A central AC/furnace dehumidifier, sometimes referred to as a whole house or whole home dehumidifier, is a dehumidifier that is integrated into your home's heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. A whole home dehumidifier works with your furnace and air conditioner to keep your indoor climate comfortable and the relative humidity low. Instead of placing portable dehumidifiers in each rooms and then emptying all those water collection buckets every few days, you just turn it on like you do the heat or AC.
It's definitely more work to install and it costs more, but once it's in place, a whole home dehumidifier is more effective, less work, and quieter than using multiple portable dehumidifiers meant to do the same job. It's a great way to improve the air quality in your home, keep your indoor climate comfortable, and prevent potentially hazardous household mold.
Not everyone needs a whole home dehumidifier and there are other options, such as portable dehumidifiers. A central AC/furnace dehumidifier may be a good choice for you if:
Relative humidity refers to the amount of moisture in the air. Too much moisture makes rooms feel stuffy and humid. It also significantly increases the risk of mold in the home.
You can check the relative humidity in your home with a simple device called a hygrometer. It's an instrument that measures relative humidity and displays the result, much like a thermometer measures temperature and displays the result. Hygrometers are affordable and easy to use. Most run on batteries and you just place them where you want them, on a table or shelf or mounted on the wall.
The relative humidity may be the same throughout your home or it may be high in only one area. You can get a few hygrometers to monitor the relative humidity throughout the house or you can just get one and move it from place to place.
A central AC/furnace dehumidifier is a good investment if the relative humidity is high in much of the house. If it's only high in one room or area of the home, though, a portable dehumidifier probably makes more sense.
Here is more about relative humidity in the home.
A whole house dehumidifier isn't something you just pick up at any big box store and plug in. You'll need an HVAC specialist to install it. An experienced technician can assess your home and help you select the right whole home dehumidifier to meet your needs. To find experienced HVAC specialists in your area, just follow the link.
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CDC - Decreasing Humidity Levels
EPA - Ten Things About Mold