Home Basement Dehumidifiers Buyer’s Guide

April 17, 2020

Dark, humid, and cold, a perfect combination for mold and mildew to grow. Keeping your home free of these pesky spores can be hard, especially when it comes to the basement of your home. And for those in humid climates or regions, this can almost seem impossible.

But there is a way to beat the mold before it gets a chance to spore its way into your home and life. And that way is to reduce the humid environment with the help of a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers, however, come with many different features and sizes, so which one does your home need?

Signs that You Need a Basement Dehumidifier

Depending on the climate, region, and how well insulated your basement is will impact the need for a dehumidifier. But if you are still not entirely sure, there are a few signs you can look out for that will let you know if a dehumidifier for the basement is necessary.

Key signs that your basement is need of a dehumidifier are:

  • Your basement walls feel damp to the touch.
  • You can see condensation on surfaces.
  • There is an odor of mustiness, mildew, or mold.
  • You can see watermarks on the floor; an indication that moisture is rising underneath the foundation of the basement floor.
  • You can see mold growth on the ceiling, walls, floor, and/or on other surfaces.
  • Items and furniture in the basement show mold or mildew with visible growth.

If your basement has any of these signs, you’ll need a dehumidifier for your basement. For those still unsure about a dehumidifier's usefulness, then it never hurts to check out the benefits of these handy machines.

Benefits of Having a Dehumidifier in the Basement

Having a dehumidifier in your home can be helpful for those who live in humid climates. But for those with basements, removal of excess humidity isn’t the only benefit one can get with a dehumidifier.

Some benefits of having a dehumidifier in the basement include:

  • Improves indoor air quality
  • Reduces structural damage due to excess moisture
  • Reduces allergens from mold and mildew
  • Energy savings
  • Less humidity means less stress on A/C units
  • It reduces the growth of dust mites

And while these are all decent benefits, it never hurts to learn more about how a dehumidifier works.

How a Dehumidifier Works in the Basement

Basements are known for being humid and cooler due to the lower temperatures beneath the ground level. This excess cool moisture can be tough on ordinary dehumidifiers, which is why you’ll need to look for ones that are built with basements in mind. Dehumidifiers with rather large tanks and/or connection hoses are the optimal choice.

A dehumidifier is helpful in reducing the humidity in these spaces. How a dehumidifier does this is by drawing the air into the dehumidifier. The air is then passed over cool condenser coils that remove the excess moisture from the air. It then stores this moisture in the dehumidifier’s reservoir tank for removal or passes through a hose.

Now that the air has all the moisture removed, the dehumidifier reheats the air before releasing it back into the basement.

On the outside, one may assume that that’s all there is to a dehumidifier, but there is a wide variety of features you’ll want to consider before putting one in your basement.

Features to Look for in a Basement Dehumidifier

Basement dehumidifiers are slightly different from their whole-house counterparts in a few ways. Dehumidifiers for basements often have to operate in lower temperature surroundings of 65 degrees and below. But temperature surrounding isn’t the only feature a basement dehumidifier needs.

Here are a few other features you’ll want to look for in a high-quality basement dehumidifier:

  • Humidity Controls
    Dehumidifiers work better when they have a built-in hygrometer. This tool helps the dehumidifier regulate humidity levels in the home throughout the year. After all, humidity changes depending on the time of year. Summer months tend to have relatively higher humidity levels compared to winter months which tend to have the lowest levels.
  • User-Friendly Controls
    Dehumidifiers come compact with many different control features, so having an easy to use interface is necessary. Some dehumidifiers make it easy to adjust and program humidity level preferences from normal, dry, very dry, and so on.

Along with these controls, you’ll get an automatic shutoff, auto restart, timers, and other helpful alerts that keep the dehumidifier running correctly.

  • Defrost Features
    With humidity controls comes the need for defrosting features. Coils can become frozen during the fall, winter, and in general cooler climates. And these frozen coils can be expensive to replace, often leading to the whole unit needing to be replaced as well. A defrost feature prevents this from occurring and makes it easy to maintain the dehumidifier.
  • Water Tank Capacity
    Dehumidifiers have a wide variety of water tank sizes. The size of the tank you’ll need can be determined by the square footage of the room or basement and how humid that area is.

Slightly damp areas that are 300 sq. ft. or less tend to do well with 20-pint tanks. 1,200 sq. ft. homes or larger do well with 90-pint tanks. 500 to 800 sq. ft. can range anywhere from a 25-pint tank to a 50-pint tank depending on the humidity.

  • Automatic Draining
    A crucial feature for basement dehumidifiers is automatic draining. The automatic draining function relies on hoses to remove the water from the reservoir as the dehumidifier works. Which is useful for those who aren’t able to consistently dump the reservoir tank.

Other features to consider are noise levels, washable filters, energy efficiency, and the overall size of the dehumidifier.

Final Thoughts

Getting your basement’s mold problem under control will take more than a coat of paint and bleach. Dehumidifiers are very helpful in making a basement livable again, and with the right size one, you can make your basement mildew and musky odor-free again. We hope this guide helps you choose the best basement dehumidifier for your basement and home.

JJ Sterling
As the co-founder of Urban Splatter and an architecture graduate from Chicago, I thrive on crafting a digital nexus where architectural innovation intersects with boundless digital opportunity. My academic roots in the Windy City's rich architectural tapestry inspire a unique vision for Urban Splatter's journey into the ever-evolving digital frontier of design. Join us as we navigate the exciting confluence of structure, style, and technology.

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