There is nothing more uncomfortable then living in an area with high humidity. I’m based out of the Kansas City area and today it’s over ninety degrees. When I woke up this morning the humidity was at ninety percent. It’s since settled down a bit to just over sixty… but that is still pretty damn high if you ask me. It can make it miserable when you step outside. As my dad says, it feels like you’re swimming through the air.
It can be worse though if you are feeling some that excess humidity inside of your home. This is where our friend, the dehumidifier, can come in handy. A dehumidifier will do its best to remove all of that excess humidity from your home. This will not only improve the air quality in your home but will also reduce risk of allergens such as dust mites, mildew, fungi, and even mold.
The question though is a dehumidifier safe to use? Are there dangers to be considered before operating one? Let’s take a look and find out!
Overall, a dehumidifier is a pretty safe machine. Yes, there are instances where things can go wrong, but for the most part you’ll be safe.
The first risk is tilting. If your pet, or your toddler, accidentally runs into your dehumidifier will it keep running, or will it shut off? The risk here is that if it keeps running the appliance could get hot and that heat could translate into a fire. (Think of a hot appliance up against soft carpet.) The good news here though is that most dehumidifiers have a tilt safety feature. If the machine starts to tilt then it will automatically shut off.
When your dehumidifier runs it extracts the humidity from the environment and converts it to water. This water is then stored in a removable tank. As the tank gets full your dehumidifier should have a sensor that shuts the machine off and prevents any more water from accumulating. Nearly all dehumidifiers have this feature, but it is best to check if the one you are buying does. It would not be a good experience to have overflowing water from the tank all over your floor. The other option here is to buy a hose attachment and drain the water into a basement drain, sink, or other area. This will prevent you from having to monitor the water tank levels.
It is also best practice to check this water tank regularly. If the tank is not emptied in a timely manner then you have sitting stagnant water. This could result in mold growth if not properly removed and dumped. Also, always dump out the water tank before putting the dehumidifier in storage. These steps will ensure that the tank stays clean and free of mold.
Another risk is having the appliance began to overheat after operating for a long period of time. In most cases this has the same safety feature as the tilt. If the dehumidifier doe s began to overheat then an automatic shutdown will occur to prevent a fire from occurring.
While most dehumidifiers have an overheating safety mechanism there was a recall issued back in 2017 over a faulty mechanism. This caused the dehumidifiers to overheat and eventually catch fire. You can read about this by clicking here. While this is a rare occurrence, in order to be absolutely safe it is best to turn the dehumidifier off if you will be leaving your home for an extended period of time.
Be sure to clean your dehumidifier regularly including the filter. Most of these filters come with an antibacterial coating. It is recommended that you not wash these filters with water as there is risk of the coating coming off. Instead, you should lightly brush it with a cloth or use a vacuum to clean out any dust or debris. Along with the filter it is best to wipe down or clean the entire unit to prevent any dust or moisture from remaining.
Dehumidifiers are meant to be run during the hottest months of the year. This is where the humidity levels and heat have peaked. I know here in Kansas we can see July or August days start out at eighty-five degrees and ninety percent humidity. Winter is a different story though. Running a dehumidifier in winter may not be necessary and if you do run it then you could risk lowering humidity levels too low.
If humidity is too low then this could cause severe dry skin, rashes, sinus trouble, and other issues. I’m sure you have experienced some of these before during the winter season. I get severely dry skin during the cold months. It can get so bad that it cracks open. It can be quite painful. Having a dehumidifier running constantly could result in this exact scenario or it could worsen the symptoms you are already experiencing.
That’s not the worst of it though; a low humidity environment can dry out your respiratory tract which can result in you being more susceptible to colds and the flu. Houses with low humidity will result in inhabitants getting sick more often. All of this could be a recipe for disaster. (Also note that you may end up seeing some of these same problems if you leave your humidifier operating in the same room for an extended period of time. Especially if the room is smaller or closed off.)
This is why in winter, especially, if you are dealing with the symptoms mentioned above that you should consider purchasing a humidifier.
Dehumidifiers are quite safe. Safety mechanisms have been installed to prevent water leakage or fire hazards. The main concern that you have to worry about is the humidity getting to high or too low in your home. It is a constant balancing act. More often than not you can follow the simple guidelines that dehumidifiers should be operated in summer mostly. Yes, they can be used in spring and fall… but I would not recommend use in winter. Remember folks the most comfortable humidity level for us between thirty percent to fifty percent.
If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you check out our complete dehumidifier buying guide that I completed earlier this week. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.