Humidifiers and Dehumidifiers

Buy a Dehumidifier

Look for cost, efficiency and coverage

The first thing you'll have to decide is how much space you need the dehumidifier to cover and how much money you're willing to spend to do it. It goes without saying that the bigger the unit, the more it will cost upfront and to run it in the future.

Sizing up dehumidifiers

Dehumidifier capacity is measured in pints of water taken out of the air every 24 hours and is determined by the size of the space needing dehumidification and the conditions in the space before dehumidification. Many manufacturers calculate capacity according to what the dehumidifier would be capable of in a room 80 degrees farenheit with 60 percent relative humidity. Remember that the amount of water a dehumidifier will take out of the air will change as the room gets colder or warmer and as the humidity level drops or rises.

Buying a bigger dehumidifier than needed can cut down on running time since it will remove moisture more quickly.

The following is a guide to sizing up your dehumidifier needs:

Room Conditions

500 sq. feet

1,000 sq. feet

1,500 sq. feet

2,000 sq. feet

2,500 sq. feet

Very Wet - wet floor, high load conditions, laundry drying

16 pints

23 pints

30 pints

37 pints

44 pints

Wet - feels and smells wet, sweat on walls / floors, seepage

14 pints

20 pints

26 pints

32 pints

38 pints

Very Damp - musty smell, feels damp, spots on walls or floors

12 pints

17 pints

22 pints

27 pints

32 pints

Fairly Damp - musty smell when humid, feels damp

10 pints

14 pints

18 pints

22 pints

26 pints

Table information from the Association of Appliance Manufacturers

Price points

A good home or basement dehumidifier can run around $200 to $300, and whole-house-capable models can set you back close to $2,000. Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers top the charts at almost $6,500.

The energy factor

Energy is also a cost consideration. The energy efficiency of dehumidifiers is measured by their "energy factor": the pints or liters of water removed per kilowatt-hour of operation (pt/kWh or L/kWh). Generally, the higher the energy factor, the more efficient the dehumidifier.

Air temperature

If the dehumidifier will be located in an area where the temperature dips below 65 F, it's important to have a product that's meant to operate in lower temperatures. Frost forming on condensing coils can stop a dehumidifier from doing its job. Some come equipped with sensors to turn off if the temperature goes below a certain point.

Other considerations, for peace of mind and a comfortable atmosphere, include the extent of the warranty offered and the amount of noise the machine produces while operating. When everything works right and you're satisfied, the dehumidifier will help make moisture problems a thing of the past.

Features

While certainly not necessary, beneficial features include a hygrometer to tell you current humidity levels and a humidistat to set desired levels. A digital display is a big plus.

Some dehumidifiers come with hoses that can be directed to nearby drains - great for those who have big dehumidifying ambitions or who don't want the hassle of frequently emptying the collected water.

Type

Your choice of dehumidifier, be it a heat pump, a chemical-absorbent dehumidifier or a dehumidifying ventilator, can depend on factors such as environment and placement. Different dehumidifier types serve specific functions, so you should find one that will work best for your needs.

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