Many people use a dehumidifier in a basement, but I use it to prevent mildew in a Florida home. The humidity is nearly always high here, and mildew can form indoors in the winter when the A/C is not on. A dehumidifier this size does a pretty good job for the whole house if the central A/C fan is turned on to circulate air.
NOISE: I have read various opinions about the noise level. It is quite a bit louder with high fan speed than with low. The capacity and efficiency (see below) are about the same with either speed, so low speed is a good choice for occupied rooms.
My impression is that I definitely notice the noise, even on low fan speed, but it is not loud enough to disrupt conversation. The noise is mostly just from the flow of air, which is less annoying that the buzzing or rattling noises some dehumidifiers make.
CONTINUOUS DRAIN: Some people have reported problems with using a garden hose for continuous draining. I think the problem is that the narrow fittings in some hoses create a “dam” that makes the water back up and spill over into the bucket. I put a garden hose “Y” adapter on the back of the dehumidifier and connected the hose to the side pointing downward. It drains perfectly into the hose with this arrangement. I did not need the manufacturer’s drain modification kit.
The drain hose should have a continuous downward or horizontal slope. Otherwise bubbles can form in the hose and block the flow.
AUTO-RESTART: This model will restart automatically after a power failure, so it is suitable for use in an unoccupied home.
EFFICIENCY: Dehumidifiers use a lot of electricity. This model uses about 700 watts while it is running. In the continuous run mode, it will use 500 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per month, which typically costs around $55.00. Electricity use will be less in the normal mode with the unit cycling on and off as needed.
The Energy Star “Energy factor” rating for this model (from energystar.gov) is 1.8 liters per kWh. That means it will remove 1.8 liters of water from the air for each kilowatt-hour of electricity used. Higher numbers mean lower electricity costs. 1.8 is the lowest energy factor that will qualify for Energy Star approval and is fairly typical.
As an engineer, I have the necessary equipment to test the energy factor myself. I was able to confirm the published Energy factor. At 80 degrees F and 60% relative humidity, I measured these energy factors:
Low fan speed: Energy factor = 1.81
High fan speed: Energy factor = 1.88
CAPACITY: Capacity is a measure of how much moisture the dehumidifier can remove from the air per day. My measurements came close to the manufacturer’s rating. This model has about the same capacity on either low or high speed. At 80 degrees F and 60% relative humidity, I measured:
Low fan speed: Capacity = 65 pints per day
High fan speed: Capacity = 68 pints per day
HUMIDITY CONTROL: I think this is the weakest feature and the reason I did not give this model 5 stars. You can set the unit to maintain a relative humidity anywhere between 35% and 85%. 60% is usually adequate to prevent mildew. Setting it lower will just use more electricity.
Unfortunately, this model’s humidity sensor is apparently inside the case where it is affected by the wet cooling coils. This causes it to cycle on and off about every 10 minutes, even when the humidity in the room is lower than the point you set. After the fan shuts off, the dampness inside the case causes the unit to start again after 1 or 2 minutes. It then runs a few minutes, shuts off, and the cycle repeats. The constant on-off cycling wastes electricity and probably shortens the life of the dehumidifier, although these effects are hard to quantify.
My solution is to set the dehumidifier in the continuous run mode and use an external dehumidistat (Honeywell H46C from Home Depot) to turn its AC power on or off as required. This prevents the constant on-off cycling and allows the dehumidifier to run only when it is actually needed.
HEAT: Dehumidifiers put out a lot of heat. I definitely notice that it warms up the room.
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