Best Dehumidifier Buying Guide
It feels like a scene in a horror movie. You cross the threshold and you immediately feel the heaviness around you. You try to breathe in, but you find it very, very difficult. It’s the air, you realize. It is dank and muggy with the stale smell of mildew forcing its way up your nostrils. You break into a sweat, your hair matting and melding onto you scalp, your skin getting increasingly clammy from the wet heat. You feel the strongest urge to run as fast as you could away from there, but where? There is nowhere else to go. There seems to be no escaping the moist, moldy walls and the damp carpets and drapes. So you think of the only other option to save yourself from this misery and you tell yourself, I should go out and buy a dehumidifier…
Do You Need a Dehumidifier?
What is the big deal with humidity anyway? Humidity refers to how much water vapor is in the air. And if you could relate to our tale above, you know that it is a problem that cannot be ignored. High humidity is that moist air that is unpleasant to breathe and causes you to sweat and feel sticky. It encourages the growth of molds and mildew that causes allergies and respiratory problems. If the air you’re breathing smells musty, then that is definitely the mold in the air that you and your children don’t want to breathe.
Are there other ways to tell if you live in a high humidity area? One sign is if you often see condensation on your windows or patio door. Do you sometimes see your kids drawing faces on the “fog” on the windows? That is condensation and it means that water vapor has saturated your air on a cold day. You can also go ahead and feel your concrete walls – do they feel damp? Are there cracks on the wall? If you answered yes to both, then you have moisture seeping in through your walls and it contributes to high humidity.
Another way to tell if you live in high humidity is if you see mold spots in walls and ceilings. It’s one thing to feel moist air in your surroundings, but it is quite another to actually see molds growing. It is a disconcerting sight, especially if you know how harmful molds can be to your health and to your children. And if you have tried to get rid of molds before, you know that they are tough to remove. The best way to get rid of molds is to make the environment as unpleasant to their survival as possible. In order to do that, you definitely need a dehumidifier.
The Ideal Humidity Level
The ideal humidity level should take you and your family, pets, electronics, books, and all of your other material things into account. This ideal range is between 45% to 55% humidity. Higher than that – starting at 60% humidity – will encourage the growth of molds and mildew, fungi, and even dust mites. If anyone in your family has asthma, make sure not to go higher than 50% humidity or his or her allergies may get exacerbated.
What are the features to consider in a dehumidifier?
So you have checked your environment and you are now sure that you need a dehumidifier. We know that it is not an easy choice with so many options that might be unfamiliar to you. So we at ParentsNeed HQ have compiled a lot features that may help make your decision easier.
When you first go out looking at dehumidifiers, you will notice that they come in different sizes. The size of a dehumidifier refers to its capacity – or how much moisture a dehumidifier can remove over a period of 24 hours. This is normally measured in pints per day. So you will see that:
- Large capacity dehumidifiers remove up to 75 pints of moisture per day
- Medium capacity dehumidifiers remove up to 45 to 55 pints of moisture per day
- Small capacity dehumidifiers remove up to 24 to 50 pints of moisture per day
Picking the right size depends on the size of the room that you are treating and how humid it is. A small capacity dehumidifier can actually treat a space up to 2,000 square feet as long as it is just moderately humid. However, if you will be putting it in the basement, which is more humid that other parts of the house, you might want to get a higher capacity model. More so, you can buy a dehumidifier to treat an area of your house with mold.
Lucky are those who can get a dehumidifier for each room in the house so that each unit can have a permanent place. But it could be that your house isn’t too big and buying more than one unit may feel excessive. If that is so, then you will definitely want a dehumidifier that will let you move it around from room to room. While the larger capacity dehumidifiers can be very heavy, some of them have wheels to help you push them around. It is a good feature to have if you desire portability.
In the same way that a thermostat regulates the temperature in your home, a humidistat reads humidity and regulates it. Remember how we talked about the ideal humidity in your home? Well, a dehumidifier with a humidistat can help you keep humidity constant within the ideal range. You could even buy a model that helps you save energy by automatically turning on and off depending on the humidity in your home.
● Continuous Drainage
When a dehumidifier removes moisture from the air, all that moisture has to go somewhere. Most dehumidifiers have a bucket to catch the water – which you will remove from the unit and empty in the sink or in your garden. This is the kind of unit you will want if you don’t have access to an area where you could drain all that water. But if you do have a place to dump the gathered moisture, you might want to consider looking for a unit that has continuous drainage. This continuous drainage works the same way as your air conditioner where you can attach a hose that leads to the outside. No more bucket carrying for you!
● Auto Stop
If you happen to be going for a non-free draining dehumidifier with a bucket, there will be a chance of an overflow if you are not around to monitor your appliance. And we know there is nothing you would like less than pulling moisture out of the air only to turn it into a puddle on the floor. So the perfect solution is to get a dehumidifier with an auto-stop function. What it does is to automatically shut down your unit when the bucket is full, saving you a lot of effort in monitoring your dehumidifier and cleaning up puddles.
● Washable Air Filter
Since you are in the market for a dehumidifier to improve the air quality in your home, why not look for a unit that purifies the air as well? These appliances come with a washable air filter that traps pollution, dust, and other allergens in the air. This is something that is worth considering if someone at home suffers from asthma.
If you are conscious about not wasting energy, then you will appreciate it if your dehumidifier has an automatic timer. If you are not keen on keeping your dehumidifier on all day, you can simply set an on and off timer so that it runs just when you want it.
● Auto Defrost
You have probably noticed frost in similar appliances to your dehumidifier such as your air conditioner. When ice forms on your air conditioner, it leaks and does not function properly. The same thing can happen to your dehumidifier when it is used in colder areas. Ice can form on the coils and cause the unit to just run while not removing moisture from the air. This wastes a lot of energy. So an auto defrost function is good to have especially if your live in a cool climate. It automatically shuts off your dehumidifier when it detects frost and promptly allows it to melt before you turn it on again.
● Auto Restart
Even though it rarely happens these days, bad weather conditions or some other emergency situation may cause a power outage. This interruption and then the sudden surge of power later on can wreak havoc on our appliances. It’s a good thing that some dehumidifiers have an auto restart function. Instead of allowing the electrical surge to damage your unit, this function properly resets it.
● Energy Consumption
So many appliances today have energy saving features and the same goes for dehumidifiers. You may want to find one that has a low energy consumption in order not to ride up your electrical bill.
Tips for Keeping Your Dehumidifier in Tip Top Shape
- Your dehumidifier depends on air flow to take in air and extract the moisture out of it. So allow free flowing air all around your unit by not backing it against the wall. If you really want to put your unit against a wall, make sure you choose a unit that has a top vent.
- Dirty filters can block air from getting into your machine and make it inefficient. So save on energy consumption by keeping your dehumidifier’s filter clean. A good idea is to check the filter once a week.
- Practice safety at all times. Unplug your unit before your empty the bucket or before your clean it. This is important for avoiding electric shock.
- You can actually help reduce humidity in your home by keeping your gutters and downspouts clean and dry.
- You can also reduce humidity in your home by opening your windows to air out your rooms. If you have ventilation fans, turn them on for a few minutes or longer to reduce the moisture in the air. This is especially useful for enclosed, wet spaces such as bathrooms.
- Make sure that your other appliances that contribute to humidity – such as washing machines, dryers, and air conditioner compressors – are kept clean and dry. Your air conditioner’s drip pan should be routinely checked and emptied out.
- Did you know that a carpet can contain a lot of moisture? If you have done everything to maintain your carpet and it still ends up suspiciously moist, it might be a good idea to reconsider decorating your home without it. While carpets can be beautiful, there are a lot of ways to decorate your rooms without one and they could be equally stunning.
- Concrete walls that have not been waterproofed could absorb a lot of moisture and contribute to high humidity in your home. This is especially true of basements because they are in constant contact with moist soil. So check that your walls are waterproof and repair cracks around the house. Those cracks can allow moisture in and it doesn’t take much to increase your humidity level from 45% to 70%.
- Make sure that roof tiles are in good condition. Aside from walls, the roof is a common point for water to enter your home.
Now that you know what that the growth of molds, germs, mites, and allergens is encouraged by high humidity, you’ll never take it for granted again. And we understand if you are in a rush to buy your dehumidifier right now, especially if you have seen signs that you have to remove some excess moisture from the air in your own home. This is why we at ParentsNeed HQ rated and reviewed the Top 5 Best Dehumidifiers for your Family. The units we have chosen are powerful and efficient and have great looks to boot. But our favorite of the lot is the Danby DDR70B3WP Dehumidifier. It has most of the features we love in a dehumidifier but what we adore most about it is how it can dehumidify an entire basement with efficiency. Read more about it here.