The Natural Handyman: Dehumidifiers are just one more way that man has taken control of his environment.
Basements can be dark, damp, moldy places. But they can be used for living and storage by controlling the amount of moisture in the air… a problem common to all but the driest climates. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from air, improving the usefulness of basements by controlling the dampness and the potential damage to your home and possessions.
So unless you prefer to use your basement mostly for growing mushrooms and designer mildew, there should be a dehumidifier in your future!
What is a dehumidifier and how does it work?
A dehumidifier is essentially a refrigerator that forgot to get fully dressed. Really. The basic mechanical function of a dehumidifier is the same as a refrigerator. Compression and expansion of a gas is used to lower the temperature of metal coils to freezing temperatures.
However, instead of the cooling action being directed into a closed box, a dehumidifier is designed to blow warm moist room air over these cold coils. The moisture in the room air condenses on the coils to become liquid water. The water then drips into a drip collection pan, or to a drain. The room air, now freed of much of its moisture, returns to the room slightly warmer than it was.
Dehumidifiers are controlled by a device known as a humidistat. This is an adjustable rotary switch which detects moisture in the room’s air. It automatically turns the dehumidifier on or off as it is needed, based on the setting you choose. If you wish, you can set the dehumidifier to the maximum setting for continuous operation.