Dehumidifiers look all the same and most people have a vague idea as to what it is and its purpose. Therefore, if your knowledge regarding the best dehumidifier is limited, then selection and purchase can be a little tricky.
Selection of the best dehumidifier should be done by matching the size and type of the unit to your needs. This is not an easy task, as there are many models available, each differing in their features, capacity and pricing. Here we have created a list of top 10 questions to help you decide on the right unit.
1. Should I take the area of my house into consideration?
Yes, this is a very important point to consider before purchasing a dehumidifier for basement. One should be aware that the measurement includes not just the length and width of the room but also the height as the unit is to dehumidify air within the entire room and not just the floor. Therefore, while calculating the cubic feet space of the room, the equation to follow is length times width times’ height.
Another point to be aware of is that; the standard capacity of the dehumidifier as reported by the manufacture is measured in terms of square feet for an average ceiling height of 8 feet. Hence, before purchasing, do a quick math to check what the capacity of the unit should be for your area.
To help you understand better, consider this example. Suppose you have an area of 1000 square feet which is 12 feet in height and you purchased a unit that covered an area of 1000 square feet. This unit would be ineffective for your purpose as in reality your unit should be one with a capacity of over 50% or had coverage of 1500 square feet.
Also, to be considered is the adjoining rooms or whether the targeted room opens out into an open area. This is due to the fact that the air will try to constantly equalize itself by moving from high humidity areas to low areas. Hence, if the 500 square feet basement was to open to another area measuring 500 square feet, the optimal dehumidifier should cover an area of 1000 square foot for effective functioning. Else, you will need to close all doors to ensure the airflow is restricted within the room. Similarly consider if there is any connection to the first and second floors and open windows as then the unit will be dehumidifying the entire house and the neighborhood respectively.
2. Does my area of residence play a role in my decision?
Different parts of the country will have different atmospheric humidity content and will have need for specific levels of dehumidification. For example, states like Florida and Texas and some gulf regions of the United States have high moisture content, requiring dehumidification all year long and in most seasons. On the other hand, for individuals settled on the West coast, dehumidification in needed only during winter time, when it is rainy as summers are hot and dry.
Similarly, for families living in the arid and semi-arid regions of the country, a dehumidifier is rarely needed expect during unusual times like when there has been an unseasonal rain.
Therefore the frequency of usage is a factor that dictates your decision on the quality and pricing of a model. If the need is intermittent, then a top quality unit may not be your priority. However for those requiring frequent use (using it for 8-10 months); a long lasting, top quality unit like the White Wing Defender is a necessity.
3. Why is it necessary to measure the room air temperature?
The room air temperature is a vita factor which decides the need for a low temperature dehumidifier. Most units are designed to work under temperatures of 68 degree and above, but when there is a temperature fall to 65 degree and lesser, the effectiveness of the unit may be compromised. Thus for rooms which records a temperature of 65 degree and less, a special low temperature model is required.
4. How much should the room humidity be?
Measurement of room humidity lets you know if there is a need for a dehumidifier. A value of 60% and more indicates the need for a dehumidifier as there is a possibility of mold growth.
5. What are the humidity levels you require?
When the humidity levels record a value above 55% and there are signs of mold, mildew growth, increase in dust mites and other damages to the house, a dehumidifier is essential. In such situations the ideal levels of humidity should be below 50% to reduce the risk of these hazards. However, each individual varies in their preference of comfort levels as some prefer 40%, other 45% and another group setting the level at 50%. Here, you will have to choose between cost and comfort as the lower the humidistat is adjusted, the longer it takes to maintain the level. However, the exception to the rule is when one has valuable objects like a piano to protect, for which an optimal level of 45% is recommended.
6. What are the specifications of the area targeted?
The nature of your room influences the decision regarding the model of the dehumidifier. While bedroom units should be equipped with a quiet or low volume setting, a crawl space unit is practical for areas with low ceilings and increased moisture content.
Similarly a low temperature basement dehumidifier is apt for the basements as they are powerful and works well under low temperatures of below 65 degrees.
7. What is the functioning of the targeted area?
Each area may vary in its purpose or functioning. For example a room used for storing tools will require a humidity level of 50% or below, whereas that which is used for storing musical instruments may require levels of 45%. To prevent mold growth and smelly basements a relative humidity of 50-55% is ideal. When entertaining, a comfortable environment can be maintained by setting the level at around 45-50%. Similarly a device used in the bedroom or office should have low noise emission.
Human activity and presence of open waters are other important factors to be considered. For example a gym may have more humidity levels owing to the labored breathing and sweating of people. Uncovered indoor swimming pools and aquariums also add on to the existing humidity levels. Therefore for these situations it is best that you contact our product specialists (at 1-888-236-7231 Enter 1) for advice.
8. How can we dispose the collected water?
There are three main method of disposing the collected water.
Method 1: Manual emptying of the bucket.
If you are opting for manual emptying two important factors for consideration is the frequency of emptying and the load to be carried. It is practical when the dehumidification occurs in a small closed area. In such areas, only around 10-15 pints of water will be collected each day and emptying needs to be done only once a day or every alternate day.
However, when dehumidification is done for a large area, manual emptying will seem like a hassle. Other factors include the size and location of the bucket, its ease of removal and re-fit and whether they have comfortable handles that aid in gripping and carrying the bucket.
One also has to bear in mind that the dehumidifier will stop working once the bucket is filled. Hence, choose models which indicates (sounds or lights), when the bucket is full.
Method 2: Draining through a hose:
Draining is done using a hose and it works best when connected to a floor drain, as water is removed by the natural pull of gravity. When the draining is into a sink, the unit has to be kept on higher ground; around 2-3 feet above ground to aid water flow using the pull of gravity. Many models have been reported to have these facilities and have found to be simpler to use than others. Provision of a hose is optional, so is their specification.
While the garden hose is compatible with most units, some may accept only varieties of plastic ones with specific dimensions. These need to slide over the opening instead of being screwed on. Hence, inclusion of hose, their specification and availability should be considered before choosing this method.
Method 3: Pumping the water out:
When the water is to be disposed a considerable distance away from the unit, pumping out the water is ideal. It is also useful when the water is to be pumped to a higher ground as in a sink or window.
This process is made easy as in the Friedrich dehumidifiers that come fitted with a built in pump and a drainage hose. In the absence of an internal pump, the hose should be connected to an external condensate pump, which should be placed near to the dehumidifier
Most units are fitted with the discharge hose, carrying the water to the allocated area for disposal. However, the location for connection of the hose on to the dehumidifier is an issue.
It needs to be at ground level, or as is in the case of external condensate pumps, the unit should be a few inches above ground level to ensure that the hose is connected to the reservoir of the external pump which is already a few 3-6 inches off the floor.
9. Are dehumidifiers noisy?
Although all units are fitted with a fan which emits sounds, the compressor determines if the sounds are tolerable or not. Some of these compressors vibrate or create a buzzing uneven pitched sound which is intolerable for many. Hence, if your plan is to dehumidify rooms like your bedroom, living area or office, safest is to choose a machine that is less noisy.
10. What is Energy Star rating?
Most people check out the Energy star rating of the unit before making a purchase; as it signifies the power consumption of the unit. However an important point to note is that a unit is not to be judged inefficient because of the absence of a Energy star certification. The approval process is a highly costly one and most manufacturers choose not to spend on it as is common with industrial and commercial models.
Hence the efficiency of the unit is calculated by the number of pints removed per kilowatt of electricity and not just the apparent high wattage rating. This value is informative especially if you though buying a less wattage per hour unit would save on electricity even when used for a long time.