Living in Southwest Florida comes with many great benefits but as a homeowner there are many things to worry about as well. With some of the most humid summer months around it is not uncommon for an HVAC unit to remove up to 20 gallons of water in a single day!
Humidity like that can ruin a home in a very short period of time, if not properly controlled. Therefore, it is not surprising that people have been trying to find ways to fight high humidity for years.
Advertised as the dehumidifier that does not need electricity, DampRid is a form of desiccant. A desiccant, is a substance used as a drying agent. DampRids were first introduced in 1948, but in recent years the product has grown in popularity due to the increase of snowbirds and seasonal residents.
Many clients of ours swear by DampRids and will buy boxes of them each season before heading back north. When they talk about managing humidity, the word DampRid is not far behind. It is easy to understand why, DampRids are very convenient and easy to use, with several different products available.
However, Humidity in Southwest Florida (Bonita Springs, Estero, Marco Island, Naples) is a serious issue, considered a tropical climate, the average humidity in Naples and Marco Island is over 70% throughout the year and can reach over 90% during the summer!
We know DampRids remove moisture from the air, but are DampRids an effective solution for managing humidity in a tropical climate or does the scope of the problem render them ineffective?
Using only a container and calcium chloride crystals, a DampRid slowly absorbs excess moisture from the air and dissolves it into an environmentally friendly saltwater solution.
They are nontoxic and for the most part considered safe; however, it is recommended they are kept away from children as they may cause minor skin and eye irritation.
Once a DampRid is opened, the chemical process of removing moisture from the air will begin immediately, as illustrated below:
DampRid Crystals harden when absorbing moisture.
During this process the moisture will drip to the bottom of the bucket.
After several weeks, all that remains is freshener beads and saltwater solution.
There are a variety of DampRid products available for use in different areas of the home, some of the more popular ones include:
Hanging Moisture Absorbers
Hi-Capacity Moisture Absorbers
Refillable Moisture Absorbers
DampRids remove moisture, the question is how much moisture and is it enough to address the problem.
A “High Capacity” DampRid comes as a 4 lbs. bucket or approx. 61 Fl oz and can take days or weeks to fill up depending on the level of humidity in a home. Further, only a portion of the bucket fills up, so the capacity is even less.
As stated earlier, the HVAC system in your home can remove upwards of 20 gallons, or 2500 fluid ounces, a day, during the hottest part of the summer!
If a DampRid bucket removes about 50 ounces of water on average every 10 days, it would take 500 DampRids every 10 days to achieve the same results as your HVAC system in one. This is the equivalent of taking a table spoon to a lake!
While a DampRid is a tool that can help prevent mold and reduce humidity it should never be relied upon solely in high humidity climates like Naples or Marco Island. There are more effective steps to manage humidity that a homeowner can take:
DampRids are not the most effective at managing humidity; however DampRids are quite helpful in discovering if you have a humidity problem.
If you are a seasonal resident who plans to leave your home vacant for an extended period, DampRids are a great indicator when used in conjunction with someone periodically checking your home like a Home Watch Company.
While your Home Watch Company should be taking humidity readings every time they visit your home, it is possible for the instrument to be inaccurate. Therefore, the DampRids can offer another control to monitor humidity. Using DampRids is the equivalent of a canary in a coal mine.
If your DampRids are acquiring a lot of moisture, it signifies to the Home Watch Professional monitoring your home that there is a humidity problem and action needs to be taken like those described above.
If you are going to use DampRids, we always recommend to our clients that they strategically place DampRids in the master bedroom, living room, and kitchen, to assist us in monitoring their home for humidity.
However, DampRids are a product that needs to be constantly monitored.
If you plan to use DampRids make sure to discuss it with your Home Watch Professional before you leave for the season. Your Home Professional needs to know where the DampRids are located to properly monitor their condition.
DampRid products only last up to 60 days, or two months at most, and with any product that deals with water, leaks and spills will eventually happen. DampRids are no exception and are prone to accidents as well.
Never use DampRids if you are gone for extended periods of time, and do not have someone like a Home Watch Company periodically visiting your home.
Your Home Watch Professional should be checking every visit to see if any DampRids need to be replaced or disposed.
The important thing is to take care of DampRid spills in a timely fashion before additional damage can occur.
Timing is critical when it comes to properly cleaning up after leaks or spills. Mold only takes about 24-48 hours to begin to grow. Ironically, the very item used to prevent mold or mildew can quickly become the main culprit if you are not careful.
Remember, DampRids are a salt-based solution so it is important to saturate and dilute the solution to prevent stains.
Do not worry about the towels you use or any clothing it may spill on, this can be easily washed out with a normal laundry cycle or two.
Living in a tropical location comes with many benefits but also many responsibilities as it relates to home ownership. High humidity can devastate a home if not properly managed, so it is important to understand all the tools available to assist you. As a simple, salt-based bucket that requires no electricity, a DampRid is a convenient tool to use but its effectiveness is often overstated.
The best use of a DampRid is as an indicator of a humidity problem. However, it is not something that can prevent humidity on its own and even when it is utilized it needs to be constantly monitored.
The risks that come along with using a DampRid, such as spills, leaks, and cracks should not be overlooked and if left unchecked the resulting damage can negate the use of them altogether. If you do choose to use them while you are away make sure your Home Watch Company is checking them every visit.
Whether a full or part time resident it is imperative to take steps to care for your home whether here or away. If you have any questions for the Halo Home Watch Team, please email us or leave a comment below!