Wood is a porous material that takes in moisture and expands or contracts. When you plan to install it, you need to make sure that it has time to acclimate to the environment before you install it. This can take from a few days to a week.
Wood floors are sensitive to the level of humidity in the environment where they are installed. They actually need the humidity level to be between 35% and 60%. It is a good idea to have a humidistat in the room so that you can keep track of the humidity level. If the humidity in the room goes outside of this range, you will need a dehumidifier or a humidifier.
What Does a Dehumidifier Do?
A dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, and it is the opposite of a humidifier. If you find that the humidity is above 60% in your home, you will need one to prevent excessive swelling in your floors. They come as individual units that can be placed in a room, or you can get one installed to control the humidity in the entire house.
If your home has large fluctuations in the humidity levels, you will need to use one of these appliances to control it. Keep in mind that too little humidity is also a problem, so you can’t use a dehumidifier without using a humidistat to make sure that the humidity stays between 35% and 60%.
How Does a Dehumidifier Work?
Humidity is the amount of moisture or water vapor in the air. The dehumidifier helps to reduce the moisture. It works by drawing the air into its coils with a fan. The coil is cooled with a refrigerant, and it causes the warm air to contract and leave condensation behind. The condensation, which comes from the moisture in the air, is left behind and the cooled air is pushed back into the room.
You can set the dehumidifier to maintain a certain percentage of humidity. It will kick on when the humidity approaches the upper limit. It works similar to how your air conditioner works, and usually has a humidity meter with it.
Benefits of Using a Dehumidifier
Besides maintaining an environment that works well with your hardwood floors, there are other benefits to using a dehumidifier. They can help reduce allergies by lowering the humidity so that mold and other organisms can’t grow.
They also help after flooding or after water has gotten into the home. It also reduces pests and dust mites in the house. If your house has too much humidity, it is a good idea to control it with a dehumidifier.
What Happens If My Home Has Too Much Humidity?
Wood is hygroscopic, which means that it absorbs excess moisture in the air. This is true when it is part of a tree, and it remains true after it has been installed in your home. When it is too humid in your home, your wood floors will absorb the moisture. If they absorb too much moisture, they can swell, crown, and even suffer from cupping or buckling.
The opposite occurs when your air has too little moisture. The wood will contract or shrink, and it can splinter and leave gaps between boards. The biggest issue is that if your home has fluctuating humidity all the time, it can damage your floors. You should use a humidistat to manage the humidity levels. You may need both a humidifier and a dehumidifier, or you can install one system to manage the humidity levels.
The Seasons and Hardwood Floors
Most of the time, you will experience dry weather in the winter. When you turn on your heating, it will dry out the air. This is the time of year when you need to worry about your hardwood floors. If you have cold winters and use your heater, you will need a humidifier during this time.
In the summer, you might have the opposite problem. In many climates, the air is more humid. Your air conditioner will help take some of the moisture out of the home, but it only removes moisture when it is running. The fan on the AC doesn’t remove moisture. If you live in a humid environment, you might need a dehumidifier.
The spring and fall have the mildest temperatures in most locations, so you may not use the heat or air conditioner. This is another time when you may need either a humidifier or a dehumidifier. It is important to remember that no matter what season it is, your hardwood floors need the humidity to be between 35% and 60%, and if it gets outside of that range, you will want to adjust the humidity.
What Is the Difference Between an AC and a Dehumidifier?
If you have central air and use it regularly in the summer months, you may want to know if you need a dehumidifier. The air conditioner will remove some moisture from the air. Central AC units circulate cold air through your home. It pulls warm air into the ducts and cools it with freon cooling agents before sending it back into the house.
Air conditioners do help with humidity because when the warm air goes through the cooling coils of the AC, water vapor condenses into a pipe. This is the reason that AC units have to drain. If you live in a climate with very high humidity, you will need a dehumidifier to help keep the humidity levels right for your wood floors.
The dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, and it works similar to an AC unit. The difference is that the AC unit measures the room temperature, while the dehumidifier measures the humidity levels. The AC will shut off when the home reaches the desired temperature, regardless of the humidity level. The dehumidifier will operate until the humidity level is in the desired range.
A dehumidifier can help regulate the humidity levels in your home, which is important if you have hardwood floors. Hardwood floors need humidity levels to remain between 35% and 60%, and a dehumidifier can help to ensure that you maintain these levels.