LESLIE: Fred in Florida is dealing with a high moisture situation.
FRED: Well, I’ve got a home that was built in ’87 and on the back of this house – this was added on a couple of years after it was built – it’s a Florida room. It’s got an insulated roof. It’s got side sliding, I guess you’d call them horizontal sliding windows. They’re single pane and they have a track they slide in on the bottom. And underneath that about a two-foot panel to the floor. It’s a concrete floor. And what – I’ve got a dehumidifier in this room here and it fills up every couple days. And my – well, my biggest complaint is, I mean, the filling up is one thing but the – I’ve continued, even after having the dehumidifier, I’ve always had this – a musty smell in here.
TOM: Yeah. You know, the thing is, Fred, that this may be more than that room dehumidifier can handle. One of the ways that we can deal with humidity in a bigger, more effective way is by replacing portable dehumidifiers with a whole-home dehumidifier that really reaches into the entire space of the house and pulls moisture out. A whole-home dehumidifier can take out up to like 90 pints of water a day from the house. And it fits into your HVAC system so you don’t have to have a portable unit that you have to work with. Once the HVAC system is on this whole-home dehumidifier will just work 24/7/365 to pull out the moisture. Because you’re trying to pull it out of one room but there’s probably a lot of moisture wicking from different parts of the house and that’s why you’re getting overwhelmed.
FRED: Well, what I was going to say is we pretty much keep this room closed. Like I said, it’s a Florida room. It has an insulated roof; you know, the panel roof that’s – I guess is about three or four inches thick. And I do have an air conditioner in this – it’s a window unit that I’ve got installed into one of the panels at the bottom here. And we keep it air conditioned. And I will say that the dehumidifier has helped and it’s a 50-pint dehumidifier. So I guess a pretty big one. But I still – I continue – to me, that’s a lot of moisture. Maybe that’s not – I live in Pensacola, Florida.
TOM: Do you have to drain this humidifier all the time?
FRED: I do. It actually has a hose adapter that you can put on it and I’m going to do that soon and just have it drain continuously.
TOM: I think the best thing to do is – is this connected in any way to the HVAC system in the rest of the house?
FRED: No, it isn’t.
TOM: Alright. So, you would have to extend the HVAC system into this room to be able to take advantage of a whole-home dehumidifier. That is the most effective and efficient way of pulling moisture out of the room. There’s a good manufacturer online called Aprilaire – Aprilaire.com – where you can get information on whole-home dehumidifiers.
The second thing is to try to take a look at the sources of moisture getting into that room. Take a look at the grading and the drainage around the Florida room. If you can keep the rainwater, in particular, from collecting near the foundation perimeter – you’re probably pulling a lot of the humidity up through the slab and through the base.
FRED: Well, that’s what I was wondering. I don’t know if they put a vapor barrier underneath this concrete or not, I mean …
TOM: Well, whether they did or they didn’t there’s nothing you can do about it at this point. So if you reduce the amount of humidity that’s – amount of moisture that’s getting close to the foundation perimeter, that will stop that much of it from getting back into the house.
So, first choice, whole home dehumidifier. Modify the HVAC system to be able to take advantage of that. Second choice, improve the grading and the drainage at the foundation perimeter to reduce the volume of water that’s around this building.
Fred, thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.