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Is it cheaper to run a dehumidifier than an ERV in winter?

I am in zone 5A and I have a problem of excess humidity in my ICF home with no abnormal sources of moisture (5 occupants of a 2150 sft home with a full basement). This results in condensation on the wall of windows facing a pond on the north.

Since a dehumidifier will also dump heat into the home helping my all-electric furnace heat the home, I am wondering if it would cheaper to run the dehumidifier than to use an ERV to lessen the humidity in the home. I realize in the latter case, there's some loss of sensible heat that the electric furnace would then have to compensate for.

TIA.

Asked by srivenkat
Posted Aug 29, 2014 3:17 PM ET
Edited Aug 29, 2014 3:19 PM ET

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5 Answers

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1.

You still need some ventilation in winter, but for simply lowering the humidity during the heating season a dehumidifier would be more energy efficient overall, quite a bit more if you are heating with resistance elements rather than a heat pump.

Depending on your local climate and house construction you may need to pull the humidity down to 35% RH or lower to be protective of the house itself.

Answered by user-1004076
Posted Aug 29, 2014 4:17 PM ET

2.

Of course it would be even cheaper to lower humidity by using an efficient wood stove.

Answered by fitchplate
Posted Aug 29, 2014 7:09 PM ET

3.

Sounds more like you need a HRV installed. Condensation is typical in a tight home with poor air exchange or lack of bathroom and kitchen ventilation. Dew point sensors installed in lieu of fan switches in the bathrooms can also assist.

http://www.dewstop.com/

http://www.venmar.ca/39-air-exchangers-e15-ecm-hrv-new.html#!prettyPhoto

Answered by Richard Beyer
Posted Aug 29, 2014 9:52 PM ET

4.

Venkat,
Richard is right: if you are having problems with high indoor humidity during the winter, you want an HRV, not an ERV.

I disagree with Dana's advice. During the winter, lowering indoor humidity levels by ventilation is less expensive than lowering indoor humidity levels by operating a dehumidifier.

Answered by user-756436
Posted Aug 30, 2014 5:43 AM ET

5.

ICF homes take about one year to dry out initially. Also, if there is no capillary break, concrete walls can wick water up from below grade.

Answered by Kevin_in_Denver
Posted Aug 30, 2014 1:08 PM ET

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