Anyone who uses them regularly knows that dehumidifiers are among the biggest electricity hogs. Using a dehumidifier to suck moisture out of the air can cost more than $100 a year on electricity bills.
Yet, it’s often seen as an unavoidable cost. Too much humidity in a home or business risks mold and mildew problems that can damage property and be costly to clean up. Moreover, dehumidifying tends to make a room more comfortable.
So what can you really do?
There are actually many ways to minimize dehumidifying costs and still remove excess moisture. Here are a few:
1. Use fans and windows to circulate air. As much as possible, get fresh air moving around in damp areas. A prime reason basements and other rooms get dank is because water vapor amasses in the air and has no escape. Creating an air circulation and outlet mechanism, such as installing small windows and vents and using fans to circulate air can help calm humidity problems.
2. Consider calcium chloride. Found in many winter de-icer products, calcium chloride is a salt crystal that absorbs moisture in the air. Hardware and home-improvement stores now sell calcium chloride-based products meant to be used as an alternative to dehumidifiers. You set the calcium chloride in containers in particularly damp rooms and it will absorb water in the air, turning the crystals to brine. The brine may be dumped down the toilet. A warning: Calcium chloride can be dangerous to swallow, so must be kept out of reach of small children and pets.
3. Buy an energy efficient dehumidifier. If you use a dehumidifier, at least purchase an Energy Star-qualified model. According to EnergyStar.gov, an Energy Star model will use 10% to 20% less humidity to remove the same amount of water as conventional models, saving $25 or more on electric bills each year. The cost for Energy Star models is comparable to non-Energy Star models.
4. Explore new technologies. Large commercial buildings may need to look at more sophisticated technologies for their dehumidifying needs. Thankfully, there’s been advancement in the energy efficiency of dehumidifying systems.
5. Limit dehumidifying. Dehumidifiers don’t work optimally in temperatures below 65 degrees, so it makes sense to only use them in rooms above that temperature. In Minnesota, it’s often typically only necessary to dehumidify in the warm, humid months – especially if a basement is kept warm in the winter. The warm air will rise to upper levels and keep the basement area relatively dry. Other tips to minimizing dehumidifying costs – such as closing doors and windows when units are in use – can be found here.
How do you keep dehumidifying costs in check in your business or home?