How To Effectively Use Dehumidifier to Ease COPD Symptoms?

Josh Mitchell

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Josh Mitchell

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Holly Curell

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) impacts 12.5 million adults in the US and can make even the simple task of breathing difficult.[1]

A dehumidifier can make a huge difference in managing chronic lung disease by managing the air quality in your home.

In this guide, I’ll answer the question, “Why is dehumidifier good for COPD?” and explain how you can use dehumidifiers effectively to manage your COPD symptoms.

Key Takeaways

  • Using a dehumidifier to maintain humidity levels of 30-50% can help ease COPD symptoms.
  • Depending upon your humidity levels you may or may not need a dehumidifier. If the humidity levels fall below 30%, you may need a humidifier since dry air can also trigger COPD symptoms.
  • A dehumidifier not only removes excess moisture making the air easier to breathe, it also helps prevent microbes from thriving which trigger COPD flare-ups.

Do Dehumidifiers Help People With COPD? (How So)

dehumidifier for COPD

A dehumidifier can help people with COPD manage their symptoms and prevent flare ups in two ways:

  1. 1
    By managing the humidity
  2. 2
    By preventing some airborne impurities which cause allergy symptoms
The primary way dehumidifiers benefit people with COPD is by managing the indoor humidity and regulating the amount of humid air in your home.

High humidity can trigger wheezing and coughing, and in hot weather when the indoor humidity levels rise, it can be difficult for a COPD patient.

Dehumidifiers can be used in areas of high humidity to bring it down to normal levels. The drier air will help to stop COPD from being triggered.

A dehumidifier’s primary function is to reduce indoor humidity, but they also help to control asthma symptoms by improving the air quality.

Regulating high-humidity areas can prevent mold growth and eliminate dust mites.

In addition, by removing very high-humidity environments and removing air pollution, it will become easier for those with COPD to breathe safely.

TL;DR: Yes, dehumidifiers can help regulate humidity to comfortable levels thus making the air easier to breath for people suffering from COPD.

Good & Bad Humidity Levels For COPD Sufferers

Weather or an environment that has too much moisture, or too little moisture, can be bad for COPD sufferers, so it’s important to regulate them properly.

High humidity air can make it feel more difficult to breathe, and your body needs to work harder to draw in a breath.

Most people might not notice, but those with COPD may feel tired as they expend more energy. Plus, increased humidity can mean more allergy triggers in the air.

Dry air and low humidity can be an issue too. Dry air can irritate your respiratory system and set off a chronic cough or wheezing.

It can lead to breathing problems as your body works harder to draw more oxygen, leaving you feeling tired.

The ideal humidity for COPD sufferers is 30-50%. This will help to relieve lung conditions and leave you feeling comfortable.

A dehumidifier can be really useful on humid days to take moisture from the air and make sure the relative humidity remains below 50%.

However, in dry conditions, it can do more harm than good. If you live in an area of lower humidity, you may need to invest in a humidifier instead.

TL;DR: The ideal humidity levels to maintain for COPD patients is between 30-50%. Any lower or anything higher can exacerbate your COPD symptoms. 

Determining If You Really Need A Dehumidifier?

dehumidifier settings

The best way to know if you need a dehumidifier is to measure the relative humidity of the air in your home using a hygrometer or humidistat.

If the relative humidity is above 50-60%, you should use a dehumidifier to bring it down to optimal levels, or it could cause health problems.

Measuring the moisture levels is the most accurate to tell whether you need to run a dehumidifier.

Still, all of the following issues are also signs that you need a dehumidifier:

  • Breathing is more difficult, and your lungs are working harder to bring in oxygen
  • More frequent coughing or irritation
  • Feeling more tired
  • Allergies being triggered more often
  • Visible mold on belongings, walls, and ceilings
  • Visible condensation on cold surfaces (like mirrors)
  • Moisture damage to your belongings
  • Peeling or cracked wallpaper and paint
  • A musty smell which becomes worse in the summer climate

ACLAB Note:

Most of the health symptoms such as coughing and breathing difficulties can also be caused by dirty air or air with low AQI. While dehumidifiers improve air quality by removing moisture, they do not clean the air.

To clean the air and remove harmful microbes, dust and allergens from it, you will need an air purifier.

TL;DR: The best way to determine if you need a dehumidifier is by measuring the humidity levels. If they consistently stay above 50%, then you need a dehumidifier. 


What Exactly Does A Dehumidifier Do?

how does a dehumidifier work

A dehumidifier is used to regulate the humidity in your home. Damp, humid air is drawn into the appliance, where the water vapor is removed.

The dry air is then circulated back into your home, leaving you and your family members more comfortable.

There are two main types of dehumidifier: refrigerant and desiccant.

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are the most common and use cold coils to heat and cool the air and remove moisture.

They’re extremely effective, but the coils can freeze over in temperatures below 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Desiccant dehumidifiers work by passing the air over an absorbent material to remove the water.

This is usually a slower process, but these dehumidifiers can be used in low temperatures.

Dehumidifiers are typically used in basements, cellars, or bathrooms where there’s more humidity, but they can be used in a variety of locations.

TL;DR: A dehumidifier remove excess moisture from the air. Depending upon the type, the exact process may differ.


Benefits Of Dehumidifier For People With COPD

Maintain Home Humidity

Dehumidifiers allow you to maintain the humidity in your home. This can prevent you from coughing and makes it easier to control your symptoms.

Excess Moisture Removal

Dehumidifiers remove moisture and help you control or prevent mold and mildew from gathering in your home.

This protects your home, but for COPD people, it prevents harmful pollutants from getting into their lungs and impacting their health.

Irritant Prevention

Dehumidifiers prevent dust mites from forming and spreading in your home.

This can remove allergy or asthma irritants and makes it easier for people with COPD to breathe normally.

Reduced Risk Of Sickness

Illnesses are more likely to spread in humid, moist conditions. 

A dehumidifier will reduce the risk of flu or colds and help maintain a healthy indoor environment.

Feel Cooler

People with COPD need to stay at a regulated temperature so their body doesn’t have to work too hard to cool down.

A dehumidifier won’t actually cool a room, but it can make you feel cooler by removing moisture from the air.

This often means you can reduce your air conditioner use, and that will reduce your overall energy consumption – saving you money on your bills.

TL;DR: A dehumidifier can protect your health and belongings. Additionally, they can make you feel cooler and thus help reduce AC bills too.


What To Do To Prevent Flare-Ups Brought On By Humidity?

COPD flare ups are when the symptoms suddenly get worse for no reason.[2] This can include:

  • Wheezing
  • Suddenly struggling to breathe
  • Continuous coughing

This is usually caused by some irritation on your lungs, and your body doesn’t think it will be able to get enough oxygen and reacts to remedy the situation.

The best way to manage these flare ups and live a normal life is to protect yourself from the environment around you.

Here are the best ways to do that:

  • Use a dehumidifier to lower high humidity levels. This will make it easier on your lungs and remove mold spores and dust mites.
  • Use a humidifier in your home if you need more moisture in the environment around you.
  • Use an air purifier to remove all the impurities from your indoor environment. This is particularly useful for those with asthma.
  • Use an AC to stay cool and preserve energy. This is especially useful in the summer months when the weather is hot.
  • Stay indoors in very hot weather as your body can use a lot of energy to regulate the temperature.
  • If you can’t stay inside, wrap up warmly when the temperature drops.
  • Avoid smoke or any other pollution which can irritate your airways.
  • Deal with infections quickly and consult a doctor/physician if you have a bad cough or notice any mucus.

ACLAB Note:

If you suffer from COPD all year long, you may need to invest in a dehumidifier, a humidifier and an air purifiers either as combo or separately and use them at different times of the year depending upon temperatures and AQI. 

TL;DR: Identifying your triggers, avoiding them, keeping the air clean and moisture at optimal range can help ease your COPD symptom flare-ups.


FAQs

What Makes COPD Worse?

COPD can be made worse by humid weather, or heat which dries out the air. It can also be made worse by an infection like pneumonia or from being around pollutants like smoke.

Is Sleeping With A Dehumidifier Good For People With COPD?

Yes, sleeping with a dehumidifier can help to regulate the air for people who suffer from COPD and prevent a flare-up.

Just be sure not to over dry the air, or that irritation can be just as bad for you.

Should I Use A Humidifier If I Have COPD?

If you have COPD and live in an area with lower humidity, you should use a humidifier to protect you from getting a dry and itchy throat that could trigger a flare up.

Just don’t use them in areas of high water content, or it could exacerbate your COPD and also lead to the development of mold and mildew in your home.

Dehumidifier Can Help With COPD

Unfortunately, COPD and humidity go hand in hand. However, if you control your humidity levels effectively, you can also control your COPD symptoms.

Evidence shows that purchasing a dehumidifier can be the best thing for reducing humidity, and this will reduce the risk of any flare ups with very little effort.[3]

However, you should always measure the humidity first to make sure high humidity is your problem.

Otherwise, you could end up having air that is too dry, and that can also make COPD issues worse.

If that is the case, then you may need a humidifier instead.

References: 

  1. https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/copd/
  2. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000698.htm
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323657
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Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

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Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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