Winter dehumidifier argument with Spouse!!!!

Old 01-16-05, 06:03 PM
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Angry Winter dehumidifier argument with Spouse!!!!

I'm having a disagreement with my spouse about the portable dehumidifier(25 pint) in our finished basement. This level is always cold, even with the heat vents opened. I think that if we run the dehumidifier during the cold winter months(Chicago weather) the rooms will feel warmer. Honey, term used loosely, thinks that since the humidifier on the furnace is running for the dry upper levels, we defeat the purpose by pulling the humidity from the rest of the house. I think he's wrong because the area that the basement dehumidifier covers has nothing to do with the upper levels. I think the dehumidifier should run in winter to eliminate the cold from the rain and snow that effects the basement walls all winter and will make the basement feel warmer. Winner picks the restaurant. Who's right?
Old 01-16-05, 06:33 PM
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I think your other half is right.. When you run the dehumidiere in the winter, your coil may freeze up. Dry air don't make things warm.. it makes colder..

Take this for an example.....

When do you feel hotter? A day when it's really humid out or when it's dry? (Same temp)

I am sure you said when it's humid out....

Is the basment finshed?
How many supply vents do you have?
Do you have any returns there?
How about fresh air for the furnace/water heater? Got that there?

if you got a basment that is not finshed, all brick walls, yes it's going to feel cold no matter what till you have insulastion, and sheet rock on the walls.

We've been having a cold speel the last few days here in the midwest.
Old 01-16-05, 07:49 PM
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Welcome need,

What are you trying to accomplish with the dehumidifier in the basement?

You mention the basement being cold and warming it up with a dehumidifier.
A dehumidifier is designed to remove moisture, not make a room warmer.
You will have a slight heating effect because the unit cools the air to remove the moisture but the condenser, the part that throws heat will add about 1/3 more heat than it removes.
This is only the theory and it is not enough to raise the temperature in a basement a noticeable amount.

In order to warm up the basement you will have to install some sort of heat.
An electric baseboard heater is the simplest and least way to go.

I agree that to run a humidifier on one level and dehumidifier on a different level is counter productive.
Let us know what kind of resturant HE picks.
Old 01-17-05, 10:07 AM
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Ill make this ---3 guys for the guy Id say man wins here for sure . You dont want to run a dehumidifier in the winter.
For the cost Id try 2 registers cut in the duct work down there to let some heat out and a small cold air return. Its not a loss it will help warm the floors above. Also keep any humidity in the basement from getting to high.

Old 01-19-05, 08:43 AM
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Try to mesure humidity level in each room. (Use digital thermometer with humidity gauge) It should be somewhere between 35 and 50%. If it is lower than 35% you feel colder than it is. I think perfect humidity level is 45-50% but it is personal...
Old 01-19-05, 10:55 AM
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Lightbulb Regional differences

okl62 is right about the humidity levels at which a person is comfortable.
What enters the picture is the fact that in cold areas the structure often dictates where the levels should be set.
Humidifier mfrs will have guidelines that are acceptable for average home construction.
Here a level of only 25% rh is all you want to see when the outside temp is much below -25 degC ( 5 below F).

Another thing is that if you measure the rh in the upstairs part of the house then take a reading of an area that is colder the reading will show a higher rh level.
There is likely exactly the same amount of moisture in the air (grains/pound of air) but the reading will show higher because the air holds less moisture that the warmer area and shows a higher RELATIVE (to temperature) humidity level.

Ed I think has the right idea.
Heat the area to the same temperature as the upstairs and your problem will likely go away.
How you heat it is up to you, but often a basement would do well to be tapped into the furnace and then supplement this with a few inexpensive electric baseboard heaters.
Old 01-20-05, 12:34 PM
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I'm going to post a slightly different answer. I'm not sure which of you will get to pick the restaurant...

If the humidity in the basement is too high, it needs to be removed, especially in the winter time when the potential for mold growing, insulation destroying condensation on outside walls and windows is high. The definition of too high varies depending on level of insulation and outside temp. In vary cold climates, it's often impossible to have a comfortably high humidity level during some parts of the year without risking damage to the house. Chicago may qualify as one of those areas. If the temp. in the basement is above 65, or you have a humidifier made to run in cool temperatures, you can use it to remove excess humidity. Removing the humidity probably won't make it feel warmer, but it may make it feel better - at cooler temperatures, high humidity tends to feel clammy and uncomfortable.

On the other side of the argument, it's somewhat of a shame to run a system that's adding humidity in one area of the house and one that's taking it out in another area. Rather than using the 2 different systems, my suggestion is to try setting the furnace fan to run continuously. This should equal out the humidity, eliminating the need for the dehumidifier and lowering the need for the humidifier. It will also help equal out the temperatures and keep the basement warmer. Leave the humidifier and dehumidifier turned on and set the dehumidifier to a slightly higher humidity setting than the humidifier level so it will only run if humidity still gets too high. Let us know how you do.

Doug M.
Old 02-19-05, 08:45 AM
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Our basement gets cold in the winter. Especially since I have made some effort to seal more and more cracks in the ducts so that less and less heat escapes into the basement, and to save on the heating bill.

The 2 dehumidifiers we currently have in the basement were not made for cold temperatures. We may buy a cold-temp one, because I have not had success in making the current dehumidifiers work adequately in the cold basement.

They work great when the basement warms up.

But in colder temperatures the humidity rises in the basement, the mold in the air increases, and my sinus pressure and headaches increase. Since some air from the basement gets upstairs. Filtrete filters on the furnace air do not help stop enough of the mold spores from getting upstairs.

We have humidity guages in both the basement and upstairs. Getting enough humidity is not a problem for us upstairs in general.

I sometimes add a little humidity in my bedroom to keep my nasal passages from drying out.

I have read that it is really common to have too much humidity in the basement. Hydrostatic pressure of the water table forces water to seep through the basement walls, and most paints and masonry stains can't block the water vapor from passing through.

HEPA filters upstairs may work well in a bedroom, but they are often too noisy to adequately filter the living room and kitchen. So the mold spores getting upstairs from the basement are a real nuisance.

It is really easy to see the problem by observing a humidity guage in the basement. One soon learns what level the humidity must be kept below to avoid sinus headaches.
Old 02-21-05, 03:06 PM
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The only way to measure humidity levels is with a hygrometer (sold where they sell thermometers). Normal occupancy is between 35-55%. Above 55% can be controlled with a dehumidifier. Below 35% can be controlled with a humidifier.
Old 08-02-07, 12:48 PM
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Question what about summer?

I'm having a similar fight with my husband, and because he's an engineer he thinks he's right--i hope you can clear this up between us...

While I understand that the temprature rises when the humidity is high (have seen a whole chart on the stupid thing), and therefore the 'feels like' temp is higher than what it really is...and I also understand those of you that say that the output of the motor of the dehumidifyer is warm, but 'NOT WARM ENOUGH TO NOTICE A DIFFERENCE', but I'd like to paint a picture for you:

Say you have a basement. Cinderblock walls with a coat of paint, and burbur on the floor to keep the chill off in the winter. Lots and lots of stuff laying around to 'suck up the moisture' of the laundry running and such. We have three windows that open down there (typical basement sliders), 1 in the 'laundry room', and two in a seperate room that is blocked by a door (that he insists on keeping closed at all times) Now, when I get home from work at 4:00 in the dead heat of summer, it's nice and chilly down there--sure, a little damp feeling, but noticably more chilly than the rest of the house. When my husband gets home an hour later, he turns on the dehumidifyer (registering 80% when he flips it on), and by 10:00 when we go down to go to bed, it is UNBEARABLE. The 'chilly' feeling is totally gone. When I walk in front of the dehumidifyer, i can feel hot air gusting out of the front of the unit. I know that the hot has been circulating for 5 hours with nowhere to go (no windows), and yet my husband swears up and down that its' cooler down there because 'the humidity is lower'...

What do you say to this?!
Old 08-02-07, 01:04 PM
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The air needs to circulate. My dehumidifier is in the laundry room in the basement, where I normally close the vent from the a/c in the summer. With a new, more powerful dehumidifier, that whole room did become warmer. I opened up the vent to force more air into the room and thus force the air from that room into the rest of the basement and now the whole house feels better.
Old 08-02-07, 01:56 PM
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We put registers and a return in the duct work for the basement. On heat or AC this helps the whole house all the time. To help keep it cool or warm.
Old 08-02-07, 02:43 PM
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Humidity and how it affects comfort is an incredibly difficult concept to both understand and to explain.

The hard part to understand is that in a humid climate there are two things going on to help keep you cool.
Mechanical cooling is our attempt to outfox nature by lowering the temperature and humidity in our enclosed spaces.
The other type of cooling which is highly underrated is our bodies defense against heat which is perspiration.

When the temperature is high and the humidity low the perspiration on our bodies evaporates which helps cool us off. This is the same basic principle that makes mechanical a/c work.

In the case of the argument for or against the dehumidifier you are both sorta right and sorta wrong.
Right in the sense that when the dehumidifier is running there is the potential for the drier air to cause our sweat to evaporate and cool us off but wrong in that if running it makes it warmer we will sweat more.

Another concept that might help understand humidity is that the reason we feel less comfortable in 50% humidity in the summer compared to in the winter is that the warmer the air temperature the more moisture it is capable of holding.
If they used the measurement of "grains of moisture per pound of air" or grains/lb it would be a meaningful number.
This might be the chart you were looking at.

To settle this argument once and for all you could get a small window a/c unit and stick it in a bsmt window.
It would lower the humidity and temperature.

Get a digital temperature/hygrometer to at least see what the numbers are.
Old 08-02-07, 03:03 PM
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Winter dehumidifier argument with Spouse!!!!

If you are trying to make the basement a true living area, make sure you have enough returns and circulate the air through your home (the rest of the living area). - Your air conditioner should remove the humidity, especially if you have a variable speed fan and run it constantly.

If you have an improperly finished basement and turn the air/fan off and on, then you really have no control over hourly variations.

I am an engineer and my system seems to be adequate and economical.
Old 08-02-07, 04:53 PM
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Wow, talk about reviving dead posts.

I'll say this, having been in both Florida and colder climates.

40 degrees at 50% is a hell of a lot colder feeling than 30 degrees at 20%.

The ski spot I was at even had warnings telling people that yes, it really is 20 degrees outside, you need a coat, because so many were out in short sleeves!
Why? Humidity was next to nothing (all frozen on the ground.. ).

In cold weather, humidity will increase the transfer of heat. In hot weather, it slows it.

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