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Question: HVAC + Dehumidifier (who is running one?)
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Question: HVAC + Dehumidifier (who is running one?) - July 22, 2013, 08:03 AM

So after doing some reading, I started thinking about getting a dehumidifier for our home. Our issue has been that it keeps running a good part of the day. Now I know we had some crazy hot days and our thermostat sits on the main floor of the house (3 level townhouse). Problem is that seems like it either is in a bad area or the original AC unit may or may not be strong enough. Home is built in 92. We bought the house back in Dec 11 so in summer of 2012 had it serviced and cleaned and all and they added I believe 2 -2.5 lbs of Freon.

Home does stay cool...don't get me wrong there. But around the middle of the day 4:30ish - 7ish, temp still seems to rise about the set temp. We keep the house set to 75 degrees(but temp will go up to about 77/7. Basement stays cool of course. But seems like she is running way too much. Stay on like 30min to a hour and then only turns off like 6-8 minutes before kicking back on.

Sooooooo....I figured after reading some good posts that a dehumidifier could help. House is older so I know it has so humidity leaking through cracks and crevices and such. Reading about them basically came down to saying it can most definitely help keep your AC from running as hard as it only helps the humidity when its on. So what I was thinking is happening is, AC cuts off and picks up on the temp/humidity really fast(new model thermostat installed) and then it kicks it back on and stays on until it drops. Anyone ever heard of this??

Jumped the gun and went and picked up a 30pint dehumidifier for the house yesterday and set it on the main level. Humidity was about 65% on that level. Instructions state to set it to 40-45% and run it for 24 hours on the first use. Woke up this morning and the 10 pint bucket was full(can pull a total of 30 pints a day). Average humidity for a home should be roughly 40-45% so I was coming in a little hot off the start.

My main question is...I can attach a hose to it and let it run in the basement into the sump pump but its in the laundry room way in the corner of the house. Will this really help the house if its pulling from the smallest room and corner(home is central air)? Or do I need to get one for both floors?

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July 22, 2013, 08:45 AM

Just curious do you keep the house fan running? I thought the AC system in the 3 story townhouse I'm living in was inadequate until I set that fan to run 24/7... it came on pretty frequently for awhile but I think now that things have "equilibrated" and the air is in constant circulation, the house feels cooler and the AC is less taxed overall.


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July 22, 2013, 08:47 AM

Dehumidifier will not help the systems run time and is ultimately not necessary if the home is sealed up tightly and well.

A humidity level of 40-45% in this area (very humid) is chasing a dream unless the house is super tight.

If you get above 55%, you have way too many leaks and cracks but anything below 55% is fine.

Humidity is much less of a building issue in the summer months. Winter months is a different story.

You home will normally reach peak temps in the mid-late afternoon. If you haven't done it already, air seal and insulate to and R-50. It is an expense on the front end but most folks break even on the investment in 3-5 years depending on the home and utility bills.
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July 22, 2013, 08:54 AM

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Originally Posted by Rail View Post
Just curious do you keep the house fan running? I thought the AC system in the 3 story townhouse I'm living in was inadequate until I set that fan to run 24/7... it came on pretty frequently for awhile but I think now that things have "equilibrated" and the air is in constant circulation, the house feels cooler and the AC is less taxed overall.
Hmmmm never thought about this. So basically I set the temp but leave the fan on so it keeps it circulating. That might be a good idea.


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July 22, 2013, 09:05 AM

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Dehumidifier will not help the systems run time and is ultimately not necessary if the home is sealed up tightly and well.

A humidity level of 40-45% in this area (very humid) is chasing a dream unless the house is super tight.

If you get above 55%, you have way too many leaks and cracks but anything below 55% is fine.

Humidity is much less of a building issue in the summer months. Winter months is a different story.

You home will normally reach peak temps in the mid-late afternoon. If you haven't done it already, air seal and insulate to and R-50. It is an expense on the front end but most folks break even on the investment in 3-5 years depending on the home and utility bills.
Thats a good thing to know. I believe I am going to put it in the basement and run the drain hose from it into the sump pump. I don't really know yet.


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July 22, 2013, 09:11 AM

+1 on leaving the circ fan run 24/7 on a 3 story dwelling. On my system the circ fan setting is a low speed setting and then it will kick up the fan speed when the heat or AC is activated.

I run our dehumidifier in the basement attached to a drain. With the air in the house constantly circulating you can put it anywhere. I prefer the basement actually for a host of reasons. The lower humidity level throughout the house makes things more comfortable.


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July 22, 2013, 09:16 AM

The DH system I have is installed in the HVAC of my house. My door frames no longer swell, the wood floor and stairs don't creak and most importantly - my piano and guitars stay in tune. It is pretty astonishing how much water it pulls out of the air. Even if it was running 24/7 I doubt it could get the RH below 50% and I would have a small lake in the back yard. But just getting the RH down into the 60% range keeps the piano and guitars in tune.
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July 22, 2013, 09:33 AM

What size dehumidifier are you guys running? I am trying to see if mine is undersized but I am thinking it may be fine set to run on continuous. 30 pints = 3.75 gallons a day. To me that seems decent for a townhouse pulling from the basement.


Trying to decide to run continuous or not as well. It has 3 settings and a lcd screen to read the levels.

I am thinking pulling from the basement with the fresh air circulating then it will keep some of that humid air from circulating.


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July 22, 2013, 12:03 PM

You say that refrigerant was added last year? Might need to ne checked again. Refrigerant should not need to be added on a regular basis. That might be part of the problem.


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July 22, 2013, 12:06 PM

Your A/C unit is a big dehumidifier. Seems that if you have high humidity while it is running, then you have other issues that need to be addressed first, leaking windows, bad insulation, etc. A dehumidifier will obviously remove moisture from the air, but it will add heat to it. This is worthwhile trade off in a damp basement, but if you are trying to cool a house, I think you are going about it the wrong way.
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July 22, 2013, 12:39 PM

Last month I left the fan running 24/7 and it felt like it made a difference but the house temp did still climb quicker than I was hoping. I am wondering if the small system that pulls in fresh outside air periodically was a contributor to that. More importantly though was my high electricity bill. So this month I set the fan back to auto but put the temp at a constant 71 all day. Hoping I see a difference in the elec bill. If I don't then ill leave it running 24/7 at 71 and turn off the fresh air fan. (New house, 2012)

I don't have much experience with dehumidifiers. My temp monitors normally show between 40-60% though so I'm not too worried.

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July 22, 2013, 12:57 PM

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Originally Posted by Quasimoto View Post
Your A/C unit is a big dehumidifier. Seems that if you have high humidity while it is running, then you have other issues that need to be addressed first, leaking windows, bad insulation, etc. A dehumidifier will obviously remove moisture from the air, but it will add heat to it. This is worthwhile trade off in a damp basement, but if you are trying to cool a house, I think you are going about it the wrong way.
Yea that is what I am wondering. I am going to turn the fan on today and let it run 24/7 for a while. I have made the call to get the HVAC guy out on Monday. He could come tomorrow but I decided to push it out some so I can see if anything changes during this week.

I want to put it in the basement but it will be in a laundry near the dryer. I read in the manual that it should not be near the dryer. I mean I could just turn it off when running the dryer as it does not get ran very often. But I don't know if it will really help. Our laundry room is partially finished. Just does not have the ceiling covered.


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July 22, 2013, 12:59 PM

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Originally Posted by nootherids View Post
Last month I left the fan running 24/7 and it felt like it made a difference but the house temp did still climb quicker than I was hoping. I am wondering if the small system that pulls in fresh outside air periodically was a contributor to that. More importantly though was my high electricity bill. So this month I set the fan back to auto but put the temp at a constant 71 all day. Hoping I see a difference in the elec bill. If I don't then ill leave it running 24/7 at 71 and turn off the fresh air fan. (New house, 2012)

I don't have much experience with dehumidifiers. My temp monitors normally show between 40-60% though so I'm not too worried.

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Exactly why I got our system set to budget monthly plan so I pay the same ever month. Usually ranges between 98-115 a month. No more of those surprising 240-300 power bills.


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July 22, 2013, 01:01 PM

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You say that refrigerant was added last year? Might need to ne checked again. Refrigerant should not need to be added on a regular basis. That might be part of the problem.

Yea but I really don't think its losing any unless the guys last year didnt really do it right. I had it done through our home warranty.

Like I said she cools really good and I think its about the same for most townhouses. Basement/1st floor = freezing, 2nd floor = 75 (where we set it) or up to 77 when 100 outside, 3rd = dunno...warmer than first but cooled by good ceiling fans in each room.


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July 22, 2013, 01:26 PM

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Exactly why I got our system set to budget monthly plan so I pay the same ever month. Usually ranges between 98-115 a month. No more of those surprising 240-300 power bills.
Yeah but then I can't see how changes in usage affect the cost. My gas and electric bills together are $200-$250/mo. Winter it's up to $120 each and now in summer it's $210 elec + $20 gas.

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Like I said she cools really good and I think its about the same for most townhouses. Basement/1st floor = freezing, 2nd floor = 75 (where we set it) or up to 77 when 100 outside, 3rd = dunno...warmer than first but cooled by good ceiling fans in each room.
Only way I can get my 3-story house at almost same temps are to close the basement vents altogether and the family room vents where the thermostat is. Forces it to push most of the air to top floor and cools the rest as the cold air falls. Closing the vents by the thermostat also ensures that the AC won't turn off before it cools the top floor first. The basement is obviously cool anyways and the cold air keeps falling. But because of no new cold air it actually ends up same as the rest of house. In winter it's the complete opposite but heating the basement and the top floor at the same time isn't easy.

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