If the air in your house feels damp and heavy, accompanied by either a musty or wet odor (or both), you might be facing a moisture problem. This happens when the air holds too much water vapor, or to put it simply, when the air becomes too humid. Humidity is not necessarily a bad thing (we need it, actually). However, at excessive levels, humidity may become a huge problem for both your home and your health. Just like how you would take your best lawn tractor before the overgrown grass can overtake your garden, you have to resolve moisture problems ASAP.
When talking about humidity, it’s important to be familiar with the term, Relative Humidity (RH). It is the ratio between the actual amount of water vapour (i.e., moisture content) in the air and the moisture-holding capacity of the air. The moisture-holding capacity of the air is basically the maximum amount of water vapour the air can hold at a certain temperature. RH is expressed in percentage, and if it is at 100%, this means that the air is fully saturated with water vapor. This is not the level that you would want in any part of your home, be it your basement, crawl area, living room, attic, bedroom, or kitchen. Check out this article to find the best 20, 30, 40, 50 & 70 pint dehumidifiers.
What is the ideal RH level indoors?
The optimum relative humidity (RH) level indoors is between 30% and 50%. This data is backed up by facts and science, confirmed by various organizations such as the National Asthma Council Australia, HVAC, and Energy Star. At this level, the air is comfortable to breathe in and would not cause harm to your body or your home.
- If the RH level in your house is below 30%, it will would be too dry, which can irritate your nasal passages, dry out your skin, cause respiratory problems, and cause floors and walls to crack.
- If the RH level in your house is above 50%, it will feel heavy, damp, and uncomfortable, and the amount of moisture in the air would promote the growth of unwanted microorganisms, which will be detrimental to both your health and house.
The negative effects listed above can be avoided by keeping the humidity stable indoors. Low levels can be resolved by a humidifier, adding moisture to keep it at a healthy level, while high levels can be kept in check via dehumidifiers. Nowadays, too much humidity is a more prevalent problem and is more of a hassle to solve compared to low humidity.
What happens when it’s too humid indoors?
Areas with high levels of humidity are like a breeding ground for mold, mildew, dust mites, and other allergens. Fungi, such as mould and mildew, thrive in warm and humid areas. Once these microorganisms have found a favorable condition for them, they can grow fast and infest more areas. So, if it’s too humid in your home, it’s very likely that your home will be infested with mold, mildew, and dust mites. You must avoid this at all cost or resolve this issue once it starts because these do not only cause musty odor but can also worsen your health in various degrees.
- Dust mites, which can infest beddings, floorings, and furniture, can trigger allergic reactions and skin irritation.
- Fungi (mould and mildew) produce pollen that can act as an allergen. These pollens, upon exposure or inhalation, can cause asthma, allergic rhinitis, eye and skin irritation, wheezing, and other upper respiratory tract infections.
- Prolonged exposure or inhalation of pollen (some are non-toxic but can be allergens, while some are toxic and can cause worse diseases) can lead to chronic lung diseases.
Another problem that comes with high humidity levels is that it makes our body incapable of sweating properly. And since sweating is an important action that our bodies do to level out our internal temperature, not being able to sweat properly causes our body’s internal temperature to rise, which increases the risk of heat stress and other cardiovascular diseases. This is why it feels worse when hot weather is coupled with high humidity!
Furthermore, moisture promotes rusting, rotting, and other forms of deterioration of materials, such as wood or other materials that aren’t moisture-proof or waterproof. Add mould and mildew infestation into the mix, and your house’s structural integrity will worsen in no time. This is why it’s important to take precautionary measures against moisture problems as soon as possible, especially if you’re looking to resell your house! Just like how showers and bathtubs increase the resale value of houses, a house with pristine walls and no moisture problems would obviously sell better than the ones that need reupholstering or remodeling. Make sure to also check out our guide on cassette toilets or gasless MIG welders.
Advantages when getting one
Just like how high RH levels can lead to an array of negative things, there are a lot of advantages that come from having a healthy level in your home! Here are some of them:
|Air quality||Cooler feeling||Fewer allergic reactions|
|Healthier respiratory system||Prevents mold||Prevents rotting||Saves money|
- better air quality
- cooler feeling due to lowered humidity
- prevents heat stress
- lowered risk of allergic reactions
- promotes a healthier respiratory system
- prevents mould, mildew, and dust mite infestation
- prevents the formation of musty, damp odor indoors
- prevents rotting, rusting, and other forms of deterioration of house walls, floorings, and other fixtures/furniture
- helps keep products/documents/furniture safe and in good condition despite long storage
- saves you money in the long run by avoiding restorations/renovations due to moisture problems
So, is getting one worth it? YES! Given its advantages, I think it’s safe to say that buying a quality one is like insurance for your health and wealth. Also, it’s not like they will make a big dent in your bank account, so overall, it’s a good and cheap investment to make as long as you purchase one of the right size and capacity.
What Size Do I Need?
Just like air conditioners, dehumidifiers have different sizes and capacities, often expressed in pints or liters per day. Most sizing charts only take into consideration the RH level and room size, which is understandable because these two are the main determinants when it comes to choosing the right size or capacity. However, the temperature can also affect RH level indoors and the performance —warm air can hold more moisture compared to cool air, and some types do not work well in cold areas.
Thus, to properly gauge the right size/capacity that you need, you need to consider all three factors:
- Relative Humidity – How damp/humid it is in your basement/crawl space without dehumidification.
- Room Size – Size of your basement/crawl space in square feet.
- Temperature – The average temperature in your area.
For a quick and easy measurement, you can use this chart from Energy Star, which they made based on the home dehumidifier sizing guide from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacture (AHAM). Take note that the sizing below factors in room size and RH only.
Source: Energy Star
If you need a chart that has a wider are coverage or larger pint capacity, here’s another chart from Humidity Fixers:
Source: Humidity Fixers
If you find it hard to gauge the humidity by only looking for symptoms of moisture problems, you can measure the actual RH level in your home instead with the use of a hygrometer. You can buy your own or rent one from a hardware store! Then, you can match the percentage with the RH levels listed below, which are based on the new testing standards for modern dehumidifiers from the Department of Energy (DOE):
- Moderately Damp: 50-60% RH
- Very Damp: 60-70% RH
- Wet: 70-80% RH
- Extremely Wet: 80-100% RH
Another thing that you must take note of regarding sizing is the catch basin or water tank capacity of the unit. The unit’s tank capacity must be sized according to the pint capacity of the model itself. For example, large-capacity ones, like 70-pint units must be equipped with tanks that can catch around 1.5 to 2 gallons of water (or more) for a hassle-free operation. With a large tank capacity, you can run it overnight without having to drain the tank frequently, which can be pretty tedious.
Lastly, to make sure that it can work optimally under certain temperatures, you have to look up the different types you need to know about. There are two kinds in the market: refrigerant and desiccant. The former works best in hot, humid areas, while the latter works well in both hot and cool areas. Here’s a brief breakdown about the two:
- A refrigerant or compressor dehumidifier makes use of refrigerant, a fluid that can transition from gas to liquid and can absorb heat from the air.
- A refrigerant is sensitive to cold and prone to freezing, which is why this type does not bode well in cold areas. In case of freezing, some units, however, have auto-defrost functions. For cases wherein the frozen refrigerant damaged the coils, you might have to change the refrigerant and/or coils of the unit.
- Compressor dehumidifiers work optimally at a temperature range of 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. Thus, this is a great choice if you live in warm, tropical areas or if you have a well-functioning heating system indoors.
- A desiccant dehumidifier makes use of desiccant to remove moisture from the air. It is a hygroscopic material that absorbs moisture from the air.
- Inside the rotor, the desiccant is heated up to expel the moisture it absorbed. The usage of heat entails a higher energy consumption compared to refrigerant ones.
- A desiccant is stable and durable; it does not require regular maintenance or replacement. Furthermore, it isn’t sensitive to low temperatures and can function properly in both warm and cool areas.
- Therefore, this type is a great choice if you want a unit with a long lifespan and if you live in an area that lacks a sufficient heating system or suffers from harsh winters.
How many square feet does a 20, 30, 40, 50 & 70 pint dehumidifier cover?
Basing our measurements on the chart provided previously, these are the areas that a 20, 30, 40, 50, & 70 pint models can cover, respectively:
|Common model sizes, in pints|
- moderately damp (50-60% RH): 1,500–2,000 sq. ft.
- very damp (60-70% RH): 1,000–1,500 sq. ft.
- wet (70-80% RH): 1,000 sq. ft.
- extremely wet (80-100% RH): 300–500 sq. ft.
- moderately damp (50-60% RH): 2,500–3,000 sq. ft.
- very damp (60-70% RH): 2,000–2,500 sq. ft.
- wet (70-80% RH): 1,500–2,000 sq. ft.
- extremely wet (80-100% RH): 1,000–1,500 sq. ft.
- moderately damp (50-60% RH): 2,800–3,300 sq. ft.
- very damp (60-70% RH): 2,500–2,800 sq. ft.
- wet (70-80% RH): 2,000–2,500 sq. ft.
- extremely wet (80-100% RH): 1,500–2,000 sq. ft.
- moderately damp (50-60% RH): 3,500–3,800 sq. ft.
- very damp (60-70% RH): 3,000–3,500 sq. ft.
- wet (70-80% RH): 2,500–3,000 sq. ft.
- extremely wet (80-100% RH): 2,000 –2,500 sq. ft.
- moderately damp (50-60% RH): 4,000–4,500 sq. ft.
- very damp (60-70% RH): 3,500–4,000 sq. ft.
- wet (70-80% RH): 3,000–3,500 sq. ft.
- extremely wet (80-100% RH): 2,500–3,000 sq. ft.
Who makes the best ones?
Aside from the factors discussed above, the brand is also something that you should look into before buying one. However, to review each and every brand available is like signing up for a week-long marathon. To help streamline your choosing process, here’s a brief description and review of the brands that offer the best ones in the market:
Homelabs, stylized as hOmeLabs, became well-known due to the excellent capacity, performance, and cost-efficiency of their products. Not only is this brand popular due to the quality of their products, but the customer service also trumps other brands’ in terms of responsiveness and sincerity. Despite being a mid-size company that mostly relies on e-commerce, hOmeLabs produces high quality and thoughtfully designed home appliances, such as dehumidifiers, air purifiers, coolers, air conditioners, washing machines, and more. What’s even greater is that most of the time, hOmeLabs appliances are much cheaper than other brands’ that offer the same product type and capacity.
One of their most popular products is the HME020031N, a 115 V 50-pint refrigerant dehumidifier that can cover 4,500 sq. ft. of space. It’s an Energy Star certified product, which denotes energy efficiency. This product has a 4.7 rating on Amazon! Here’s a brief list of its features that shows why it’s a very sought out model:
- 1.6-gallon removable water tank
- 70-pint capacity (2012 DOE Standard)
- built-in wheels and handles for portability
- 1-24 hr timer or continuous cycle
- automatic shutdown (for full water tank)
- comfort feature sets the humidity level automatically
Ivation is another noteworthy brand that offers wine supplies, kitchenware, air conditioners, heaters, coolers, dishwashers, air purifiers, and dehumidifiers. As a relatively new brand established last 2018, one would think that Ivation is behind their competitors—this is not the case at all! The keystone to their success is that they create practical solutions in the form of innovative products inspired by the ideas and feedback of the consumers. This way, Ivation makes sure that their products can truly enhance the quality of life.
What’s amazing about this brand is that you can find both compact models and large-capacity, powerful ones in one place! Through their website, you’ll see that they have mini, compact options that can fit at the palm of your hand, which can draw 6 oz. of water per day from the air. But if you need a much more powerful unit, you can find a 95-pint beast on their list, which is Energy Star certified, can cover up to 6,000 sq. ft. area, and has a built-in 16W pump for continuous water drainage.
Unlike other brands, Danby is not a newbie in the field of creating high-quality appliances. For over 70 years, Danby has expanded from North America and now offers affordable yet powerful products in Canada and other countries all over the US. From climate control, kitchen, laundry, and up to refrigeration, you’ll surely find an appliance that will suit both your budget and your needs in Danby. You can get a Danby dehumidifier of excellent quality and amazing coverage for as low as $160!
Danby follows the latest guidelines by DOE and creates energy-efficient models, aiding with saving energy, lowering electricity costs, and limiting global warming. This brand offers a wide variety of products, with capacities ranging from 22 up to 95 pints.
GE Appliances is another brand that focuses on improving the life quality of its consumers. All of the home appliances that GE offers are manufactured in the US and designed to be eco-friendly, high-performing, reliable, and smart. With their ongoing innovations, GE appliances keep on rising to the top due to their quality and efficiency, which is a perfect addition to our modern lifestyle.
GE offers models with built-in pumps, smart features (clean filter alert, auto-adjusting features, empty bucket alarm, etc.), defrost control, timers, and washable filters. Furthermore, these products are Energy Star certified, which signifies energy efficiency.
SoleusAir, as the brand name suggests, focuses on providing top-notch appliances for improving the air quality in your home and in commercial spaces. You can find Soleus products in various retail stores in the US, such as The Home Depot, Walmart, Target, Costco, Lowe’s, and Staples, among many others. In addition to these retail shops, Soleus has also expanded to Canada, Europe, China, Australia, Thailand, and Korea. You can also buy online through Amazon or their official website. Considering the popularity of SoleusAir products all over the world, it’s not a surprise that their customers’ reviews show amazing feedback. Soleus appliances boast durability, reliability, cost-efficiency, and power.
You can find a variety of models among their products, such as 30to 70-pint portable models. What’s amazing about SoleusAir is that even their large-capacity models for commercial spaces stay energy efficient and operate at a low noise level. These units have programmable timers, adjustable humidity level, and smart features like auto-adjust, automatic shutdown, defrosting, among many others.
If you’ve been a homeowner for a while now or have been buying home appliances for quite some time, Frigidaire is a brand that is surely familiar to you. Frigidaire has been the leading brand of cooling appliances, renowned for producing high-quality, sturdy, energy-efficient home appliances since 1918. As one of the pioneers of air conditioners, freezers, and refrigerators, Frigidaire is now one of the most popular and trusted brands out there, never letting anyone down with their reliable products.
Frigidaire products, albeit being a little bit pricier than other brands, are exceptionally powerful, smart and cost-efficient. On their website, you can find ones that can be controlled via Wi-Fi, equipped with a clean air ionizer, and Energy Star certified. With a capacity range of 20 to 60 pints, you’ll surely find the model that will suit your needs best. If you want a foolproof way of ensuring a healthy RH level indoors, try looking into the units listed below:
- Frigidaire FAD301NWD Small Room 30 Pint
- Frigidaire FAD504DWD Energy Star 50 Pint
- Frigidaire FFAP7033T1 Large Room 70 Pint (with pump)
- Frigidaire FGAC7044U1 Large Room 70 Pint (with Wi-Fi control)
FAD704DWD vs FFAD7033R1
These two Frigidaire products are the stars of most home dehumidifier reviews. Both units can operate in low temperatures (as low as 41°F) have a 70-pint capacity, are portable, energy-efficient, equipped with washable filters, gravity drain and continuous drain via hose, electronic controls with digital display, with a 35-85% RH setting feature, and can cover 1,400-4,500 sq. ft. The FAD704DWD is actually the predecessor of FFAD70331R1, so one would expect that the latter would have better features. However, some reviews say otherwise (but some reviews agree). If these two are your top choices, here’s a summary of some of their differences, so you won’t have to read through all the reviews on the internet:
- Energy Efficiency & Performance
- Both units have the same initial power draw, taking up 745 watts if the RH is at 100%. However, once set to your desired RH level, the FFAD70331R1 reaches it faster than the FAD704DWD; therefore, the former is much more energy-efficient. This makes sense because FFAD70331R1 is Energy Star certified while FAD704DWD is not.
- Hygrometer Readings
- In terms of RH reading accuracy, FAD704DWD is more accurate. It has 1-2% increments, which gives a more accurate reading compared to the 5% increments of FFAD70331R1. Thus, if the actual RH of the area is 40%, FAD704DWD would display it as 51%, while FFAD70331R1 will display it as 55%.
- For aesthetics, I would say that the latest model, FFAD70331R1, has the upper hand. It doesn’t have the holes at the front that the FAD704DWD has (this is where it takes in air), so it fits in the sleek and modern style that most appliances have.
- Vent & Fan Positioning
- FAD704DWD takes in air from the front and exhausts dehumidified air at the top of the unit, which is useful if you want to place it at a corner or against the wall. On the other hand, FFAD70331R1 takes in air from the rear and exhausts air at the sides, which limits the amount of air it can intake if it’s placed near or against a wall. If you prefer the FFAD70331R1, make sure to place it in the centre of the room or place it a few inches away from the wall.
- Fan Speed
- FAD704DWD has only two fan speeds (low and high).
- FFAD70331R1 has three fan speeds (low, moderate, and high).
- Water Bucket Capacity
- FAD704DWD has a 16.3-pint water bucket.
- FFAD70331R1 has a 13.1-pint water bucket.
- Both units are relatively quiet and aren’t disturbing even when operating at high speeds. However, FFAD70331R1 is proven to be the quieter unit among the two.
- FAD704DWD – low fan speed: 63.4 dB; high fan speed: 67.2 dB
- FFAD70331R1 – low fan speed: 50.5 dB; high fan speed: 53.5 dB
I’m sure that Whirlpool is a brand that we’re all familiar with, just like Frigidaire. A renowned brand that offers home, kitchen, and laundry appliances and products, Whirlpool has been winning the hearts of many since 1992 by ensuring that each product meets their consumers’ expectations in terms of performance, reliability, and energy efficiency.
Whirlpool products have different capacities, ranging from 20 up to 50 pints. Whirlpool products are also smart, equipped with preprogrammed humidity levels for your bedroom, living area, and basement. There are also a lot of advanced features like child lock function, filter alerts, timers, auto shut-off, and auto restart. Another notable feature is the Low Temp operation, which allows their dehumidifiers to operate wonderfully even at 41°F.
If you’re looking for a brand that has been proven and tested to be worth it and reliable by a lot of people, Kenmore should be on your list! With over 100 years of experience in the field of designing and manufacturing innovative home appliances, Kenmore has perfected the art of making highly energy-efficient appliances. As a testament to this statement, this brand has garnered energy efficiency honours from Energy Star for three consecutive years!
Kenmore models are capable of removing 30-70 pints of water from the air in a day, depending on the type and capacity of the unit chosen. What’s great about buying from Kenmore is that you can choose between portable and stationary units! In addition, most models have a built-in hygrometer and HEPA filter, which are very helpful in setting up your desired RH level and removing allergens in the air.
Tosot has come a long way since its establishment in 2003 by Gree Electrical Appliances. After nearly 20 years of dedicated work and service, Tosot is now known as one of the trusted brands across various countries, offering intelligent products that solve our daily struggles in our homes. What sets the products from Tosot apart from others is the seamless auto-adjustment of the operating mode of each unit, responding to the environment in real-time. Furthermore, these models have continuous drainage systems that eliminate the need for the traditional water basin, adding to the convenience and user-friendliness of the units.
Tosot products have various capacities, ranging from 12 up to 50 pints (70 pints as per the 2012 DOE standard). If you’re still reluctant to check out this brand, these features might change your mind: high energy efficiency, intelligent Wi-Fi control, fire-proof electric box, self-diagnosis, washable filter, and auto on/off function.
Hisense is an all-in-one type of brand, offering a wide variety of products, such as laser TVs, audio equipment, home appliances, kitchen tools and appliances, and smartphones. Hisense was focused on developing radios and TVs in its early years but has now expanded to designing and producing technology for households, communications, and computers, catering to various sets of needs of their consumers. What caught my eye when I was reviewing this brand is that its creators and designers never settle for mediocrity—they do not settle for less just to have a variation in their product designs but rather, they always excel in each design they put out, whether it’s a laser cinema equipment or a HiSmart Dehumidifier.
Each appliance from Hisense screams “hi-tech” and “smart” and yet stays user-friendly, eco-friendly, and reasonably priced! Hisense offers small-, medium-, and large-capacity models; you can find 25, 30, 50, 70, and 100-pint models with various area coverage limits on their official website. Some models are inverter units, and some boast built-in pumps and various operating speeds.
Vremi is well-known for its affordable, high-quality, user-friendly home and kitchen appliances. This brand is not a big fan of overpriced products, even if the item is jam-packed with smart features! What’s even greater is that they have amazing customer service, which is applauded by many in the customer feedback! I love how each of their product designs emits a fun, exciting vibe, which adds to the appeal and impact of Vremi.
You can find small-capacity ones on Vremi, such as the 1-pint portable option that can cover 150 sq. ft., which you can use in cupboards, storage areas, etc. Vremi also has a 22, 35, and a 50-pint dehumidifier available for you to choose from, with an area coverage range of 1,500-4,500 sq. ft. They are Energy Star certified, capable of working efficiently with minimal energy consumption. Also, they are all compactly designed and boast a sleek, modern look that can easily complement your home. So far, Vremi is the most affordable and currently offers a lot of discounts. If you want another option for a low-cost 50-pint model, you can check out Keystone KSTAD50B, too!
Last reminders before you leave and purchase the one that’s right for you:
These products, albeit being energy-efficient, can consume quite a lot of energy compared to other appliances. And just like how you have to carefully pick the size and capacity when buying one, you have to choose the right amp wire size, circuit breaker capacity, and proper extension cord if you’re going to operate a lot of high wattage appliances to ensure your safety. Even an honest mistake can lead to short-circuiting, appliance damage, or accidental fire.
Also, bear in mind that although they can help with maintaining the RH level indoors to a healthy range, it is not a permanent solution. You have to seek out where all the moisture is coming from and tackle the root of the problem first. If the moisture problem is caused by a continuous source of water or leak, a dehumidifier running 24/7 won’t be enough. Your house can suffer major damages, and renovation will be more tedious and complicated than adding a shower to a half bath—a lot of money and time will be taken out of you. However, if worse comes to worst and you’ll have to do some renovations, make sure to check out these links that can help make your renovation much easier: welding glasses, welding gas, engine-driven welders, and SAE to metric conversion chart.