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Comfort = Controlling: Temperature & Humidity

  Austin Texas is in a climate zone called Hot/Humid and this past summer is was HOT!  It’s Fall now and it’s frankly still pretty hot and very humid.  I’ve been thinking a lot about comfort of my houses of late, and comfort is really more than just temperature.  When you read a thermometer the reading you see is called the “dry bulb” temperature.  In my house I generally set the furnace to 76 degrees fahrenheit when it’s in cooling mode.  That keeps me pretty comfortable most of the time, but what do you do when it’s 80%+ humidity 68 degrees F outside?  Well, that means my AC isn’t kicking on because the thermostat isn’t calling for cooling.  It was “muggy” outside.  Not particularly hot, but very humid is not comfortable to me.  Here’s what my Humidity/Temp pen reading on Sunday when I was outside:

So, what do you do about this?  I could kick on my AC unit by dropping the temp inside by 4 or 5 degrees but I really didn’t need it colder, just less humid inside.  This is where a Dehumidifer comes to the rescue.  I’ve really become a solid believer in having a whole house dehumidifier for the houses I build.  There are quite a few months in Austin where the temperature isn’t too hot but it’s still humid out.  This dedicated dehumidifier’s sole job is to bring down the humidity level inside the house.  The AC still does the heavy lifting of bringing temperature down, but this stand alone dehum can make a world of difference in terms of comfort.  My favorite unit is the Therama-Stor Ultra Air XT 150.  But, since I’ve only become more educated on these units in the last 1-2 years (and don’t have one installed in my house yet) here’s what I’ve done in my house during these  “tail” days of the fall & spring.

This is my inexpensive solution that will get me through till I install a whole house unit in my attic.  It’s a $300 LG Dehumidifier that I keep in my hall bathroom near the return air vent.  I typically dump the water 2-3 times per 24 hour period and it works fairly well.  However, it’s not pretty, it’s a pain to empty, it’s loud, and it’s not particularly energy efficient.
  Check out this video I shot of a recent whole house dehumidifier install to really see how to do it right when you are building/remodeling.  -Matt Risinger

PS> If you are buying a compact unit like mine in the photo above consider buying this Frigidaire model on Amazon that earned Consumer Report’s Best Buy.  Buying with that link will help support my blog as I’m an Amazon associate.  You’ll get the same price and I’ll get a small percent of your sale.  Thanks!