Your Health and Dust Mites

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dustmites

Spring is the time of year we start experiencing the sniffling and sneezing caused by seasonal allergies. While many people suffer from seasonal allergies – some experience these symptoms year-round. Dust mite allergies are a common trigger for asthma, non-seasonal allergies, and atopic dermatitis and can effect those who are allergic year-round. Here are some tips of mite reduction, dust mite facts and  information.

  • 10% of the human population is allergic to the waste of these little creepy crawlies and 80% of allergy suffers are sensitive to them as well.
  • Dust mites thrive in temperatures 68-70℉ and a RH of 70-80%
  • The America College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology estimates that as many as 90% of people with allergic asthma are sensitive to dust mites, and at least 45% of young people with asthma are allergic to dust mites

Dust Mite Control Tips

  • dehumidifier can help bring humidity down below 50% RH where dust mites cannot survive. This is one of the easiest ways to control dust mite populations in your home.
  • Use micro-filtration bags in your vacuum this can help keep mites and mite wast from being recirculated back into the air.
  • Use dust proof zip-able covers on mattresses and pillows.

Facts

  • Dust mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye but when seen on a microscope they are light in color and have eight legs
  • Mites feed on dead skin
  • The average lifespan of a dust mite is 80 days
  • There are 13 different types of dust mites, the most common species in the United States are the Dermatophagoides Farinae and the D. Pteronyssinus.
  • Common dust mite hiding spots include mattresses, bed linen, upholstered furniture, long-fiber carpets, and soft toys

Spring Forward: 11 ways to keep your home and dehumidifier in check

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During daylight savings, in many parts of the country, we set our clocks one hour ahead for the purpose of making better use of sunlight and to conserve energy. It is also an indication that springtime is near – a season of new beginnings and life. The annual spring cleaning time has arrived and here is a list of  to-dos to keep your home and dehumidifier in check:

  • Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors- doing this each time change will keep you on a schedule and insure your alarms are working.
  • Replace filters in your home- check your air conditioning units, heating units, water filters, etc. Have them fresh and in working order for the new season. It is important to not forget about the filter in your dehumidifier in order to maintain efficiency.
  • Reverse your ceiling fans – fans should be rotating counter clockwise to cool the rooms in your home as we warm up from spring to summer. To do this look for a small switch on the base of your ceiling fan flip the switch and watch for the correct air pull direction.
  • Check and clean out the gutters of your home.
  • Make sure the grade around the foundation is carrying water away from your home. 
  • Seal holes and cracks to keep vermin out of your home –  also do not forget to seal off entry points for wires and and pipes into your home or building. You can buy a inexpensive can of spray foam from your local hardware store to seal with.
  • Make sure your dehumidifier is level – this ensures that the water being removed from the air in your crawl space or basement is running out the drain line.
  • Clean out the drain line of your dehumidifier – this can be done by removing the line and running a hot water and bleach solution through it.  You can also just replace the tubing.
  • Make sure the dehumidifier line has a proper drain trap that is draining downward – see video below to see drain trap options. 
  • If the dehumidifier is running to a sump pump, make sure the pump is properly functioning.
  • Lastly, if draining directly outside of the crawl space make sure that the line is not obstructed or kinked.

 

Save Your Hardwood Flooring!

Most homeowners know that purchasing and installing hardwood flooring can cost a pretty penny. And if you’re lucky, you may find some nice hardwood under the carpets of your home to refinish.

I was recently asked by a friend to look at their damaged hardwood flooring. Unfortunately, due to having a vented crawl space their floors they were cupping quite badly.  Cupping occurs when the sides of hardwood flooring are higher than the center of the board giving it a concave shape.

There are many reasons why floors cup. It may be from moisture damage due to the air inside the home being too humid. But in this cause it was due to the vented crawlspace under the floors.  It was allowing very wet air to move from the crawlspace up through the floors into the home. This is called “Stack Effect”.

To prevent this from happening it is recommended to keep your crawlspace below 60% relative humidity by encapsulating it. The first step is to seal all penetrations from the crawlspace to the home and from the outside into the crawlspace in order to prevent humid air from infiltrating into these areas. Then a high-quality vapor barrier is laid on the floor and sealed to the walls of the crawl space.  Once that has been done a dual-exhaust Santa Fe dehumidifier is installed to ensure humidity is controlled at all times.

 

Blog Post 1: The Basics of Moisture Control! (5 Part Series)

Moisture ControlThis series will cover a variety of topics that have to do with the importance of understanding and controlling humidity and moisture in your home. We will discuss the difference between relative humidity and dew point, and why these are important concepts to understand. We will then dive into how moisture enters and is created within your home. Next we will talk about the top 10 signs of high moisture, and finally we will discuss how a dehumidifier can help control humidity and reduce the risk of health problems, comfort issues and property damage.

Check out the first part of our series next week, when we discuss the difference between relative humidity and dew point!

How a Santa Fe Dehumidifier Works

Santa Fe’s free-standing dehumidifiers are powerful enough to control humidity in basements, crawl spaces and other inside spaces. By controlling the moisture in these areas there is a reduced risk of health problems, comfort issues and property damage.

Dehumidifiers regulate humidity by removing moisture from the air; creating living conditions that are comfortable and inhospitable to dust mites, mold and other allergens. This is how dehumidification works. First, the humid air is returned into the dehumidifier through the air filter. After the air passes through this high-efficiency air filter, it then passes over the evaporator coil. The cold surface combined with the humid air forces water to come out through condensation. This water drops into the drain pan and runs out of the dehumidifier through the drain tube. The now cold dry air goes over the condenser coils and is heated, and the warm dry air is now supplied to the basement or crawl space.

There are also products in the Santa Fe line that contain patented air to air heat exchanging technology and dual exhaust, which allows for higher capacity and efficiency, as well as flexible installation options. For more detailed information on the Santa Fe product line, check out our product comparison chart.

What Causes Condensation in Crawlspaces and Basements?

In many parts of the country during the spring, summer and fall months, warm, moist air enters the vented crawlspace from the outside and condenses on the cooler surfaces of the walls, floor and ductwork. These cooler surfaces are created within the crawlspace or basement by it being partially or entirely underground and shaded – much like a cave!

DP_condensation_arrows• If the Dew Point (DP) temperature is ABOVE the surface temperature,
condensation will occur.
• If the Dew Point (DP) temperature is BELOW the surface temperature,
there will be no condensation.

SF_condensation_infographCondensation Contributes To:

  • High Humidity
  • Pest Infestations
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality
  • Mold Growth
  • Musty Odors
  • Damage to Property

How do I prevent condensation?

Santa_Fe_Advance2-1Santa Fe offers a full line of dehumidifiers to help prevent condensation in these spaces. Several of the units feature dual exhaust to provide optimal airflow. This airflow helps prevent spot condensate, and in combination with the dehumidification, protects crawlspaces and basements.

What is Stack Effect?

Stack effect is the movement of warm, dry air rising and escaping through the upper levels of the home and cooler, wet air finding its’ way into the lower levels in order for the home to equalize.

Excess moisture in crawlspaces and basements often migrates to the upper levels of the home through a “stack effect”. In essence, whatever air is below the house is also inside the house.

stackeffect_bigStack Effect Contributes To:

  • High Humidity
  • Pest Infestations
  • Poor Indoor Air Quality
  • Mold Growth
  • Musty Odors
  • Damage to Property

Why Dehumidification?
Indoor humidity levels, especially in basements and crawlspaces, can rise dramatically in the summer months and during the shoulder seasons. This is why dehumidification in these spaces is essential for proper humidity control. Santa Fe Dehumidifiers are the solution to healthy, comfortable living.

Crawlspace Encapsulation Overview

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Homes that are properly encapsulated, continuously monitored and treated with a Santa Fe dehumidifier are protected from both the humid outside air and the ground’s natural moisture. An added bonus is that this strategy minimizes fungi and mildew growth, guaranteeing a more structurally sound and healthier home.
Crawlspace Facts
  • According to a study by Advanced Energy, homeowners can expect to reduce their energy bills by 15-18% by sealing off their crawlspace. They also determined that homes with vented crawlspaces were 19 times more likely to experience relative humidity levels in excess of 70% than homes with encapsulated crawlspaces.
  • As much as 50% of the air in a home’s living space originates from the crawlspace.
  • Most pests are attracted to moist environments; as a result, moisture control is an important part of any fully integrated pest management system.

 

The Creepy Crawlies in Your Basement

Most insects are attracted to damp environments, such as crawlspaces and basements. Controlling the relative humidity (RH) inside the home will help to eliminate unwanted condensation that can create a water supply for many pests. It will also help to prevent wood rot and structural damage to the home that creates an environment for pests to thrive.  The only way to control RH is with a dehumidifier that can effectively and efficiently operate in these cool spaces, like the ones offered by Santa Fe.

Santa Fe dehumidifiers

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From Musty, Moldy Basement to the Manliest of Man Caves

The ultimate man cave features the latest electronics, a big brawny leather recliner, a decked out bar, sports memorabilia, and of course the mandatory pool table and dartboard.  While man caves can be located in garages or a spare bedroom the majority tend to be built in basements.

man cave

Pool Table & Bar BasementAccording to REMODELING Magazine’s 2013 Cost vs Value Report, basement remodels are still one of the top thirteen remodeling projects and typically consist of about a third of the entire home’s available space.  Man caves have become so popular in the last several years there is even a program called Man Caves on the DIY Network that is dedicated to helping men create their own refuge.

Unfinished BasementWhen it comes to transforming the basement into a man cave it is easy to get caught up in all the excitement of how many TVs, where to put the kegerator and how to display classic pieces of sports memorabilia. Getting started by hiding concrete or block behind drywall, wood and carpet is the easy part.

 

But building a manly comfortable space in a basement that won’t encourage mold and mildew or become damaged by condensation is a lot harder.

Molded Sheetrock WallHigh humidity levels will cause moist drywall and carpet will begin to grow mold and mildew, causing musty odors and decay.  It can also affect electronics, rot wood, cause musty odors, and make your new man cave feel like an actual cave!

SmellyGuyIt is recommended to keep humidity levels below 60 percent in basements by using a commercial grade dehumidifier like the ones offered by Santa Fe.

Santa Fe high-capacity dehumidifiers are the most energy efficient on the market and are designed to quietly and effectively operate in the cooler temperatures of a basement. The units help protect all your prized possessions, inhibit mold growth and prevent musty odors. An optional duct kit is available for all Santa Fe dehumidifiers for remote installations.  So if you don’t want to incorporate the manly unit into your new man cave decor, you locate it in another room and duct it to dehumidify your new retreat.