Dehumidifiers are your first line of prevention against overly humid conditions in your home. Too much moisture in your indoor environment can start off as a small musty-smelling problem, but left untreated, can morph into a full-on mold issue. When deciding to invest in a dehumidifier, it is important to really get a feel for these units and what they are capable of. The following guidelines will help you make a knowledgeable decision in choosing a unit that will serve your current needs and be a reliable appliance for years to come.
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Why Dehumidify?
Beyond keeping your home, office, or warehouse comfortably dry, dehumidifiers also offer the following benefits:

  • Supplement Air Conditioning: Feeling cool requires two things: cool enough air (temperature) and dry enough air (humidity). Many times, people run their air conditioner for longer periods of time simply because the air is too moist, resulting in a sticky hot feeling. You can easily combat this sticky situation by investing in a dehumidifier to supplement your AC system. This will ensure a cool and dry environment, which is especially important in those hot summer months.

  • Energy Savings: Along with keeping you comfortable, maintaining dry enough air can easily save you money on your cooling bills. If the surrounding air is simply less humid, you can actually feel cool enough even with a warmer air temperature.

  • Mold Prevention: It is important to keep the air dry to control mold and mildew growth. In a home, basements, bathrooms, and kitchens are three areas which are especially susceptible to mold formation year-round due to the high humidity often found there, so the addition of a dehumidifier can drastically reduce the likelihood of mold formation. Keeping mold from forming is particularly beneficial to allergy sufferers—as mold is a common allergy trigger.

  • Maintaining Structural Integrity: Keeping the humidity level balanced, particularly in crawl spaces and basements, will ensure the structural integrity of your home. Excess moisture in these areas can lead to rotting support beams, buckling floor boards, and damage to hard woods – all of which can be very costly to repair. Prevention is always less expensive than repairs.


Types of Dehumidifiers:
There are several types of dehumidifiers on the market, and they are categorized by their functionality. They can be classified most generally as Thermoelectric (for small targeted spot dehumidification) or Compressor / Refrigerant driven (for larger areas).  In order to figure out which grade of system you will need, there are a few elements to consider:

  • Size - Size definitely matters when it comes to choosing the right unit for your space. Dehumidifiers are designed to remove a specified amount of water out of the air per day.  Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to estimate how many pints of water per day need to be dehumidified, so many customers find it easier to consider the size of the area to be treated which is graded by BTU. Fortunately, this rule of thumb is roughly accurate—as size generally correlates to the amount of water that needs to be removed from the air. Square foot recommendations though are only a rule of thumb — a room in humid South Florida would need more dehumidification than a room in New Mexico.

  • Humidity Level - The level of humidity under which your dehumidifier will work will directly impact the unit’s effectiveness. If your humidity is high, then of course the unit will have to work harder, run longer, etc. So, if you are trying to dehumidify a basement and you live in a humid climate, then you will want to get a stronger, more commercial grade unit that can effectively combat that level of moisture. There are high-capacity units on the market that are well equipped to handle heavy moisture loads.

  • Temperature – You will want to consider the temperature where you will be placing the unit. Many dehumidifiers are simply not equipped to handle colder temperatures and will freeze up, causing the unit to work less effectively or to shut down completely. However, there are many units on the market that can easily handle cold temperatures. Typically, the colder months of the year are associated with lower levels of absolute humidity – so dehumidifiers are not needed as frequently.  However, if you live by a large body of water, such as the ocean or a lake, or in a low-level setting where water collects, you may need a very low-temperature dehumidifier.


Difference between Thermo-electric and Compressor Dehumidifiers:

Dehumidifiers with Compressors:  This is the most common technology utilized by dehumidifiers.  Like air conditioners, compressor dehumidifiers have coils through which compressed air or refrigerants move.  In other words, one set of coils is cooled by moving heat to the other set of coils.  A fan within the unit pulls moist air from the room over the cool coils, and this cools the air and causes water to be condensed and to fall into a collection bucket.  Dehumidified air is then passed over the hot coils where it is warmed back to room temperature and passed back into the room.  Although these types of dehumidifiers are somewhat loud, they are extremely effective.

Dehumidifiers with Thermo-Electric Peltiers:  These types of dehumidifiers utilize thermo-electric technology.  An electric current is passed through two dissimilar metals which transfer heat, and this causes the same effect that is used by compression technology.  The one benefit to this technology is that there are no moving parts so the only noise that is emitted from these units is produced by the fan that circulates the air.  Although less energy efficient than compressor dehumidifiers, they are effective for smaller areas and offer almost silent operation.  Examples of thermo-electric dehumidifiers would be smaller capacity models such as the


Properly maintaining your dehumidifier is simple and requires minimal effort. After proper set-up, most units work as a “turn it on and forget it” appliance; however, to get the most out of your investment you must keep up on general maintenance:

  • Clean air filters as needed (usually every 6 months)

  • Drain your unit before storing it away

  • Consult a professional for any necessary repairs (check your warranty for more specific information on parts/services covered)

Properly maintaining your unit will ensure that it has a long life span. Dehumidifiers can last anywhere from 3-15 years depending on the model.


Eliminating Collected Water:
Dehumidifiers extract moisture from the air. This collected water must then be eliminated. There are many different ways that various models deal with this condensate water.

  • Buckets: The simplest units have an internal container that needs to be drained regularly (as frequently as every day to as infrequently as once a month depending on your conditions). Units will automatically shut off when their containers are full, until emptied.

  • Gravity Drain: All units support the option of a permanent water drain hose connection, which allows for water to continuously drain out via gravity.  This water can then be directed to a floor drain, outside, or to another drain point.

  • Condensate Pumps: Condensate pumps can also be installed to help pump collected water through a drain hose. They can move water in an upwards direction if needed. The hose can then be directed outside or to an inside drain point. These pumps are energy efficient as well and work with a flow switch that allows the pump to run only when needed.


Noise Level:
You cannot find a completely silent dehumidifier because these units work by physically moving air through them, which is accomplished by a motorized fan. In addition, if they have a compressor in them (similar to a refrigerator) that compresses the refrigerant inside. Thermoelectric designs offer the most silent operation while the sound level on most other units can be measured with the (D)BA system.


Special Features:
any dehumidifiers on the market offer special features that add convenience to your life and allow you to optimize your unit to best fit your needs. Some of the special features to consider when shopping are:

  • Castors for ease of mobility

  • Digital controls

  • Humidistat

  • Multiple fan speeds

  • Handles

  • Integrated timer

  • Internal condensate pump

  • Different housing finishes

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