HVAC Tips: Understanding the Difference Between a Humidifier and Dehumidifier

by Greg Leisgang on March 26, 2014

Posted in: Indoor Air Quality

humidifier and dehumidifierYou may have heard about or have had to use a dehumidifier or a humidifier. You may also be aware that humidity is one of the factors determining how livable an area is. But how do these appliances work together with your HVAC system to keep you and your home comfortable?

Humidity is the amount of moisture in the air, and if it gets too high or too low, you can expect some trouble. High humidity can lead to condensation on surfaces throughout the home. Think of your bathroom walls immediately after a hot shower, which can, if unaddressed, lead to mold and bacteria growth, as well as the warping and aging of fixtures. But when humidity is too low, it can lead to throat, skin and lung irritations, along with other maladies. It's also harder to keep a home warm if the air is too dry.

To keep your home's humidity at its proper level – in the 40 percent range – you may need to introduce additional moisture when it gets too dry and remove it when it gets too humid. Two appliances work in concert to keep levels right all year round:

  • A humidifier increases humidity by introducing water vapor into the air circulating through your home.
  • A dehumidifier removes humidity, holding the excess water in a tank for later disposal with a portable unit or draining it away in a whole-house installation.

While small, portable units of each of these appliances exist for single-room applications – keeping a closet or bathroom dry, for example, or keeping a bedroom humid enough to let you breathe easy at night – installing them into your central HVAC system can keep your entire home at its properly balanced humidity point.

To learn more about air quality in your greater West Chester area home, or for other HVAC needs, contact us today at Tri-County Heating & Cooling.

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