Choosing a Dehumidifier

Humidity is nobody’s idea of a good time.  It makes the air around you feel heavy, and if you perform any physical exertion at all, you can often, as people say, “feel it in your lungs”.  Worse, excessive humidity within the walls of your home or business make just being there uncomfortable, as well as setting the stage for problems such as mold growth.  Humidity is the number one requirement for mold to take up residence, and once it does, you have a whole new crop of issues to deal with. If you thought the storm water damage was bad enough, wait until mold develops due to ineffective dehumidification.

Water damage dehumidifier photo

Pick the right dehumidifier for your job

It’s no wonder professional water damage companies like PuroClean use dehumidifiers when drying out a structure. Dehumidification goes hand-in-hand with air movement. The air movement encourages evaporation from wet materials, like carpets, walls and contents, while the job of the dehumidifier is to remove the moisture from the air. This makes the air thirstier and encourages more evaporation. Without the dehumidification, the air will absorb water until saturated and then stop absorbing water from wet materials. Not only will drying stop, but secondary water damage can also be an issue and all sorts of problems can ensue such as wood cabinets absorbing water from the air and warping.

So the question becomes how to best eliminate, or at least reduce, the humidity levels in your home?  Fortunately, there are a number of dehumidifiers on the market, designed to do one thing, bring the humidity level in your home back within proper and acceptable parameters.  But how do you know which one to buy? 

The first thing to determine is the size of the area that needs to be treated, and just how badly affected that area is.  The best advice is to always go a little bit beyond what you will need, since a little overkill is infinitely preferable to having an underpowered device running constantly and never quite solving the problem.  The following chart demonstrates how to best choose the unit for your property.

Condition without Dehumidification

500 Sq. Feet





Moderately Damp (space feels damp and has musty odor only in humid weather)

10 pints





Very Damp (space always feels damp and has musty odor. Damp spots show on walls and floor.)






Wet (space feels and smells wet. Walls or floor sweat, or seepage is present.)






Extremely Wet (laundry drying, wet floor, high load conditions.)






Source: Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM)

The numbers to the right represent the recommended capacity of the dehumidifier needed to handle that particular sized area.  Capacity is defined as the maximum amount of humidity that can be removed from the air in a 24 hour period at 80% F and 60% relative humidity.  A 1000 square foot basement would require a dehumidifier with a minimum capacity of 23 pints.

Whole house dehumidifiers may be purchased as stand alone units, and handle up to 3000 square feet and remove up to 100 pints of water in a 24 hours period.  Whole house units are nice in that you will be running your air conditioner a lot less, cutting down on your power bill and preventing water damage at the same time.  It will always be less expensive to remove humidity from your home using a dehumidifier than it would be to run your AC constantly.

Dehumidifiers may also be set with timers which allow the unit to run only during given times each day.

About Dan Camara

Dan Camara is the CEO of PuroClean Home Rescue in Sacramento. We have been helping the good folks of Northern California with water damage dryouts, mold removal and fire cleanups for nearly 5 years now. Connect with me on Google+
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2 Responses to Choosing a Dehumidifier

  1. mark cooper says:

    choosing a right dehumidifier can be tedious task to do. if water damage is severe, better option is to hire a good water damage restoration firm for quick and safer work. restoration firms not only help you in repair, they also assist you in liaisoning with insurance firm for claims too

  2. Top Rated Dehumidifier says:

    Thanks for the wonderful information about the benefits of a dehumidifier. I think one of the best and efficient way to avoid mold problems at home is to get one of the top rated dehumidifiers in the market. I’ve been looking for a few dehumidifier that I find good reviews on the internet and hope to get one very soon.

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