Trying to choose one dehumidifier to buy out of hundreds of models from dozens of brands available can be an overwhelming task. A dehumidifier is a valuable investment for your home, especially for those living in high-humidity regions, and you wouldn’t want to get just any unit and replace it every year. You can purchase a dehumidifier at almost any home appliance or home improvement store, retail store, or hardware store. You can also find most of them online and have the unit you choose delivered to your doorstep.
However, before you make any purchase, there are a few essential features you must know when choosing a dehumidifier. These include the dehumidifier capacity, tank size, energy efficiency, as well as additional draining options, and other extra features. Below, you can learn more about how a dehumidifier works, its benefits and important features, and where you can buy one for your home.
What Does a Dehumidifier Do?
First, you need to understand what relative humidity is. This is the amount of water vapor present in the air compared to the maximum amount it can hold (in percentage). Now, remember that the ideal indoor humidity ranges from 30% to 50% RH. When it reaches 60% and above, the air will be uncomfortable to breathe. It also creates the ideal environment for mold growth in your home. If left for long, it can cause allergies and serious damage to your house and furniture. To avoid this, a dehumidifier is used to remove moisture from the air.
Dehumidifiers reduce humidity using different methods. There are refrigerant, desiccant, and thermoelectric dehumidifiers.
A refrigerant dehumidifier is what most people are familiar with. It works by drawing the humid air in and passing it over the cold coils. As the air cools down, it loses its hold on the water vapor, resulting in condensation. Moisture turns into water that drips down into a tank or flows out through the garden hose. Once the excess moisture is removed, dry air is released into the room until it has reached your desired humidity level. This type is ideal for large damp rooms like basements.
On the other hand, a desiccant dehumidifier uses a hygroscopic substance or a desiccant to extract moisture from the air through absorption or adsorption. It comes in a wide range of capacities and renewability depending on the type of desiccant used. When the desiccant has extracted its maximum moisture capacity, it may form a liquid you need to dispose of or it may need to be recharged or renewed by heat. Either way, this type is recommended for smaller spaces or colder conditions.
Lastly, a thermoelectric or Peltier dehumidifier is smaller than a regular refrigerant unit. This small dehumidifier uses the Peltier effect or thermoelectric cooling technology to remove moisture from the air. It doesn’t have a control panel where you can set the humidity, but only one button to turn it on or off. It’s often used in small spaces such as bathrooms and laundry rooms. Unlike the refrigerant units, you only have the manual drainage option.
Benefits of Using a Dehumidifier
Why should you buy a dehumidifier? Here are a few benefits you can get from investing in a good dehumidifier for your home.
Firstly, dehumidifiers prevent mold and mildew growth. High humidity creates a haven for mold spores and dust mites, which can cause allergic reactions and lead to allergy-induced asthma attacks and other respiratory conditions. Removing excess moisture in the air reduces the risk of propagation of these organisms.
Improve indoor air quality
Too much moisture makes the air feel heavy and sticky on your skin. High humidity can also increase your risk of dehydration due to the high amounts of water vapor and lower oxygen molecules. Using a dehumidifier eliminates excess moisture along with musty odors, improving the overall air quality in your home for your health and comfort.
Help your air conditioner
During hot and humid summer days, an air conditioner alone may not be enough to maintain both the temperature and humidity level throughout the day. While it removes heat from the room, it also helps reduce humidity in the process. However, too much moisture in the air makes this task a lot tougher, leading to higher cooling bills and less effective air conditioning. With a dehumidifier working in tandem with your AC, you can control both temperature and humidity levels to your absolute comfort.
Protect furniture and structures
Humidity can have many damaging effects on different materials in your home. In particular, wood absorbs the excess moisture, causing the wood to expand or warp. Moisture can also cause metals to rust or corrode. Maintaining indoor humidity within the optimal range helps prevent the damages caused by mold, rust, corrosion, or pest infestation, and helps preserve the structural integrity of your house.
Features You Need to Consider Before Buying a Dehumidifier
When buying a dehumidifier for any purpose, take note of the following features to make sure you get the best unit for your needs.
Moisture Removal Capacity
This is the total amount of moisture the dehumidifier can pull from the air in 24 hours, typically measured in pints. Standard portable dehumidifiers today range from 20 to 60 pints in capacity. These ratings are measured under the conditions set by the Department of Energy. Each capacity is recommended for a range of coverage areas and it’s crucial to get the right dehumidifier capacity for your room depending on its size and dampness. For example,20 to 30 pints is usually enough for small rooms and 50 to 60 pints for large rooms.
Dehumidifiers collect the condensate in a tank. Once this tank is full of water, you need to remove the tank and drain the water before the unit can resume operation. Note that you may need to do this at least once to three times a day depending on the dehumidifier capacity and humidity levels. Higher capacity dehumidifiers typically have a larger tank, but it varies per brand and model. A bigger tank means you need to empty it less frequently, but for more convenience, most dehumidifiers also offer continuous draining options: through a drain hose (which may not be included with the unit) or a built-in pump.
To make sure your dehumidifier is not wasting your money on electricity, look for the Energy Star label or the integrated energy factor (IEF) in liters per kilowatt-hour (L/kWh). An Energy Star certification guarantees greater efficiency that can help you save up to 20% on electricity compared to other dehumidifiers.
Dehumidifiers usually include the auto-shutoff feature and full tank indicator light, as well as auto defrost and auto restart functions if needed. You should also consider getting a unit with a built-in humidistat so you can simply set the humidity level and the dehumidifier will automatically maintain it. Most dehumidifiers also include a washable air filter, an on/off timer, multiple fan speeds, and different operation modes you can choose from. Some more advanced models even come with Wi-Fi connectivity for a more convenient operation anywhere you are.
Where to Buy a Dehumidifier
Finally, if you’re ready to buy your own dehumidifier, you can visit any home supply retailer, hardware, or home improvement store. You may also buy a dehumidifier online from Walmart or Amazon. Before your purchase, make sure to check the dehumidifier’s capacity, tank size, energy efficiency, and other features you may need.
Review all of these features as well as the product warranty included. Wherever you buy, there should be enough information on each dehumidifier model provided by the manufacturer or seller. After your purchase, make sure you have the manual to help you operate and maintain your dehumidifier properly.