Portable Vs. Whole Home Dehumidifiers

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.

Portable Dehumidifiers

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.

How To Buy A Dehumidifier – Part Two

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.

Using Your Dehumidifier In An Energy Efficient Manner

Saving energy probably wasn’t the first thing you were thinking of while you were looking through dehumidifier reviews for the perfect model for your house. However, it should have been. The average dehumidifier will run at least 4-6 hours a day and depending on the amount of moisture or humidity in your home, may run even longer than that. Add up all of those hours over the course of a year and you can see why energy conservation should have been at the top of your list.

If it wasn’t however, then I wouldn’t worry too much about it. That’s because today I am going to show you how to take care and use your dehumidifier so you can help it save energy. Follow the steps in this article and you will save energy with your new dehumidifier.

Maximize Your Energy Savings

The first thing you can do to ensure your best dehumidifier is the best as saving energy is by using it in the correct manner. Only keep the unit on the high setting until it has dropped the humidity to an acceptable level. Once it has done that, then turn it down to the lowest setting possible to maintain the level of humidity in the room or house.

Another thing to think about is the temperature in your home. If the temperature falls below 66 degrees, then the evaporator coils on the dehumidifier may freeze up. This will result in the dehumidifier drawing more power without providing much of a benefit. If this happens, then allow the unit to defrost before you run it again. Your electric bill will thank you for it.

Keeping your unit clean will also keep it running more efficiently. If the coils on the dehumidifier clog with dirt, dust or fungus, then it can drastically reduce its energy efficiency. Therefore, you need to clean it on a regular basis. While most manufacturer’s recommend cleaning it annually, I have found that most units need to be cleaned on a more regular basis than that. Periodically check your unit and if it needs to be cleaned, then take care of it right away.

You need to also realize that your dehumidifier has air vents in it that need to have unrestricted access to air. If these air vents—which may be located on the top, front, back or sides—get blocked, then your unit will become less energy efficient. That is why you should keep at least a foot of space between your dehumidifier and the walls or other possible obstructions.

The last thing you need to do to ensure that your dehumidifier is running as efficiently as possible is to keep doors and windows closed while it is running. This will prevent your unit from having to dehumidify the outside air along with the air in your home.

If you follow all of these steps, then you will ensure that your dehumidifier is running at peak efficiency and won’t needlessly run up your electric bill.

Getting The Most From A Dehumidifier Used In A Basement

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.

Temperature Matters

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.

Do Dehumidifier’s Save On Heating?

One of the questions people always seem to ask me—after they find out that I write dehumidifier reviews—is if using a dehumidifier saves money over not using one. This question is so prevalent and has been asked of me so many times, I have decided to go ahead and write the answer to it. This article is in fact my attempt to answer this age old question. Hopefully, it will adequately address the problem for not only the people who’ve asked me this question over the years but for anyone reading this article.

Before I can answer this question, I first have to explain how dehumidifiers work. Dehumidifiers work by moving air over refrigerating coils. The moisture that exists in the air in steam form is then cooled down and converted into a liquid that is collected in a bin for disposal. This results in the “drying” of the air.

Now, many people believe that dry air heats up faster than moist air. In fact, I know many people who would swear their life on this old wives tale. However, as much as I am afraid to disappoint them, your best dehumidifier isn’t going to do anything to cut your heating bill.

That’s because moist air conducts heat better than dry air. Dry air is in fact a very poor method for transferring heat. So why does this myth still persist? Well, it probably has a lot to do with an article that was misunderstood several decades ago.

I don’t remember who wrote the article, but in essence it said that if you wanted to save on heating costs, then you should use a humidifier. That’s right, a humidifier was recommended in the article. A device that is used to add moisture to the air. And that my friends, is why the myth of using a dehumidifier to lower heating costs still persists.

However, a dehumidifier will do one thing for your energy bills. It will save you money on your cooling costs. That’s right. If you use a dehumidifier in conjunction with your air conditioner, then you will not only have to run it less often but you may not have to run it at all when the temperature isn’t too high but the humidity is. This can result in some real savings over the course of the summer.

While I understand your disappoint that your dehumidifier won’t save you on heating costs, I hope that is equally matched by the fact that it can save you on your cooling bills. And not only will it do that, but it will also provide a whole range of other benefits. Including increasing your comfort level and by decreasing moisture that can irritate respiratory problems and allergies.

Dehumidifier Buying Tips – Additional Features

While it is desirable to have some level of moisture in your home’s air, too much of it can have disastrous effects. Too much humidity can not only degrade your personal comfort level, but it can also negatively affect certain health conditions such as COPD, asthma and allergies. It can also have a negative impact the health of your home as well. High humidity can damage sensitive electronics such as computers and televisions, and it can cause moisture sensitive materials such as wallpaper and wood to warp or peel. That is why it is so important to reduce your home’s humidity with a dehumidifier.

However, buying a dehumidifier isn’t as simple as pouring over dehumidifier reviews and choosing a unit that you like. In order to buy a dehumidifier that fits your needs, then you are going to need figure out what features you need. That is going to take a little bit of time, but is more than worth your effort.

Today, I am going to tell you some of the things you need to know before you purchase the best dehumidifier for your home. I am going to tell you about some of the more common dehumidifier features, so you can choose one that fits your particular circumstances.

Before I do that however, I recommend that you take the time to look at our 2 part guide on buying a dehumidifier. Those guides will allow you to determine the size of the unit you need according to your personal situation. Our guide today merely goes over some of the other features beyond capacity and power rating. Features such as auto defrost, low-temp settings and auto restart features.

Additional Dehumidifier Features

Not every dehumidifier has every one of the following features as they are not mandatory for the dehumidifier to do what it is designed to do—which is to dehumidify your home. However, you may find some of the features are useful enough to factor into your buying decision when you are searching for the ideal unit for your home.

Direct Drain: Some of the units use an internal pump that can direct the moisture removed from the air into a floor drain. Other units direct it into a basin that must be emptied on a regular basis. If your home is particularly humid, then you are certainly going to want to buy one with a direct drain feature.

Auto Defrost: If your unit is operating in temperatures below 60 degrees, then you might want to consider buying a unit with a auto defrost feature to keep it from freezing.

Low Temperature Setting: A low temperature setting is also important if you are going to run your unit in temperatures below 40 degrees. This setting allows the unit to perform its job even at these low temperatures.

Auto Restart: Units with an auto restart will automatically start back up after a power failure. This is an important feature to consider if you need a unit that will run without much user intervention.

Auto Humidstat: This features prevents the unit from operating needlessly. Once the desired humidity level of the room has been reached this unit will shut down to save power.

Maintaining Your Dehumidifier

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.

The Basics Of Dehumidifier Systems

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:

  1. A fan moves the air from the surrounding room and pulls it deep inside the dehumidifier.
  2. The air then passes over the compressor cooling coils.
  3. 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).
  4. 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.
  5. The heat captured by this conversion is released from the reheater back into the air.
  6. 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.

Humidifier Fact Sheet – Everything You Need To Know

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.

Indoor Humidity And Your Dehumidifier

One of the most important things you can do for you and your home is to control humidity levels within the home. That’s because humidity can have many negative effects on your general health and the general health of your home. Humidity can cause allergic reactions, musty odors, mold growth, condensation on windows and can even damage furnishings. That is why it is so important to buy the best dehumidifier possible. For the well being of you and your home.

Most experts agree that relative humidity in your home should be kept between 30 and 50 percent in the summer and 40 to 50 percent in the winter. These are the best humidity ranges to keep you and your home healthy. The only way that this can be done on a consistent basis however, is by purchasing a good dehumidifier.

When humidity rises above 50 percent, it can not only have a drastic effect on the health of you and your home, but it can also cause comfort problems. That is because our bodies’ cooling system depends on the evaporation of sweat off of our skin. If the humidity is too high, then this effect is greatly diminished. As a result, we feel hotter even if the temperature isn’t that high.

Determining Humidity Levels

You can measure the relative humidity in your home by purchasing a hygrometer. This device will accurately measure the relative humidity in your home. If you don’t want to purchase one of these devices however, then you can also do a visual assessment of your home to determine humidity levels. For example, if there is condensation on your windows or standing puddles, then your humidity level is probably pretty close to 100 percent. On the other hand, if your home merely feels a bit damp, then your humidity levels are probably around 60 to 70 percent.

Choosing A Dehumidifier

Once you have determined the relative humidity of your home and have determined that you need a dehumidifier, then you are want to choose the dehumidifier that is right for you. The first thing that you are going to want to check out are dehumidifier reviews to see if you can find one with the features and capacity that you need to effectively dehumidify your home.

Some of the features you need to consider before purchasing a dehumidifier include :

  • The Portability Of The Unit
  • Whether It Has A Humidistat
  • Whether It Has An Auto-shutoff Feature
  • Storage Tank Capacity
  • Whether It Has An Auto Defrost Feature
  • Type Of Air Filter On The Unit (washable vs. replacement)
  • Brand
  • Continuous Drainage Or Reservoir Storage
  • Size
  • Price

Once you have determined all of the features that you need, then you can search for a model that fits your home’s needs. Take your time and do your due-diligence and you will end up with a dehumidifier that will take care of your humidity problems once and for all.