How to Choose a Dehumidifier?

Top Ten Dehumidifier Questions

How do you choose your best dehumidifier? Our top ten questions you should consider for choosing the dehumidifier for your home or basement.

1. What are the dimensions of the area you wish to dehumidify?
The most important thing you need to determine is the size of the room or basement you will be dehumidifying. Remember to include the ceiling height in your measurements because you will be drying the entire space.  Dehumidifier manufacturers rate their machines by square footage based on an average 8 ft ceiling height. This makes it possible to incorrectly size your dehumidifier if you have something else.

For example: If you have a 1000 square ft space but with a 12 ft ceiling, 1000 square ft dehumidifier would not be enough. You would have to cover 12,000 cubic ft when it only covers 8000 cubic ft. It would be undersized by 4,000 cubic ft.

When thinking about the size of your area, be sure to include adjoining rooms or additional floors.

2. What area of the country are you in?
The part of the country you live in will dictate how much moisture will be in the outside air and will influence your dehumidification needs. For example, if you live in Florida, Texas, and the gulf regions of the United States you will find a need to dehumidify most of the year, especially in the fall, spring, and the summer. People living on the west coast will find the need to dehumidify mostly in the winter because this is the rainy season. Therefore, like any appliance you plan on purchasing how much you intend on using it will dictate how much you would want to spend and the quality you are looking for. For geographic areas where your dehumidifier may be running for 8 to 10 months during the year, consider a top rated model like the Fral FDK54 which is built to last.

Fral FDKY dehumidifier
Fral FDKY dehumidifier

 

3. Why is the air temperature in the room important?
This is an important factor from the standpoint of determining whether or not you will need a low temperature dehumidifier. Most dehumidifiers work fine when the air temperature is 68 degrees and higher. Once it gets down to 65 degrees and below it becomes more difficult to remove more moisture so a low temp basement dehumidifier will be needed.

 

4. What is the current humidity level in the home?
This is important to know to determine the severity of your moisture issues. Anything 60% or higher is considered a potential mold issue.

 

5. What is the desired humidity you would like to get down to?

White WhiteWing Defender Dehumidifier
WhiteWing Defender Dehumidifier

In most cases, if you are in need of a dehumidifier the humidity will be above 55% and the result will be the chance of mold, mildew, increase dust mite population, and possible damage to materials in your home. We like to recommend lowering the humidity to 50% to eliminate these potential hazards; however, every person has different comfort levels so some people prefer 40%, some 45%, and some 50%. The decision to be made is the cost versus comfort factor. The lower you set your humidistat on your dehumidifier the longer it will operate to maintain it. The only exception to this rule would be if one is protecting a musical instrument like a piano where it is recommended to maintain 45% humidity.

 

6. What area are you looking to dehumidify?
This is an important consideration due to the difference in the humidity and temperature of the air depending on the location. If you plan to run a dehumidifier in your bedroom, you will probably prefer a quiet operating unit. If you are looking to fit the dehumidifier into a small cramp area with perhaps a low ceiling, a crawl space dehumidifier needs to be powerful enough to remove the moisture, especially if the floor is a dirt floor and not sealed. If one is planning on running the dehumidifier in their basement, the tendency will be for the humidity to be higher and the air temperature to be lower.

 

Frigidaire FFAD7033R1 70 Pint Dehumidifier
Frigidaire 70 Pint Dehumidifier

7. What is the area mainly used for?
If you are storing tools you will want to make sure you keep the humidity at 50% or below. Some other material such as musical instruments would require further dehumidification demands to 45%. If you just want to prevent mold, mildew, and their musty odors in a basement, 50 to 55 percent humidity should be adequate. If the area is used for entertaining you will want to make sure it is dehumidified to maintain a comfortable environment for your company so 45 to 50 percent would be preferable.

 

8. How do you plan to dispose of the water?

Method 1: Empty the bucket

Stadler Form 45 pint Dehumidifier
Stadler Form Albert Dehumidifier

This is an important consideration because if you are dehumidifying a small room in your house where the door will be kept closed with the likelihood of removing no more than 10 to 15 pints of moisture per day planning to empty the container is realistic since you would not need to empty the bucket more than once a day or every other day. If you plan on emptying the container it is important to find out how large the bucket is, where it is located, is it easy to remove, is it easy to grip and carry, and how difficult is it to put back. The consideration becomes two-fold: how often will I need to empty the container and how heavy will it be when it is full. Also, one must remember that if the bucket is not emptied once it is full all dehumidification stops until it is emptied. Therefore, someone needs to be around the dehumidifier so they can monitor this and some models will beep to let you know it is full and/or have a visible light.

Method 2: Connect a hose and let it drain out continuously
The second method is continuous drainage, which simply is allowing the water that is pulled from the air to drain out through a hose. Most of the time this is a floor drain which works best since the water is flowing with gravity but this can be a sink and in most cases will require you to elevate the dehumidifier due to the sink location being 2 to 3 feet above the floor. The higher the location on the dehumidifier where the hose is connected the better since it will provide better gravity for the water flow to come out. Most models come with this option and you will find some are simpler to use than others. Some will provide the hose, some will not. Some will accommodate your typical garden hose and some will require a specific size plastic hose that slides over the opening and does not screw on. So, check out what is entailed in connecting the hose, does it come with the hose, and if it does not will I need to buy a specific size hose at my local hardware store or can I simply screw my garden hose onto the opening.

Method 3: Pump the water out

Friedrich 70 pint Low Temperature Dehumidifiers with Built-In Pump
Friedrich 70-Pint Low Temperature Dehumidifiers with Built-In Pump

The third and final method is to pump the water out. This is recommended if one determines that they will need to dispose of the water a significant distance from the unit or in a higher location like the next floor, up and out a window, or push it up into a sink. Some of the dehumidifiers like the Friedrich dehumidifiers will come with a built in pump which simplifies the entire process. Also provided is the drainage hose so all you have to do is connect the hose and turn on your dehumidifier. If it does not come with a pump you will need to place the continuous drainage hose into the reservoir of an external condensate pump that will sit next to it on the floor.

 

9. How noisy is the dehumidifier?
This is an important factor especially if one plans to operate it when people will be around like a bedroom, office, living room, etc. All dehumidifiers will have a fan that will make some noise but it is the compressor which will determine if it will be tolerable or not. Some compressors vibrate and create an uneven buzzing pitched noise which some people cannot tolerate.

 

10. Is it Energy Star Rated?
Most people who want to save on energy look for an Energy Star dehumidifier because they are afraid of energy costs skyrocketing. Keep in mind that just because a dehumidifier does not come with the energy star rating label does not necessarily mean that it is efficient. The important number is the number of pints that it removes per kilowatt of electricity used that determines how efficient it is. Remember, less wattage used per hour does not mean less electricity used in the long run if you will need to run it longer.