During cold climates around the world, the humidity tends to be high and therefore there is a need to reduce air moisture in buildings, hence the need for dehumidifiers in houses. It is mostly used in residential apartments which are 2 story houses and from there raises the question of dehumidifier placement upstairs or downstairs, i.e., first floor or second floor?
A dehumidifier is an electrical appliance that works just like a vacuum cleaner. It performs its function by sucking in moist air to remove the water in the air thereby decreasing and maintaining the humidity level. This balance in the atmospheric humidity level goes a long way to hinder the growth of mold that can affect health negatively.
Dehumidifier in the basement and upstairs perform a great deal of dehumidification but for it to function efficiently, one needs to discern the best placement of dehumidifier in a house properly. Let’s start with knowing the humidity level in our 2 story building.
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The Relative Humidity level in a 2 story House
Normally, the relative humidity of apartment levels between 35-50%. This is close to the perfect range that is beneficial to health but when it rises above this or lower than this, you might either need a humidifier or a dehumidifier. Signs of higher relative humidity are cracks or swelling on wall paint, mold spots on the ceiling or wall corners and even rotting furniture.
In a 2 story building, relative humidity is not evenly distributed due to some factors which could be temperature, height and the space area of the floors.
Most commonly, upstairs humidity higher than downstairs. This can be explained better that the second floor could be up to 950sqft and bigger than the downstairs. The only exception to downstairs is the basement. The plan below shows a distinct view of the first floor and the downstairs’ basement.
As seen above, you could easily identify that I am using a wood stove in the basement downstairs. When I use the wood stove in the downstairs, the humidity level drops to 35% while that of upstairs ranges from 45–50%. This is due to the respective temperature changes in different floors, i.e., the temperature in the upstairs is 20-21°C while that of the downstairs is 25-27°C.
When not using the stove, the humidity downstairs increases to 45-50% and upstairs also increases to 50-55%. This is because the Temperature on the first floor has dropped to ~18-19 °C and that of the second floor has dropped to about 17-18 °C.
To cut the long story short, the humidity level in a 2 story building is dependent on your activities that increases the temperature in the house. Aside from that, there are some other factors that are explained below
Factors affecting Placement of Dehumidifiers in a 2 Story Building
Dehumidifiers can be placed on floor or up high in the first or second floor depending on the factors below
1.) Temperature : the dehumidifier should be placed on the floor with the least temperature (the coldest floor) in the house, whether upstairs or downstairs.
2.) Most moisture air-filled floor : the dehumidifier should be placed on the floor and area in the building whose air is most filled with moisture. For example, if your kitchen, laundry room, bathrooms and most moisture air-filled areas (high-level humidity area) in the house are situated in the downstairs, then the dehumidifier should be placed there.
3.) The Area with best possible air-flow : the dehumidifier should be placed in a location where the can draw air easily and expel the hot dry air easily and where there are no obstacles which could obstruct proper air flow.
4.) Accessibility to the electric source : the dehumidifier should be placed at a location where electricity can be accessed, but not too near to the electric source to prevent electrocution.
5.) Farness to dust, lint and air particles : placing a dehumidifier near to a dust source will put too much strain of the dehumidifier filter and this can lead to its damage within a short period.
6.) Your personal choice : Yes, dehumidifier placement can most times solely depend on your choice of location for it.
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Dehumidifier placement upstairs or downstairs in 2 story building
Before answering the question of dehumidifier placement upstairs or downstairs, I will briefly shed more light on the frequently asked question on using dehumidifier which are:
Can I use a dehumidifier upstairs?
This depends on the humidity level of your second floor (upstairs) which is often high. It is only advisable to run a whole house dehumidifier that will eventually run through both the first and second floor.
Where to place a dehumidifier in the basement – downstairs
This should be placed close to the outlet. The outlet must be an open area which must be very far from stagnant water. For the dehumidifier to work efficiently, try as much as possible to clear seal the basement so that the outside moisty air can’t get inside. Read here to know what dehumidifier do in a basement
Recommended Dehumidification settings for a dehumidifier
For human comfort, it’s advisable to set dehumidifier to 30-50% in warm weather and 30-40% in cold weather.
Where is then the Best Place to put a Dehumidifier in a House?
In conclusion, the best place to keep a dehumidifier most definitely is the downstairs basement or upstairs close to the stairs. This is because the basement is the most humid place in your house. If there is any other moist condition upstairs, its source must be resolved rather than placing a dehumidifier.