Measure Twice, Buy Once
Air conditioners dehumidify the air while cooling it, so most air conditioned rooms don’t have moisture problems. But in some areas of the home — basements, laundry rooms, bathrooms, and other rooms without HVAC vents — excess moisture can create a clammy environment and musty odors. That’s where a dehumidifier can work wonders.
But buying a dehumidifier isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. A model that’s too small for your space may hardly make a dent in the moist air, while one that’s too large may make the air excessively dry. In addition to size, there are a number of optional features that factor into the perfect purchase.
If you’re in the market for a dehumidifier for your home, we want to discuss some of the most important factors in making your decision.
Crisp Air By the Pint
The most important measure of a dehumidifier’s abilities is its pint removal capacity. This is literally the number of pints of moisture a unit can remove in a 24-hour period. Finding the right capacity is a matter of measuring the square footage of the space you want to dehumidify and assessing the dampness level.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has created a sizing guide to help you estimate the appropriate capacity based on space size and condition:
|Area of Space in Square Feet|
|Condition without dehumidification||500||1,000||1,500||2,000||2,500|
|Moderately damp||10 pints||14 pints||18 pints||22 pints||26 pints|
|Very damp||12 pints||17 pints||22 pints||27 pints||32 pints|
|Wet||14 pints||20 pints||26 pints||32 pints||38 pints|
|Extremely wet||16 pints||23 pints||30 pints||37 pints||44 pints|
Where Do Those Pints of Moisture Go?
Determining your pint removal capacity will considerably narrow your search for the perfect humidifier, but there are other considerations besides brand and price. Perhaps the most important is the water storage and disposal method.
The most affordable models typically drain moisture into a removable container which must be manually emptied. In extremely damp areas, this container may need emptying as often as once per day. But if you plan to place your dehumidifier near a floor-level drain, you can select a model with a hose that will continuously drain collected moisture. You can even choose a model with a pump that can drain water into a sink or basin situated above the dehumidifier.
Other Bells and Whistles
You’ll also find a range of sophistication in dehumidifier settings. The simplest models typically offer two settings: low and high. More advanced models allow the selection of relative humidity (RH) levels. Some even conserve power by shutting off automatically when the ideal humidity level is reached.
Speaking of energy conservation, those levels vary as well. If you’re seeking an especially energy-efficient model, this list of ENERGY STAR-certified dehumidifiers is the best place to start your search.
Still Need Help?
Considering all these factors will go a long way toward securing comfortable humidity levels in your home and eliminating dank, musty odors without over-drying the air. If you are unsure about the dehumidifier selection or the moisture problems in your home, please consult an experienced local HVAC technician to find a solution that will keep your spaces dry, comfortable, and smelling fresh.