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No, Your Home Doesn't Need an Exorcism, Just a Dehumidifier

High levels of humidity inside the home can cause a lot of problems, from encouraging the growth of mold and mildew to triggering allergy symptoms. If you've been thinking about buying a dehumidifier, but you're not quite sure you really need one, here are at least five signs that your initial instincts were right.

Sign #1: The kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors sound like something out of a horror movie

Do you shudder every time you open the cabinets, wondering whether they have suddenly been possessed by an otherworldly creature? Don't worry. Well, at least not about your home being haunted. You don't need an exorcism. Those creaking noises you hear are generally a sign that one of two things is going on.

  1. Moisture is collecting on the metal hinges, causing them to oxidize and rust. This can lead to a grinding sound as the metal pieces rub together.
  2. The wood is swelling from absorbing moisture from the air. This puts pressure on and loosens the hinges, joints, and screws, and that leads to those creepy, creaky noises.

When this happens, a quality dehumidifier can help chase those moisture demons away.

Sign #2: Your windows look like you live in a sauna

A little bit of moisture on the windows when you're doing some heavy stove-top cooking or even taking a shower is normal. But if most or all of your windows and sliding glass doors look like something out of a steam bath, and this is a problem throughout the day, no matter what's going on inside the home, it's time to do some dehumidifier shopping.

Be sure to check the location of the moisture on the windows before buying a dehumidifier, though. If the water is found between the panes of glass, the issue could be with the window seals, not high levels of moisture in your home.

Sign #3: Your basement or garage smell like they're hosting the annual mold festival

If you get bombarded with a musty smell every time you go into the basement or garage, that's generally a telltale sign that too much moisture is in the air and that it's time to move the mold fest somewhere else.

The smell itself indicates the presence of mold and mildew, and it could be coming from a number of sources. Your windows inside the garage may not be sealed or insulated properly, or there could be groundwater seeping through the floor.

It's important to eliminate the cause. But in the meantime, a dehumidifier can get the moisture levels back under control so that any existing mold and mildew can no longer thrive.

Sign #4: Your ceilings and walls look like they belong in the latest issue of Goth Girls Magazine

If it looks like someone has spattered black paint on your walls and ceilings, don't rush out the door to invest in some primer. Those specks of black are probably areas of mold and mildew growth. You may see them more often in bathrooms. And if you run a fan while showering and bathing, and you still have a mold problem, then your fan is likely not sufficient enough to pull out excessive moisture and steam. If that steam has nowhere to go, it could provide a breeding ground for mold and mildew.

You'll need to get a better exhaust fan. But until then, a good dehumidifier can get your home's levels back to normal again.

Sign #5: Your paint and wallpaper are peeling more than you were after last summer's sunburn

When too much water collects in the air and sticks around longer than the latest thunderstorm, it can ultimately penetrate the walls, causing paint and wallpaper to lose its adhesion. This can lead to bubbling and peeling over time when the problem is not addressed.

There are certainly other signs that indicate it's time to eradicate the humidity in your home, including excessive allergies or asthma attacks (triggered by the presence of dust mites, fungus, and mold), rotting or bowing wood, and a high reading on your hygrometer.

If you don't have a hygrometer, you should invest in one to keep track of your home's relative humidity levels, which should vary between 25% and 55%. Anything higher than that will necessitate a dehumidifier.