Dehumidifier buying guide
How to buy a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air inside a home or commercial space. This helps to reduce odors and inhibit mold and mildew growth, which can damage furniture, electronics, books, documents and photographs. When you are learning how to buy a dehumidifier, there are a few basic features and options that you should consider. This dehumidifier buying guide will help you determine the best dehumidifier to buy for your needs.
>> Dehumidifier placement
One of the most important factors in deciding which dehumidifier to buy is determining where the dehumidifier will be used. In many buildings, dehumidifiers are typically placed in areas such as crawl spaces, basements, kitchens, bedrooms, pool rooms, spas, workshops and warehouses. Knowing where the dehumidifier will be used will help determine which type of dehumidifier to purchase.
>> Types of dehumidifiers
When learning how to buy a dehumidifier, you'll have a large selection, ranging from smaller, portable units, to whole-house machines to larger, commercial systems. Which dehumidifier to buy depends on both the size of the space and the amount of humidity/dampness in the air and in the structure itself. A large-capacity model can remove moisture effectively and quickly in larger, wetter areas such as an unsealed basement. A medium-capacity model will suffice in a smaller space more. If a building already has air conditioners and heaters installed, a small or medium capacity dehumidifier is usually all that is needed for most areas, since the air conditioner also helps keep the humidity level low.
There are two main types of dehumidifiers:
The desiccant models use a moisture-absorbing material to remove the excess moisture from the air. This process involves allowing the substance to be exposed to air with high humidity. Desiccant units don't have compressors, and they work well in areas that have low humidity levels and low temperatures. Desiccant dehumidifiers are quite inexpensive and effective when used in situations with light humidity.
More common, though, is the mechanical type of dehumidifier, and many models are similar to air conditioners, containing both a hot and a cold coil. When the fan pulls air over the cold coil, the excess moisture is collected in a reservoir. The dry air is then passed over a hot coil to increase its temperature. Mechanical dehumidifiers are best used in areas with moderate to high levels of humidity.
>> Dehumidifier size
Size is extremely important when you are learning how to buy a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers come in a variety of different sizes, from small, portable units, to larger whole-house units. The following dehumidifier comparison chart shows the different dehumidifier sizes and what situations they are best suited for.
Size of Dehumidifier
Most Suitable For
|Portable ||Very small rooms that are damp but not wet |
|Small ||Small rooms that are damp but not wet |
|Medium ||Medium to large rooms that are damp or wet |
|Large ||Large rooms or multiple rooms that are wet |
|Whole-house ||Entire houses or large spaces that are wet or have high humidity levels |
>> Dehumidifier capacity
Related to dehumidifier size is its capacity, the amount of water that a model can remove in a day. The usual measurements are pints per day. The following chart is a dehumidifier comparison that shows the normal capacity range of the most common dehumidifier sizes.
25-35 pints a day
40-50 pints a day
65-75 pints a day
90-140 pints a day
Most homeowners who purchase a dehumidifier choose large, 70-pint dehumidifiers as they are able to efficiently remove excess moisture from most rooms. When comparing dehumidifiers, remember that a smaller water collection bucket will mean that it will need to be emptied more often.
>> Energy efficiency
As you shop dehumidifiers, consider the energy efficiency of the unit. Models with Energy Star are typically 10-20% more efficient than models without the seal. But since dehumidifiers do use electricity, be prepared to trade a somewhat higher utility bill for the added comfort and health benefits of a dehumidifier.
>> Care and maintenance
Remember to consider care and maintenance requirements when you research how to buy a dehumidifier. They are usually low-maintenance items, once you've set them up correctly. In order to keep the unit working efficiently, however, you must empty the water collection container regularly. Also, every few months, clean the container with soap and water or disinfectant to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Additionally, you'll need to change the disposable air filters every six months, and clean the permanent filters at the same time. Before you store the unit for more than a few weeks, first drain it completely, and then clean and dry it.
Both home and business owners can reduce illness and protect their buildings and property by keeping humidity at consistent, healthy levels. When used and maintained correctly, the right dehumidifier can work efficiently and improve air quality for a number of years.