Maintaining air quality is a vital part of keeping a home safe for its occupants. You'll be faced with numerous air quality-control options when building or remodeling a home, including vent (exhaust) fans and dehumidifiers. Though they may seem similar, the units actually serve very different purposes, though each can contribute greatly to the overall quality of a home's air.
Dehumidifiers are devices designed to draw moisture out of the air and are most important during humid summer months. They work by drawing humid air in, cooling it so the moisture drops out, then warming it back up again before releasing it. Dehumidifiers are sold as individual units that can be carried from place to place or within air conditioning units. Air conditioners act as large-scale dehumidifiers when they cool the air in your home, so you may have no need for an extra.
Humid air is generally considered uncomfortable. It can create excess sweating on skin as well as make it difficult for some to breathe. You may notice moisture running down your walls or peeling wallpaper. Humid environments are also hotbeds for various pests such as roaches and dust mites. Adding a dehumidifier will reduce or eliminate a lot of these problems, making not only your air safe but your home more comfortable.
Vent fans are more commonly known as exhaust vans and work to draw air from your home and into the outdoor environment. You will often find them in your bathroom, over your stove or connected to your clothes dryer. Fans inside the vents draw in the surrounding air, which then makes its ways through a series of ducts until it is expelled outside.
Vent Fan Benefits
Using exhaust fans when you cook in the oven or on a gas stove can go a long way toward expelling any potentially dangerous gases associated with cooking, such as carbon monoxide. They also help clear the steam out of a bathroom after a hot shower and draw any excessively hot and dusty air out of clothes dryers and into the outside world. A ventilated fan in your bathroom will also help draw away moisture, which could potentially result in the growth of mold or mildew.
- Exhaust Fans: What Is an Exhaust Fan?
- "This Old House"; How to Install a Bathroom Vent Fan; Joseph Truini
- Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation: The Importance of Kitchen and Bathroom Fans
- Canada Mortgage and House Corporation: Choosing a Dehumidifier
- WebMD; Dehumidifiers for Allergies; Laura Martin; April 2010
- Photo Credit Ryan McVay/Digital Vision/Getty Images