If you’ve checked out our last post, “How to Choose Between Freestanding and Built-In Basement Dehumidifiers,” you may have already decided to purchase a freestanding dehumidifier. But how do you choose the right one?
Answering a few key questions will have you on the right track to choosing the best freestanding dehumidifier for your specific application. Several things to look for in any basement dehumidifier include low temperature operation, automatic defrost, automatic restart, and a digital dehumidistat for humidity control.
How Large is Your Basement?
The main considerations when choosing a freestanding dehumidifier are the size and layout of your basement. The larger the basement, the more you’ll need higher water removal capacity, normally listed as pints of water removed per day. If the basement consists of multiple rooms and/or closed doors, you will need a larger capacity dehumidifier, multiple units, or possibly a built-in dehumidifier, sometimes called an inline or whole-house dehumidifier.
Generally speaking, the following guidelines will help determine the capacity you will need. A damp to wet basement up to 1,000 square feet will require a dehumidifier with the capacity to remove 25 to 35 pints per day. A damp to wet basement between 1,000 and 2,000 square feet will require a dehumidifier with the capacity to remove 40 to 50 pints per day. A damp to wet basement larger than 2,000 square feet will require a dehumidifier with the capacity to remove 60 to 70 pints per day. Larger basements or basements with multiple rooms may benefit from a built-in dehumidifier.
In addition to the guidelines above, if your basement is excessively damp or wet, has limited ventilation, high ceilings, or a large amount of contents, you may need a dehumidifier with a larger capacity.
Do You Prefer Manual or Automatic Emptying?
An important consideration when choosing a basement dehumidifier is the method used to empty the reservoir that fills with water as the air is dried. Most freestanding dehumidifiers require that the reservoir be manually emptied, and it can be a real pain in the rear to go down into your basement every day or two and empty a bucket.
Normally there is a provision to connect a hose to the dehumidifier and gravity drain the water into a floor drain or sump pump. Another option is to purchase a dehumidifier with a built-in pump that will pump the water into a sink drain or outside of the basement.
Your dehumidifier will be most effective at reducing the relative humidity in your basement if it does not shut off when the reservoir is full, requiring you to manually empty it. If the unit is not running, then it is not dehumidifying.
Other Options to Consider
Heavy duty freestanding dehumidifiers are also available. These units will cost more than the typical residential dehumidifiers found at big box home improvement stores, but they are also built to last longer, work more efficiently, and often have a higher water removal capacity. You can also choose among Energy Star dehumidifiers, which consume less electricity. Some dehumidifiers have higher quality air filters than others, so they will filter more particulate matter out of the air as an added benefit.
Whichever dehumidifier you choose for your basement, make sure to set it to maintain the relative humidity below 60%. Ideally, set it around 40-50%, so that you ensure the relative humidity stays below 60% to prevent mold growth and musty odors.
How Branch Environmental Can Help
At Branch Environmental, we provide comprehensive packages that address the air quality inside your home and basement. We have you covered from inspection to mold remediation to dehumidifier selection and installation.
Call us at (706) 310-0097 today if you would like to schedule a basement or indoor air quality inspection, or if you simply want advice on which type of dehumidifier is right for your basement.