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.

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.

The Best And Most Popular Dehumidifier Features

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.

Auto Shutoff

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.

Electronic Controls

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.

Humidistat

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.

Caster Wheels

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.

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.

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.

Top Dehumidifier Benefits

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.

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.

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.

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.