Is a dehumidifier needed in a tight house?
I’ve read several times that it’s common for tight, well-insulated homes to need supplemental dehumidification, as the AC doesn’t run enough to dehumidify the home.
As a person who is especially sensitive to humidity, I’m very interested in this.
I wonder if an equal level of comfort can be achieved more economically with a higher temp. set point but lower humidity. (In my case, Chicago area- warm and humid in the summer).
How can we intentionally affect humidity more than temperature- or vice versa- when dehumidifiers and ACs seem to be basically the same device, with different packaging?
Isn’t it inefficient to operate a dehumidifier? Doesn’t it lower the humidity- but raise the temperature- causing the AC to work more? It seems comparable to operating a window AC on a dining room table instead of installed in a window. it would dehumidify the air, but the added warmth (ok, technically not “added” warmth. More like relocated warmth, maybe…something about latent vs. sensible heat- which is over my head- but you get my point) would remain in the house instead of going outside. No one would operate a window AC inside their house- but isn’t it actually pretty similar to running a dehumidifier? On the other hand, with the window AC installed in the window as per normal, it won’t run enough in a tight, well-insulated house to provide sufficient dehumidification. We’re back where we started- with an adequately cooled- but overly humid house. (Granted, you probably can’t have a “tight” house with a window AC unit, but that wasn’t the point.)
For that matter, I could run some heaters in the house in summer. Then the AC would have to run more to compensate for the added heat- which would also cause it to dehumidify more. (Ok, that sounds really crazy. Evan crazier than a window AC on a dining room table.)
Can you help a non-physicist to wrap his head around this? If at all possible, please don’t use words like “latent” and “sensible” without explaining them at a high school level. 🙂
GBA Detail Library
A collection of one thousand construction details organized by climate and house part