Modern houses don’t provide as much air infiltration as older houses, so mold grows easily. Using chemical cleaners to combat mold issues can harm the air you breathe.
Instead of those approaches, try killing mold using a dehumidifier. Dehumidifier machines provide a natural way to eliminate mold growth in your home. So, Yes. A dehumidifier can kill mold.
How Does A Dehumidifier Work?
Dehumidifiers pull air from the room they’re in and remove the excessive moisture. The water droplets stay in a tank while the air recirculates into the room.
There are two ways dehumidifiers can work: refrigeration or absorption.
The refrigeration process pulls the warm air into the machine through a filter. The air funnels through freezing pipes, which cools it. As the air temperature lowers, the water vapor from the air molecules turns into water. The air flows over a compressor to warm it back up to its initial temperature before it blows back into the room.
The absorption process uses a duct to pull warm air into the machine. It flows past a large rotating fan covered in a water-absorbing filter. The water vapor sticks to the fan while the air passes on by and blows back into the room.
Benefits Of Using A Dehumidifier
Many people use dehumidifiers for their health benefits. If debris is in your air, you can suffer from irritated and itchy eyes, along with sneezing and a stuffy nose. If you suffer from allergy symptoms, you want to improve your conditions before you develop more serious health issues.
Allergens multiply in warm air and create an uncomfortable atmosphere. Running a dehumidifier pulls in the air and filters it, so not only does it come out as dry air, but it’s also cleaner.
Along with allergies, asthma is another condition exacerbated by low-quality air. When your air is moist, it seems thicker and warmer than normal. This makes it hard to breathe, especially if you have asthma.
Since dehumidifiers eliminate moisture from the air, it also helps your home in ways beyond decreasing the mold.
Damp air can make your house smell musty. Moisture damage can have detrimental effects on your furniture, whether by affecting its structure or ingraining a mildew smell in the upholstery. Excess moisture can make your wallpaper peel or discolor your painted walls with water stains.
Another benefit of dehumidifiers is that they increase the air quality in your home as well. You’ll notice how much lighter and crisper the air feels in rooms using dehumidifiers, especially if you live in a muggy climate.
Since you’re using a dehumidifier to cool the air and decrease the humidity levels, you won’t have to use as much air conditioning. This can greatly save you money on your utility bills.
In new builds, you can choose to install a whole-house dehumidifier. You can find a system rated for the square feet of your house. This might seem just as expensive as running an air conditioner, but it costs a lot less. Whole-house systems also use less energy than portable dehumidifiers.
Before you buy, look for Energy Star products—both portable and whole-house— to save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Many come with a washable filter to further reduce potential waste.
How A Dehumidifier Can Kill Mold
Mold infestations happen in moist environments with excess humidity. The ideal humidity level to prevent mold from growing is 35 to 50%. Since dehumidifiers reduce the humidity, they work to eliminate mold in your home.
It takes dehumidifiers about a week to reduce the excess moisture to make a difference in your home. They don’t kill the mold directly but reduce the humidity enough to prevent it from growing. Dehumidifiers slow the growth of mold in a way that makes a big difference in your home.
These work better than air purifiers because they only kill the mold spores in the air that comes into the machine. Many times, you can’t find the moisture source. Dehumidifiers decrease the overall humidity in the air, which prevents ground for mold in the entire humid environment.
As the mold dries, it becomes inactive. That means the dehumidifier will work to eliminate mold in your home just by decreasing the humidity in the air. But even inactive mold still poses a threat to you and your family. While your dehumidifier is running, work to remove the existing mold to ensure your whole house is clean.
Removing Pesky Mold
Look for signs of mold around your house. If you already have it, you need to eliminate that before your dehumidifier makes much of a difference. Instead of using bleach, which has an overwhelming scent and doesn’t properly eliminate mold, try a natural option.
White vinegar is an effective natural way to kill mold due to its antibacterial and antifungal qualities. It also isn’t too expensive, so you can buy a large bottle and use it without diluting it for maximum efficiency.
Put the vinegar in a spray bottle and apply it directly to the moldy surface. Let it soak in for about an hour before coming back with a soft-bristled brush. Scrub at the moldy surface before drying it. The smell will dissipate after the vinegar dries.
You can’t use vinegar on every surface, so be careful before spraying it. It dulls stone counters and ruins the finish on wood floors. It can corrode some metals, like stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. It’s also not effective in removing mold from carpet or other porous surfaces.
Baking soda is a natural alternative to vinegar. You can mix it with a splash of water to make a paste. Apply the paste to the mold and let it sit. Come back with a brush and scrub off the baking soda paste. The mold should come off as well. Dry any remaining residue from the surface.
The type of mold makes a difference. Black mold affects your respiratory system. If you have it in your house, you shouldn’t try to clean it because it releases spores that will affect your breathing. Instead, try to contain it and call a professional to remove it safely.
Features To Look For In A Dehumidifier
Before you buy a dehumidifier, you want to make sure you’ll find one that meets your needs. Consider your room size and how many rooms in your house will need a dehumidifier, then look for models with these specific features.
The collection capacity of a dehumidifier refers to how much moisture it can remove from the air in 24 hours, also called pints per day.
Portable dehumidifiers will understandably have a smaller capacity, but Energy Star models are still very efficient. You’ll need to empty the bucket of water more often, but it’s not a hassle.
The size or capacity of a dehumidifier you need depends on the size of the room and how much moisture is in the room. It’s calculated based on the overall condition of your house and the square feet. This dehumidifier size calculator can assist you.
All dehumidifiers have water tanks that collect the moisture they remove from the air. But there are different methods to get the pints of water out of the machine. Most commonly, it’s just a bucket that you remove, dump out, then put back into place.
Some machines come with a drain hose that allows water to easily flow into a floor drain. If you have a dehumidifier that needs to pump the water upward to remove it, you’ll have to get a pump attachment.
Whole-house dehumidifiers have a water line that connects to your sump pump to drain automatically, so you don’t have to do the work yourself. This is a major benefit, so you don’t have to worry about moisture build-up.
Not all dehumidifiers have air filter options, but it’s worth finding the right one. Air filters will clean the air that the dehumidifier pulls in. Depending on your machine, it might filter the air as it comes in or after it removes the moisture before releasing the air back into the room.
Keep in mind that buying a dehumidifier with an air filter will cost more over time unless you buy a washable filter. You’ll have to buy replacement filters when one is dirty. It also takes a little more effort to change even a washable filter periodically.
Dehumidifiers can be noisier than other machines you use in your home because they’re doing a lot of work. They aren’t necessarily loud and disruptive, but if you can find one that boasts about being quiet, that’s one worth buying.
This feature is a nice one to have for safety’s sake. When the water tank is full, the machine will shut off. This prevents your appliance from continually running and possibly overflowing. Some machines also turn off if the current humidity level in the room is ideal and there’s no need to remove extra moisture.
Portable dehumidifiers are small and work well in average-sized rooms. If you want one machine to work in a larger space, you’ll want to size up. A dehumidifier that’s too small won’t be able to remove the level of moisture from the air to make enough of a difference. Buying too small an appliance means you’ll still have humidity and potential mold growth.
Dehumidifiers are an efficient way to eliminate mold while creating a balanced humidity level. Energy Star models offer a major benefit in terms of air quality. They also help with air conditioning conservation and energy consumption. Take advantage of every benefit of dehumidifiers by investing in one to improve your home life.