment to dehumidify a viable option for this part of the country. This is instead of adding a whole-house dehumidifier to a house which is more expensive than upgrading to multi-stage equipment and is much more efficient to run.
Five Signs You Might Need A Dehumidifier
Okay, now you know what a dehumidifier does and a little about how it works. Here’s how you know if you might need one.
1. A Muggy, Musty Smell
Are there certain rooms in your home that consistently have a muggy smell? That musty odor, especially prevalent in basements, crawl spaces, bathrooms, or entrances, may indicate mold or mildew. These odors occur because moisture in the air traps smells. Fortunately, a dehumidifier can solve the problem, leaving your home smelling fresh.
2. A Damp Basement
Often, a humidity problem first makes itself known in the basement. Even in homes with central air conditioning units, recirculated dry air may not make it all the way downstairs. In seasons when you’re not running the A/C, basements may be extra prone to moisture build-up. In addition, moisture can seep in through the foundation, making humidity levels soar.
3. Condensation on Windows
If you notice what looks like fog on or inside windows, that’s a telltale sign of high humidity. Often, condensation occurs when moisture in warm, indoor air contacts cold window glass. Over time, moisture can build up on the sill, causing wood casings to rot. You may also notice a damp sheen (or even beaded water) on interior walls.
4. Water Stains
In the absence of a leaky roof or a dripping pipe, the presence of water stains on walls or ceilings points to high interior humidity. When it’s cold outside, interior walls are warmer, causing condensation. When moisture builds up, it may leave a stain, especially in cooler spots within the house. Look for telltale signs such as dark spots near nail heads, peeling paint, loose wallpaper, or drywall damage.
5. Mold or Mildew
Mold and mildew are one of the clearest signs that your home is too humid. Spores love to grow in damp patches in your home. Look for discoloration in damp spots, such as ceiling corners in bathrooms, the tub or shower surround, and under or around the toilet.
It’s important to treat mold or mildew growth immediately, as spores may cause or exacerbate respiratory problems. Once treated, a dehumidifier can help prevent further growth.
If you have questions about how to keep your home at optimal humidity levels and prevent damage and illness, North East Air Conditioning, Heating & Plumbing can help. Contact us today to learn how our professional HVAC technicians can balance your home’s humidity, so your family can stay comfortable and healthy.
Call us at(210)658-0111