As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See Full Disclosure Here
Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air, creating a more comfortable indoor ambiance during humid days. But does a dehumidifier help with allergies?
To understand the benefits of using a dehumidifier for allergies, it helps to first understand what causes allergies and the relationship between allergens and humidity.
Link Between Allergies and Humidity
Allergies occur when the immune system overreacts to substances known as allergens, triggering symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and congestion.
Everybody’s immune system reacts differently to different substances and that’s why not everybody experiences allergy symptoms. For example, one person may have an allergy flare-up when exposed to pollen particles. Another may not be bothered by pollen but may be affected by mold or mildew. A third person may not be affected by any of these.
Humidity plays a major role in the proliferation of certain types of allergens. Mold, mildew, and dust mites thrive in environments with high humidity levels, making them common culprits for allergy sufferers if you live in a high-humidity area.
Dust mites, in particular, flourish when relative humidity exceeds 50%, while mold and mildew tend to grow and thrive in persistently humid, damp conditions.
If you live in a humid climate and start to experience allergy symptoms without any apparent cause, chances are they’re connected to high levels of mold, mildew, or dust mites. When you inhale, the microscopic air-borne allergen particles enter your respiratory tract, triggering allergy symptoms.
This research study concluded that reducing relative humidity (RH) is a practical way to control dust mites and their allergens in homes in temperate climates. It further suggests that maintaining an indoor RH of less than 51% during the humid summer season can significantly reduce the risk of allergic reactions.
How Does A Dehumidifier Help With Allergies?
Dehumidifiers are appliances designed to extract excess moisture from indoor air, thereby reducing humidity levels in your home.
By doing so, they can create an environment that is less conducive to the growth of allergens, especially mold, mildew, and dust mites. The lower levels of allergens in the air lowers the risk of symptoms and flare-ups.
But how exactly do dehumidifiers work?
Dehumidifiers employ various mechanisms to remove moisture from the air.
The most common type of dehumidifier is the refrigerative dehumidifier, which operates similarly to an air conditioner. It pulls in humid air, passes it over a set of cooled coils, and condenses the moisture into water. The dry air is then released back into the room.
Another type is the desiccant dehumidifier, which utilizes a desiccant material to absorb moisture from the air. These dehumidifiers are particularly effective in colder climates or spaces with lower temperatures.
The best dehumidifier for allergies is one that is equipped with an air filter. Air filters are typically made up of a random dense arrangement of fibers.
As air particles pass through the air filter, airborne particles get caught in the fibrous mat so only clean air passes through.
The combination of dehumidifier mechanism and air filter makes the device doubly effective. This is because the mechanism draws moisture from the atmosphere while the filter traps all
A dehumidifier with filters is most effective as it reduces the humidity inhibiting mold and mite growth while also trapping existing allergens from the air.
Benefits of Dehumidifiers for Allergies
A dehumidifier offers several benefits for allergy sufferers by reducing the presence of allergens in the air.
1. Inhibits Growth Of Dust Mites
By maintaining humidity levels below 50%, dehumidifiers can effectively inhibit the growth of dust mites, making your home a less hospitable environment for these allergens.
Research published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that homes that utilize dehumidifiers have been found to have ten times lower allergen levels compared to those without dehumidification.
2. Hinders Mold Formation
Mold is another common allergen that thrives in damp conditions. It releases spores into the air, which can cause allergic reactions when inhaled.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends keeping indoor humidity below 60% to prevent mold growth. When the air around you is humid, the best way to maintain humidity levels within the recommended range is by using a dehumidifier for allergies.
3. Reduces Other Airborne Allergens
HEPA filters, in particular, are highly effective in trapping tiny particles like pollen and pet dander.
In addition to dust mites and mold, dehumidifiers equipped with HEPA filters can also help reduce other airborne allergens such as pet dander, pollen, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Pollen and pet dander cling to airborne water droplets when the air is very humid. A dehumidifier with a HEPA filter removes these microscopic allergens before they enter the ventilation system from where they spread around your home.
4. Improved Indoor Air Quality
By reducing humidity levels and eliminating excess moisture, dehumidifiers contribute to improved indoor air quality.
Excessive humidity can create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi, leading to unpleasant odors and potential health risks.
Dehumidifiers help create a fresher, more comfortable living environment by mitigating these issues.
Choosing the Best Dehumidifier for Allergies
There’s no single home dehumidifier for allergies that’s best for everyone. When buying a dehumidifier for allergy relief, these are some of the factors you should consider.
1. Capacity Of The Device
Choose a dehumidifier that is appropriately sized for the room where you intend to use it. Check the unit’s capacity to ensure it can effectively remove moisture from the space.
To determine the appropriate capacity for your needs, consider the size of the area you wish to dehumidify and the level of humidity present.
For smaller rooms or spaces, a compact dehumidifier with a lower capacity may suffice. However, larger areas or spaces with high humidity levels may require a more powerful dehumidifier with a higher capacity.
2. Energy Efficiency
Energy efficiency is an important factor to consider when choosing a dehumidifier, as it can impact both your electricity bills and environmental footprint.
Look for dehumidifiers with an Energy Star rating, as these models meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Energy-efficient dehumidifiers not only help reduce your energy consumption but also operate more quietly and produce less heat.
3. Noise Level
Some dehumidifiers can emit noise while in operation, which may be a consideration if you plan to use the device in a bedroom or other quiet areas.
Look for dehumidifiers that have noise-reducing features or operate at lower decibel levels to ensure a peaceful environment.
4. Maintenance and Ease of Use
Consider the ease of maintenance when choosing a dehumidifier. Look for models that have removable and washable filters, as this makes it easier to keep the device clean and functioning optimally.
5. Combination of Dehumidifying Mechanism With Air Filter
Many dehumidifiers for allergies come with built-in air filters. While they all do the job of reducing trapping allergens from the air, the most effective are devices with a HEPA air filter.
A HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is a specially designed thick, pleated filter made up of a random dense arrangement of fibers.
A good-quality HEPA filter can remove about 99.97% – 99.99% of airborne particles that are around 0.3 microns in size, which includes mold spores, pollen, and dust mites. Non-HEPA filters may be less effective at eliminating the smaller particles, which will linger in the air.
Additionally, consider features such as automatic shut-off and programmable settings for added convenience.
5 Top-Rated Dehumidifiers For Allergies With An Air Filter
Midea 1,500 Sq. Ft. Energy Star Certified Dehumidifier With Reusable Air Filter
The Midea Dehumidifier With Reusable Filter extracts up to 22 pints of moisture per day and is perfect for use in medium to large rooms up to 1,500 square feet. It operates quietly and is packed with useful features including a programmable timer, turbo mode, and continuous drainage.
Its auto-defrost function prevents the collected water from freezing and damaging the machine. The Auto restart function limits disruption due to power outages by engaging your chosen settings as soon as power is restored.
The washable filter preserves air quality without expensive replacement parts.
The Midea dehumidifier is a great option for those looking for a quiet, efficient, and easy-to-use dehumidifier for their home or office. It is also available in larger capacities that are suitable for 3,000 sq feet, and 4,500 sq feet
Afloia Q10 True HEPA Air Purifier, Small Dehumidifier Combined with Air Cleaner
The dual-function Afloia Q10 2-in-1 Air Purifier and Dehumidifier combines the functions of a dehumidifier and air purifier in one unit, saving space and money.
The H13 HEPA filtration system traps 99.97% of fine particles as small as 0.1 microns, including dust, pet dander, and smoke.
The device operates at a whisper-quiet level, making it ideal for use in bedrooms or other areas where you need peace and quiet.
It has a simple and smart design with easy to use with touch controls, one-button start, auto shut-off, 3-stage timer, and 3-stage fan speeds. Indicator lights remind you when to empty the water tank or replace the filter.
Domdre 4,500 Sq.Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier for Basement with Reusable Air Filter
The Domdre 50 Pint Dehumidifier comes packed with lots of useful features including adjustable humidity control, humidity real-time monitor, auto restart, auto defrost, and continuous draining. The washable filter eliminates larger allergen particles, which helps to maintain air quality.
It operates quietly and can be used through the night without disturbing you. The universal wheels make it easy to move the dehumidifier from one room to another. Auto-off protection and child lock are important inbuilt safety features.
Tenergy Sorbi 1000ml Air Dehumidifier w/Air Purifying Function, True HEPA Filter,
The Tenergy Sorbi Dehumidifier is a portable device that uses innovative Peltier technology to make the indoor air less humid and more comfortable and HEPA filtration to capture as much as 99.97% of indoor particulates.
The removable 2-liter water tank can extract as much as 750 ml of moisture in a day. Special features of this dehumidifier for allergies include an LED indicator, water level sensor, and auto-shut-off.
The Sorbi silent dehumidifier works at very low noise levels and is ideal for spaces up to 200 sqft.
Air Purifier vs. Dehumidifier For Allergies
An interesting question that often comes up is the use of air purifiers vs dehumidifiers for allergies. Which one is more effective and which one should you buy?
This comes down to the humidity levels in your area. If the weather is dry and humidity levels are low, it’s best to buy an air purifier. Using a dehumidifier under these conditions can pull out what little moisture is available in the air, creating other problems.
If you live in an air with high humidity, then what you need is a dehumidifier with an air filter.
It helps to keep in mind:
– An air filter will only trap allergens from the air. It won’t do anything to reduce humidity or hinder allergen growth in humid environments. This is what you need in a dry climate.
– A dehumidifier without an air filter will remove excess moisture and hinder allergen growth but won’t remove allergens suspended in the air. This is good enough if you live in a humid climate and have mild allergies.
– A dehumidifier with an air filter (HEPA filter is best) will reduce humidity and trap airborne allergen particles. This is what you need if you live in a humid climate and have severe allergies.
How To Use A Dehumidifier For Allergy Relief Correctly
Use in Allergy-Prone Areas: Place the dehumidifier in rooms where allergens are common, such as bedrooms, basements, or areas with high moisture levels.
Placement In The Room Matters: Position the dehumidifier in the middle of the room, away from walls and obstructions, for even air circulation. Avoid placing it too close to walls or furniture.
Set the Desired Humidity Level: Use the built-in humidity control settings to set the desired humidity level for your room. Aim for around 45-55% humidity, as this range is ideal for allergy relief.
Run Continuously or on a Timer: Depending on your needs, you can run the dehumidifier continuously or use the timer function to operate it for specific periods during the day.
Keep Doors and Windows Closed: When using a dehumidifier, keep doors and windows closed during high pollen count days to prevent outdoor allergens such as pollen and pollutants from entering into the home.
Monitor and Empty the Reservoir: Keep an eye on the water reservoir, and when it’s full, empty it to allow the dehumidifier to continue its operation. Some models offer a drainage hose option for continuous drainage.
Clean and Replace Filters Regularly: If your dehumidifier has filters, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for cleaning or replacing them. Clean filters can help maintain air quality.
Clean The Water Reservoir Regularly: Clean the dehumidifier’s water reservoir and any filters or coils as recommended in the user manual. Keeping the unit clean ensures optimal performance.
Monitor Allergy Symptoms: Keep track of your allergy symptoms and assess whether the dehumidifier is helping. Adjust settings as needed to achieve the best allergy relief.
Combine with Other Allergy Relief Measures: To maximize allergy relief, consider using the dehumidifier in conjunction with other allergy management techniques like regular cleaning, vacuuming, and minimizing allergen sources.
Remember that while a dehumidifier can help reduce moisture and mold-related allergens, it may not address all allergy triggers.
A comprehensive allergy management plan may include multiple strategies for the best results.
Precautions When Using A Dehumidifier For Allergies
Safety and effectiveness are equally important when using a dehumidifier for allergies.
Here are some precautions to keep in mind:
– Read the User Manual: Always start by reading the manufacturer’s instructions and user manual for your specific dehumidifier model. This will provide guidance on proper usage and maintenance.
– Avoid Overuse: Do not run the dehumidifier excessively. Over-drying the air can lead to discomfort and may not be suitable for some individuals, especially those with respiratory conditions.
– Ensure Proper Ventilation: Ensure there is adequate ventilation in the room where you’re using the dehumidifier. Proper airflow helps distribute dry air evenly and prevents the room from becoming too dry. You will need to balance this out with high pollen count days when it’s better to keep the windows closed.
– Place the Device Away from Obstructions: Ensure that the dehumidifier is positioned away from curtains, furniture, or any obstructions that can impede airflow and reduce its efficiency.
– Monitor Humidity Levels: Keep an eye on the humidity levels in the room. If the dehumidifier is set too low and the room becomes excessively dry, it can lead to discomfort and potential health issues.
– Empty the Reservoir Safely: When emptying the water reservoir, follow safety precautions. Turn off the dehumidifier and unplug it before removing the reservoir. Be careful not to spill water, especially if the reservoir is full.
– Clean and Maintain Regularly: Clean the dehumidifier and its components according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Neglecting maintenance can reduce its efficiency and potentially lead to mold growth.
– Check for Mold Growth: Regularly inspect the dehumidifier for any signs of mold or mildew growth, especially in the water reservoir or on coils. Clean and disinfect these areas if needed.
– Child and Pet Safety: If you have children or pets, ensure that they cannot tamper with the dehumidifier or access its components. Some units may have child safety features.
By following these precautions and using your dehumidifier correctly, you can effectively reduce allergens in your indoor environment and create a more comfortable and allergy-friendly living space.
Tips for Creating an Allergy-Friendly Home Environment
In addition to using a dehumidifier, there are several other measures you can take to create an allergy-friendly environment in your home. Incorporate the following tips into your routine to further reduce allergens and improve indoor air quality:
1. Keep Your Home Clean
Regularly clean your home to minimize the presence of dust, pet dander, and other allergens. Vacuum carpets and upholstery using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Dust surfaces with a damp cloth to capture allergens effectively.
Related read: How to allergy-proof your home against pollen
2. Wash Bedding Frequently
Bedding provides an optimum breeding ground for dust mites for two reasons. One is the warmth and humidity. Another is they feed on the skin cells that you shed every night.
Wash bedding, including sheets, pillowcases, and blankets, regularly in hot water to eliminate dust mites and remove allergens.
Consider using allergen-proof covers for mattresses and pillows to create an additional barrier against dust mites.
3. Control Moisture in the Bathroom
Bathrooms are prone to high humidity levels due to steam from showers and baths. Use exhaust fans or open windows to get rid of excess moisture and prevent mold growth. Wipe down surfaces after use to minimize moisture accumulation.
4. Minimize Clutter
Clutter can trap dust and allergens, making it harder to keep your home clean. Minimize clutter by organizing and decluttering regularly. Store items in sealed containers to prevent dust accumulation.
5. Consider Air Purification
In conjunction with a dehumidifier, consider using an air purifier with a HEPA filter to further remove allergens from the air. Air purifiers can help capture and trap particles like pollen, pet dander, and mold spores, ensuring cleaner air for allergy sufferers.
6. Diffuse Essential Oils For Allergies
Some essential oils are known to help reduce allergens in the air. Read more about the best essential oils for allergies and how to use them.
7. Maintain Proper Ventilation
Proper ventilation is essential for maintaining good air quality. Ensure that your home has adequate ventilation by opening windows or using fans to promote air circulation. This can help reduce the concentration of allergens and improve indoor air quality.
Dealing with allergies can be challenging, but addressing the root cause—high humidity levels—can significantly reduce allergens in your home and alleviate allergy symptoms. Dehumidifiers offer an effective solution by regulating humidity and creating an environment that is less favorable for allergen growth.
Remember that a dehumidifier is just one part of an allergy management plan.
By incorporating a dehumidifier into your home, along with implementing other natural remedies for allergies, you can create a cleaner, healthier living space and enjoy relief from allergy symptoms.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.