While most people prefer using air purifiers to improve the air quality of their home, very few know and understand the striking advantages of a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier’s purpose is to eliminate moisture, mold, and allergens from the air in a room. You can opt for a whole house dehumidifier or a single door, but portable dehumidifier.
According to studies, a dehumidifier is generally used where there is an increase in dampness and humidity levels. Causing unwanted mold growth, dust mites, and moist walls and floors. With the help of cold coils, a dehumidifier sucks in air and condenses out its moisture. The condensed air then passes through warmer coils and is circulated back out into the room. So a dehumidifier makes your room slightly warm, which means it’s working efficiently.
An at-home dehumidifier runs between 10 to 50 pints of water in 24 hours. It also removes the growth of dangerous allergens and chemicals from the air. And if you have wet clothing drying in the room, it can affect the quality of your bedclothes, rugs, and drapes. So having a dehumidifier by your side is essentially important. Don’t you think?
1. Determining The Proper Unit Size
The best indicator of the dehumidifier size is the coverage area of the room it’s going to be kept in. Most of the times, dehumidifiers cover the average area of a basement which then includes the area covered by closets, stairways, and other hidden crawlspaces. The measurement is taken in square feet, which is the ideal way of determining the size of any room.
It’s possible to find a dehumidifier that works for the entire basement. You can even opt for a single, double, or triple dehumidifier if you want more power and effectiveness. If you prefer a humidifier for a smaller room coverage, you can add a modern dehumidifier for each room with moisture absorption features.
You should also know that some dehumidifier manufacturers use cubic feet, as the primary unit of measurement, instead of square feet. But it isn’t a steadfast rule, to begin with.
The two main factors to take into consideration when concluding the right unit size for a dehumidifier is the size and the moisture levels of the room. That said, a good dehumidifier is also determined by the amount of water (pints of water) it eliminates or dehumidifies from the air in 24 hours.
According to the Department of Energy, consumers purchase portable dehumidifiers to eliminate humidity from the air is rooms less than 2,500 square feet. This is because a portable dehumidifier can be moved from room to room based on each room’s excessive moisture levels. (1)
It’s good to opt for higher capacity dehumidifiers for better elimination of moisture levels. Smaller units, however, work for studio apartments. But they are also unable to handle moisture control from damp clothes or dishwashers, unlike higher capacity dehumidifiers.
If you need assistance figuring out the right dehumidifier size for your home, this handy tool is the best in town for calculating the proper size of a dehumidifier.
2. Dampness Level Of The Room
Dehumidifiers differentiate according to their function of removing a certain amount of dampness in 24 hours. Based on the dampness level of a room and its size can you hit the right spot. There are 4 common dampness levels to take into consideration when choosing a dehumidifier.
They are moderately damp, very damp, wet, and extremely wet. A dehumidifier with a higher capacity removes more moisture in less time than a smaller unit.
According to a report, a 30-pint capacity dehumidifier takes an average time of 30 to 34 minutes to remove 90 to 40% of dampness from a room. Similarly, a 50-pint capacity unit takes an average time of 15 to 17 minutes to remove the same amount of dampness from a room. A 70-pint capacity unit takes an average time of 10 to 12 minutes to remove 90 to 40% of dampness from a room. (2)
A damp room is generally only affected due to a humid weather. Such rooms require 30 pints of capacity from a dehumidifier. A very damp room means it has a musty odor with visible damp spots on the walls and floors, especially around the corners. Such a room requires 45 to 50 pints of capacity. Lastly, a wet room requires at least 70 pints of capacity. (3)
If your current dehumidifier doesn’t allow such measurements, it’s time to invest into a unit that does. Many dehumidifiers come with built-in hygrometers which display the humidity/dampness level of a room. Coupled with that, an adjustable humidistat will allow you to adjust the relative humidity level based on the moisture level.
3. Considering Various Water Removal Options
Different models of dehumidifiers come with different water removal options. For example, some make use of plastic baskets that are removable. Once the basket is full, a clear warning sign will be displayed on each unit. More importantly, to avoid overflowing, most dehumidifier come with automatic shut-off features when the bucket is completely full.
More advanced water removal options are connecting the dehumidifier to a hose which directly leads to a drain or sump pump. In such a scenario, there is no need for emptying the plastic bucket each time it gets full.
The internal bucket of any dehumidifier must have a direct drain feature, if you’re installing a unit in the basement. It then allows continuous operation at floor-level without demanding regular maintenance. You can even opt for an internal pump feature which vertically pumps the water up to the sink for proper drainage.
Here are the 3 main methods of disposing the water from a dehumidifier:
Manually emptying the water from a removable plastic bucket works when you are in a smaller apartment. It’s the best water removal option for not more than 20 pints of moisture in a day. Ensure the plastic bucket provided with the dehumidifier is easy to hold, has better grip, and lightweight. If the plastic bucket isn’t easy to put back, it isn’t right.
Connecting a hose to the dehumidifier’s bucket and draining the water out is a good alternative for continuous draining. Floor drains work best for such kind of a water removal method. You might have to elevate the dehumidifier 2 to 3 feet away from the ground for gravity to do its job. This way the way will floor efficiently through the pipe and toward the drain.
Pumping the water
If you have a significant amount of pints to exhaust in 24 hours, then using this method is essential. It also helps when the dehumidifier is kept a larger distance away from the drain or the drain is at a higher location than the dehumidifier. Some units provide a durable built-in pump, while some need to be purchased separately.
4. Is It Energy Efficient?
Dehumidifiers carry striking energy efficient features, most preferably with the Energy Star label, for performance. The energy performance of a good dehumidifier will save you money as they use less electricity to remove pints of water.
If your dehumidifier doesn’t come with an Energy Star rating, it isn’t a reliable make. But why Energy Star rating? That’s because Energy Star is the most certified rating there is which is also accepted by industrial and commercial manufacturers. So you will want to look forward to this value when choosing a dehumidifier.
Without energy efficiency, research suggests the dehumidifiers exhaust more electricity than a fan. So if you buy a dehumidifier with a high wattage rating, but it efficiently removes a certain amount of water per kilowatt of electricity, which favors power saving standards, then that unit is energy efficient.
It’s important to remember that low power wattage is not a definite indicator of less electrical use. Especially when used for the long run. There are other clear factors to take into consideration, like the one mentioned above, that determine how energy efficient a dehumidifier is.
According to a study, a dehumidifier without an Energy Star rating exhausts twice as much energy or kWh than a dehumidifier with Energy Star rating. (4)
Other factors such as the size of the room, operating costs, and unit ventilation play a role in determining the efficiency of a dehumidifier. For example, buying a higher capacity dehumidifier for a small room is clearly an overkill. You will be investing an exorbitant amount when you can cut back to a lower capacity unit that’s perfect for your room.
Similarly, if the ambient temperature of a room is less damp, that might also affect the performance level of a higher-capacity dehumidifier. (5)
All this, and much more, weighs in when you want to opt for energy efficiency on performance for the long run.
5. Don’t Forget About The Noise Level
Is there such a thing as the quietest dehumidifier? You should be able to determine the noise level of a dehumidifier based on its placement. You should know that most dehumidifiers come with an internal ventilation fan that curbs compressor noise. The compressor is the only part which is most likely to produce sound while the dehumidifier is operating.
The location of the dehumidifier fan is often found in front of the unit. But this placement may vary depending on the dehumidifier size and style.
On The Top
If the exhaust fan is located at the top of the dehumidifier, then the noise emitted from the compressor is directed toward the unit’s sound meter location. This results in a more noticeable noise in panel tests. So opting for a dehumidifier that has the fan located at the top of the unit is a bad idea.
At The Sides
If the exhaust fan is located at the side, then the noise is carried away from the sound meter; resulting in less noticeable noise. So units with fans at the side produce less noise than units with fans at the top. The distance varies in terms of placement and setting.
Another way to determine the noise level of a dehumidifier is with the help of dB(A) levels. Based on the energy usage of a dehumidifier can you also determine the correct noise level for long-term use. A more energy efficient dehumidifier runs at lower speeds to lower humidity levels, which affects not only your energy costs.
Look out for rattling noises, vibration, or buzzing when checking the noise level of your new dehumidifier. Most people cannot tolerate such noises, especially when the unit is located in the living room or bedroom. Also, maintaining distance between two appliances also plays a major role in reducing noise. Make sure the dehumidifier is kept a certain distance away from furniture, appliances, etc. to reduce heat buildup and noise. (6)
6. Looking For A Hygrometer
You can look for a dehumidifier with a built-in hygrometer to monitor your room’s humidity level. This has many advantages as it reduces mold growth, eliminates dust mites, and makes your home an allergen-free space.
Most manufacturers build units with a hygrometer in it. If so you can read the accurate humidity value of your room on the dehumidifier’s control panel. With a hygrometer, your dehumidifier can match up to the room’s desired humidity level more accurately and efficiently.
The standard measurement value for hygrometers is displayed in percentage increments. While most dehumidifiers measure the humidity level of a room in 1% increments, some do it in 5% increments. Which do you think is the most accurate? That’s right! The most accurate way of measuring the humidity level of a room for a dehumidifier is in 1% increments.
For example, if you set your dehumidifier to 50% relative humidity (RH), your dehumidifier will immediately shut-off as soon as that value is met. Now let’s assume you set your RH to 50%. A dehumidifier with 5% RH increments reads humidity levels 5% below the actual humidity level. This means you dehumidifier will shut-off precisely when it reaches 55% RH and not 50% which is your desired humidity level.
Hence, opting for 1% increments in humidity levels is important for maintaining hygrometer accuracy in a dehumidifier.
Another important aspect of controlling humidity is the availability of a humidistat. A hygrometer will not function properly and accurately without a humidistat. A humidistat is a control device built in dehumidifiers, or sold separately, that control the RH that’s removed from a particular room. It can even control the RH that’s removed, but directly into the room.
It controls the amount of moisture present in a room. And as you all know, too moisture in a room is just as bad and harmful as too less moisture. This can be controlled with the help of a built-in humidistat.
To put into simple words, the function of a hygrometer is to get the humidity levels to a desired level in a room. And the function of a humidistat is to control the amount of humidity in a room. (7,8)
7. Placement Is Important Too
Where you place your dehumidifier has a significant impact on its performance and durability. If your dehumidifier comes with an efficient top-mount air discharge, placing it up against the wall is not problem. But, if it has the air discharge vents at the side, make sure the unit is kept a few feet away from the walls. This also includes furniture and any other electrical or non-electrical appliance.
It’s important that there is continuous air circulation between the dehumidifier’s compressor and the environment. This results in better performance and increased durability of the product.
A dehumidifier removes humidity and moisture from the air around it. Which also depends that the doors and windows remain shut when the dehumidifier is running. In failing to do so, it can result in lack of energy efficiency and accuracy is getting rid of moisture or excessive dampness from a room.
If you have wood furniture in the same room as your dehumidifier, keeping it far and away from it as possible is critical. This reduces the collection of dust and debris close to the air discharge vent of the dehumidifier. Dust and debris is common clogging agents for coils and grills. They can potentially damage the continuous dehumidifying action of the compressor and air circulation of the vents.
Lastly, make sure the water removable system of the dehumidifier is kept away from the electrical circuit. If you’re connecting a hose or pump to the back of the plastic bucket, ensure it’s not close to any cord or electrical device.
8. Do You Want Extra Features?
Features such as automatic shut-off, portable wheels, washable filters, and defrost settings are also up for grabs! But at a slightly higher cost than standard dehumidifiers. Some models have features that protect the device from dust, while certain features protect the unit from overflow in case the plastic bucket is full.
This also includes design comforts such as the portable wheels for better mobility. It’s important that your dehumidifier comes with casters so you can move it from room to room. Unless you’re opting for a stand-alone unit for your basement, as a whole-house dehumidifier, mobility is important.
The same applies to overflow protection with the help of an automatic shut-off valve. Some models offer a clear indicator light on the control panel to notify you as soon as the bucket is full. While some create a slight buzzing noise when the bucket is a few pints away from overflowing.
Washable filters are filters that keep dust and debris away from the important parts of the unit. You can removable the filters, as you would an air conditioner’s, wash them with water or gently wipe down with a cloth. This you can carry out at least twice a month for better performance. Replacing extremely dirt and clogged filters can increase the shelf life of a product.
Having defrost features built in your dehumidifier can spare you the expense of dealing with iced coils. That is if you live in lower temperatures all year round. You can set a specific lower temperature to control with the help of the dehumidifier’s heat exchange coils. An energy efficient dehumidifier defrosts over a certain indoor temperature, generally below 45 to 40 degrees. So you do not have to replace a damaged unit once every few months.
Dehumidifiers do not require as much maintenance and care as humidifiers. But you need to service or replaced damaged parts as and when necessary to keep the unit functioning properly. According to research, dehumidifiers run for longer than a year before needing any maintenance at all, unlike humidifiers.
Inspecting the power cords, air discharge vents, power button, filters, and the dehumidifier’s coils regularly can increase the product’s shelf life. This covers up the dehumidifier’s annual maintenance routine.
If you’re looking for more customized performance from your dehumidifier, you can opt for a heat pump, chemical absorbent, or dehumidifying ventilator. All these perform specific functions with increased energy efficiency for your home.
For example, a heat pump dehumidifier eliminates moisture from the air using heat. A chemical absorbent unit works best for summer season as it uses a desiccant or a chemical drying agent to absorb moisture from the air. The only drawback to this dehumidifier is that it lacks energy efficient features. And a dehumidifying ventilator comes with a sensor controller that makes use of an exhaust fan to draw outside air into the room. They’re good for depressurizing rooms and are often best used in basements.
Moving forward, the next important aspect of taking care of a dehumidifier is storing one. Most people use a dehumidifier during the summer and spring season. That’s when the humidity level gets the highest. About storing the unit during other seasons, simply clean the dehumidifier, wash the filters and coils, empty out the bucket, and unclog any debris or dust from the air discharge vents. Once this is done, your dehumidifier is ready for months of storage. (9)