Cleaning Your Dehumidifier

If you have just bought a dehumidifier, then you have probably not only spent good money on the unit but have also spent a good amount of time comparing models and examining dehumidifier reviews. Let me be the first to congratulate you on your new purchase. Evidently you are a person who cares about the air quality of their home.

However, let me also be the first one to say that despite all of the time and effort you used acquiring your unit that you may not have thought about how you are going to keep it running at peak performance. After all, it is new and the thought of proper dehumidifier cleaning and maintenance is probably the furthest thought from your mind. But is shouldn’t be.  It’s as important as the features are on your unit.

Proper cleaning of your dehumidifier will keep your unit performing at its best. It will ensure that it runs correctly, uses less power and lives as long as it should. In effect, proper cleaning will ensure that your best dehumidifier remains its best. And today, I am going to show you the steps you need to take to keep your machine lean, mean and clean.

The Water Collection Reservoir

The first thing that needs to be cleaned on your dehumidifier is your unit’s water collection tank. You probably know that you need to empty out this water on a regular basis, but didn’t really think about the fact that it needs a good scrubbing on occasion. That’s okay, because you’re not alone. Most people forget about washing this part of the machine with soap and water. However, it’s very important that it is cleaned because mold can build up in the tank and get circulated by the system. So be sure to clean it out regularly.

The Dehumidifier’s Filters

The next thing that you need to clean or replace is the filters. On some units, the filters can be cleaned out by rinsing them under running water. Other systems however, have filters that need to be replaced completely. Find out which type of filter’s you have and make sure they are cleaned or replaced at least once a year.

Wipe Down Your Dehumidifier’s Exterior

About once a year, you should also wipe clean the outside of your dehumidifier. This includes all plastic parts. All you need to do to accomplish this task is to mix a little bleach in some clear water and apply it to a sponge. Then just wipe the exterior of the machine clean.

Clean Out Those Intake And Exhaust Grilles

The last thing that needs to be cleaned on your dehumidifier is the intake and exhaust grilles. At least twice a year, you should take your vacuum’s hose attachment and make sure that you suck up all dirt and dust that may have collected on your unit. This will ensure that the air entering and exiting your dehumidifier doesn’t pick up any nasty debris and circulate it back to you.

Tips On When To Use A Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is a great device for anyone looking to exert some control over their home or office environment. It is particularly useful in maintaining a healthy environment for those with certain respiratory conditions such as asthma, allergies or COPD. It can also keep pollutants in the air at a more manageable level, especially when used in conjunction with an air purifier.

Another added bonus of using a dehumidifier is that is can actually lower your utility bills. Modern units use very little power, but they help furnaces and air conditioners do their jobs more efficiently. Which usually results in the furnace or air conditioner being run less often—which in turn leads to lower bills.

A dehumidifier isn’t a cure-all for every ill, however. It is not meant for every single situation. So before you run out and start pouring over dehumidifier reviews, you might want to know what circumstances  these units are the most effective. That is what we are going to help you out with today.

Excess Moisture

If your house is holding a lot of excess moisture, then you might want to run out and buy the best dehumidifier possible. Excess moisture in the home is extremely problematic and can promote the growth of all kinds of nasty critters such as bacteria, mold and fungus. Most types of mold and fungus can cause significant problems to your respiratory health and may even make you extremely ill. A 70 pint dehumidifier is a good start in reducing the moisture in the home, and as a result, reducing the nasty things that might be growing because of all of this excess moisture.

Humid Climates

Humid climates are the perfect environment to use a dehumidifier. That is what these devices were made to handle. They can help the house maintain a more comfortable level. This is particularly helpful for people with allergies or respiratory problems.

Basements

If your basement leaks or is below grade, then you might want to get a basement dehumidifier. This can resolve minor standing-water issues and will help your furnace work more efficiently.

Respiratory Problems And/Or Allergies

I have emphasized the fact that dehumidifiers help maintain a better environment for individuals with allergies or respiratory problems because that is the biggest benefit of owning one. However, it just isn’t for people who currently have these types of health issues. It is also perfect for those who are prone to developing these particular conditions. In most homes, a 60 or 70 pint dehumidifier is perfect for taking care of the air quality for the entire home. Or if you prefer, you can buy a smaller unit that is just used in your bedroom while you sleep, as many respiratory problems seem to flare up in the evening. Another option is to use a 30 pint dehumidifier, but remember that if you choose that option, then you are going to need to close all of the windows in the house to maximize the efficiency of that size unit.

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.

How To Buy A Dehumidifier – Part One

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:

  1. 90-100 percent humidity: Standing puddles of water in the room and/or the room is extremely wet.
  2. 80-90 percent humidity: Room smells and feels wet; it also has visible water or mildew stains.
  3. 70-80 percent humidity: No water stains but the room has a clear mold or mildew smell to it.
  4. 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:

  1. 90-100 percent humidity: ACH 6
  2. 80-90 percent humidity: ACH 5
  3. 70-80 percent humidity: ACH 4
  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.

Essential Dehumidifier Features

While one person’s definition of the best dehumidifier will differ from another person’s definition, I think it is probably safe to say that there are probably some features that should be common to all high quality dehumidifiers. Essential features that will ensure that the dehumidifier not only performs the job it is designed to do, but will do it without needing a whole lot of user input. Today, we are going to talk about some of these essential features of dehumidifiers and why they are important for you to consider before purchasing one.

The Water Reservoir

This feature can be found on most dehumidifiers. I am saying most because some use units don’t use a reservoir but either have a continuous drainage feature or uses some form of water absorbing material, such as silica gel, to collect water. We will talk about some of those a little bit later.

Dehumidifiers have reservoirs to collect the water that drip from the condensing coils when the moisture is extracted from the air. Therefore, you really can consider it as being an essential part of the whole dehumidifier. When buying a dehumidifier, it is important to get a dehumidifier with a decent size reservoir because you don’t want to have to empty it out more often than you really have to.

Continuous Drainage And Condensate Pumps

You will find continuous drainage on systems that don’t use a reservoir system, and its basic operation is fairly simple. What a continuous drainage system does is send the water down a hose so that it can exit the system via a floor or sink drain. As water is collected form the air, it is sent to the exit hose where gravity does its thing and carries it away from the unit.

Some dehumidifiers with a continuous drainage system also have a condensate pump that isn’t gravity based. Which means that it can pump the water upwards away from the system. This allows the drainage hose to be put into a sink drain or through a basement window.

Automatic Defrost

If you look through dehumidifier reviews, then you’ll notice that a lot of dehumidifiers have an automatic defrost feature. All this feature does is to defrost the condensing coils if they freeze up because of lower than standard room temperatures. This allows the unit to be used in cooler environments—such as basements—that often fall below 42 degrees.

Humidistat

A humidistat is an essential feature in my opinion because it allows you to fine tune the humidity levels in your room. Units that don’t have one usually have to either run all of the time, or the user has to manually turn them on and off to keep humidity levels in their preferred range. Units that have a humidistat will automatically shut off when they have reached the minimum humidity level and turn back on when the humidity level gets too high. All without user input.

The above features are the ones that I consider essential on any dehumidifier. They not only allow the unit to operate more efficiently and effectively, but they also reduce the amount of time that you have to dedicate to setup and operation of the unit.

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.

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.

Buying A Portable Dehumidifier

Some people believe that the best dehumidifier for them is a whole-house unit. While that might be the case in some circumstances, it isn’t true all of the time. Not only are whole-house units expensive and time consuming to install, but they also require that your home has the right duct work for it to be installed in the first place. In my experience, I have found that the most cost-effective and easiest solution for most households is a portable dehumidifier.

Before you shop for a portable dehumidifier however, it’s important to know what you need to look for in one of these units. Which is the purpose of this guide today. In this guide, we are going to show you the benefits that portable units provide over whole-house units, things to consider while installing one of these units, as well as the best portable dehumidifier features. After we have covered those things, you will have the knowledge you need to look over dehumidifier reviews and make an informed buying decision.

Portable Versus Whole Home Dehumidifiers

What makes a portable unit the preferred option for most people in most situations is its cost. Portable units are a fraction of the cost of whole-house units. However, that isn’t the only reason portable units can be superior to whole-house units in most situations. Another factor that needs to be considered is ease of installation. Portable units are simply easier to install.

Installation Options For Portable Units

One thing that really needs to be considered about a portable unit is where it needs to be installed. While these units can easily be moved from room to room, you want to make sure that you when you do place them in a particular location you are installing them correctly.

Most portable units have reservoirs that capture water pulled from the air, and on these units you have to make sure you set them in a location convenient enough for you to accomplish this task. If the unit is hard to reach, then you probably won’t be emptying it as often as you should.

However, there are some units that have a continuous drainage system. With these units you have to make sure that there is an available drain for them to discharge water into. If you try to use these units without a proper drain, then you can cause flooding that may damage your floor or the unit itself.

Best Portable Dehumidifier Features

You should ensure that the portable unit you are thinking about buying has a few minimum features. Features that not only make it easier to operate but also ensure that it will run properly. Some of the features you need to consider for a portable unit include:

  • Auto-Shutoff
  • Energy Star Rating
  • Range Of Humidity Settings
  • A Humidistat
  • A Drain Connection Kit (if it’s a continuous drain system)

Finding a unit with all of the above features will ensure that you not only end up with a portable dehumidified that is convenient to use but one that is of the highest quality.

Types Of Dehumidifiers

Before you can go out and buy the best dehumidifier possible, you first need to know all of the different types of dehumidifiers that are out there. In the past, there were only one or two options available when you wanted to go buy one of these units. That just isn’t the case anymore. There are quite a few different types of dehumidifier models, and each of these different types have their own features which make them unique. Let’s take a few moments today and see some of the different dehumidifier models that are available today.

There are three basic types of dehumidifiers on the market today. These include heat pump dehumidifiers, chemical absorbent ones and ventilating dehumidifiers. Some people also use homemade dehumidifiers, but those aren’t going to get touched upon today because they don’t work as well as commercial models. Let’s take a closer look at these three dehumidifier models you are likely to encounter while reading dehumidifier reviews.

Heat Pump Dehumidifiers

These type of dehumidifiers—also known as refrigerant dehumidifiers—work by using a fan, a heat exchange and a heat pump to remove moisture from your air. This is the basics of how they work. Air is pulled into a unit by the fan and then passed over the heat exchange, or condensation coils. As the air passes over these cold coils, the moisture in the air is transferred from a gas into a liquid. This liquid is then expelled into a reservoir or through a drainage system. Meanwhile, the now drier air is warmed back to temperature by the heat pump and it is fed back into the room. These are perfect for most home applications.

Chemical Absorbent Dehumidifiers

This type of dehumidifier is very different from a heat pump one. It works by using some type of desiccant absorbent—usually silica gel—to absorb the moisture in the air. Here is how it works. Air is passed over this material and it absorbs the moisture. This moisture is then expelled via an outside vent. These type of dehumidifiers are often used in extremely hot areas and for industrial applications.

Ventilating Dehumidifiers

These are the simplest dehumidifiers of them all. All this device does is to pump the moist air from the room via an outside vent. They are usually fairly inexpensive but don’t work as well as chemical or heat pump dehumidifiers.

Those are the three basic types of dehumidifiers. However, from these three types there are hundreds of hundreds of dehumidifiers that all have different features. For a list of some of these features, I urge you to read some of my other articles that were written to clarify the subject a bit further.