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How To Buy The Best Dehumidifier For Your Florida Home

June 23, 2015

Shopping for a dehumidifier for your southwest Florida home?

Make sure you get the best one for your home by following these steps:

  1. Know what you want out of a dehumidifier
  2. Get one that’s the right size
  3. Consider how quiet you want it to be
  4. Decide what features you want

Ready? Let’s get started.

Step 1: Know your goal

What do you want to achieve with the dehumidifier?

Are you just trying to dry up a damp, musty room? If you just have a single problem room or area (like a laundry room), get a smaller and portable dehumidifier.

But, if like many other Florida homes, you want to dehumidify your entire home, consider a whole-home humidifier.

Read more about the pros and cons of portable vs. whole-home dehumidifiers.

Step 2: Get the right size

A dehumidifier size is measured by the amount of water it can remove from the air in one day.

For example, a 60-pint dehumidifier can remove 60 pints of water from the air in a 24-hour period.

To know the size dehumidifier you need, you need to know 2 things:

  • The size of the room(s) you want to dehumidify
  • How humid/moist those rooms are currently

Here’s a chart that helps you find the minimum size you need for your application.

Source: Energy Star based on data from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

Note that there are 2 different testing methods to measure the capacity of a dehumidifier. You must know the difference in order to make an apples-to-apples comparison of different dehumidifiers.

The 2 methods are:

  • Saturation — This is the maximum amount of humidity the dehumidifier can remove in 24 hours. It assumes the air is at 100% humidity.
  • AHAM conditions — The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) sets testing guidelines that more closely reflect real-world use. This assumes a humidity level of about 60%.

Saturation is like the dehumidifiers’ highway MPG and the AHAM conditions its city MPG.

A dehumidifier that can remove 70 pints at AHAM conditions will remove more humidity than one that can remove 70 pints at saturation.

Step 3: Consider noise level

Depending on where you’re placing your dehumidifier, noise level can be another concern.

Noise is measured in decibels and most dehumidifiers won’t be more than about 50 decibels. You’ll be able to talk comfortably over that level of noise, but you’ll definitely hear it.

So if you’re installing the dehumidifier in an area like a home theater or living room where quiet operation is important, consider a model that’s been insulated to be super quiet.

If noise is a big concern, a whole-home dehumidifier can be a great option. Since it’s installed in your duct system, not in a specific room, you won’t hear it much at all.

Of course, if you’re placing the dehumidifier somewhere noise isn’t a big concern, you can probably get away with a louder model.

Step 4: Decide on your “must have” features

At first glance, a dehumidifier is a dehumidifier. But there are several features you should consider that can make them easier to use. Here are a few examples:

  • Automatic humidistat — Like your air conditioning system’s thermostat, the dehumidifier humidistat can be set to automatically turn on and off when needed. This is more convenient than a simple on/off switch and can save you energy by not running needlessly.
  • Additional air filtration — Some dehumidifiers can help improve air quality by using air filters that are designed to remove small airborne contaminants.
  • Built-in drain — Many dehumidifiers can be hooked up to a home drain, so you never have to empty a reservoir!

Don’t forget to clean it!

If you don’t maintain your dehumidifier correctly, it can actually become a breeding ground for mold, mildew and other indoor air contaminants. Make sure you’re emptying the reservoir regularly and changing or cleaning the filter as recommended by the manufacturer.

Want help deciding on a dehumidifier for your Florida home?

Cool Today is Florida’s leading home comfort expert. For help finding a whole-home dehumidifier that’s right for your home, contact us.

Posted in: Buyer's Guide

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