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.

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.

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.

Dehumidifiers Demystified

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.