Dehumidifiers Buying Guide

  • Getting Started

  • Humid indoor air can cause damage to your home and furnishings and also promote the growth of mold and dust mites. Purchasing a quality dehumidifier can erase those issues. Controlling humidity levels is important because too much moisture in the air can cause health problems like allergies and asthma to worsen. Purchasing a quality dehumidifier is a smart way to solve all of these problems.

  • Why Purchase A Dehumidifier?

  • Healthy living does not mix with mold and mildew. These spores are truly harmful to humans on many levels. When allowed to thrive in moist conditions, these little organisms can harm our health in tiny ways as well as major ways over time. Humidity levels below 50 percent make it impossible for mold to grow. That's where dehumidifiers come into play. These appliances fight mildew and mold by keeping the air drier. This is great for many areas of the home, including wetter spots like crawls spaces.

    High humidity can greatly increase common household allergy triggers like dust mites, mold spores, and airborne bacteria. By drying out the air with a dehumidifier, these triggers can’t make you miserable anymore.

    Unless you have an affinity for cockroaches and spiders, you need to dry out damp spaces in your home. Dehumidifiers help keep the pests out that love moist environments to grow their own little communities.

    Besides inviting pests like silverfish, moisture can cause damage to your very home by rotting out the wood structures. So as you can see, moisture and dampness are pests in and of themselves. Dehumidifiers are a super safe "pest control" that protects you and your house by balancing the humidity level.

  • How They Work

  • Dehumidifiers work a lot like air conditioners. Warmer, moist air comes through the dehumidifier and then crosses cooled coils. This process causes the moisture in the air to condense on the coils, thus the moisture is pulled from the air by lowering the temperature.

  • Ideal Spots for Your Dehumidifier

  • •  Basements
    •  Crawl spaces insert photo here

    •  Kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms
    •  Garages / workshops
    •  Spa / indoor pool areas
    •  Water-damaged areas

  • Budget

  • As always, you need to determine a solid budget for buying any new appliance. Prices for dehumidifiers range from $200 to over $1,000. You want a quality product worth your money, but you obviously don’t want to spend more than you need to.

  • What Size is Best for You?

  • Getting the right size dehumidifier is key to getting results. Smaller units running constantly may not get the job done of a large unit that runs just a quarter of that time. Capacity is usually measured in pints of moisture removed. So you have to calculate the square footage of the problem space along with the specs listed on the dehumidifier you're checking out.

        •  Large capacity dehumidifiers are generally used for rooms 500-1,000 square feet. For large, moist areas, buy the largest capacity model you can afford. If not, you will only be returning a unit that isn’t up to the job.

        •  Medium capacity units should match similar spaces inside the home. Medium units for medium rooms or areas. These models can remove 45 to 50 pints of moisture a day.

        •  Small capacity dehumidifiers are capable of up to about 25 to 40 pints of moisture every day. These can dehumidify small, damp spaces that aren’t super moist, and they are typically one of the cheapest options.

        •  Portable humidifiers are the go-to models for most users. They are mobile so they can adapt to needs quickly. You could use these units in the common living room in day time and move it to the bedroom at night for more comfortable sleeping.

        •  Whole house dehumidifiers are offered as portable units or add-ons to your existing central heating and air conditioning system. Manufacturers claim they can take care of an area up to 3,000 square feet. Even though the initial cost of buying one of these units is higher, they allow you to run your air conditioner much less. They are fixed units, so call a pro installer unless you are a DIY pro of sorts. There are also some accessories that aren’t connected to the main system.

  • Three Types of Dehumidifiers

  • There are three types of home dehumidifiers: heat pump dehumidifiers, chemical absorbent dehumidifiers, and dehumidifying ventilators.

        •  Heat pump dehumidifiers take water from the air by using a heat pump, much like an air conditioner pump. First, a fan sucks the indoor air across a very cold coil, which then causes the moisture to condense. The droplets drip into a bucket inside the unit or can be pumped to a drain through a hose. The dry air is then warmed by a second, heated coil and exhausted at room temperature. They are a little costly but they’re considered the most effective.

        •  Chemical absorbent (desiccant) dehumidifiers are most effective in warm climates. They use a chemical drying agent, or desiccant, on a heat exchange wheel to absorb H2O. Damp air is sent outdoors through the vents. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a lot of energy and are more commonly used by industries than homeowners.

    •  Dehumidifying ventilators use sensors along with an exhaust fan. The sensor turns the unit on as needed so the humidity is controlled with no effort from the homeowner. These units are not suited for hot climates since they pull in air from the outside to work their humidity balancing act. No one wants hot air added to the home when other type units don't have this issue.

  • Features

  • Quiet operation gets rid of  that awful, annoying sound which comes from the unit if it’s in a common area or close to where you sleep. Another plus of this feature is that they save on energy costs.

    Internal pumps automatically pump water vertically to a water basin for continuous operation.

    Mobility is a large factor when it comes to your new dehumidifier. Really try to find one with casters so it can be rolled around the house. Having a long power plug allows you to place the unit wherever you want/need.

    Direct drains offer continuous operation with a gravity feed to a floor-level drain, so you never have a bucket to empty.

    Filter indicators alert when the air filter needs to be cleaned.

    Energy efficient dehumidifiers that carry the Energy Star label will save you a lot of cash.

    An auto humidistat can sense moisture level in the air around the unit and will automatically shut the unit off to save energy once the proper humidity level is reached.

    Low temperature settings allow units to keep trucking in temperatures as low as 41°F.

    Auto-defrost prevents units from freezing in conditions below 65°F.

    Auto reset will restart the unit to its previous setting if power is lost due to a storm or other electrical issue.

    Electronic controls let you select a basic humidity level—normal, dry, very dry.

    Digital controls let you program a specific humidity level with percentage points. This is easier to understand than maybe a basic setting for some users.

  • Water Capacity & Water Removal

  • Water Capacity
    Some dehumidifiers have larger tubs or drip pans which don’t need to be emptied nearly as often. Because this is a lot more convenient for you, the cost will be a little higher. Generally, the more water a dehumidifier can extract and hold, the higher the price tag. Shop around because prices can vary. Dehumidifiers with front-loading buckets are easiest to empty. Most portable dehumidifiers are equipped to be self-draining, and come with a drain-hose connection. This set up requires some planning as to where the water will be drained to. Some dehumidifiers use evaporation technology, so no drain hose is necessary. insert photo here

    Water Removal
    The unit will collect a large amount of water in very damp or even wet conditions, so the internal bucket will need to be emptied on a regular basis. Most units offer a direct drain feature which doesn’t require the bucket to be emptied but it requires a floor-level water drain. It is possible to avoid regular emptying of an internal bucket even without access to a floor-level drain, by buying a unit with an internal pump feature that can pump water vertically up to a sink.

  • Brands

  • The major brands of dehumidifiers are Kenmore, LG, Whirlpool, GE, and Haier. These all offer a number of great options with wide price ranges.

  • Summary

  • Buying a humidifier is a great investment for your home, saving you money in the long run. Dehumidifiers are available as large or small units like many appliances. Options for moisture amounts the machine can remove are also a consideration, as well as some fancy high tech features. With careful consideration and a well thought out budget, there’s no reason you can’t buy a humidifier perfect for you.