According to experts, your home’s natural humidity should be somewhere between 30% and 50%. While you’ll need an indoor humidity monitor or hygrometer for a precise reading, you can also use a few ice cubes in a glass (see below) to determine if there’s too much moisture in the air.
Simply take a glass of water and place four or five ice cubes in it, then leave the glass in the room where you want to check the humidity level. Wait for around ten minutes before checking it. If there’s condensation on the outside of the glass, that means the room has a relatively high humidity level and there’s too much moisture in the air. If there’s no condensation on the glass at all, this could indicate insufficient moisture in the air.
If the air in your home has over 50% humidity, that’s when you should consider using a dehumidifier. But what exactly does one do?
Well, a dehumidifier extracts the excess moisture from the air, which it then collects in its water tank. This is where you’ll see just how much excess moisture there was in your home. You might need to empty the tank daily, or every other day, depending on the level of humidity and moisture in your home, to stop the dehumidifier from turning itself off once the tank is full. Cooler, drier air is then released back into your home through the other side of the machine.
READ NEXT: Best dehumidifiers for drying clothes
What types of dehumidifier are there?
When shopping for dehumidifiers you’ll come across two main types – either refrigerant/compressor or desiccant-based models. Here’s what sets them apart:
Refrigerant/compressor: While excess moisture can occur all year round, this type of device is particularly effective in warmer environments and weather. This is because a refrigerant or compressor dehumidifier draws the air in through a filter and over cold coils. The excess moisture in the air then condenses on the coils before dripping into the water tank.
Because this type of dehumidifier needs the air in the room to be warmer than the cold coils within it, they work better in a warm and stuffy environment than a particularly cold one.
Desiccant: A desiccant dehumidifier, on the other hand, works better in colder temperatures. This makes it a great option for conservatories, unheated basements, outbuildings and even garages. This type of dehumidifier operates by using an absorbent material to extract moisture from the air, which is then heated so that the moisture drips into the water tank.
Dehumidifiers are also available in a wide range of different sizes and prices. Confused where to begin? There’s no need – we’ve done all the hard work for you with our list of the best tried and tested dehumidifiers. With options for smaller and larger homes, you’ll find several suggestions to help you decide which is best for your living space.
READ NEXT: Best portable air conditioners