Should we get a dehumidifier or do something else?
October 26, 2011 12:57 PM Subscribe
Is a dehumidifier the right solution for my problem? What else should we be considering?
We are on the verge of buying a dehumidifier, and I want to make sure that we're doing the right thing.
Our house was built in 1943. We live in Portland, Oregon. The house has three-year-old double-paned windows. The main floor of the house is fine -- a little dampness when we take a shower or do water-heavy things in the kitchen, but we've ameliorated that by running the bathroom fan to the outside and installing a high-powered kitchen fan that also goes outside. We used to have occasional mold/mildew (on books and a stuffed animal) in the bedroom next to the bathroom, but none has grown since we installed the fans, which we're vigilant about using.
The basement is a basement. It's got some water problems, which we're in the middle of fixing. These are from plumbing leaks and a poorly-sealed window.
The finished attic is a problem. Whenever someone takes a shower, moisture collects on the walls. Until today, when we turned the furnace up and opened a window briefly, the windows had been collecting condensation for about a week. Anything organic up against the walls has grown little bits of mold -- today, I found that the leather soles of my husband's formal shoes were gray and fuzzy. The attic is one room, the length of the house and about 3/4 its width, with one heater vent in the floor. Last year, my husband re-did all of the insulation in the portions of the attic that he could access (side walls, not the ceiling). Even so, the room is always colder than the rest of the house, and gets more damp during the humid winters.
It's the master bedroom -- literally all the other bedrooms are full, as in the last year, we've had a baby and gained two housemates. My husband and the baby and I all sleep upstairs. None of us have noticed increased respiratory problems, except that I get sneezy when I clean (I'm allergic to dust and mold).
We are planning to add more roof vents to the house -- we think it's probably underventilated -- and we're considering buying a dehumidifier. What else should we be considering?
Note: we're a single-income household with several other major ongoing house projects and a depletion in savings from having had a baby. We want to do what is right for our family, and we have very limited funds with which to do that. I'm looking for the solution that has the best combination of effective and economical.