Your basement tends to be one of the colder rooms in your house. Not only because it probably receives less heating than the rest of the house, but also because basements tend to be below ground and have less access to natural sunlight. As a result, basements also tend to be wetter than any other room in the house. And this extra moisture is not only a problem for the items you may have stored down there, but also may be contributing to the growth of a whole zoo of fungi and mildew particles.
Thinking of all of the problems that can be caused by excess moisture in your basement might be enough to make you search through some dehumidifier reviews to get a unit to handle the problem. Which you should, but not before you read this article. This article will tell you everything you need to know before purchasing your basement dehumidifier.
Placement Of Your Basement Dehumidifier
Even the best dehumidifier in the world won’t do its job properly if it isn’t set up for success. There are few things you need to consider as far as the placement of the dehumidifier is concerned. You need to put it somewhere near an outlet, keep it out of standing water and give it at least a foot of clearance all around it so it can properly do its job.
Once you find a spot in your basement with all of these requirements, you are then going to want to close all of the doors and windows to the basement. After all, you don’t want it to have to do extra work dehumidifying the outside air. You want it to dehumidify your basement.
Consider The Drainage
Another thing you have to consider is how you are going to drain the unit. If your dehumidifier is one that condenses water into a collection bottle or bin, then you are going to want to make sure that you empty it on a regular basis. On the other hand, if your unit is one that drains into a floor drain, then you are going to have to make sure that there is a drain it can use. Either a sink drain or a floor drain.
If you unit isn’t emptied or allowed to drain properly (depending on which type of unit you have), then that can not only reduce the efficiency of the unit but it can also damage it over time. So be prepared for this problem before you even order a unit.
The last thing to consider is the temperature of the basement. You are going to want to buy a dehumidifier that can handle whatever temperature range it will experience in your basement. If the dehumidifier freezes over, it won’t function correctly.
And that is all you need to know about buying a basement dehumidifier. Ensure that you solve the problems in each of the above steps, and you can rest assured that your dehumidifier will do the job it was intended to do.
In the first part of our dehumidifier buying guide, we started you out some of the basic things you need to figure out before you start checking out dehumidifier reviews and spend good money on a unit. We showed you how to figure out humidity level, air changes per hour (ACH) and how to calculate your room’s square footage. Now we are going to turn those figures into a formula that will tell you exactly what size unit you need to buy.
Calculate Your Room’s Cubic Feet
Measure the height of your room, from floor to ceiling. Now take the square footage of your room and multiple it by the height of the room to get your room’s cubic footage. For example, if your square footage is 80 feet and the height of your room is 8 feet, then your cubic footage is 640 cubic feet.
Determine Your CFM
Your CFM is the amount of airflow in cubic feet that you need in order to properly dehumidify your room. To determine this value, multiply the cubic footage of your room by the ACH and then divide by 60. For example, if your room is 640 cubic feet and your ACH is a 5, then multiply 640 by 5 and then divide by 60 (640×5=3200/60=53.3 cubic feet per minute) to get your CFM.
Determine How Much Moisture You Need To Extract From Your Room
How many pints of water you need to extract from your room depends on your ACH and your square footage. Use the guide below to determine how many pints of water you need your dehumidifier to extract from your room each day:
- ACH 6: 16 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 7 pints
- ACH 5: 14 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 6 pints
- ACH 4: 12 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 5 pints
- ACH 3: 10 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 4 pints
For example, if you have a room that is 500 square feet and you have an ACH of 6, then you need a machine that extracts 16 pints of water per day. However, if the room is 1000 square feet with an ACH of 6, then you need it to extract 23 pints per day.
Buy A Dehumidifier According To Your Specs
Now you need to find a dehumidifier that supports both your CFM requirements as well as your pints per day requirements. Make sure you read the specs of the dehumidifier you are thinking of buying to make sure that it fits your needs. However, there are a few other things you might need to consider before buying your unit. One, if your CFM requirements are much higher than any dehumidifier on the market, then you will probably have to buy multiple units to properly dehumidify your room. Two, if you CFM falls between the ranges of two different models, then you might want to buy a unit with a higher CFM and just run it less often.
This concludes our two-part article on buying a dehumidifier. I know that it might seem like there are a lot of steps and that it might take a bit of time to determine ACH, CFM and pints per day, but trust me it is worth the effort. You don’t want to buy a unit that isn’t capable of dehumidifying your room properly, but you also don’t want to buy a bigger unit (or more units than you need). By taking the time to follow these steps, you can make sure you buy the best dehumidifier for your particular needs.
If you’ve been looking over dehumidifier reviews and are having some difficulty deciding on whether you need a portable unit or a whole house system, then you can relax a little bit. While I know that trying to make a decision like that can be frustrating, I have shown up here today to give you the information that you need to effortlessly answer that question.
Deciding on a portable or whole-house system really depends on your particular needs. Some people are better off buying a portable system, and others are better off buying a whole-house system. It really comes down to answering a few basic questions about how you intend on using the dehumidifier.
If there is only room in your home that needs dehumidifying, then you clearly only need a portable unit. However, as the size of the area you need dehumidified grows, the larger a dehumidifier you will need to buy. Of course, there are large portable models that have 30 pint capacities or more, but these units tend to be bulky and hard to move from one location to another.
Another thing to consider before you buy a portable unit is how you are going to dispose of the water from the system. The water from the tank has to either be emptied on a regular basis or fed down a floor drain (if you unit supports this option).
Whole Home Systems
If you live in an area where humidity is a problem all year long and not just in the summer, or if you find yourself having to use a bunch of different dehumidifiers all over your home, then you might have to purchase a whole home system. After all, even the best dehumidifier won’t dehumidify an entire house alone.
Whole home systems have their pros and cons though. Let’s start off with the positives first. One, drainage is never a problem with these systems because they usually empty right into your basement’s floor drain. And two, they can dehumidify an entire house and do it in a more energy efficient manner than using a bunch of portable units.
Now let’s tackle the negative aspects of installing a whole home system. First, they are fairly expensive. You can count on spending around $3,000 dollars, maybe even more on a good unit. Two, they have to use the existing duct work in your home—which may be a problem for people without a central heating system.
As you can see, there are really only a few variables to consider between a portable and a whole home system. If you take these variables into consideration, then you will end up with the best dehumidifying solution for your home.
Many of the complaints that people have about the quality of air in their room can be directly attributed to humidity. High humidity levels can cause havoc with electronics, aggravate allergies and may even cause damage to wood trim and furniture. Not to mention the fact that it can cause a room to feel “sticky”, even when the temperature of that room isn’t that high.
So it’s no wonder people people are beginning to buy dehumidifiers in record numbers. A dehumidifier can neutralize a lot of the problems that can be caused by humidity. That is why I am going to talk about some of the problems that humidity causes inside your home and show you that you need to buy the best dehumidifier possible to rectify these problems. If you’ve been thinking about getting a dehumidifier and your home tends to be a bit humid, but haven’t gotten around to buying one yet, then the following reasons should be enough to have you searching through dehumidifier reviews to procure a good dehumidifier right away.
Humidity Lowers Air Quality
Humidity is caused by moisture in the air. Most of us know that. However, did you know that this moisture is the perfect conduit for dust and dirt. Yes, water in your air traps more dirt and debris than dry air. It then carries this trapped dirt to your sinuses and lungs where it can cause a severe allergic reaction. This effect is negated by the dehumidifier and improves the general air quality of your home.
Humidity Causes A Proliferation of Mold, Dust Mites And Fungi Spores
Excess moisture in your air is not only the perfect haven for dirt and dust, it is also the perfect environment for mold, fungi and dust mites to thrive. Studies have shown that mold growth rates sky rocket once the relative humidity of the air reaches 50 percent. Therefore, it is important to run a dehumidifier to negate this effect.
Humidity Destroys Furnishings And The Integrity Of Your Home
Humid air creates the perfect environment for mold and can contribute to a rotting of your home. It can also cause wood to warp and paper products to peel. Which isn’t a good thing for the delicate items in your home such as wood trim, your furniture or your wallpaper. Therefore, it’s important to reduce the humidity in the room by using a good dehumidifier.
Humidity Makes Your Home Less Comfortable
Air that is saturated with moisture feels hotter than dry air. It can also give your home that sticky feeling, even when temperatures are relatively mild. And this is probably the greatest reason that many people buy dehumidifiers. If you want to be comfortable in your home, then high humidity just won’t do.
As you can clearly see, humidity is a bandit that is stealing your quality of life and the integrity of your home. And that is why it is so important to immediately deal with it by purchasing a good dehumidifier.
For a long time, dehumidifiers were a bit of a mystery to me. Not only did I not really understand the science behind their operation but I also didn’t know if or when I needed one. So I decided to educate myself on the subject. I read all I could about dehumidifiers and looked over the features of the best dehumidifiers. In effect, I turned myself into a dehumidifier expert.
Now that I know just about everything a person can know about dehumidifiers, I decided to write this article to demystify them for the rest of you. The purpose of this article is not only to explain to you what these machines do, but also how to tell when you need one. This will enable you to decide if you need one of the devices for your home, and if you decide you do, help you sort through all of the dehumidifier reviews out there to find one that is perfect for your situation. Let’s get started.
What Do Dehumidifiers Do In The First Place?
This is a pretty easy question to answer. Dehumidifiers remove the excess moisture from the air. This excess moisture in the air, also called humidity, can cause all sorts of damage not only to your home but also to your health. It can warp wood, destroy furniture and peel wallpaper. It can also cause a proliferation of mold, fungi and bacteria in your home. All of which can cause respiratory problems and aggravate allergies.
How Do They Work?
Dehumidifiers work by pulling in air through a fan and passing it over coils to cool it down. As the air cools, then the moisture (which is in the air in the form of steam) turns into a liquid and is collected in a reservoir or pumped away from the machine. The now dry air is then blown back into the room.
Do I Need A Dehumidifier?
If you suffer from allergies or respiratory problems, then you do need one. You also need one if you feel like the air in your home is muggy or if your home has moisture problems.
How Do I Use A Dehumidifier?
Here are the steps for using a dehumidifier:
- Find a place for the unit-This is usually in the center of the room, but certain dehumidifier models require different considerations. For example, if you have a unit that drains continuously, then you will need to place it close to a floor drain so it can properly drain. Just make sure where ever you set it up that there is plenty of space for air to move around the unit.
- Turn On And Set-Plug in the unit, turn it on and set it to your desired humidity level. Usually around 40% humidity is good for most homes.
- Check Reservoirs-Make sure you check the reservoir on a regular basis and empty it when it becomes full.
And that my friends, is everything you need to know about dehumidifiers. Hopefully, I have demystified these and given you the tools you need to reliably use one.
As you have been looking over the many different models of dehumidifiers on the market and pouring over dehumidifier reviews, a question may have bubbled up in your mind. “How does a dehumidifier actually work?” If it did, then you are going to love my little article today. That’s because I am going to tell you everything you wanted to know about dehumidifiers but were afraid to ask. That’s right. Today, we are going to cover the basics of how your dehumidifier does what it does.
Before we can discuss the basic operating principles of a dehumidifier however, we need to first see what its main components are. So without further ado, let’s examine what’s underneath that ambiguous plastic case of your dehumidifier:
Basic Dehumidifier Parts
Fan Compressor: This part of the dehumidifier compresses and expands a gas that is very similar to Freon.
Compressor Cooling Coils: This is where the air cools.
Reheater: This collects the heat that is expelled during the cooling process so it can be used to reheat the expelled air.
Reservoir: This collects the condensation from the cooling coils.
How Do These Parts Work Together
Now that we know the actual components of the best dehumidifier, it is time to see how these parts work in concert to wring the moisture out of your air. The process is much simpler than you probably imagined. Here are the actual steps:
- A fan moves the air from the surrounding room and pulls it deep inside the dehumidifier.
- The air then passes over the compressor cooling coils.
- The coils lower the temperature of the air so that the moisture in it is turned from steam into water (a process known as condensation).
- The water remains on the coils and gets heavier as more water is added. This in turn causes it to drip into the reservoir of the dehumidifier.
- The heat captured by this conversion is released from the reheater back into the air.
- The drier air is then expelled from the system.
That are the basic parts of your typical dehumidifier. That explains the whole process as it happens. However, it might not explain everything your dehumidifier does under that plastic case. Most humidifiers have additional features that may make their operation a little more complex.
For instance, most dehumidifiers have a device in them called a humidistat. This is the part of the machine that senses how much humidity is in the air to determine if it should shut off or keep running. A humidistat is composed of two parts. A sensing element and a relay amplifier. These two parts are pretty complex, but here is the basics of how they work. Changes in the amount of moisture in the air passing over the sensing element will cause electrical resistance to form between two metal strips in the sensor. When the resistance is just the right amount, then the relay amplifier will then activate and either turn the unit on or turn it off. And that is truly everything you need to know about your dehumidifier.
Some of you might have been going over dehumidifier reviews and found some of the information in them to be a bit confusing. That’s okay, you are not alone on that one. Many people get confused by dehumidifier specs and recommended uses. There are so many different options, features and sizes it’s enough to make just about anyone’s head spin.
Which is the reason I decided to take the time and write this article. I wanted to give you as much information as possible to make a sound purchasing decision. This article will not only help you sort out fact from fiction so you can buy the best one possible, but will also educate you on the proper care of this device so you can get the most out of it.
Before you start however, you should take the time to read the guides I have written on buying a dehumidifier and dehumidifier additional features, if you haven’t already. In these guides are a lot of information that you’ll need to purchase the best dehumidifier possible. Today, I am going to answer some of the most common questions concerning this household device.
Do I Need A dehumidifier?
If you can answer yes to the following questions, then you most certainly need a dehumidifier. Is there excess moisture in the home? Do I have respiratory disorders or allergies? Is the air in my home too moist? Has my doctor recommended that I buy a dehumidifier? These are all important questions to ask yourself while trying to determine if one of these devices is right for you.
Are There Really Silent Dehumidifiers?
A feature that many dehumidifier’s claim to have is a silent feature. While it is certainly true that some models are quieter than others, you need to realize that there is no dehumidifier on the market that is completely quiet. Fortunately, most models have different speed settings that allow you to choose the lowest—and therefore quietest—setting possible.
Where’s The Best Place To Put My Dehumidifier?
Where you place your dehumidifier really depends on what you intend to use it for. If you are using it to remove excess moisture in a certain room of your house, like your basement, then that is where is should be placed. However, if you are looking to improve the air quality of the entire home, then you should definitely place it in a central location.
If you have respiratory problems that make it hard for you to sleep at nigh, then you might want to place it in your bedroom. As you can see, it all really depends on what you intend on using it for.
Are There Energy Efficient Models?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. In fact, most modern models sold today are very energy efficient. However, if you are really concerned about finding the most energy efficient model possible, then you should choose a unit that is Energy Star Rated.
If you have areas of your home that have really moist air, then you may have thought about purchasing a dehumidifier. You thought it would be pretty easy just to go online and buy one. Yet when you started searching through dehumidifier reviews your mind was boggled by all of the different sizes, styles and features. Well, that is why I am here today. I am going to help you cut through all of the noise and find the perfect dehumidifier for your home. Just by following these few easy steps, you will not only save time and money but you will also save yourself quite a lot of frustration.
Gauge Humidity Level
You know that your home is humid, but you don’t know exactly how humid it is. That is why you probably need to purchase a hygrometer before you run out and buy your dehumidifier. A hygrometer allows you to take accurate humidity readings of your home so you know exactly what type of humidifier to buy. It is a device that can easily be found at any home improvement store or online. While you don’t necessary have to buy one if you don’t want to, it does make it easier for you to purchase the best dehumidifier possible for your home.
If you don’t want to purchase a hygrometer, then you can do a simple assessment of your home to determine humidity level. While it won’t be as accurate of an assessment as using a hygrometer, it will give you a baseline. Here are some ways to access your room’s humidity level:
- 90-100 percent humidity: Standing puddles of water in the room and/or the room is extremely wet.
- 80-90 percent humidity: Room smells and feels wet; it also has visible water or mildew stains.
- 70-80 percent humidity: No water stains but the room has a clear mold or mildew smell to it.
- 60-70 percent humidity: If the room smells slightly damp.
Determine Air Changes Per Hour
Now that you know your room’s humidity level, you can now gauge the ACH (air changes per hour) rate you need to properly dehumidify the room. You can judge your ideal ACH by checking your humidity on the following table:
- 90-100 percent humidity: ACH 6
- 80-90 percent humidity: ACH 5
- 70-80 percent humidity: ACH 4
- 60-70 percent humidity ACH 3
Calculate Your Room’s Square Footage
Now you need to figure out the square footage of your room. Using a tape measure, measure the width and length of your room and multiple the two to get your square footage. For example, if you have a 10 by 8 feet, then your square footage would be 80 feet.
Now that you’ve determined your humidity level, your ACH and have calculated your square footage, it is now time to determine your CFM, and how many pints of moisture you need extracted from your room daily. Please read Part Two of our dehumidifier buying guide to continue.
If you have high humidity levels or a big moisture control problem in your home, then you are probably going to want to purchase a dehumidifier. Not just anyone will do, however. You want the best dehumidifier for your money. If that is the case, then this article was written just for you. That’s because we are going to talk about the features you need to look for when choosing one of these units.
I have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing and testing dehumidifiers. I have seen really good models with all of the features a person could want and I have seen models that I wouldn’t buy at a garage sale. So many in fact, that I can now tell a great unit from an average unit just by taking a quick look at the features it has. Yes, just by casually checking out the features in dehumidifier reviews I can tell if a unit is worth buying or not. Information that I am now going to share with you today. Below you will find a list of features that can be found on some of the best units on the market today. Find a unit that has the majority of these features, and you will most likely find out it is one of the best.
40-70 Pint Capacity
I have found that the best capacity for most homes is around the 40-70 pint capacity range. That’s big enough to deal with most humidity problems that can be found in the home. Of course, if the dehumidifier is going to be used in an industrial or commercial capacity, then this pint range would be too low. But for the average home it is perfect.
If your dehumidifier uses a reservoir collection system, then you are going to want to make sure that it has an automatic shutoff system as well. All this feature does is turn off the unit when the reservoir capacity has been reached. This not only protects the unit but also keeps it from making a big mess.
While I don’t have any particular aversion to manual control systems on a dehumidifier, I do think that electronic controls are the way to go. Not only do they make the machine easier to use, but they often allow you to to zero in on your preferred humidity range a lot better.
A humidistat is another feature found on the more popular dehumidifiers. This features shuts off the machine when the preferred humidity level is reached and turns it back on when the humidity is beginning to get high again.
If you’ve ever had to move one of the bigger dehumidifiers around the house, then you know why this feature made this list. Having caster wheels on the device just makes it that much easier to move it from room to room. Which is a big plus if you have multiple rooms in your house with humidity problems and need to service these rooms in sequence.
The whole purpose of your dehumidifier is to remove the moisture that is trapped in the air in the form of steam, so that humidity levels in your home or business is properly regulated. As you probably have noticed from reading dehumidifier reviews, most of the time these units are portable and are designed to regulate the humidity in a single area. Usually a room or a couple of rooms. The unit maintains proper humidity levels in your home or business to reduce the growth of allergens or mold which can thrive in a high moisture environment. It also reduces possible water damage to your room’s paint, furniture or wood.
However, your dehumidifier can only perform this job if it is properly used. Which brings me right around to the point of this article. Today, I am going to show you how to properly care for your humidifier so that it can properly do the job it was designed to do. Follow along with me and I’ll show you how to make your dehumidifier the best dehumidifier it can be.
Step One: Read And Save The Manual
The first thing you should do when you unbox your dehumidifier is to read the owner’s manual from front to back. Inside this little manual is everything you need to know about your particular unit. It will show you how to run it, how to maintain it and what to troubleshoot if it begins to have problems. After you have read this manual thoroughly, you should then file it away in a safe place for future reference.
Step Two: Make Sure The Humidistat Is Set For The Proper Humidity Level
It’s very important that you have your dehumidifier’s humidistat set to its proper humidity level. If you set it too low, then the unit may run longer than it needs to. Which will result in wasting electricity and driving up your energy bill. Too low of a setting may also cause undesirable air properties such as a buildup of static electricity. So be sure you set it at the proper level, which is usually around 35-40 percent humidity.
Step Three: Clean Or Replace The Filter Regularly
You need to clean or replace your dehumidifier’s filter at least once or year or as recommended by your owner’s manual. You should also check the filter for damage about every six months. If during this inspection you notice any form of damage to the filter, then you need to replace it immediately.
And that is all there is to maintaining your dehumidifier. If you follow these steps, then your dehumidifier will not only work better but it will last longer and use less energy.