Types of Dehumidifiers: How To Choose
If you live in a warm, moist climate you already know the biggest complaint associated with summertime isn’t the heat itself, but the humidity. Humidity is to blame for that sticky, muggy, I’ve got to take a shower as soon as I step outside, and why did I even bother doing my hair feeling.
Humidity also causes us to sweat more. When our bodies overheat it makes our blood rise closer to the skin's surface, which in turn attracts mosquitoes to bite.
High humidity levels are also dangerous for allergy sufferers and asthmatics. High humidity encourages the growth of mold spores, which is why many bathrooms become infested with mildew after running hot, steamy showers in a confined space. Moisture saturated air is also heavier than dry air, which makes it more difficult for asthma sufferers to breathe. The combination of moist, heavy air along with increased mold counts serve as perfect triggers for asthma and allergy sufferers.
So, whether you’re concerned about your personal health, don’t want to be the guest of honor at a mosquito barbecue, or are just sick of frizzing hair, you may want to consider a dehumidifier. But with so many choices and price points, how do you know which one is right for you? Read on as we compare the various types of dehumidifiers.
What Types of Dehumidifiers are available?
Dehumidifiers are classified as large, medium, and small capacity based on the number of pints of moisture they’re designed to remove from the air in a 24-hour period.
Large capacity dehumidifiers claim to remove 60 to 70 pints of moisture per day and are best used in large, wet spaces such as a basement, or extremely humid, tropical regions.
Medium capacity dehumidifiers can remove up to 50 pints of moisture per day and are perfect for common areas such as living rooms, and for typical hot, humid climates.
Small capacity dehumidifiers remove up to 35 pints of moisture per day and work best for small spaces such as bathrooms. This dehumidifier type is designed for areas that are damp rather than wet and is best suited for those living in a non-humid climate who simply want to remove excess moisture from the air.
Finally, there also exists a whole-house dehumidifier option which is designed to work on spaces up to 5,000 square feet. Unlike the other dehumidifier types that are standalone appliances, whole-house dehumidifiers can also be installed as an add-on to your home’s HVAC system. However, whole-home dehumidifiers are very expensive and usually not necessary if you already have central air conditioning which is standard in most warm, tropical climates.
What to know about Dehumidifier Controls
Many dehumidifiers will come with touch pad, electronic controls. These controls allow you to customize the level of dehumidification based on personal preference, from normal, dry, to very dry. Some dehumidifiers feature a percentage on the control panel, which allows you to select the desired moisture percentage of the room, where the lower the percent, the higher level of water the dehumidifier removes.
What are the different Fill Features for dehumidifiers?
Once a dehumidifier becomes filled with water, what does it do? If no hose is connected, a dehumidifier will shut off and cease operation until its fill bucket is removed and emptied. This can be a hassle if you live in a highly humid environment or you run your dehumidifier in a basement, as you’ll have to take the bucket upstairs, dump it and return it about once a day.
Fortunately, however, most dehumidifiers come with a connection for you to attach a hose. This hose allows the collected water to flow up directly and dump out through a drain, or in the case of a basement, pumps the water out through a window or higher area.
How does a dehumidifier Timer work?
Since you are adding a new, constantly running appliance to your home, expect your monthly electric bill to increase accordingly. If you’re concerned about this increased cost, you may want to think about purchasing a dehumidifier that has a timer feature so you can set it to turn off during the nighttime or for when you’re away from home.
What is the Frost Control Sensor?
If you live in a cooler, humid area you may want to consider a dehumidifier with a frost control sensor. In colder temperatures, frost can build up on the coils of the dehumidifier, which prevents the machine from pulling in moisture as it runs. Basically, the frost control sensor stops the dehumidifier from running when it’s not doing its job.
What is the Air Filter Alert?
And finally, if you plan on putting your dehumidifier through a long, moist summer, you’ll need to clean its air filter often. A dirty air filter can hinder your appliance's ability to run properly and efficiently but isn’t always apparent when it needs to be cleaned. Fortunately, if your unit comes with an air filter alert, you’ll see a light indicating that its time to clean it, so your dehumidifier can always operate at maximum efficiency.