Before I started researching allergies, I had no idea what a problem indoor humidity was for allergy-prone pets and humans. I always thought a little humidity was a good thing indoors – particularly during the dry winter months. In fact, I remember trying to keep the steam in our bathroom during showers to help “humidify” the rest of the house. I was even considering purchasing a humidifier to help with Elsie’s allergies. What a mistake that would have been.
What most people don’t realize is that their homes are often already too humid. Dust mites and mold both thrive in warm, humid conditions. If your home has an indoor humidity level higher than 50%, you could be contributing to your dog’s allergy problems. How can you tell what your humidity level is? It’s easy. All you need to do is purchase a hygrometer. A hygrometer will measure the moisture content (humidity) of your indoor air. You can find them just about anywhere – I purchased mine at Wal-Mart.
I was surprised to find that our indoor humidity was above 60%. This made our house an ideal breeding ground for mold and dust mites. After realizing we had a problem, I decided to purchase a de-humidifier to see if that would help bring the humidity down. It brought the humidity down below 50% within hours – it was amazing. Our de-humidifier has now become a regular part of our home life. We check our hygrometer once a day to see how our indoor humidity is doing. If the humidity level is above 50%, we make sure to keep the de-humidifier running. If the humidity is low, we turn it off or down to a lower setting. It’s amazing how much moisture that little machine pulls from the air. Since using the de-humidifier, we spend much less time fighting mold and I believe this device has contributed to air quality improvements for Elsie and the rest of our family.
If you decide to purchase a de-humidifier, you’ll want to do some research on how large of space you want to use it in. Some are pretty compact, but only work for small areas like bedrooms. Others are rather large and are ideal for large basements. None of these devices are terribly small and they do make some noise, and use some electricity. But, for our family, these drawbacks were much less important to us than improving the air quality in our home.
One thing you’ll want to pay attention to is the cleaning instructions for your de-humidifier. Since these machines collect water, it’s important to not just empty the water, but also clean out the container with bleach or mold remover to ensure no mold is growing inside. You’ll also want to regularly clean the filter to make sure it runs efficiently. Our little de-humidifier has been running almost non-stop for two years. We purchased a Kenmore brand from Sears, however, there are many other brands and models available to choose from.