Dehumidifier Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best One

A Humidifier is not something that we go and randomly buy. We should know how it functions and the important factors that should be considered. It becomes even more important for those who are suffering from breathing or respiratory issues. This buying guide will help you buy the best dehumidifier for your home.

1. Types of Dehumidifiers:

Depending on the amount of moisture it can remove in 24 hours, the dehumidifiers are categorized into three types.

  • Large-Capacity

The large-capacity models have the ability to remove around 28-33 liters of moisture in a day. They can handle a wide range of humidity levels with almost no or little noise. You can even run the device on low or quiet settings. If you want to buy a dehumidifier for large or wet spaces, you must buy the large-capacity models. Even though they are a bit costly, it is totally worth it.

  • Medium-Capacity

You can use these dehumidifiers in large or mid-sized spaces that are very damp. They claim to remove around 23 liters of moisture in a day. Even though there is not much difference between large-sized and medium-sized models, you will eventually pay a little less.

  • Small-Capacity

Small-sized dehumidifiers can effectively remove 15 liters of moisture per day and are perfect for small and damp rooms.

2. Dehumidifier Capacity:

Capacity is the most important factor that you must check for before buying a dehumidifier. Buying an incorrect model might not remove the moisture effectively from the room. The following table will help you in choosing the right mode land will help you understand the water extraction capacity (in liters) per 24 hours depending on the dampness level of the area.

Dampness Level in the Area1000 sqft1500 sqft2000 sqft3000 sqft
Moderately Damp (50 – 60% Humidity)7 Litres8.5 Litres10.8 Litres13 Litres
Damp  (60 – 70% Humidity)9 Litres10 Litres12.7 Litres15 Litres
Extremely Wet (70 – 80% Humidity)10 Litres12 Litres15 Litres17 Litres
Wet (80 -100% Humidity)11 Litres14 Litres17 Litres19 Litres

3. Humidity Control Range:

HCR i.e. Humidity Control Range indicates the capability of a dehumidifier to control the humidity levels. HCR is measured in percentage and an ideal dehumidifier should be able to control at least 50% humidity in the air.

4. Collection Tank or Bucket:

The dehumidifiers have a collection tank that is used to hold the water that is pulled from the air. While extracting the moisture, the bucket starts filling and it needs to be emptied manually. To prevent it from overflowing, most of the dehumidifiers come with an automatic shut-off feature that turns the unit off automatically as the collection tank reaches its maximum capacity. It is better to check for models that have front-loading buckets. It is easier to empty the bucket in such cases. Also, the buckets should have comfortable handles so that you can remove the bucket properly, while it is full.

5. Hose Connection:

In damp or wet rooms, the dehumidifier collects a large amount of water. Thus, you will have to empty the bucket quite frequently. To help you with this situation, most units come with a direct drain feature. This helps in continuing the operation without even emptying the bucket. However, it requires a floor-level water drain. If you don’t have access to the floor-level drain, you can buy a unit with an internal pump feature. This can pump water vertically up to a sink and save you from the effort of emptying the bucket regularly.

6. Air Filter:

Many dehumidifier units come with an air filter. These units help in removing the contaminants as well as moisture from the air. They improve the quality of the air by removing allergens, mold, and mildew from the air. An air filter also helps in eliminating the musty smell that you generally get in wet or damp environments. It also helps in keeping the dust particles away and prevents them from entering the unit as they can affect its performance. Always check for a dehumidifier that comes with a washable air filter so that you can clean it on a regular basis.

7. Humidistat:

A humidistat is used to measure the humidity levels in the air and so that you can adjust the dehumidifier accordingly. It also lets you decide the desired humidity level and once the unit reaches this desired level, the machine shuts off automatically. When the humidity levels begin to climb up again, the humidistat alerts the unit and the dehumidifier starts working again. Because of this, the dehumidifier operates only when it is required. It also helps in increasing the lifespan of the machine.

8. Auto-Defrost:

In temperatures below 65° F, frost starts forming on the coils of the dehumidifier. An automatic defrost function helps in turning off the compressor until the unit defrosts completely to prevent further damage. If you are planning to run the unit at lower temperatures, you should buy a dehumidifier with an auto-defrost feature.

9. Fan Speed Settings:

Most of the dehumidifiers feature at least 2 fan speed settings. You can select the speed according to your requirements. The lower speed makes lesser noise while operating when compared to the higher speed setting. But, the unit draws out moisture slowly when it is set to lower fan speed.

10. Auto-Restart Feature:

If you face regular power-cuts in your area, we suggest you to buy a dehumidifier with an auto-restart feature. It allows you to restart the device automatically once the power is back. The best part about it is you will not have to change the settings again as when the unit restarts, it starts functioning with the previous settings only.

11. Energy Efficiency:

The energy efficiency of a humidifier is represented using stars. The units that are energy efficiency approved work efficiently when compared to the models with a no-energy star. If you live in areas where the humidity level is very high, you must select an energy rated model as it will function effectively without consuming much electricity. This way, you can save a lot of money on electricity bills.

12. Indicators:

Many dehumidifiers feature an LED indicator so that it is easier for the users to operate the device. The lights on the indicator blink as soon as an operation is carried out. Some units also indicate when the tank is full.

13. Clean-Filter Alert:

You need to clean the air filter present in the dehumidifier regularly. If it is dirty, the efficiency of the unit drops down automatically. Most models feature an indicator that reminds you to clean the filter.

14. Whisper Quiet Technology:

The new whisper-quiet technology in a dehumidifier helps you have a peaceful sleep. It reduces the amount of noise (decibels-dB) produced while the unit is working. It is a very important feature, especially if you are keeping it in your baby’s or parent’s room.

15. Timer:

If you want the device to run for a specific time, this timer feature can be very helpful. You can simply set the timer and the dehumidifier will turn off automatically as soon as the time is up.

16. Portability:

If you plan to move the device from one place to another frequently, you should look for a dehumidifier that is compact and light in weight. You can also look for models that have rolling casters or carrying handles so that it is easy to move it.

17. Low-Temperature Setting:

The models that feature low-temperature settings allow you to use the dehumidifier in even lower temperatures. It can even work below 41 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degree Celsius.

18. Warranty:

You should always check for the warranty of the humidifier offered by the manufacturer. Generally, a good-quality humidifier lasts for several years with some minor or occasional malfunctions. However, most of the brands offer a warranty of 1 year. Some good brands even offer an extended warranty of 2 years on the humidifier.

Types of Dehumidifiers:

The humidifiers are divided into 3 categories, based on the dehumidifying technology that they use. They are refrigerative, electronic and desiccant. Let’s learn about the most common ones in detail.

1. Refrigerative or Compressor Dehumidifiers:

It is the most commonly used dehumidifier. It can be used for both residential and commercial spaces and have the capability to remove between 10-30 liters of moisture every day. Theses dehumidifiers are good for dehumidifying those areas of the home that are neither too hot nor too cold. For a refrigerant to work properly, the room temperature must be above the temperature of the coils present inside the dehumidifier.

Temperature range 
Ideal temperature range15-30°C
Sub-optimal performance10-15°C
Poor performance5-15°C
Will not workLess than 5°C

How do Compressor or Refrigerant Dehumidifiers work?

The working principle of the dehumidifier includes: how dehumidifiers work source: explainthatstuf

1. The warm and moist air gets sucked inside the machine via a grill located on one side of the unit.

2. The fan draws the air in an inward direction.

3. The warm air then passes over the freezing cold pipes via which the coolant circulates. As the air cools down, the moisture present in the air turns into liquid and start dripping downwards.

4. Now, this air that is free of any moisture passes over the hot condenser or compressor unit so that it becomes warm and get back to the original temperature.

5. The warm and dry air is then blown back to the room via another grill.

6. The liquefied moisture drips down to the collecting bucket or tray that is located at the bottom of the humidifier.

7. As the tray starts filling up, there is a plastic float that starts rising upwards.

8. When the tray is full, this float trips an electric switch so that the fan turns off immediately. The indicator light starts blinking and this means that you will have to empty the bucket.

Pros:

  • It is the most commonly available dehumidifier.
  • The unit can collect a large amount of moisture in both warm and humid conditions.
  • The refrigerant dehumidifier is more energy-efficient and can work above 15°C.
  • They offer higher capacity
  • The units offer high performance and work efficiently in an average-sized room.

Cons:

  • The dehumidifier is a bit noisy.
  • It works only in warm and humid conditions.
  • In the environment below 15°C, the performance of the humidifier drops.

2. Electronic Dehumidifiers:

The electronic dehumidifiers are suitable for use in smaller areas or cars. They offer a low capacity ofv0.5 – 1.5 liters. They offer great performance and results.

How does Peltier (thermo-electric) Dehumidifier work?

The thermoelectric dehumidifier uses the Peltier module. In Peltier technology, there is only single process involved.

The electricity passes through the dehumidifier’s module and creates a difference in the temperature. During this process, one side of the modules heats up while the other side remains cold.

When the warm air enters the dehumidifier via the front grill, the air is being pulled by the fan. This air then comes in contact with the front of the cold side heat sink. This is where dehumidification happens.

The cold side heat sink features a smooth finish with an angled finned design that allows the condensate to drip down where it is collected. The air is continuously being pulled into the back of the dehumidifier. It travels around the front cold heat sink and the whole Peltier module/heat sink assembly to the backside of the dehumidifier. Then the air is pulled past the hot side heat sink.

The air that comes out is warm (because it passes through the hot side heat sink) and dry (because of the cold side heat sink).

Pros:

  • Uses very little electricity and is extremely efficient.
  • Needs little or no maintenance at all.
  • When compare to desiccant and refrigerant dehumidifiers, it is quite cheap.
  • The unit runs quietly.
  • Works great in small rooms.
  • They are light in weight and portable and can be moved from one room to the other easily.

Cons:

  • Does not work great in larger rooms (above 220 sq. ft.)
  • Not suitable for highly humid regions.
  • The results do not show up as quickly as other types of dehumidifiers.
  • Offers poor performance below 15°C and is not suitable for use in colder places.

3. Desiccant Dehumidifiers:

The desiccant dehumidifiers are also called as absorption dehumidifiers. They work on removing the moisture from the air by using a desiccant (mostly Zeolite or silica). Desiccant is a material that attracts and holds water vapor. These types of dehumidifiers work well in a colder environment as they don’t use refrigeration systems, unlike other humidifiers. They also have a capacity of around 7-12 liters.

How does Desiccant Dehumidifier work?

There is a blower that forces air inside the unit so that it passes via the rotating desiccant wheel. The silica gel then starts absorbing the moisture present in the air and releases around 75% of the air back to the room in the form of dry and processed air. The remaining 25% of the air is termed as “reactivation air”. The dehumidifier heats this air to 90-140°C. The high temperature then draws the moisture out of the silica gel. This warm or reactivated air is released outside of the unit and the room via a duct.

Pros:

  • These humidifiers work the best in colder conditions.
  • They are very quiet when compared to compressor dehumidifiers.
  • They are light in weight and can be moved around easily.

Cons:

  • The dehumidifiers don’t work great at higher temperatures.
  • At room temperature, the performance starts dropping.
  • They are not energy efficient when compared to other types of dehumidifiers.

Benefits of a Dehumidifier

Apart from removing excess moisture from the air, there are many benefits of having a dehumidifier at your home. They are as follows:

  • Prevents growth of mold and mildew

By maintaining an optimum humidity level, the dehumidifier helps in preventing the growth of mold or mildew. Generally, they grow and reproduce in hot and humid conditions above 60%.

  • Takes care of the allergens

High levels of humidity can also lead to the growth of allergens, airborne bacteria, etc. The dehumidifier helps in reducing the irritation caused to the skin and respiratory system caused due to the allergens.

  • Pest Control

Pests like spiders, cockroaches, and centipedes also reproduce at a higher rate in a moist environment.

  • Protects your property

Due to high humidity levels, you can notice the interiors of your house spoiling. Because of the moisture, wood can warp, crack, or even split. Not only just wood, but metal things also get spoilt and you can notice rust over them. Using a dehumidifier can prevent your house form deteriorating.

  • Bad odor

When humidity mixes with allergens and fungus, it creates a foul smell. After a point, it gets difficult to get rid of this odor using a room freshener too. A dehumidifier can help you get rid of this odor.

  • Water Stains

High humidity can also lead to water stains on the wall or furniture. It can ruin the entire house.

Tips to follow while using a dehumidifier:

Even though it is easy to use a dehumidifier, there are certain things that you must take care of. They are:

  • Make sure you place the unit in an area where there is an unrestricted airflow. The units that have vents on the back as well as sides should be kept at least 6 inches away from the wall or any furniture.
  • Keep checking the air filters and clean them regularly. A dirty air filter can hamper the performance of the dehumidifier.
  • Always plug the dehumidifier to a proper GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet. Also, refrain from removing the third prong from the plug.
  • Before cleaning the unit or filter, unplug it.
  • Even while emptying the container, make sure that the power is turned off.

How to maintain a dehumidifier?

The lifespan of dehumidifier varies from 3 to 15 years. Maintaining the unit properly can even increase the lifespan. Check for the maintenance tips offered by the manufacturer in the user manual. Apart from this, you may also follow the pointers mentioned below:

  • Clean/replace the air filters whenever required
  • Drain the unit and wipe it with a dry cloth before storing the unit
  • Follow the instructions mentioned in the user manual before cleaning the water tank and the dehumidifier
  • Contact the manufacturer in case of faulty operation

Frequently Asked Questions?

1. What is the appropriate time to use a dehumidifier?

If you feel moisture in the air or if you feel the room is damp and smell musty, then it states that the humidity levels in the air are high. If your room walls feel damp or have moldy patches, dehumidifier has to be used frequently.

2. Can I sleep with dehumidifier on all night?

A dehumidifier helps to keep the air moist enough (balances the water percentage in the air). So, you can keep the dehumidifier on all night. It helps to keep your airways moist and help proper breathing all night.

3. Where can I keep dehumidifiers?

Dehumidifiers are usually placed in bathrooms, basements, laundry rooms or any other rooms where moisture in the air is high. Whatever room you place the dehumidifier, make sure to keep it close to the center of the room. It not possible, then place them at least 6 – 12 inches away from the wall and furniture. Because dehumidifiers work best when there is good air flow around them.

4. Is it safe to leave the dehumidifier unattended?

Yes, it is safe. You leave the device unattended, as it will automatically shut down once the required humidity levels are acquired.

5. Do dehumidifiers prevent mold?

When the moisture in the air increases to 60% or more, then mold

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