Excessive humidity can foster mold growth in your home, and will cause sickness if left alone for too long.
In this article, we’ll take a look at dehumidifiers, how long they can last, how to maintain them, and some natural dehumidifying alternatives.
Dehumidifier Lifespan & Ways To Extend It
On average, your new dehumidifier should last around five years before it needs replacing.
Be careful though, as several factors go into how long your device can work.
Using it a lot will naturally degrade its performance over time, especially if forced to run past the limits it was designed for.
Another factor to watch out for is the quality of its internal components.
Buying cheap may be great for your bank account, but won’t help your humid house too much should the dehumidifier break down before the expiry date.
Carefully analyze your dehumidifying needs, and decide whether getting a less expensive unit is a better investment than buying a higher-quality one.
Unfortunately, not all factors can be controlled.
If the climate you live in is naturally heavy with humidity, the dehumidifier will have to work harder, and therefore will break down a lot sooner than expected.
For such a scenario, only turn on your device when needed, and keep a close eye on it while it works.
Some units come with an automatic switch, and will only dehumidify for certain parts of your day.
Also, consider what kind of dehumidifier is right for you and your situation.
Portable units can be fairly useful, especially at home, as you can move it from one room to the next should the situation require it.
How often will you use it?
Feel free to go cheap if you plan to use one during drier seasons such as winter.
If you wish to run it year-long or close to that, invest in a more expensive, but higher-quality dehumidifier.
Whereas the average life-span of these devices is five years, it’s possible to make your dehumidifier last longer the better you take care of it.
To get a general sense as to what you can do, read the owner’s manual in detail.
This document will tell you the do’s and don’ts of your device.
Dehumidifier Usage Tips
The efficiency of your dehumidifier is highly dependent on where you place it.
Leave your device about 6-12 inches away from furniture and walls.
This will allow proper airflow throughout the unit.
What also helps is placing it on a level surface so it doesn’t tip over and break.
When picking the best spot, it also helps to place the dehumidifier where it won’t be in your way either.
One such place is the corner of a room, not too close to the edge but not too far away from it.
To help yourself save money on energy bills, keep your doors and windows closed in whichever space you want dehumidified.
The more ambient air your device has to filter, the more humidity, and therefore more power has to be used to do a proper job.
By reducing the amount of electricity consumed, you’ll reduce the size of your monthly utility expenses.
Every dehumidifier has a collection tank where the water goes.
Your manual will most likely instruct you to empty it every now and then to prevent overflow.
However, simply emptying it might not be enough to prevent mildew and mold growth inside your machine.
To prevent this, wash out the collection tank with soap and water to get rid of any organisms that can cause both the machine and yourself harm.
Another way to promote proper air flow is to replace the air filter should it become too dirty.
Obstructions such as dust, debris, even small insects can hinder the dehumidifier’s performance.
Neglecting the air filter for too long will cause your device to work harder, therefore, higher monthly electricity costs as a result.
In addition, check the exhaust grilles and air intake to see how clean they are.
Using a vacuum with a brush attachment can help get rid of anything clogging the system and increase overall efficiency.
Make sure the device is turned off before you do any kind of thorough cleaning.
One option some might not consider is checking the condenser coils for ice and frost build up.
This can happen if the temperature in the room is too cold.
Too much of either can make it difficult for your device to work as it should.
Many dehumidifier models come with an automatic defrost function, where the compressor automatically shuts down, and runs the fan by itself to melt any ice within the machine.
If you decide on a dehumidifying unit that doesn’t come with this feature, you’ll have to turn off and unplug the machine to inspect it yourself.
Getting rid of the icing/frost issue might require reading your owner’s manual, or consulting the manufacturing website.
The nature of the problem might be purely technical, so simply wiping off the ice and frost may not be enough.
Alternatives To Dehumidifiers
If buying a dehumidifier sounds like too much of a hassle, there are other ways you can dehumidify your home without purchasing an expensive machine.
For example, removing any indoor plants and placing them outside instead can help.
If plants aren’t the issue, try taking shorter showers, and improve ventilation within your home.
Increasing airflow within the whole house will reduce excess moisture from settling in any single place.
If those options still don’t do the trick, check for any water marks that might be forming on your ceilings, walls, and floors.
Finding some could be evidence that you have a leaky pipe somewhere.
Find the source of the leak, and get it fixed. If you decide to fix it on your own, it’s a good idea to first consult a professional in these matters.
If the above suggestions don’t apply to you, consider filling up some pots with calcium chloride and place them around areas that need dehumidifying.
That, or try a portable dry heater for those wet areas.