Portable Vs. Whole Home Dehumidifiers

If you’ve been looking over dehumidifier reviews and are having some difficulty deciding on whether you need a portable unit or a whole house system, then you can relax a little bit. While I know that trying to make a decision like that can be frustrating, I have shown up here today to give you the information that you need to effortlessly answer that question.

Deciding on a portable or whole-house system really depends on your particular needs. Some people are better off buying a portable system, and others are better off buying a whole-house system. It really comes down to answering a few basic questions about how you intend on using the dehumidifier.

Portable Dehumidifiers

If there is only room in your home that needs dehumidifying, then you clearly only need a portable unit. However, as the size of the area you need dehumidified grows, the larger a dehumidifier you will need to buy. Of course, there are large portable models that have 30 pint capacities or more, but these units tend to be bulky and hard to move from one location to another.

Another thing to consider before you buy a portable unit is how you are going to dispose of the water from the system. The water from the tank has to either be emptied on a regular basis or fed down a floor drain (if you unit supports this option).

Whole Home Systems

If you live in an area where humidity is a problem all year long and not just in the summer, or if you find yourself having to use a bunch of different dehumidifiers all over your home, then you might have to purchase a whole home system. After all, even the best dehumidifier won’t dehumidify an entire house alone.

Whole home systems have their pros and cons though. Let’s start off with the positives first. One, drainage is never a problem with these systems because they usually empty right into your basement’s floor drain. And two, they can dehumidify an entire house and do it in a more energy efficient manner than using a bunch of portable units.

Now let’s tackle the negative aspects of installing a whole home system. First, they are fairly expensive. You can count on spending around $3,000 dollars, maybe even more on a good unit. Two, they have to use the existing duct work in your home—which may be a problem for people without a central heating system.

As you can see, there are really only a few variables to consider between a portable and a whole home system. If you take these variables into consideration, then you will end up with the best dehumidifying solution for your home.

How To Buy A Dehumidifier – Part Two

In the first part of our dehumidifier buying guide, we started you out some of the basic things you need to figure out before you start checking out dehumidifier reviews and spend good money on a unit. We showed you how to figure out humidity level, air changes per hour (ACH) and how to calculate your room’s square footage. Now we are going to turn those figures into a formula that will tell you exactly what size unit you need to buy.

Calculate Your Room’s Cubic Feet

Measure the height of your room, from floor to ceiling. Now take the square footage of your room and multiple it by the height of the room to get your room’s cubic footage. For example, if your square footage is 80 feet and the height of your room is 8 feet, then your cubic footage is 640 cubic feet.

Determine Your CFM

Your CFM is the amount of airflow in cubic feet that you need in order to properly dehumidify your room. To determine this value, multiply the cubic footage of your room by the ACH and then divide by 60. For example, if your room is 640 cubic feet and your ACH is a 5, then multiply 640 by 5 and then divide by 60 (640×5=3200/60=53.3 cubic feet per minute) to get your CFM.

Determine How Much Moisture You Need To Extract From Your Room

How many pints of water you need to extract from your room depends on your ACH and your square footage. Use the guide below to determine how many pints of water you need your dehumidifier to extract from your room each day:

  • ACH 6: 16 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 7 pints
  • ACH 5: 14 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 6 pints
  • ACH 4: 12 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 5 pints
  • ACH 3: 10 pints per 500 square footage. For each additional 500 square feet add an additional 4 pints

For example, if you have a room that is 500 square feet and you have an ACH of 6, then you need a machine that extracts 16 pints of water per day. However, if the room is 1000 square feet with an ACH of 6, then you need it to extract 23 pints per day.

Buy A Dehumidifier According To Your Specs

Now you need to find a dehumidifier that supports both your CFM requirements as well as your pints per day requirements. Make sure you read the specs of the dehumidifier you are thinking of buying to make sure that it fits your needs. However, there are a few other things you might need to consider before buying your unit. One, if your CFM requirements are much higher than any dehumidifier on the market, then you will probably have to buy multiple units to properly dehumidify your room. Two, if you CFM falls between the ranges of two different models, then you might want to buy a unit with a higher CFM and just run it less often.

This concludes our two-part article on buying a dehumidifier. I know that it might seem like there are a lot of steps and that it might take a bit of time to determine ACH, CFM and pints per day, but trust me it is worth the effort. You don’t want to buy a unit that isn’t capable of dehumidifying your room properly, but you also don’t want to buy a bigger unit (or more units than you need). By taking the time to follow these steps, you can make sure you buy the best dehumidifier for your particular needs.

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.

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.

Troubleshooting Your Dehumidifier

It is a scenario that has happened to just about everyone at some point in time. You spend hours upon hours comparing different dehumidifiers and closely examining dehumidifier reviews until you find one that you like. You order it and it works great for the first year or so. Then without notice, your unit isn’t working the way it’s supposed to work. What will you do now? It’s almost enough to make you want to throw the unit against the nearest wall.

However, before you smash your dehumidifier in a moment of blind fury, you take a few moments to see if the unit is actually defective or if there is a simpler—and cheaper—explanation for why your dehumidifier is doing what it’s doing. While there are definitely some problems that require the assistance of a professional, or at the very least require you to return the unit for a refund, I have found that many problems can be fixed quickly and easily. All you have to know is what you’re looking for to fix the problem.

Today, I am going to go over a few of the most common problems that can easily be fixed by just about anyone. I am going to show you how to spot these problems and troubleshoot them, so that your best dehumidifier doesn’t become the next occupant of the city dump.

Dehumidifier Shuts Off Without Lowering Humidity

Believe it or not, this is one of the most frequent dehumidifier problems. And it is also the easiest one to fix. Usually when this happens you simply need to adjust the humidistat to a lower setting. That usually fixes the problem.

Dehumidifier Runs But Doesn’t Fill The Tank

If you dehumidifier is constantly running but no water is being put into the reservoir, then you might want to try cleaning the unit, filters and all. If that doesn’t solve the problem, however, then you might need to take it to a professional because it might have a problem with the refrigeration system.

Dehumidifier Stops Running

If the light on your unit is on but the unit isn’t running, then you might need to empty the reservoir tank. Some units automatically shut off when this tank gets filled. If the tank isn’t full, then check the position of it to make sure that the shut off switch hasn’t been accidentally set off by the position of the unit and/or its tank.

Coils Are Frosting Over

If frost is beginning to form on your condenser coils, then you might want to make sure the room temperature of your room is high enough to allow proper operation of your unit. If this happens, then either increase the temperature of the room or unplug the dehumidifier and allow it to defrost.

That concludes our little article on troubleshooting your dehumidifier. Hopefully this article has helped you solve some of the more common problems. However, if the solution to your problem can’t be found in the above solutions, then you might have to take your unit to a repair shop to have it fixed.

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.

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.

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.

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.