Do I Need a Whole-House Dehumidifier In My Florida Home?
September 18, 2017
Florida is a particularly humid state and many homeowners in the area are quick to install a whole-home dehumidifier to help lower humidity levels.
But do all Florida homes necessarily need one? And more importantly, does your particular home need one?
Well, you might need a whole-house dehumidifier if:
- Your home’s indoor humidity is higher than 50%
- You’ve seen condensation on your window panes
- You have mold or mildew in your home
- You’ve noticed an increase in bugs in your home
But here’s the truth of the matter: those 4 signs of high humidity can also be caused by larger air conditioner problems. So, before you run out to buy a whole-home dehumidifier, the more important thing to do is to troubleshoot for AC issues.
Don’t worry, we’ll show you exactly how to do that.
Have high indoor humidity and need professional advice? Just contact us. We’ll send out a tech to inspect your home and provide professional solutions.
First, make sure your AC isn’t the problem…
Air conditioners are designed to both cool your home and remove humidity. So, if your home has high humidity levels, the first place you need to check is your air conditioner system.
Here’s why: If your AC is to blame for high humidity levels, buying a whole-home dehumidifier is like taking Tylenol for constant, debilitating headaches. It doesn’t actually fix the underlying issues with your air conditioner and home, it just masks them.
So to determine if your humidity issues are caused by your air conditioner, follow these 3 steps...
Step #1: Make sure your thermostat fan is set to AUTO not ON
First, go to your thermostat and make sure that your fan isn’t set to ON.
Why? Well, setting your fan to ON means that your AC blower will run non-stop—even between cooling cycles. And that prevents your AC from removing moisture from your home.
You see, your AC’s evaporator coils absorb both heat and moisture from the warm air inside your home. As your AC absorbs moisture, beads of condensation will start to collect on the coils. Now if your fan is set to AUTO, the blower will shut off between cooling cycles, giving those water beads time to collect, drip off the coils and drain outdoors via a PVC pipe (aka the dehumidification process).
But if your fan never shuts off, that moisture sitting on the evaporator coils just gets blown right back into your home. Eventually, that will lead to higher-than-normal humidity levels.
Step #2: Check your AC’s age (and maintenance record)
Just like all appliances, air conditioners age and eventually become less efficient due to normal wear and tear. So if your AC is older, it probably isn’t able to remove as much humidity (or heat) from your home as it used to.
So at what age do AC units lose their dehumidification abilities? Well, it depends on its maintenance record:
- If the AC has been well-maintained all its life, the unit should be efficient at humidity removal until around 10 years old.
- If the AC hasn’t been well-maintained over the years, the unit will prob stop removing humidity at around 5 to 8 years old.
Think an older AC is causing your humidity issues? Have a professional inspect your home and provide a quote to replace your AC system.
Step #3: Make sure your AC isn’t oversized
If your AC’s cooling cycles are 10 minutes long (or less), it’s most likely oversized. And if your air conditioner is too big for your home, it won’t be able to dehumidify your home very well.
Here’s why: Oversized air conditioners cool your home very quickly then shut off before the dehumidification process has time to take place.
You see, it takes the air conditioner a long time to actually remove moisture from your home’s air. Remember how moisture has to collect on the evaporator coils then drip off? Yeah, that entire process takes a long time—longer than an oversized air conditioner takes to cool your home.
In fact, it often takes about 15 minutes of non-stop cooling before the evaporator can absorb enough moisture to drop humidity levels in your home. But an AC will often only run for 10 minutes or less if it’s oversized for your home.
If you think your AC is oversized for your home, have a professional inspect the system. They’ll determine the right size AC you need and whether you should have the system replaced right away or not.
Step #4: Check for low refrigerant levels
Signs of low refrigerant:
- Hissing or bubbling noises along the AC refrigerant lines
- Ice on refrigerant lines
- Frozen evaporator coil
- You feel warm/lukewarm air from air vents
- It takes the AC longer than normal to cool your home
Need more info on spotting these signs? Just read our full blog on it: 5 Signs Your Home’s AC Is Low on Refrigerant
Refrigerant is the liquid that absorbs heat and moisture from the air inside your home. So if your AC is low on refrigerant, it makes sense that your home will eventually suffer from high indoor humidity.
A helpful tip from us to you: There’s usually only one culprit for low refrigerant levels—a leak somewhere in the refrigerant lines.
So if you see the signs of low refrigerant levels, don’t go buy a whole-home dehumidifier just yet. Instead, have a professional find the leak, repair it then recharge the system.
AC not the problem? Get a quote on a whole-home dehumidifier
If you’ve determined that your home needs a whole-home dehumidifier, we can help you.
Just contact us and our air quality experts will help you choose the dehumidifier that best fits your home and dehumidifying needs.
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