Sizing a dehumidifier can be tricky. You want to buy a dehumidifier that is big enough to do the job, otherwise there's no point buying one. You don't want to spend more money than necessary, though, and a dehumidifier works most efficiently when it is the proper size for the job.
Of course, size is not the only factor to consider when deciding which dehumidifier to buy, but when it comes to dehumidifiers, size does matter. We'll tell you how to size a dehumidifier for your home and what other factors to consider.
When talking about the size of a dehumidifier, we are talking about the number of pints of water it can remove from the air in a 24 hour period. We aren't talking about the physical dimensions of the appliances, although in general those that remove more water from the air in a 24 hour period are going to be somewhat larger than those designed to handle less water.
So what size dehumidifier do you need? To choose the right size, you'll need to know the approximate square footage of the area in which you want to reduce humidity and you'll also need to take into consideration how damp the area is. You'll need a bigger dehumidifier in an area that is very damp, where the floor or walls sweat or feel damp to the touch, or where you do such things as hang wet laundry to dry. If the area is only somewhat damp or has a musty odor, you can use a smaller dehumidifier.
Note that if the area smells musty, though, there may already be mold growing there, which should be addressed. You can read more about the characteristic musty odor of mold.
This chart can help you in sizing a dehumidifier for your home. If you are torn between two different sizes, go with the larger of the two.
|How damp is the area?||Area 2000 square feet or smaller||Area 2500 square feet||Area 3000 square feet||Area 3500 square feet||Area greater than 3500 square feet|
|Feels damp and smells damp or musty|
|Feels very damp and floor or walls sweat|
|Very damp, floor or walls feel wet, used for things like hanging laundry to dry or showering|
You may only need a dehumidifier on one floor, such as in your basement. However, you may need more than one dehumidifier, depending on the layout of your home and where you have high levels of relative humidity. If your whole house is too humid, you might want to look into a whole house or furnace dehumidifier instead of a stand-alone unit.
While sizing a dehumidifier is important, there are other factors to consider when selecting a dehumidifier. There are a number of available options from which to choose, depending on your needs and preferences.
You might want to choose a model with a direct drain, so it can work continuously and you won't have to worry about emptying a bucket of water regularly. If you don't have a floor drain near the area in which you want to use a dehumidifier, you might want to look for a model with an internal pump that can pump water vertically so it drains into a sink. Otherwise you will have to empty the bucket each time it fills up.
Some dehumidifiers will monitor the relative humidity in the room and operate in such a way as to maintain it at a specified level. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends maintaining relative humidity between 30 and 60 percent to reduce the risk of mold in the home, as well as for greatest comfort. You can learn more about relative humidity in the home here.
Most of the better dehumidifiers come with air filters built in. They will alert you when the air filter needs to be cleaned.
Our favorite dehumidifiers are those made by Frigidaire. Frigidaire offers dehumidifiers in a variety of sizes. They are generally compact, lightweight, easy to move around, and simple to install and use (installation can be as simple as plugging the unit in and turning it on). All come with the Energy Star rating, which is good for the planet and your pocketbook. Follow this link to see some of our favorite dehumidifiers from Frigidaire.