A Comprehensive Buying Guide to Dehumidifiers
Are you living in a stuffy, sticky, and uncomfortable home? High indoor humidity levels produce moisture that makes the damp air we feel significantly warmer when the temperature rises. This also causes many indoor allergens, mainly mould, fungi, and dust mites. High humidity also results in structural damage and can affect the overall integrity of your home’s construction.
Dehumidifiers, although not as cool as air conditioners, significantly improve your air quality while giving you a more comfortable atmosphere.
When your home's humid indoor air causes you to sneeze and feel uncomfortable, it's time to control the humidity levels in your home. While there are an overwhelming number of dehumidifiers on sale in the market, here is a quick guide to buying a dehumidifier to help you choose the right appliance for your home.
Do I Need a Dehumidifier?
Constantly sneezing indoors? Do you feel uncomfortable with your air quality? Ultimately, humidity levels are high when they reach above 50%. These are the signs of a high humidity level in your home:
- Visible condensation and mildew on your windows
- Watermarks on ceilings or walls
- Mushy smell indoors
- Clammy air quality
- Visible mould and rotten wooden furniture or structural materials
- Increased allergens
Allergens and pollutants are prevalent in homes with higher humidity levels. An excellent appliance to help you maintain proper humidity levels is a dehumidifier. Depending on your house's size and needs, you may get a portable dehumidifier or a large-scale unit.
What is a Dehumidifier and How Does it Work?
A dehumidifier is an appliance that removes excess moisture from the air like a vacuum cleaner and pumps it back into the room like an air conditioner. Does it sound confusing? Let's break down its process into three parts:
- Like an air conditioner, most common dehumidifiers use the process of refrigeration or absorption of air moisture through a fan, over refrigerant coils, then expelling dryer air back into the room.
- The moisture that has been removed will drip down as liquid in a tray or container located below the appliance.
- This container will be emptied manually.
What Should Look For When Buying a Dehumidifier?
There are many types and sizes of humidifiers, which can confuse you when choosing one. Here are some factors to consider when shopping for a dehumidifier:
Before going through the technical specifications, it's important to gauge your room's needs first. The dehumidifier that you will use must meet the requirements of your space. Do you need a unit that can work for your whole home, or do you only want to tackle the humidity in specific places? Your room's size and condition are vital to choosing a suitable appliance.
When browsing for dehumidifiers online, although they look the same, you will see the differences in space coverage and moisture removal capacity within 24 hours once you check the descriptions. Is your room very damp? You can go for a unit with a lower moisture removal capacity. But if your area shows constantly noticeable condensation, go for a higher moisture removal capacity. We recommend opting for a unit with a higher capacity than what your room exactly requires since the volumes indicated are based on standard testing conditions.
Remember that the size of your dehumidifier determines its initial cost and its running expenses.
What Should Be the Size of Your Water Tank?
The size of your water tank determines how often you will need to manually empty it. Choosing the right size of dehumidifier will help you save time by not emptying the water tank as often. Some dehumidifiers allow you to drain the excess moisture through a hose. Make sure to check with your flat guidelines or seek professional assembly before opting for one.
Your choice of appliance placement will make a difference in how it will work in your home. In this case, it's crucial to carefully plan your layout to maximise the efficiency of your dehumidifier. Generally, a single dehumidifier works well when placed at the centre of the room or in an open area, allowing a clearance of at least six inches per side, including the back.
Earlier, we recommended buying a dehumidifier that is larger than its coverage because standard sizes advertised by brands don't usually take into account potential obstructions such as walls and furniture pieces. If you plan to place a dehumidifier in an open-floor flat, make sure to consider these factors. You may also get various units for specific rooms that are completely separated by wood or walls.
Aside from the initial price of your dehumidifier, it's also smart to look into the running cost of your unit over time. You may see a significant change in your energy bills depending on the dehumidifier you purchase. However, compared to other dehumidifying alternatives, dehumidifiers are considerably more cost-effective. Take the regular purchase of mould-removing products, air coolers, and the constant use of your air conditioners, for example. We can't stress this enough, but the secret to saving more in the long run is buying the most compatible humidifier size relative to your space requirements.
Other Features and Functions
These features are worth noting, especially since they can make the process and maintenance easier.
Look for a dehumidifier with casters if you plan to move your appliance whenever needed, especially when the unit is larger.
Automatic Shut Off Feature
To save energy, look for a dehumidifier with an automatic shut-off feature. This works when the ideal humidity level is reached or when the water tank becomes full. This will also help you prevent spills.
Some dehumidifiers come with an auto-reset feature which saves the former setting that you set. This is efficient when there is a power outage or if you accidentally unplug the appliance.
Dehumidifier vs. Air Conditioner
A dehumidifier doesn't necessarily cool the air as much as an air conditioner. Generally, what it does is regulate the moisture in the air to some extent. This means a dehumidifier can heat the air. If you are looking for a more complex appliance that can both eliminate the excess moisture in your air while cooling the place down, choose an air conditioner.
Humid air isn't just uncomfortable; it is also a notorious breeding ground for pollutants and allergens. Dehumidifiers provide an excellent solution for balancing humidity levels to maintain healthy air quality and protect your home from moisture damage. When buying a dehumidifier, consider the size of your space, your area requirements, the size of the tank, the placement of the appliance, and its energy efficiency. It is recommended to buy the biggest unit possible for your area's needs.
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