Humidity is more of a problem than most homeowners think. It’s not just something that causes excessive sweating, fatigue, and dehydration when chilling at home, but it can cause some major damage to your home and personal health.
There are several ways to get rid of excess humidity from the four walls of your home. These include moving to a cooler, drier location which requires you relocate your family to live among the penguins in Antarctica. You could also keep your windows closed throughout the hot, summer months to prevent moisture buildup coming from muggy outdoor air, but then you’ll probably suffer from heat exhaustion. Or more realistically, you could get a dehumidifier for your home.
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What is a Dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a tool that dehumidifier a room. The dehumidifying process involves an intake fan which sucks up the surrounding air, passing it through or over a cooled coil or desiccant packs to condense and remove moisture.
Dehumidifiers can be compact enough to place on desks and tables, but there are also floor models that take up quite a bit of floor space. The size of the tool is an indicator of how much moisture it can condense, so if you live in a particularly humid part of the world, a larger model would be ideal.
Where should I put my Dehumidifier?
Well, it depends on which part of your home or office is the muggiest. Many people decide to place a dehumidifier in their bedroom and let it run for the entire day. During the night, however, it’s not advised that you keep it running since it could dehumidify a room far below appropriate humidity levels, leading to nose bleeds and dry throats.
Other popular places where dehumidifiers can call home are bathrooms and basements. If you take warm showers, the resulting steam can be problematic and encourage mold growth. As for basements, for most households, ventilation is not of great importance, and this can create an overly humid environment. If you leave stuff down there for most of the year, things like Christmas lights or snow blowers, they’ll have a greater risk of becoming rusted. Not to mention the amount of mold that can grow in a moist basement.
Dehumidifier Buying Guide
Finding the right dehumidifier is a lot more complicated than finding a box labeled “DEHUMIDIFIER” and taking it home. The best model is relative to what room the appliance will be placed in. As we mentioned in the previous section, bathrooms and basements can benefit from having a dehumidifier. The following guides will go over what sort of specs and features to get in a bathroom or basement dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers for Bathrooms
Even with a ventilation fan running continuously, bathrooms can get real muggy real quickly. This is due to the amount of steam produced when taking a hot shower or bath. Also, since bathroom doors are left closed when unoccupied, the moisture has nowhere to escape. Let’s discuss what makes for a great bathroom dehumidifier.
Refrigerant Dehumidifier Preferred
There are several types of dehumidifiers to choose from. The most popular are desiccant and refrigerant dehumidifiers. They both serve to snatch excess moisture from the air of a room, but there are vast differences between the two.
Desiccant dehumidifiers rely on desiccant packs, similar to silica gel packs found in new clothing or gadgets. These dehumidifiers are made for smaller rooms with less of a humidity problem. They won’t freeze so they’re ideal for colder places. However, they won’t do you much good in extremely humid rooms like bathrooms and basements.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers are larger and have cooled coils that condense moisture particles in the air. This type of dehumidifier is made for large rooms or extremely humid rooms like bathrooms. Stick with this type to get rid of steam and fog.
The most important thing to consider when shopping for a dehumidifier for any room is the unit’s coverage area or dehumidifying capacity. The typical size of a bathroom is 40 square feet so a small to moderately sized dehumidifier should do the trick. For larger bathrooms, make sure that the dehumidifier is equipped to move greater volumes of air.
If you take hot showers, your bathrooms can get humid quickly. After humid air is cooled down and moisture is condensed, water droplets fall into the reservoir. For steamier bathrooms, a larger reservoir is preferable since it does not require constant monitoring to ensure that it won’t overflow.
The default method of emptying the onboard reservoir is by manually detaching the piece and dumping out the contents into a sink or bathtub. However, seeing as how bathrooms can be one of the dampest rooms in your home, it only makes sense that the reservoir will fill up rather quickly.
Dehumidifiers can come with an auto-drain system that removes water from the reservoir and eliminates the risk of overflow. For bathroom dehumidifiers, if the unit cannot rest on top of the bathroom counter, we’d recommend finding one that comes with an internal pump. The pump can shoot water vertically through a hose and into your bathroom sink.
A humidistat is a built-in detector in a dehumidifier which automatically checks the humidity level of the room where the unit is placed. When the humidistat detects a relative humidity level that’s higher than normal, the dehumidifier will automatically start up and begin removing moisture from the air. After achieving the ideal humidity level, the device will shut off on its own. This is a feature that adds to the convenience of owning a dehumidifier, so it’s not exactly a must-have, though it is nice to have.
Since the dehumidifier will be placed in your bathroom, it’d be great if it could help eliminate any lingering odor. You know what we’re talking about…
Anyway, dehumidifiers don’t just assist in reducing humidity. These devices come with built-in filters that help clean the dehumidified air. The cleaned air is then shot out of the tool and back into the room. Many models come with antimicrobial or activated carbon filters that help tremendously in removing foul odors – a definite must-have feature for a bathroom dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers for Basements
Basements are another area of the home which is prone to damage caused by humidity. Excessive moisture in the basement can come from anywhere – open windows, a water heater, and it can even seep through the basement’s walls and flooring. Whatever the case, there’s no reason why a basement should be left without a dehumidifier. To find the right dehumidifier for your basement, you’ll want the device to come with the following features and specs.
Large Dehumidifying Capacity
Basements are humungous underground spaces where we usually store junk we’ll never need but aren’t willing to throw out. The average basement size is roughly 1,000 square feet, so to properly dehumidify the entire room, you’ll need a beast of a refrigerant dehumidifier.
If your basement is divided into different sections by partitions, then a dehumidifier may not be able to reach every spot of the room. That is, of course, unless it’s a maneuverable unit that comes with caster wheels and/or a carrying handle. Just slide the unit to whichever part of the basement you’re occupying or is most prone to water damage such as next to your home’s water heater.
There are two main reasons why you should opt to get a large refrigerant dehumidifier for your basement: your basement is extremely wide or extremely damp. Whichever of the two is true of your basement. A larger reservoir eliminates the need to babysit the dehumidifier and prevent spillage constantly.
Auto Drainage Option
Better yet, if your basement is suffering from astronomical amounts of airborne water particles, you may want to consider an auto-drainage feature. This is a lot more convenient for basements than bathrooms since, unless you have a gaming room down there, you may not find yourself venturing down there very often. With an auto-drainage port and hose, you won’t need to worry about water droplets making their way onto your basement floor.
As we mentioned in the previous section, dehumidifiers can come with antimicrobial or activated carbon filters for removing odors from a room, but those aren’t your only options. If microscopic pollutants are more of a problem in your basement than the smell of dead rodents, consider getting a dehumidifier that features a True HEPA Filter.
This filter removes up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size – thinner than a strand of hair. Things like dander, pollen, and traffic pollution will get trapped in the filter before the dehumidifier shoots out fresh, clean air.
Even though filters have lifespan ratings, several factors can affect the usefulness of a filter and force you to purchase replacements. These include how dirty the air is in a room, what speed the dehumidifier to set to, and how much air it can move per hour.
For your basement, these three things can reduce the lifespan of a filter significantly. Running a dehumidifier with a clogged-up filter can be dangerous so try and find a model that has a filter indicator. This is a tiny LED light that alerts the user when the filter has become too gunked up and needs to be replaced.
Freezing temperatures are not kind to dehumidifiers. Since water expands as it freezes, any remnants of water could potentially cause damage to the dehumidifier’s cooling coils or water reservoir. If you live in a part of the globe that experiences bone-chillingly cold temperatures, it’d be a good idea to find a dehumidifier that comes with an auto-defrost feature. The motor will keep the unit warm and prevent ice damage to the device’s internal components.
In conclusion, there’s essentially not to have a dehumidifier running in your home during the hot and even cold months. Excess moisture in the air can encourage mold growth, leading to several different health problems down the road. Plus, removing excess moisture will get rid of the hot and sticky feeling you get during summer so your air conditioner can take a much-needed period of rest.
Finding a good dehumidifier isn’t all that difficult, but finding the right one for your home is much more of a challenge. In this article, we’ve talked about how bathrooms and basements could benefit from a dehumidifier and how to find the right unit for these rooms.
Bathroom dehumidifiers don’t need to be enormously huge.
Since bathrooms typically do not measure more than 40 square feet, a small- to medium-size refrigerant dehumidifier should do the trick. Also, the size of the built-in reservoir for trapping condensed water droplets doesn’t need to be several liters large, but with an auto-drain system, you don’t have to worry about constantly monitoring the reservoir’s water level.
We’d recommend finding a unit that has an internal pump to shoot water vertically from the reservoir to your bathroom sink. Finally, consider the filter and what it can do. For bathrooms, an antimicrobial or activated carbon filter is ideal since it’ll help remove nasty odors.
When shopping for the right dehumidifier for your basement, it’s also important that you consider the size of your basement in square feet before settling on a dehumidifier. Larger spaces like basements will require more powerful motors to move greater amounts of air per hour.
Consequently, this also means you need to find a model that comes with a large reservoir for trapping more water to prevent overflow. Or you could find a unit that comes with an auto-drain port that drops pushes the accumulated water through a hose that runs outdoors.
You should also consider what sort of filter your basement needs. Like bathrooms, your garage smells foul. An activated carbon filter would be ideal. But if microscopic pollutants litter your basements air, a dehumidifier with a True HEPA Filter would be of much more help.
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Last update on 2021-01-25 / Most affiliate links and/or Images from Amazon Product Advertising API