How to Dehumidify an Environment
How to dehumidify an environment: advice for eliminating humidity from domestic environments without the use of an electric dehumidifier.
An excess of humidity in the home can have negative consequences on the building structure and on the health of those who live there: respiratory problems, nasal congestions, sore throat, and even asthma attacks. For this reason, it is important to dehumidify the living environment. Usually, the geographic location and season determine the amount of humidity in the home, but often in certain structural conditions, the building itself can effect how much humidity is present in the house.
Humidity can cause mold growth and provide the ideal habitat for hosting bacteria and viruses. According to some studies published by Kenneth Hellevarg at the State University of North Dakota, the optimal levels of humidity in a domestic environment are between 30 and 50 percent. Understanding how to dehumidify an environment is simple. Of course, using a dehumidifier could be useful, but there are some tricks to dehumidify an environment without air conditioning or specially-made instruments.
How to Dehumidify an Environment Without a Dehumidifier, Suggested Strategies
- Changing the air
Ventilating the house by opening doors and windows when the external temperature is adequate enough to guarantee your thermal comfort.
Nota bene: to regulate the correct amount of humidity in the house and the impact as little as possible on summer air conditioning and winter heating, instead of keeping windows half open for several hours, it is preferable to open them wide for a few minutes.
- Ceiling fan
You can use a ceiling fan; at the store you can find ceiling fans/lamps at cheap prices. The blades, turning, attract dry air from inside the house and diminish the amount of humidity.
- Sources of steam
Reduce the amount of time that you spend under the shower or in the bathtub. When you dry your hair, open the window slightly. If you wash your clothes, dry the laundry outside the house, in a location such as a terrace or balcony. Avoid putting the drying rack inside the house: the drying fabric will release water vapor which will intensify the humidity in your house.
Use an air vent while taking a bath or shower. In this way, the vents will carry the humid air outside the house. You can consider installing a controlled ventilation system, the most modern systems even allow you to recover thermal energy invested in heating or cooling the house. (ventilation with heat recovery)
- Rainwater management
Make sure that when it rains, water does not accumulate along the perimeter of your house. Doing this will help to dehumidify the living environment because a large source of humidity is actually the ground. You can avoid the accumulation of rainwater around your house by making modifications to your gutters or funneling rainwater into a collection tank, to be used for watering the garden.
- Watering and houseplants
Pay attention when watering houseplants. The moist soil humidifies the air, so water only when it is really necessary.
- Drying machine and dishwasher use
If you use the dryer for your clothes, to avoid accumulating humidity make sure that the dryer is placed against an external wall of the house, and not the wall of another room. The drying machine vent frees a lot of hot air that can rapidly increase the amount of humidity. At the end of a dishwasher cycle, before opening the door, wait until the water vapor has completely condensed, otherwise it will be released into the kitchen and will increase the humidity of the environment.
How to dehumidify an environment with do-it-yourself dehumidifiers
Taking advantage of easy-to-find salts such as calcium chloride, potassium chloride, or silicates, it is possible to create do-it-yourself dehumidifiers that are able to capture the humidity present in domestic environments.
To make a do-it-yourself dehumidifier at home, you will need an ice cream container (better if a 1 kg container) or a small basin. For all the instructions on how to make a passive dehumidifier at home, we sent you to the page Do It Yourself Dehumidifier. However, if you don’t want to keep ice cream containers scattered around the house, you can buy passive dehumidifiers ready to be used.
It’s important to understand that the only difference between a passive dehumidifier bought on the market and a passive dehumidifier made at home is in the aesthetics! So don’t get discouraged, if you don’t want to buy the entire container, limit yourself to finding salts.
Economically, the difference is relatively significant. With a passive dehumidifier made at home, you should spend only 8 euros for buying the calcium salt (calcium chloride), while if you buy the entire passive system, the price will be about €15-€20, depending on the product that you choose.
Among the best* passive dehumidifiers, we recommend the Wenko Bowl, available on Amazon at the price of 13.99€ with free shipping. To get the maximum benefits from a passive dehumidifier (whether it be homemade or premade), it’s best to maximize the ventilation of the environment, and so we recommend you install ceiling fans.
*we wrote “best” because of the low cost and since it uses calcium salts that react very easily with water molecules suspended in the air.
Ceiling fans are very cheap; there are many models on the market with three blades and a place for a lamp included (so they can substitute a ceiling lamp).
Dehumidifying an environment: insulation and thermal bridges
If you have serious problems with humidity in the home, other than just considering the use of passive dehumidifiers or electric dehumidifiers or controlled ventilation systems with heat recovery, look carefully at the walls of your home.
Humidity comes from somewhere! The causes that make an environment humid are many and range from bad habits (drying laundry in the house, forgetting to turn on the cooking hood in the kitchen, using a hair drier without opening a window…) to structural problems.
In an ideal conditions, a house should be well insulated (thermally), with a cold roof or ventilated roof (to avoid phenomena of condensation), and above all else it should be free of thermal bridges.
Resurgent humidity and condensation are the main accomplice of humidity in the house. If you have problems with condensation, for dehumidifying an environment, read the advice given in the article “Condensation At Home, What to Do”.
Electric Dehumidifiers and Air Conditioners
To dehumidify a domestic environment, appropriate appliances such as air conditioning with humidity control and electric dehumidifiers are very common. These should be installed according to the specifications of the house, keeping in consideration the amount of thermal insulation and the size of the house to be dehumidified. Maintenance should also be carried out periodically, especially for dehumidifiers where the water container should be emptied out with a certain frequency.
Translated by Raymond Bellon
Published by da Anna De Simone