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5 benefits of using a dehumidifier

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There’s a common misconception that dehumidifiers are bulky, noisy, energy-guzzling contraptions that are only really used in homes with serious mould and damp issues.

Whilst it’s true that some models on the market are indeed loud and cumbersome, dehumidifier technology has come on leaps and bounds lately. Using a dehumidifier can bring you a range of unique benefits for both your health and home, many of which are little-understood. Many of the newer models are quieter, lighter and more energy-efficient, too! Here are 5 great benefits of using a dehumidifier…

1. They prevent and hinder mould growth

Dehumidifiers take away excess humidity in your home, leaving you with drier air. This helps to reduce damp and the associated problems like mould growth and peeling wallpaper. You can find out if your indoor air is too humid by using a hygrometer.

Moulds need moisture to grow. They love the humid conditions found in most homes during this time of year. When the central heating is cranked up and ventilation is compromised by keeping windows closed, moulds thrive. Dehumidifiers take away the essential humidity that mould needs in which to grow.

NHS Choices reports that people living in homes with damp and mould are more likely to develop breathing problems, infections and allergies[1]. Damp and mould is also linked with effects on the immune system. They recommend that particularly sensitive groups like the elderly and the very young, the immune-compromised and those with breathing problems like asthma should not be exposed to damp and mould.

Moulds are a widely underestimated allergy trigger. Mould allergy is a reaction to mould, which is associated with a whole host of unpleasant symptoms. Allergic people have reported panic attacks, wheezing, a runny nose and depression as a result of exposure to mould. Moulds also release MVOCs as they grow, which can cause health problems (especially for those with chemical sensitivity). If you’re concerned about the effects of mould on your health, then see your GP.

2. They inhibit dust mites

Dust mites are extremely common and are again a little-understood allergy trigger for many people. Even the cleanest homes harbour dust mites, which tend to lurk in mattresses, upholstery and carpets. These tiny creatures are microscopic; they don’t bite, but they can cause allergy symptoms in certain people.

They love the warm, humid conditions that domestic environments provide. They need food (such as keratin broken down by fungi) and moisture to survive. They’re prolific in humid environments, so taking away excess moisture can really help to reduce the dust mite population in your home. Remember that you’ll need to combine this with thorough cleaning and dust mite-proofing measures to have a significant effect.

3. They reduce condensation

Condensation is a widespread problem. Cooking, showers and baths can all cause condensation, which in turn can contribute to damp and mould growth. A dehumidifier can help to reduce the effects of this in other rooms of the house.

4. They can help to dry clothing

If you don’t have a tumble dryer or the weather is not conducive to drying your washing on the line, a dehumidifier can be helpful for speeding up the clothes-drying process. Some models even have a specific laundry-drying function. We wouldn’t recommend this approach if you have a tumble dryer already. Initially you will still be adding excess moisture to the air that wasn’t there before, though the dehumidifier will remove this once the clothes are dry. Dehumidifiers with laundry drying functions can be very useful in homes without laundry drying facilities and rental accommodation.

5. They can protect your home furnishings

Excess moisture can cause furniture and upholstery to harbour mildew. They can develop that characteristic ‘musty’ smell and feel slightly damp to the touch. A dehumidifier can help to prevent this. Remember if you have antique furniture or woodwork, be careful not to let the air get too dry. Air that’s too dry can cause woodwork to warp and crack!

Learn more about dust mite allergy here.

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References: [1] http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/Can-damp-and-mould-affect-my-health.aspx?CategoryID=87&

Disclaimer: Information included in this blog post is intended for information purposes only and is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with a medical practitioner. Images not necessarily to scale.

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