How to choose the right dehumidifier for your home
If you live in a moist climate, humidity can make the air inside your home feel hot and uncomfortable. Excessive moisture can even damage your home and belongings. Using a dehumidifier can prevent water damage and mold growth in your walls and ceilings. See how to choose the right dehumidifier based on type and cost.
Benefits of a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier uses a fan to blow moist air over a refrigerated coil. As the air cools, the moisture condenses and collects in a drainage system. The dry air is blown back out into the room.
Keeping the air inside your home relatively dry can prevent water damage in your walls and ceilings. It can also slow or prevent mold growth. Regulating humidity levels will also make your home more comfortable, especially in the hot summer months.
Choosing the correct size of dehumidifier depends on your needs. If your home is generally dry, but you have noticed mold or musty smells in your basement or bathrooms, a small capacity dehumidifier may be all you need. If your entire home is damp and uncomfortable all summer, you’ll be glad you invested in a larger-capacity whole-house dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers are rated by the amount of water they can remove from the air every 24 hours. A small capacity dehumidifier, recommended for small areas with moderate humidity, may be rated to 10-20 pints. A high-capacity dehumidifier, rated to 40-45 pints, is appropriate for larger areas and rooms with standing water.
You should also consider the air flow volume of any dehumidifier. This rating will tell you how much air the unit can process per hour. Air flow capacity is measured in Air Changes per Hour, or ACH. The higher the ACH, the more effective the dehumidifier will be. A room with standing water requires a dehumidifier with an ACH of 6, while a damp basement may require one with a rating of only 3.
Portable or Whole-House Dehumidifier?
Once you have decided how powerful a dehumidifier you need, you’ll need to decide whether to purchase a portable unit or a whole-house dehumidifier. A portable unit is easy to install, but may not have the capacity you need to dehumidify your entire house. Whole-house units require professional installation, as many models operate within your home’s existing HVAC system.
Portable units generally require you to empty the accumulated water periodically. Some units come with a pump and hose system that allows you to drain the water into a sink or basement drain. Whole-house dehumidifiers drain moisture directly into sewage system via your home’s existing plumbing.
How Much Does a Dehumidifier Cost?
A portable dehumidifier will cost less than a whole-house unit. If you live in an apartment or rental house, a portable unit may be your only option.
A portable dehumidifier costs between $200 – $300. A whole-house dehumidifier costs between $1100 – $2000, plus labor. However, a whole-house unit may operate more efficiently than a portable unit, making it less expensive to operate in the long run.