There is simply nothing more uncomfortable that having unreasonably high humidity levels in your home. Who wants to be lying in bed or watching television sweaty and sticky? Usually a properly operating A/C unit will keep humidity levels in the home at comfortable levels, but you know that A/C unit will eventually break down and that humidity level will rise. That is where a best dehumidifier can save the day.
Interactive Dehumidifier Buyer’s Guide
Below you will find an interactive buyer’s guide allowing you to compare the most popular home-use dehumidifiers on a side-by-side basis.
What is a Best Dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is a device used to lower the humidity level of an enclosed space, like a room, basement or garage. For maximum comfort and reduced risk of mold/bacteria growth, the humidity level inside a home should hover between 40 and 50 percent. At humidity levels any lower than 40%, your comfort level inside your home may decrease. At humidity levels higher than 50%, not only will you become uncomfortable inside your home, but the environment may become favorable for the growth of harmful mold and bacteria.
How a Dehumidifier Works
Have you ever noticed the moisture that accumulates around the bottom of a glass of cold ice water on a hot day? This is what happens when moist air comes into contact with a cold surface, condensation is created. When air cools, is loses its ability to hold the moisture it contains. This is why many window air conditioning units have water that drips from the back of the machine onto the ground.
A dehumidifier works by using a fan to draw a room’s moist air into the unit to the cold coils, which causes condensation. Next, the now dry air is heated by the dehumidifier’s hot coil and sent back into the room. The moisture leftover is typically contained in a drip bucket found at the bottom of the unit, or if setup to do so the moisture will be drained outside of the home. When air cools, is loses its ability to hold the moisture it contains. This is why many window air conditioning units have water that drips from the back of the machine onto the ground.
A dehumidifier works by using a fan to draw a room’s moist air into the unit to the cold coils, which causes condensation. Next, the now dry air is heated by the dehumidifier’s hot coil and sent back into the room. The moisture leftover is typically contained in a drip bucket found at the bottom of the unit, or if setup to do so the moisture will be drained outside of the home.
Dehumidifier Sizing Guide
Use this chart to determine the appropriately sized dehumidifier for your intended purpose and needs. The number indicates the minimum number of dehumidification pints per day necessary.
|Feels slightly damp and has mild odor in hot and humid temperatures||11||15||19||23||28|
|Always feels damp and has musty odor||13||17||22||28||32|
|Space feels and smells wet; Possible sweating of floors and walls||14||20||26||32||38|
|Laundry rooms, areas with frequently wet floors||16||23||30||37||44|
Why Too Much Humidity is Unwanted
You know that too much of anything is a bad thing. Well, it is certainly no different with respect to humidity. Having elevated humidity levels in your home presents a variety of risks and unwanted circumstances.
First, high humidity is a prime environment for unwanted pests like moths, cockroaches, fleas, and woodlice. These pests need a cool damp environment to thrive, and having too high of a humidity level in your home is a huge “Welcome” sign for these opportunist creatures.
Second, humid air will eventually lead to mold growth, and mold can make you and your family sick. The most often areas prime for mold existence in a home are the bathroom ceiling and walls, behind the toilet near the floor, and in laundry rooms. These areas always have the highest amount of moisture in the air, and without adequate methods of removing the moisture from the air mold will inevitably be found.
Finally, there is no doubt high humidity is really uncomfortable. Most folks do not want to sit in their home and be sticky and uncomfortable. In fact, excessive sweating caused by elevated humidity in a home can make the problem worse, as the sweat will evaporate and exacerbate the problem.
Types of Dehumidifiers
Large-capacity dehumidifiers are designed to efficiently remove up to 75 pints of water per day from the targeted space. These dehumidifiers are made to address a wider range of humidity levels, and often feature a variety of control settings to set the fan speed and noise level while the unit is operating. These units would be most appropriate for large spaces and rooms that have either damp or wet air.
Mid-capacity dehumidifier models are designed to remove 45 to 50 pints of moisture per day. These mid-sized units are most appropriate for medium to large space spaces that are damp or wet, and are most often slightly less expensive than the large-capacity dehumidifiers.
Small-capacity dehumidifiers are designed to remove between 20 and 40 pints of moisture per day from the air. These units are specifically made to dehumidify small spaces that are damp, not wet. Also, small-capacity dehumidifiers are going to be the lowest cost dehumidifiers available.
Whole-Home Dehumidifiers are either portable dehumidifier units or as add-on accessories to your existing central air conditioning system. These dehumidifiers are designed to remove humidity from a surface area up to 3,000 square feet, a very large home. As expected, this added capability comes at a much steeper purchase price, and these whole-home dehumidifiers are the most expensive option available.
Difference Between Dehumidifier and Air Conditioner
Dehumidifiers and air conditioning units are very similar types of machines. As we have discussed throughout this site, a best dehumidifier will draw in moist air, condense the air across a cold coil thereby removing the moisture, and replace the dry and slightly warmer air back into the room.
The air conditioners work in the same manner as a dehumidifier. Air passes over the cooling coils of the AC unit and directly back into the room, however the wasted air is pumped outside to the AC condenser, across heat coils and blown into the outside air by the condenser fan. The only real difference is that with a dehumidifier, the cold coil and heat coil are contained within the same unit, and the heated air is simply sent back into the room.
Dehumidifier Maintenance Tips
Like any appliance or mechanical device, proper maintenance is needed to keep it running efficiently and extending its useful life. A dehumidifier is no different. Proper maintenance and care of your dehumidify will make it run at maximum efficiency, and will extend its life span. Here are a few tips to keep your dehumidifier in tip top shape:
- Change your dehumidifier’s filter approximately once per year.
- Clean your water container periodically to prevent mineral buildup.
- Inspect your cold coils for buildup of frost or ice. (Ice and frost can destroy your dehumidifier).
- Maintain proper humidistat setting to ensure the unit does not constantly run.
Signs You May Need a Dehumidifier
- You have window or patio door condensation, or beading. If you have fog on inside of the glass of your windows you have too much humidity in your home.
- You see mold spots on the ceiling or on the walls of your home.
- You smell a musty damp odor.
- If you notice a white or gray water level mark in your basement.
- Pints Per Day (PPD): The rating system for the number of pints of moisture removed from the air per day.
- Thermal Condensation: Air is drawn across a thermocline which causes the air to condense, thereby separating the moisture from the air.
- Refrigerative Dehumidification: The most common type of dehumidifier. Refrigerative dehumidification occurs by drawing air over a refrigerated cold air coil with a fan. The cold air coil found with the refrigeration condenses the water, separating the water from the air.
- Humidistat: An electronic device that automatically regulates the level of humidity in the air.
- Desiccant: A humidity-absorbing material used in the dehumidification process.