Some people believe that the best dehumidifier for them is a whole-house unit. While that might be the case in some circumstances, it isn’t true all of the time. Not only are whole-house units expensive and time consuming to install, but they also require that your home has the right duct work for it to be installed in the first place. In my experience, I have found that the most cost-effective and easiest solution for most households is a portable dehumidifier.
Before you shop for a portable dehumidifier however, it’s important to know what you need to look for in one of these units. Which is the purpose of this guide today. In this guide, we are going to show you the benefits that portable units provide over whole-house units, things to consider while installing one of these units, as well as the best portable dehumidifier features. After we have covered those things, you will have the knowledge you need to look over dehumidifier reviews and make an informed buying decision.
Portable Versus Whole Home Dehumidifiers
What makes a portable unit the preferred option for most people in most situations is its cost. Portable units are a fraction of the cost of whole-house units. However, that isn’t the only reason portable units can be superior to whole-house units in most situations. Another factor that needs to be considered is ease of installation. Portable units are simply easier to install.
Installation Options For Portable Units
One thing that really needs to be considered about a portable unit is where it needs to be installed. While these units can easily be moved from room to room, you want to make sure that you when you do place them in a particular location you are installing them correctly.
Most portable units have reservoirs that capture water pulled from the air, and on these units you have to make sure you set them in a location convenient enough for you to accomplish this task. If the unit is hard to reach, then you probably won’t be emptying it as often as you should.
However, there are some units that have a continuous drainage system. With these units you have to make sure that there is an available drain for them to discharge water into. If you try to use these units without a proper drain, then you can cause flooding that may damage your floor or the unit itself.
Best Portable Dehumidifier Features
You should ensure that the portable unit you are thinking about buying has a few minimum features. Features that not only make it easier to operate but also ensure that it will run properly. Some of the features you need to consider for a portable unit include:
- Energy Star Rating
- Range Of Humidity Settings
- A Humidistat
- A Drain Connection Kit (if it’s a continuous drain system)
Finding a unit with all of the above features will ensure that you not only end up with a portable dehumidified that is convenient to use but one that is of the highest quality.
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.
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.
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:
- 90-100 percent humidity: Standing puddles of water in the room and/or the room is extremely wet.
- 80-90 percent humidity: Room smells and feels wet; it also has visible water or mildew stains.
- 70-80 percent humidity: No water stains but the room has a clear mold or mildew smell to it.
- 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:
- 90-100 percent humidity: ACH 6
- 80-90 percent humidity: ACH 5
- 70-80 percent humidity: ACH 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.