Do you go down into your basement and it feels damp? Do you have mold growing on your basement walls? Does the furniture smell musty and does the wood look funny? You are not alone. You are experiencing the effects of high humidity. Most homeowners are not even aware of the humidity that is filling their homes. This extra humidity increases the likelihood of mold build up and the proliferation of dust mites. These contaminants increase the effects of allergies and worsen asthma symptoms.
There is a relatively simple solution to the problem of excess moisture in your home. This solution is to purchase a dehumidifier. The solution is more complex when you begin to look at the wide variety of dehumidifiers available on the market. You probably have heard the stories about how dehumidifiers are constantly breaking down or are being recalled by manufacturers. We will help you out through a series of dehumidifier reviews. We will also give you the list of our recommended top 10 best dehumidifiers.
Dehumidifiers are designed with one main purpose: reduce humidity by removing water from the air. Each dehumidifier does have different features, strengths and levels of effectiveness. Features vary from what type of fan is used to whether the reservoir bucket is removable or not. A humidistat can be used to set specific levels of relative humidity. The humidistat will automatically turn the dehumidifier on and off, as needed. Without a humidistat, the dehumidifier will be constantly operating.
Here is our top 5 list of overall best dehumidifiers. If you want to read more reviews please browse our blog or search for a dehumidifier.
- It is an energy efficient machine that has a 70 pint basin capacity to catch all the water accumulated while it functions.
- When placed near an ideal drainage system, it can deliver continuous and noise free operation.
- The anti-bacterial mesh filter is a great feature that helps eliminate bacteria, and allergen causing particles inside a room.
- It comes with great space saving design, low noise and has an attached caster wheel for easy mobility.
- It comes with a digital humidity indicator and works on a low energy and low temperature mode of operation.
- It has 2 fan speeds and humidity control to adjust the heat and humidity.
- This brand is a portable best dehumidifier with pump and operates on low energy and temperature capacity.
- It can effectively reduce the amount of humidity inside the room even in just a few hours of operation despite its sheer size.
- It consists of three efficient drainage functions; manual, gravity and condensate.
- The best thing is water can be pumped out into an open sink or drainage and maintain continuous operation.
- It is ideal for enclosed areas that measures up to 3,800 sq. ft.
- This is a 70 pint machine that comes with a built in pump and continuous drain function.
- It works like a charm as it provides a digital readout of the humidity and temperature level in a room.
- It has a 24 hour timer and comes with an easy to pull out front bucket handle.
- The slide out filter is easy to clean and washable.
- The pump function is amazing and provides a low temperature operation.
- It works and greatly reduces up to 30 pints of moisture and humidity inside a room.
- It is equipped with a digital readout to indicate the humidity level and temperature of the room.
- It can be plugged into a 115 volt with a continuous daily timer mode of operation.
- It has wheels and can be easily transferred or transported inside the house.
- In addition it has a flat back so the unit can be securely placed against a wall.
- Drained water goes straight into a pan which must be cleaned out weekly.
- Small but very efficient, this dehumidifier works best in enclosed small spaces like bathrooms, small bedrooms and other small areas that are prone to mold and mildew formation.
- It efficiently eliminates moisture and stores the collected condensed water into a spill proof container.
- An alarm light or indicator lights up if emptying the basin is needed.
- It has a capacity to hold collected condensed water up to 16.oz.
Compact dehumidifiers can be as energy efficient as larger models. Selecting the right size dehumidifier for your room, rooms or basement is important. Finding a model that does it efficiently is a definite must.
How Does a Dehumidifier Work?
A dehumidifier has four major components:
- Fan compressor that compresses and expands a refrigerant gas, usually Freon, to cool the dehumidifier’s coils.
- Reheater that captures and collects the heat generated by the cooling process.
- Compressor cooling coils that the cause the moisture to condense out of the air.
- Reservoir to collect the moisture that was removed.
The fan collects the air and pulls it into the dehumidifier. The air passes past the cooling coils. As the air cools down, the moisture becomes liquid water. This is similar to how the glass holding your cold drink on a hot summer day has water running down its sides.
The liquid water drips off of the coils and is caught in a reservoir. This reservoir may either store the water for you to empty or it may be pumped or run through an auto draining system. The dehumidifier has an automatic shut-off to prevent the water from getting into the electrical system.
Many dehumidifiers also have a humidistat. A humidistat allows you to set the desired level of humidity. This is similar to how you can set the temperature for your furnace through a thermostat.
Not all dehumidifiers use refrigerants, such as Freon. There are dehumidifiers that are known as desiccant dehumidifiers. Instead of refrigerants, desiccant dehumidifiers use a material, such as silica gel to absorb the moisture. You have seen silica gel in packets you find in the box containing new shoes or electronics. This class of dehumidifier works in sub-zero conditions where condensation cannot be used to remove excess moisture.
Because the technology of dehumidification is so simple, dehumidifiers mostly vary in size and strength. When you see dehumidifiers in the home improvement aisle of your local home improvement store, you are looking at portable dehumidifiers. It is possible to also purchase whole-house dehumidifiers. Our reviews are focused on the portable dehumidifier line of products.
Reasons to Get a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is not one of those common appliances found in every home. Because of this, many people wonder why they should spend the money to buy one and more money keeping one running. There are three basic reasons why you should consider purchasing a dehumidifier.
Are your summers hot and humid? When inside, do your clothes stick to your skin or is your skin clammy? Or is the air thick in your home and it is sometimes hard to breath? If so, your house has excess moisture and you should look at getting a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier will remove this excess moisture which is preventing your perspiration from evaporating from your skin’s surface. This evaporation is your body’s way of cooling you down. A properly sized dehumidifier can actually cool a room by more than 20 degrees.
Mold spores love moist air. They thrive in humidity. Mold is a serious health problem. It grows on your furniture, on cardboard storage boxes, inside the drywall of your rooms. It also grows under your carpeting. If you have mold growing and it gets too bad, you will have to pay large sums of money to have your walls torn out and your carpet ripped up by a mold abatement company. High levels of mold growth are considered hazardous material and require highly regulated professionals to be cleaned up. A dehumidifier is much less costly.
Mold gives off spores. Spores get in the air. Air goes into your lungs. Need I say more? If so, think about if you or your family seems to have a cough that does not go away. It may not be a cold but could be mold spores. Is your asthma getting worse? Mold spores increase asthma symptoms. Respiratory disease may not always be fatal, but it does take time and money to cure. A dehumidifier is less costly and easier on your respiratory system.
How Should You Choose the Best Dehumidifier for Your Needs?
Before you can choose the best dehumidifier, you must first choose the right one. Most of us start out thinking about the price and maybe some of the bells and whistles available to us. This is not the correct starting point. You have to start out determining what you need to get the job done. Our dehumidifier reviews can then assist you in selecting the best dehumidifier that is right for your needs.
You need to determine the square footage of the area that you want the dehumidifier to work in. How large is the basement or bedroom that you want to dehumidify? Are you looking to dehumidify more than one room? This information will allow you to size the dehumidifier for your specific needs.
Humidity Level and Temperature
It would be best to measure the current humidity in the area you want to dehumidify. Simply knowing you have excess moisture is not enough to select the best dehumidifier for you. Dehumidifiers are designed to remove specific amounts of moisture in a 24-hour period. A hygrometer should be used to measure the current humidity. Temperature is important because not all dehumidifiers work in lower temperatures. You do not want to buy a more expensive model that works in lower temperatures if you do not have to.
Armed with the above technical information, you can start looking at the design characteristics that separate dehumidifiers. Our dehumidifier reviews cover these specifications and were used to develop our list of what we consider to be the top 10 best dehumidifiers.
- Capacity – This is measured in pints per day. Each of our dehumidifier reviews specify what the capacity is for each of the dehumidifiers. Capacity is determined by two factors: size of the space needing dehumidification and the conditions existing in the space prior to dehumidification.
- Size – This has to be large enough to accommodate the area you are looking to dehumidify. Each of our dehumidifier reviews specify the size of the area that can be handled with the dehumidifier.
- Sound – Dehumidifiers can be noisy. If you are looking to purchase one for a bedroom, you do not want to purchase one that will keep you awake all night.
- Energy Efficiency – Does the dehumidifier have an Energy Star rating? Our dehumidifier reviews will tell you if it does. Remember, a dehumidifier runs 24 hours each day and will be using electricity. You do not want to run up your utility bill with an inefficient dehumidifier.
- Auto Drain – As dehumidifiers work, they remove moisture from the air. That moisture has to go somewhere. If the dehumidifier does not auto drain, you will have to periodically empty the reservoir.
- Auto defrost – If the area is cool, that moisture can freeze when it passes through the cooling coil inside the dehumidifier. This is rectified by having an auto defroster inside the dehumidifier. This is the feature that increases the prices of dehumidifiers designed for cooler temperatures. If you do not need this feature, and you will know if you do based on the temperatures you have gathered, you can avoid spending money that you do not need to. On the other hand, if you do have cool temperatures, this feature will save you from having to buy a replacement dehumidifier because the first one froze up and broke. Our dehumidifier reviews will tell you if the dehumidifier has this feature, whether optional or standard.
- Durability – Since your new dehumidifier will be running day in and day out, you will want to purchase one that can take the workout. Our dehumidifier reviews will tell you about how durable and what the warranties are for each dehumidifier on our top 10 best dehumidifiers list.
Choosing Dehumidifier Capacity
How damp is your area prior to dehumidification? Find the condition below that sounds like your present condition:
- Moderately Damp – Does your space feel damp and has a musty odor that is only present in humid weather? For moderately damp areas, you will need between a 10-pint to a 26-pint dehumidifier, depending upon area size.
- Very Damp – Does your space always feel damp and have a musty odor? Do you have damp spots showing on the walls and floor? For very damp areas, you will need between a 12-pint to a 32-pint dehumidifier, depending upon area size.
- Wet – Does your space feel and smell wet? Do your walls or floor sweat? Can you see seepage? For wet areas, you will need between a 14-pint to a 38-pint dehumidifier, depending upon area size.
- Extremely Wet – Do you dry laundry in the area? Do you have a wet floor? For extremely wet areas, you will need between a 16-pint to a 44-pint dehumidifier, depending upon area size.
The sizes are based upon having a dehumidifier that has a high Energy Star rating. As the Energy Star rating goes down, the required capacity will have to increase.
Let me point out the elephant in the room. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air. The moisture is deposited into some form of reservoir inside the dehumidifier, even if it is auto draining. Dehumidifiers use electricity to run. Electricity does not play well with moisture. Understand why dehumidifier safety is important? Here are some commonsense safety measures you will need to take when you operate a dehumidifier:
- Turn the dehumidifier off and unplug it before emptying the reservoir. The dehumidifier was designed to allow you to empty it without doing this, but why risk spilling the bucket and testing out the surge protection? Dehumidifiers may have wiring problems, as may your house. If you have an auto draining dehumidifier, make sure it drains into a drain and not onto the floor.
- Never use extension cords, unless you have absolutely no other options. The dehumidifier may be properly grounded but cheap extension cords are not.
- Keep small children away from the dehumidifier.
- Never use a dehumidifier in a bathroom. Again, water and electricity do not mix well.
- Keep the dehumidifier 6 to 12 inches away from walls and furniture so that the air holes are not blocked. Some dehumidifiers have air holes located on the top. If your dehumidifier has top air intake, you can place it closer to the wall. Consult your owner’s manual for more information.
- If your room is below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, check the dehumidifier coils for frost. Frost can destroy the dehumidifier by building up on the coils.
Maintenance of Your Dehumidifier
Even if you purchase one of the dehumidifiers from our list of dehumidifier reviews, you will still need to perform periodic maintenance. This maintenance will require you to disassemble the dehumidifier but the owner’s manual will guide you through it. This maintenance should be performed every 6 months or whatever the manufacturer recommends.
- A replacement filter if your dehumidifier requires them (many dehumidifiers have filters that can be washed)
- Laundry detergent or a mild soap
- Vacuum cleaner
- Cleaning cloth
- Fin comb (fins are the vents on your dehumidifier)
- Narrow brush that has a long handle
- Air conditioner coil cleaner or a similar spray detergent
- Can of oil for the dehumidifier motor
Basic Care of Your Dehumidifier
Do not switch your dehumidifier on as soon as you switch it off. You should always wait 15 seconds or more before switching it back on. This gives the motor time to stop completely. Always remove the reservoir bucket slowly and gently. There is a float inside that could be damaged. Wash or replace your filter regularly.
Choosing a Basement Dehumidifier
Most dehumidifiers are purchased for the basement. But not all dehumidifiers can be operated in the basement. You need to purchase a dehumidifier with the special features required for effective basement operation. Our dehumidifier reviews will tell you if the dehumidifier has these features.
First of all, a basement is generally the coolest area in your home. This means that it is more likely to have temperatures that fall below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This places your basement within the temperature range that usually will require an auto defrost feature on your dehumidifier. Above, I mentioned that you will pay more for this feature and that you should only get it if you need it; you will probably need it if you are looking to dehumidify your basement.
Basement dehumidifiers are also, as a rule, louder than other dehumidifiers. You do not usually worry about the noise in the basement, especially if you do not use your basement for many activities. The auto defrost feature mentioned above works by blowing hot air across the coils to keep them from freezing. The fan that blows the hot air makes noise that is not heard in dehumidifiers not having auto defrost features. This fan is the source of the excess noise.
Basements are larger than any single room above ground. Therefore, basement dehumidifiers have to have a larger capacity than a single room dehumidifier. Basements tend to be wetter thanks to your local water table and the cooler conditions. You will require a larger capacity dehumidifier to adequately handle your basement.
Energy Star ratings are especially important when it comes to basement dehumidifiers. The larger area, higher moisture and auto defrost fan require more energy to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Consequently, you want to have a dehumidifier that is as energy efficient as possible. The Energy Star ratings help you compare dehumidifiers based upon energy efficiency. When choosing between dehumidifiers that have similar capacities, remember that the price of the dehumidifier also includes the cost of running it over its lifespan. What may be inexpensive to purchase may be costly to run.
A basement dehumidifier should have a pump that auto drains. You will not remember to empty the reservoir as often as you will need to. It is much better to have the basement dehumidifier pump the water through a hose directly into a drain. Not all auto drain dehumidifiers have a pump. Some only have a drain hole. Without a pump, you will have to place the dehumidifier at a higher level than the floor drain and let gravity do the work of the pump. Depending on your basement, this may be okay. If you store things in the basement, make sure that the water from a non-pump enabled dehumidifier will not let water reach your belongings.
Our Top 10 Best Dehumidifiers
After examining the wide selection of portable dehumidifier, we have put together reviews of what we believe are the best of the best. We looked at capacity and performance in order to separate out the dehumidifiers that will meet your needs for many years to come.
Our reviews appear separately on our website. Dehumidifiers do not have “sexy” names. They usually only have model names that consist of letters and numbers. This is important to know since the same manufacturer may have several models that have names that only vary by a letter or two. The number in the model number refers to the capacity of the dehumidifier. For example, the Frigidaire FAD704DWD is a 70-pint dehumidifier while the similarly named Frigidaire FAD504DWD dehumidifier is a 50-pint dehumidifier. Generally speaking, there are not any differences between the similarly named dehumidifiers other than capacity.
We have ranked the dehumidifiers based upon the base model features. We have found, in our opinion, that the Frigidaire line is better than the Eva-dry line. The underlying technology of dehumidification is very simple – condense excess moisture out of the air. Manufacturers vary in the physical components of their products but they are relatively consistent throughout the entire line of any specific manufacturer. This led us to rank the manufacturer as the primary characteristic in our top ten list.
If a manufacturer offers different capacities within the same product line, we ranked larger capacity dehumidifiers over smaller capacity dehumidifiers. This is the only reason the Frigidaire FAD704DWD Energy Star 70-pint dehumidifier is ranked higher than the Frigidaire FAD504DWD Energy Star 50-pint dehumidifier.