We’re all feeling the heat, or rather lack of it, thanks to the current cost-of-living crisis. It’s making many of us use the central heating a lot less, if at all, which is not good news for your own health or that of your home either. Cold properties can quickly feel dank and downright damp, which can also bring on mould and all the negatives that come with it, including an increased risk to your health.
On top of that, energy price increases have made many of us stop using our tumble dryers too, which at this time of year is a nightmare if you’ve got laundry to dry on a regular basis. Drying wet clothes on radiators around your home is one option, but it isn’t ideal. In any case, if you’ve only got the heating on sporadically to save cash, it’s not really going to be efficient for drying a load of wet laundry, is it?
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What to do then? Well, investing in a dehumidifier is something that has become hugely popular recently. Sales of these small but efficient appliances has rocketed, producing short supplies of some models, in much the same way as people have raced to get themselves one of the best air fryers on the market.
Everyone is looking for a quick but efficient way to get things done and, just like an air fryer will cook chips brilliantly and in no time, the best dehumidifier has the potential to send damp packing and help air your laundry too. Brilliant, eh?
Expert dehumidifier advice
Meaco, the British company that is a leading light when it comes to manufacturing dehumidifiers knows a thing or two about how and why one of these appliances can help during this rather bleak economic period.
“The cost-of-living crisis has forced many UK households to cut down on using the central heating and tumble dryers this winter to dry clothes and keep the home warm,” writes Chris Michael, Managing Director of Meaco. “An unfortunate consequence of this, which some households are experiencing for the first time this year, is an increase in damp within the home. Damp can lead to mould, which will be made worse over the festive season when many people come together indoors.
Moisture is always in the air around us and not just created by drying washing indoors. It comes from various daily household activities such as bathing, showering, cooking and even breathing. At other times of the year moisture can be managed by opening a window to let dryer air in, however in the winter the air outside is just as cold and damp, so this moisture remains within the home.
It is noticeable at first as condensation on the windows, followed by a damp smell – a result of fabrics absorbing the moisture – and pools of water collected on windowsills. These conditions set the ideal environment for mould to grow.
While we love to celebrate with friends and family at this time of year, damage to walls, furniture, clothing, books, and paintings from damp and mould at home this Christmas is a most unwelcome gift. Mould not only affects the fabric of the home, but it can also adversely affect people’s health, especially the young, old and vulnerable.”
There are practical and simple ways to help prevent damp in the home during the festive season and throughout winter. Read on to find out how...
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Best tips for households
Reduce moisture vapour
By putting lids on saucepans when boiling or steaming vegetables for Christmas dinner or cooking for large groups, households can reduce the levels of moisture vapour at home. Using an extractor fan and opening windows when using the bath or shower will also help ventilate and reduce humidity.
Make air drying laundry indoors more efficient
Before taking laundry out of the washing machine, use a rinse cycle to keep the amount of water left in the clothes to a minimum. Place a drying rack away from walls to prevent the moisture from being trapped. Hang items individually and with as much space in between them as possible so they will dry more quickly. Opening windows where possible will enable airflow.
Warm up the house without central heating
Making the most of any natural sunlight can help to warm houses and dry out any damp air. Opening curtains and blinds in the day prevents moisture from being trapped around the windows and using rugs and mats on wooden and stone floors can make rooms feel warmer too, which can reduce the need to switch the heating on.
Simple changes inside and outside the home
Encouraging air flow and reducing opportunities for damp to spread can decrease the likelihood of mould forming. Opening doors of built-in wardrobes that sit on outside walls and trying to keep furniture, clothes and shoes from touching outside walls can stop damp developing. Keeping gutters clear also decreases the amount of water that may spill down external walls, which could contribute to moisture in the home.
Consider investing in an energy efficient dehumidifier
While all the above can help reduce moisture at home, the only way to fully remove moisture without opening windows or turning the heating right up is to use a dehumidifier, and there are ways to manage this extra cost too.
Dehumidifiers use considerably less electricity than tumble dryers. They can cost as little as 8p per hour to run. Look for dehumidifiers that have a dedicated laundry mode or a built-in humidistat where the machine can run for up to six hours before switching itself off, or only switch on when the room reaches a certain humidity level to save energy. Investing in an energy efficient dehumidifier over other similar products on the market can save homeowners up to nearly £150 cheaper a year to run.
A dehumidifier will help prevent condensation from forming on the windows and mould from growing on the walls, clothes and furniture, especially when there are more people than usual sharing spaces this festive season.
Best dehumidifier deals
Meaco Arete One £159.99 at Amazon
This quiet dehumidifier controls humidity and removes up to 10L of water per day. Better still, it features a medical grade H13 HEPA filter for air cleaning, which removes nanoparticles such as dust, dander, pollen and other allergens. Modes include smart laundry, night and smart humidity mode. Hidden castors and a carry handle make it easy to move too while a 2.5L front loading water tank rounds it out.
De'Longhi DEX210 Dehumidifier £288.21 from Amazon
This awesome machine is suitable for room volumes up to 45 m³, operates at just 37 dB, has a 2.1L water tank capacity and can deliver a dehumidifying capacity of (max): 10 l/24h. There's a water level indicator, frost protection, humidistat, air filter and a water tank full warning. It can also be moved around with ease and boasts a design that looks good in any kind of room, especially thanks to the clean white lines.
Meaco MeacoDry ABC Dehumidifier £149.99 from Amazon
This dehumidifier is cheap to buy and also cheap to run. It's energy efficient and has low power consumption, making it cost-effective. Expect low energy costs of 5p per hour based on 34p/kWh cost per hour. There's a dedicated laundry mode, which runs for six hours before switching itself off. A 24 hr timer, Auto-defrost, child lock and auto-off add appeal.