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Old 01-01-2010, 11:31 PM   #1
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


This was recommended by a builder, who said that a higher humidity level inside would help prevent settling/cracking of the structure. He actually recommended purchasing a humidifier.

Obviously a dehumidifier is useful during the warmer rainy season, but this seem like a rational suggestion.
Any thoughts?

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Old 01-02-2010, 12:01 AM   #2
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


I bought one as when I moved in the basement was very damp. It's been off now that it's winter. In fact if I turn it on I get a couple drops in a 24 hour period. Winter = very dry inside. I had a humidifier but it was so old and crummy I removed it. Those things need to be maintained and the previous owner did not. Figured I don't really need it (was first time I even heard of those put in a furnace) so I did not replace it.

Come to think of it though there is a lot of settling in my house, I often hear the hardwood floors crack and I actually noticed there's a bit more space between the planks in some places. It was newly varnished too so the varnish itself is probably cracking. I'm sure this must be normal for an old house.

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Old 01-02-2010, 06:55 AM   #3
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


Yes, makes sense you don't need it in the winter what you need in the winter is humidity.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:33 AM   #4
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillwerkin View Post
This was recommended by a builder, who said that a higher humidity level inside would help prevent settling/cracking of the structure. He actually recommended purchasing a humidifier.

Obviously a dehumidifier is useful during the warmer rainy season, but this seem like a rational suggestion.
Any thoughts?
You don't really need to turn it off as the humidity levels are lowered once the heat comes on. It's like turnimg off the boiler in the Summer. No need to, because it won't come on.
It might help if you got a humidistat so you could see the actual humidity levels. Mine currently hovers in the 30% range. Since the dehumidifier is set at 50%, there's no reason to turn it off, because it won't turn on.
Once the humidity increases in the Spring and Summer, the unit will just kick in as needed.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:39 AM   #5
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


As noted, there is no need to run a humidifier in winter in Michigan. However, not for the reasons suggested by the builder. I cannot imagine what "settlement/cracking" will be alleviated by a higher humidity level. Certainly not your concrete slab or walls, which settle and or crack for reasons unrelated to humidity levels in your house. Not your framing, which does not settle, and certainly should not crack because it dries out (you probably paid a premium for kiln dried wood when the house was built, and kiln dry is at about 6 percent moisture content). Either you misunderstood the builders reasoning, or he has knowledge of settlement and cracking processes that are beyond anything I have ever heard of.
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Old 01-02-2010, 09:50 AM   #6
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


It's all relative. Your friend the builder said "higher" humidity and I see you are in Minnesota - so what does that mean where you are compared to where I am and compared to someone in Florida...?

What is "higher"? 50% RH in Minnesota? How high %RH and at what temperature do you have to go to prevent rafters and joists from cracking during the winter - is that what it's from? or can you?

If a cold wood roof rafter is 'stable' at 12% humidity at room temperature, what should the RH% be in a home heated to 70 degF to affect that reading one way or the other? and what about the potential damage that higher humidity readings can have on, say, a window frame? are cracking beams easier to live with than cracking window frames?

Bit of an open-ended subject; the most valuable tool is the humidistat as that will tell you if that changing-of-your-two-LR windows means you need either a humifier or a de-humidifier.
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Old 01-02-2010, 02:10 PM   #7
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


I can see your point ccarlisle it really depends where you live in the country to answer the question properly however the OP is from Minnesota and de humidification is not needed there in the winter.

In addition to the posts that stated the dehumidifier don't have to be shut off in the winter let the controls do it , I wouldn't I would shut it down. After many years working with equipment I know any control is subject to failure at any time especially De humidistat's.
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Old 01-02-2010, 02:26 PM   #8
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Disconnect dehumidifier during winter?


Yup. I read somewhere that 25% RH was suggested in Minnesota and that line has been quoted several times here. That just goes to my point...why 25%? why not 45%?

So every house may have their own level of humidity - depends on # of people, pets, plants and what have you. So, five teenagers+laundry+ showers+cooking+2 dogs may mean that one house in Minneapolis has 50% RH at 68 degF, while the spinster next door in the same type of house has 25%, who's better off?

Sort of a relative question IMO - one house may need a dehumidifier the other a humidifier no matter what the book says.

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