Your basement tends to be one of the colder rooms in your house. Not only because it probably receives less heating than the rest of the house, but also because basements tend to be below ground and have less access to natural sunlight. As a result, basements also tend to be wetter than any other room in the house. And this extra moisture is not only a problem for the items you may have stored down there, but also may be contributing to the growth of a whole zoo of fungi and mildew particles.
Thinking of all of the problems that can be caused by excess moisture in your basement might be enough to make you search through some dehumidifier reviews to get a unit to handle the problem. Which you should, but not before you read this article. This article will tell you everything you need to know before purchasing your basement dehumidifier.
Placement Of Your Basement Dehumidifier
Even the best dehumidifier in the world won’t do its job properly if it isn’t set up for success. There are few things you need to consider as far as the placement of the dehumidifier is concerned. You need to put it somewhere near an outlet, keep it out of standing water and give it at least a foot of clearance all around it so it can properly do its job.
Once you find a spot in your basement with all of these requirements, you are then going to want to close all of the doors and windows to the basement. After all, you don’t want it to have to do extra work dehumidifying the outside air. You want it to dehumidify your basement.
Consider The Drainage
Another thing you have to consider is how you are going to drain the unit. If your dehumidifier is one that condenses water into a collection bottle or bin, then you are going to want to make sure that you empty it on a regular basis. On the other hand, if your unit is one that drains into a floor drain, then you are going to have to make sure that there is a drain it can use. Either a sink drain or a floor drain.
If you unit isn’t emptied or allowed to drain properly (depending on which type of unit you have), then that can not only reduce the efficiency of the unit but it can also damage it over time. So be prepared for this problem before you even order a unit.
The last thing to consider is the temperature of the basement. You are going to want to buy a dehumidifier that can handle whatever temperature range it will experience in your basement. If the dehumidifier freezes over, it won’t function correctly.
And that is all you need to know about buying a basement dehumidifier. Ensure that you solve the problems in each of the above steps, and you can rest assured that your dehumidifier will do the job it was intended to do.
Some of you might have been going over dehumidifier reviews and found some of the information in them to be a bit confusing. That’s okay, you are not alone on that one. Many people get confused by dehumidifier specs and recommended uses. There are so many different options, features and sizes it’s enough to make just about anyone’s head spin.
Which is the reason I decided to take the time and write this article. I wanted to give you as much information as possible to make a sound purchasing decision. This article will not only help you sort out fact from fiction so you can buy the best one possible, but will also educate you on the proper care of this device so you can get the most out of it.
Before you start however, you should take the time to read the guides I have written on buying a dehumidifier and dehumidifier additional features, if you haven’t already. In these guides are a lot of information that you’ll need to purchase the best dehumidifier possible. Today, I am going to answer some of the most common questions concerning this household device.
Do I Need A dehumidifier?
If you can answer yes to the following questions, then you most certainly need a dehumidifier. Is there excess moisture in the home? Do I have respiratory disorders or allergies? Is the air in my home too moist? Has my doctor recommended that I buy a dehumidifier? These are all important questions to ask yourself while trying to determine if one of these devices is right for you.
Are There Really Silent Dehumidifiers?
A feature that many dehumidifier’s claim to have is a silent feature. While it is certainly true that some models are quieter than others, you need to realize that there is no dehumidifier on the market that is completely quiet. Fortunately, most models have different speed settings that allow you to choose the lowest—and therefore quietest—setting possible.
Where’s The Best Place To Put My Dehumidifier?
Where you place your dehumidifier really depends on what you intend to use it for. If you are using it to remove excess moisture in a certain room of your house, like your basement, then that is where is should be placed. However, if you are looking to improve the air quality of the entire home, then you should definitely place it in a central location.
If you have respiratory problems that make it hard for you to sleep at nigh, then you might want to place it in your bedroom. As you can see, it all really depends on what you intend on using it for.
Are There Energy Efficient Models?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. In fact, most modern models sold today are very energy efficient. However, if you are really concerned about finding the most energy efficient model possible, then you should choose a unit that is Energy Star Rated.
If you have high humidity levels or a big moisture control problem in your home, then you are probably going to want to purchase a dehumidifier. Not just anyone will do, however. You want the best dehumidifier for your money. If that is the case, then this article was written just for you. That’s because we are going to talk about the features you need to look for when choosing one of these units.
I have spent a considerable amount of time reviewing and testing dehumidifiers. I have seen really good models with all of the features a person could want and I have seen models that I wouldn’t buy at a garage sale. So many in fact, that I can now tell a great unit from an average unit just by taking a quick look at the features it has. Yes, just by casually checking out the features in dehumidifier reviews I can tell if a unit is worth buying or not. Information that I am now going to share with you today. Below you will find a list of features that can be found on some of the best units on the market today. Find a unit that has the majority of these features, and you will most likely find out it is one of the best.
40-70 Pint Capacity
I have found that the best capacity for most homes is around the 40-70 pint capacity range. That’s big enough to deal with most humidity problems that can be found in the home. Of course, if the dehumidifier is going to be used in an industrial or commercial capacity, then this pint range would be too low. But for the average home it is perfect.
If your dehumidifier uses a reservoir collection system, then you are going to want to make sure that it has an automatic shutoff system as well. All this feature does is turn off the unit when the reservoir capacity has been reached. This not only protects the unit but also keeps it from making a big mess.
While I don’t have any particular aversion to manual control systems on a dehumidifier, I do think that electronic controls are the way to go. Not only do they make the machine easier to use, but they often allow you to to zero in on your preferred humidity range a lot better.
A humidistat is another feature found on the more popular dehumidifiers. This features shuts off the machine when the preferred humidity level is reached and turns it back on when the humidity is beginning to get high again.
If you’ve ever had to move one of the bigger dehumidifiers around the house, then you know why this feature made this list. Having caster wheels on the device just makes it that much easier to move it from room to room. Which is a big plus if you have multiple rooms in your house with humidity problems and need to service these rooms in sequence.
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)
- Continuous Drainage Or Reservoir Storage
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.
As you have been looking over the many different models of dehumidifiers on the market and pouring over dehumidifier reviews, a question may have bubbled up in your mind. “How does a dehumidifier actually work?” If it did, then you are going to love my little article today. That’s because I am going to tell you everything you wanted to know about dehumidifiers but were afraid to ask. That’s right. Today, we are going to cover the basics of how your dehumidifier does what it does.
Before we can discuss the basic operating principles of a dehumidifier however, we need to first see what its main components are. So without further ado, let’s examine what’s underneath that ambiguous plastic case of your dehumidifier:
Basic Dehumidifier Parts
Fan Compressor: This part of the dehumidifier compresses and expands a gas that is very similar to Freon.
Compressor Cooling Coils: This is where the air cools.
Reheater: This collects the heat that is expelled during the cooling process so it can be used to reheat the expelled air.
Reservoir: This collects the condensation from the cooling coils.
How Do These Parts Work Together
Now that we know the actual components of the best dehumidifier, it is time to see how these parts work in concert to wring the moisture out of your air. The process is much simpler than you probably imagined. Here are the actual steps:
- A fan moves the air from the surrounding room and pulls it deep inside the dehumidifier.
- The air then passes over the compressor cooling coils.
- The coils lower the temperature of the air so that the moisture in it is turned from steam into water (a process known as condensation).
- The water remains on the coils and gets heavier as more water is added. This in turn causes it to drip into the reservoir of the dehumidifier.
- The heat captured by this conversion is released from the reheater back into the air.
- The drier air is then expelled from the system.
That are the basic parts of your typical dehumidifier. That explains the whole process as it happens. However, it might not explain everything your dehumidifier does under that plastic case. Most humidifiers have additional features that may make their operation a little more complex.
For instance, most dehumidifiers have a device in them called a humidistat. This is the part of the machine that senses how much humidity is in the air to determine if it should shut off or keep running. A humidistat is composed of two parts. A sensing element and a relay amplifier. These two parts are pretty complex, but here is the basics of how they work. Changes in the amount of moisture in the air passing over the sensing element will cause electrical resistance to form between two metal strips in the sensor. When the resistance is just the right amount, then the relay amplifier will then activate and either turn the unit on or turn it off. And that is truly everything you need to know about your dehumidifier.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.