If you live in Alabama or any southern state, you understand humidity in the air. What you may not realize is how excess humidity can wreak havoc in your home and especially in your basement or crawlspace. One solution to excess humidity is a dehumidifier. What are the best features for basement dehumidifiers? Read on to learn the key features to look for and why they are important.
Humidity is excess moisture in the air. Summer months hold more moisture in the air than cooler winter months. This means that warmer months bring higher temperatures, more rain, and hold more moisture in the air. When you combine these elements in your basement or crawlspace you have created the perfect recipe for mold, mildew, and fungal growth along with a higher possibility of rot.
Do I need a Dehumidifier in my Basement or Crawlspace?
Crawlspace and basement humidity levels tend to be higher than the home above them. This is due to poorer air circulation and contact with the ground. To keep the air healthy and protect your basement you want to maintain a healthy indoor relative humidity level (also called an RH level) The Environmental Protection Agency recommends keeping the RH level below 60% and ideally in the 30-50% range for your best air quality. RH levels above 60% encourage pest activity and mold growth.
A dehumidifier can reduce the level of moisture in the air around it thus improving the air quality and overall life of your basement and anything in it. Dehumidifiers can be installed as a whole house system but for the sake of this article, we are focusing on the best features of basement dehumidifiers.
How Basement Dehumidifiers Work
Commercial dehumidifiers are best for a basement or crawlspace area. Once you set the level of the desired humidity level on the dehumidifier, it begins to circulate the air within the space. The warmer air is pushed over a cold fan causing the moisture in the air to condense and turn into water. You are left with drier air circulating with less moisture which means less chance of mold, mildew, or fungus growth.
The Best Features for Basement Dehumidifiers
Choose the Appropriate Size for Your Space
For most homes, a commercial-grade portable dehumidifier will easily handle the high humidity levels in a basement or crawlspace.
Determine the size of your basement. Measure the length of each wall and then calculate the area in square feet. This is done by multiplying the length times the width.
Evaluate the humidity level. You can use a humidity meter to tell you the RH level or follow these loose guidelines:
- “Damp”: a musty aroma in humid weather or occasionally feels damp
- “Very Damp”: the space always feels damp and musty no matter the season
- “Wet”: occasionally visible condensation or the ceiling or walls
- “Very Wet”: the space always has visible condensation or standing water.
Choose the best dehumidifier based on the room size and humidity level. Dehumidifiers are sized by their capacity level. Capacity is referring to the amount of moisture removed from the air in a 24-hour period. The amount of moisture is measured in pints and they come in 30, 50, or 70-pint capacities. Choose the best combination of room size and humidity levels needed for your space.
Consider upsizing the capacity of your dehumidifier if the room holds a washer and dryer, has multiple windows or doors, or if people live or spend significant time in the basement.
All the Automations
One of the downfalls of basements is that unless they are lived in or used frequently, we tend to forget about them. If you are actively trying to remove the humidity in the basement then having automations set on your dehumidifier is very helpful.
An automatic humidistat is helpful because the dehumidifier will automatically turn itself on and off when the humidity level reaches a set level. This could possibly save some on energy costs.
An automatic defrost is a feature on the dehumidifier that will defrost any ice buildup preventing damage or shutoff during very cold temperatures.
An automatic restart feature will automatically restart the dehumidifier if the power goes out.
Consider Drainage Options
When the dehumidifier removes water from the air, that water has to go somewhere. There are options for disposing of this water. Some have manual drainage which means that when the bucket is full it must be emptied by hand. If it is not emptied regularly, the unit will not run. Unless you are very punctual about emptying it, a manual drainage dehumidifier may not be for you.
The best option for removing the condensed water is to either have the water drain into your basement sump pump or exit via a condensate pump or water hose leading outside.
Aqua-Guard Waterproofing Specializes in Dry
Aqua-Guard is ready to help keep your basement dry. We can help you choose the best dehumidifier for your basement and install it properly. We offer free consultations and stand by our work. Contact us today to have your water problems solved.