A Guide to Buying a Whole House Dehumidifier
You’re probably familiar with how uncomfortable you feel when it’s hot and also humid outside. When it’s the same hot temperature, but low humidity, you don’t suffer so much. This is because, in high humidity, you’ll perspire, but the sweat doesn’t evaporate so well as during low humidity. Evaporative cooling is the body’s mechanism to cool off when it’s hot. But, if your beads of sweat can’t evaporate due to the high humidity, you’ll struggle to cool off. So, a whole-house dehumidifier can help you feel a lot more comfortable.
Whole-house dehumidifiers are useful for large spaces of 2,500 square feet to up to 6,000 square feet. (If you need something smaller, like just a single room or garage, there are mini dehumidifiers. If you need to dehumidify a larger area, like a big warehouse, there are commercial dehumidifiers.) Not only will they help you feel more comfortable in humid weather. Keeping your house at a relative humidity of 30%-50% helps prevent the accumulation of mold and mildew. And food stays fresher for longer when it’s kept at low humidity.
We’ll go through some features of the best whole-house dehumidifiers. You’ll see that they can pair up nicely with air conditioners, to keep your house comfy during the summer months!
Types of Whole House Dehumidifiers
We can say that there are two main types of whole house dehumidifiers:
Gravity Draining: These don’t have a pump, but just rely on gravity to drain the water out of the collection cup. You’ll typically see that there is a $40 difference between models with and without an internal pump. You’ll still need a garden hose to attach to the appliance, to get the water to drain to exactly where you want. You of course can also empty out the drainage cup manually every so often. An example is the Vremi 50-ping Dehumidifier.
Vremi 50-pint Dehumidifier
With a Condensate Pump: These utilize a pump to drain the water that condenses in your dehumidifier. They can pump against gravity, to propel the water to any location for the water to drain. The Tosot Dehumidifier with an Internal Pump comes in models that are capable of removing 20, 35, or even 50 pints of water a day. Its pump can drive the water sideways or vertically up to a distance of 16 feet away.
Tosot Dehumidifier with an Internal Pump
What reviewers say
Here is a few pieces of advice that customers mentioned with the whole-house dehumidifier that they bought:
Saves money: When the air in your house is less humid, your air conditioner doesn’t have to work so hard. It’s easier for the air conditioner to cool dry air than moist air. So, a whole-house dehumidifier can save electricity.
Buy a device with a large tank for a basement: Customers recommend getting a dehumidifier with a large tank for your basement or garage. This way, it will collect more water before you have to empty it manually. If it drains out to a nearby drain, you can essentially just “set it and forget it”.
Noise level: Customers notice that these dehumidifiers can be noisy, especially in Turbo mode. But, most dehumidifiers say that the noise level is approximately like that of an air conditioner, which is not much of a disturbance.
Here are some features of the best whole-house dehumidifiers, which may help you decide on one model over another:
Rate of condensation: You’ll see that dehumidifiers will differ in the rate at which they remove water vapor from the air. The figure is usually given in units of PPD, or “pints per day”. Many of the models we examined can remove 50 PPD, or as many as 140 PPD, depending on weather conditions.
Area that they can dehumidify: More expensive units can effectively dehumidify larger areas. One of the most powerful dehumidifiers that we reviewed, the Colzer Commercial Dehumidifier, can handle an area as large as 6000 square feet!
Auto-defrost: Some of the models we reviewed have an auto-defrost model. In some cases, if you run a dehumidifier in cold conditions, the condensate can freeze on the cooling coils. The Alorair Basement/Crawlspace Dehumidifier will detect frost and run an automatic defrost cycle. This way, your device can run without interruption.
Attaching a garden hose: Some models of dehumidifiers come with a hose to drain out the condensate, while others require you to purchase the hose separately. It usually is a ⅝” diameter hose. You should get one with an internally threaded end, to ensure that it won’t pop off during use unexpectedly.
Turbo Mode: Dehumidifiers work by sucking in air over a set of cooling coils. When the water vapor in the air hits the cooling coils, the water vapor condenses into water and collects in the collection cup. When the weather is more humid, you may want the dehumidifier to work harder. There are dehumidifiers with a Turbo mode, where the fan works faster to dehumidify more air. The hOmeLabs Dehumidifier runs at 165 cubic feet per minute (=CRM) at normal speed but can be increased to 188 CFM in Turbo mode, to work faster.
Maintenance: Besides emptying out the collection tank, there is some standard maintenance with whole-house dehumidifiers. You should clean the device’s air filter once a year, preferably at the beginning of the spring/summer when you start to use it. It might require being replaced periodically, depending on the model. You can either vacuum it clean or wash it, in the event that the filter can be washed. Also, even if you have a pump removing the water from the condensate bucket, or you spill it out manually, you should wash it with soap once a month. This will prevent mildew growth in the bucket.
Smart dehumidifiers: So many appliances are “smart” devices nowadays, that you can control with a cellphone app. You can also find smart dehumidifiers as well. Honeywell’s Smart WiFi Dehumidifier allows you to adjust the humidity level and fan speed from a smartphone app, and even by means of Alexa voice commands!
Honeywell’s Smart WiFi Dehumidifier
We went through some of the features of the best whole-house dehumidifiers, examining the area they can treat, the size of their condensation tank, and the amount of noise they generate. All told, a dehumidifier can make your house a lot more comfortable during hazy, humid days, and help you keep your house cooler overall. A dehumidifier can also help you avoid water damage to drywall or wood fixtures in your home. It’s a worthwhile investment!