Should You Run A Dehumidifier In Your Basement?

At Ensign, we come across homes with high levels of Relative Humidity (RH) all throughout North Georgia and the surrounding areas. Relative Humidity (RH) is the measure of the amount of water vapor in the air with respect to the temperature of that air. Throughout most of the year, the state of Georgia and most of the southeastern United Staes has high levels of RH, particularly in the Summer months. High RH can create problems for the home that are costly to address, including water damage and mold growth. Controlling mold growth is also essential for maintaining good indoor air quality and avoiding health issues. Mold spreads by reproducing itself from tiny spores roaming in the air. These spores are not visible to the human eye, but mold begins to grow once these spores land on moist surfaces. Water is necessary for any mold to grow. Therefore, if you can remove the water source, you can stop the mold growth. 

Using a dehumidifier is a great way to keep moisture levels down in your home, creating a safer and healthier home environment. Key areas we commonly see with high levels of RH in a home are in basements, particularly ones which are unfinished and untreated with HVAC units. With unfinished basement homes, we recommend homeowners to keep a dehumidifier running in the basement at all times. Even after finishing your basement, it is still a good idea and highly recommended to keep a dehumidifier running due to the humid environment surrounding the home outdoors. In addition, basement areas can tend to be used less than other areas of the house, therefore making it more likely for rising Relative Humidity levels to go unnoticed for long periods of time.

Image of portable home dehumidifier

How a Dehumidifier works

A dehumidifier works by removing water vapors from the surrounding air by relying on the process of condensation to collect water vapor once it changes from gas to liquid. The device pulls in warm air in and exposes it to refrigeration coils to cool the air down. As the temperature of the air decreases, it is no longer able to hold moisture. The water vapors turn to liquid where they can now be collected by the dehumidifier. The dryer and cooler air is then released back out of the device.

Dehumidifiers typically collect water vapor in a detachable bucket. The device is usually equipped with a meter which can measure the relative relative humidity of a room. Dehumidifiers can also be equipped with a valve where a drain hose can be attached for convenient draining. 

Tips to running a dehumidifier in your basement


When setting up a portable dehumidifier in your basement, placement is key. If installing 1 dehumidifier for the entire basement, the best location is to place it in the largest open space of the basement. Make sure your dehumidifier is the proper size for the square footage of the across the space it will be installed in. From there, additional smaller dehumidifiers can be added if necessary to accommodate other separate rooms.

Basement Dehumidifier Settings

Set your dehumidifier between 40% - 50% in your basement. Ideally, the Relative Humidity (RH) in your home should remain near 50% or less. The RH of your home should not go above 65%. You should also not go below 15% relative humidity so that your room isn’t too dry. Too dry, and you could experience dry throat or even dried out sinuses.

Dehumidifier Drain Line

Most dehumidifiers are equipped with a drain outlet where a garden hose can be attached. If it is too tedious to empty your dehumidifier often, run a drain line from the back of the device and route it to the exterior of your home (ask a professional if you need advice on the best way to accomplish this).

Take advantage of moisture collected by your dehumidifier

Don't just throw the water down a drain. A great use of the moisture your dehumidifier collects is for watering plants around your home.

If you need assistance with setting up a dehumidifier in your home or you have issues with mold due to moisture buildup, call the team at Ensign today. We service all of North Georgia and surrounding areas providing mold and water restoration services.

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