To keep comfortable during the summer, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent, while the Environmental Protection Agency recommends between 30 and 60 percent. In addition to eliminating the muggy, clammy feeling indoors, additional dehumidification can provide the following additional benefits:
- Improved air quality
- Lessened allergy and asthma symptoms
- Mold prevention
- Diminished musty odors
- Reduced airborne dust
- Dust mite suppression
- Protection of the home's or building's structural integrity
However, not everyone realizes the impact dehumidifiers can have on summer utility bills. For each dehumidifier used, the monthly expense will often run from $15 to $35, but it can exceed $50 per month. Here are some ideas of how to manage humidity problems while saving money:
- Set the humidistat so the dehumidifier does not run continuously. For basements in the summertime, 50% relative humidity is recommended. In colder weather, relative humidity between 25 and 40% is advised to reduce condensation on windows.
- Close all windows and doors to the area being conditioned to dramatically reduce humidity coming from outside air.
- Place the dehumidifier in the area with the highest humidity, but do not create a safety hazard by placing it in or near water. Dehumidifiers are not the solution to standing water (or running water) in basements.
- Make sure the dehumidifier is connected to a properly grounded outlet.
- Position the dehumidifier away from the wall or furniture so air can freely circulate through the unit.
- Hook up a hose to drain the dehumidifier if emptying the tank is a chore.
- Keep the dehumidifier clean. Wipe or vacuum dust and dirt from the coils and fan.
- If you have a choice of fan speeds, higher speeds are more efficient, though lower speeds are quieter.
- Reduce energy use during peak electric use periods. Put your dehumidifier on a timer to turn it on at 9:00 p.m. and off at 10:00 a.m.
Finally, when you are shopping for a dehumidifier, purchase an ENERGY STAR qualified model. A dehumidifier that has earned the ENERGY STAR label uses more efficient refrigeration coils, compressors and fans to remove the same amount of moisture as a similarly sized conventional unit but uses nearly 15% less energy.
Norris Public Power District wants to help you stay cool, comfortable and healthy this summer. Visit www.norrisppd.com if you would like more information on ways to improve your energy efficiency, as well as various EnergyWiseSM incentives that may be available to you for implementing energy efficient technologies.