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5 Things to Consider When Buying Basement Dehumidifiers

Updated on March 9, 2009

Before You Get Started:

Buying basement dehumidifiers to correct basement dampness issues can be a waste of time if you don’t buy a dehumidifier with the right features. Dampness in the basement and the musty smell is compounded by stuff that gets damaged while being stored in a humid environment. Knowing what size unit to buy, the important features needed for successful dehumidification of the basement and how to properly operate your appliance, are all determining factors relating to your success. Read on to determine which basement dehumidifier is best in your home.

Humidity Concerns

Basement dampness is a common problem for homeowners. Natural humidity in the basement can make your tools and metal appliances rusty and can even affect electronic circuits in washing machines, furnaces and computers. Using basement dehumidifiers will greatly improve your dampness problems, IF, you buy one with the proper features you need.

Tip #1 – Write down the number of rooms in your basement. Each room that is a separate and enclosed area, will need its own unit. A dehumidifier which is set up in one room of a basement that has four separate rooms, will do little to help the other three rooms.

Measure and record the length and width of each room. Multiply the length measurement by the width measurement for each room to get the square footage. You will need this data later on when you go shopping for dehumidifiers.

Tip #2Shop around different stores before buying. Different stores will carry different brands. Look on the back of the boxes of each dehumidifier in the stores you visit. You want to make sure that the unit is capable of dehumidifying the square footage of each room you measured. Consider only the units that meet your minimum square footage requirements for each room. Don’t be afraid to buy one larger than you need. The rule is, “bigger is better”. A larger unit will not have to work as hard as a smaller one. Write down the name and model number of each unit you are considering along with the important features of each.

Tip # 3 – Make sure each unit you are considering has a de-icer or defrost feature. Refrigeration coils are responsible for mechanically removing moisture from the air. After running for extended periods of time in humid summer months, many cheaper models can freeze-up and stop working.

Tip # 4 – Only consider units with a drain hose attachment. The drain hose itself will probably have to be purchased separately but is well worth the extra minimal cost. The drain hose allows any water collected in the collection tray, to promptly drain away while allowing the unit to continue working. Units without this feature have a removable bucket in the back end. When the bucket fills up with water, the unit will shut off and stop removing humidity from the air. Most units will have a light that comes on in the front to alert you that the bucket is full. These type units won’t begin running again until you empty the collection tray. This can become a time consuming and relentless task during the warmer and more humid summer months. Your collection bucket may fill several times a day during these climate conditions. You have to remember to repeatedly keep checking if the light is on and then you have to empty the bucket. The drain hose feature will make your life a lot easier.

Tip # 5 - Consider whether you need a unit with front and side ducts. Some units will have ducts auxillary duct kits available which will allow you place your appliance in a back room while still dehumidifying the air in the target room.


More Thoughts

While the best and recommended location for your dehumidifying appliance is in the center of an open area of the basement, auxillary intake and exhaust duct kits can be purchased to allow you to draw and return air in the desired room through the use of wall vents.

This option allows your appliance to be hidden in a back room or closet and out of site. Make sure that there is enough free air space in an enclosed area for proper cooling.

If your basement is finished off into several rooms or separate areas, you are going to need more than one unit to properly dehumidify the entire lower level. Most likely, one will be required for each separate area.

In any basement dehumidifier comparison you make, be sure to include the important tips listed above.

If leakage is a problem in the basement, you will probably want to consider waterproofing the area. Water seepage on the floors and walls will evaporate into the air and raise the humidity levels.

Waterproofing the areas will remove water before it can be absorbed by the air and will allow your appliance to run less and save on electricity costs.

Typical Installation

Other tips for proper operation:

*** Use separate electric breakers and outlets for each dehumidifier and sump pump you have installed in your basement. Because both tof hese type units can turn on and off automatically and run at the exact same time as each other, it is very likely that your electrical fuses or circuit breaker could trip and stop all of your machines from running. A sump pump without electrical power can cause your basement to flood from ground water and this could trigger a whole mess of distruction from water infiltration. Your dehumidifier without electricity will stop removing excessive humidity from the air causing your dampness to reappear.

 *** Keep your doors and windows to the basement “closed” all year round. Keep the door leading from the upstairs areas and the downstairs areas closed too. Opened doors and windows allow more outside humidity to readily enter your lower level and raise humidity readings. This will cause your dehumidifying appliance to run excessively and it will run up your electric bill. Open doors and windows will make it impossible to control your humidity and condensation problems.

*** Running your central air conditioner or whole house air conditioning system can greatly help your situation. These HVAC systems naturally remove humidity from the air and will allow your new dehumidifying appliance to work easier.


Dehumidifiers in Basement Spaces


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips and explanation. Thanks a lot for sharing.

    • profile image

      Carbondale, PA 

      6 years ago

      Nice article from a fellow NEPA!

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Wow, that's really a helpful blog! Thanks for sharing these guidelines.

    • profile image

      Basement Doors 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for sharing the tips on buying basement dehumidifiers. It could help save a lot of time when buying one.


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