The basement is a key part in your home. It could be where all of your things are stored away. It could be a home gym. Perhaps you have it finished and use it as a recreational room. (We use it as a toy room for the kids) Whatever you use your basement for there is one thing that all homeowners fear and that is a wet or damp basement. A basement with an excess of moisture can cause a whole host of problems including damaging the finished walls or carpet to creating a breeding ground for allergens such as dust mites, fungus, and mold. If left unchecked these allergens and damage can get worse overtime. The effects can especially be felt if someone in your family has severe allergies or asthma. In some cases the mold growth can get so bad that it can begin to grow on the walls, floor, and even on blankets or clothes.
Adding a dehumidifier for your basement is a great way to minimize the moisture. Let me be clear though folks, a dehumidifier is not a cure all. If you are seeing excess water pooling in your basement again and again then you have a much larger problem that will need to be looked into. This could be a number of things including improper water drainage, faulty windows, cracks in your foundation, or other more severe issues. The purpose of a dehumidifier is to treat the symptoms but it is not a cure. All that being said, if you find your basement occasionally gets water in it or if you have a damp or musty smell upon entering it then a dehumidifier may be the right fit for you.
A dehumidifier does exactly what it sounds like. It removes the excess humidity from the room that you have it set in. Dehumidifiers are actually just very small air conditioners. They have the same components and more or less work the same way as well. They even contain refrigerant just like your air conditioner does. The only difference here is that the dehumidifier has a warming element before the air is pushed back out into your home. Have you ever noticed that in your basement next to your central air conditioner there is a drainage pipe that leads to an in-floor drain? This is the water being removed from the air by your air conditioner. Your dehumidifier works the exact same way.
What Dehumidifier do I Need?
After reading the above you may have decided that you do in fact need a dehumidifier. If you’re not sure take a walk around your basement. Look for any signs of water either on the windows, walls or floors. In most cases if there is excess humidity there will be water droplets forming on the inside of your windows. In other instances you may begin to see water form on the walls or some of the paint starting to bubble along the walls. If there are no signs of water anywhere then the next test is to use that nose of yours and see if you can notice a difference in smell from the main level of your home to the basement. Does the air in the basement smell stale? Perhaps mildewy? If so, this is a sign that you need a dehumidifier.
The problem in today’s world folks is that there are too many choices. Think about it. If you were to go buy a car today there are dozens of makes and models to choose from. This wide selection of choices can cause an overload and in most cases will cause us to get overwhelmed. The same can be said when it comes to choosing a dehumidifier for your home’s basement. There are dozens of choices out there, but which one is the best?
I am a big believer of the Good, Better, Best approach. This was taught to me years ago by a former supervisor. Basically, it removes the sheer amount of choice that we are faced with nowadays and presents the consumer with three simple choices. There is a Good, Better, and Best product recommended. Obviously, the good product is still a viable appliance that will get the job done but it is not the best of the best. Better is that next level up and Best of course is the top of the line model.
By giving the consumer a choice between these three they can then decide what type of product they want between the three choices. This makes the choice of buying a dehumidifier, or any other thing, a much easier process. In the next segment we will get into our recommended Good, Better, Best dehumidifiers. Before we do that though, I want to first spend some time on determining the right size of dehumidifier that you will need.
Dehumidifier’s size are measured in pints. The larger the pint number the more powerful the machine is. The pint sizing is a measurement of how much water a dehumidifier can remove in a twenty-four hour period. There are two factors that need to be considered when selecting the pint size of your dehumidifier. The first is the square footage of the room or rooms that you are attempting to dehumidify. You will need to measure the overall square footage of the area that you need this appliance for. This can be done by simply multiplying the length and width of the room together. This will be your overall square footage.
These square footage measurements will aid you in picking a portable dehumidifier. However, if you are looking to dehumidify your entire home then you may look at a whole home dehumidifier. These units can actually be attached to your central air conditioner and be routed through your central duct work. While the cost may be expensive at first you will end up seeing monthly savings on your energy bill and a longer life from your central air conditioner due to the dehumidifier taking some of the work off of the AC. These whole system dehumidifiers can work on homes up to three-thousand square feet.
Before you purchase you should keep in mind that once you determine the minimum capacity you need for your room that you should always go up slightly. By going up in capacity, say from a twelve pint to a twenty pint, you are able to increase the overall efficiency of your dehumidifier. This is because the larger unit will not have to work as hard as a unit that was right at the minimum level. Also, while there are all different varying pint sizes required the most common dehumidifier sizes are twenty, thirty, and fifty pints.
When you have your square footage determined you next need to figure out how damp the room is that you are trying to dehumidify. There are a few different dampness ratings that we can assign to your room. Knowing these will allow us to guide you on what kind of dehumidifier to purchase.
- Moderately Damp – When you enter the room you may notice that the air feels clammy or even damp. There may also be a musty odor when the weather is humid outside. This may be a lot of your basements. The recommend capacity for a moderately damp room is between ten to twenty-six pints, or between five to twelve liters.
- Very Damp – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You may even notice damp spots on the floor, walls, or windows. The recommend capacity for a very damp area is between twelve to thirty-two pints, or between five point seven to fifteen point one liters.
- Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The recommend capacity for a wet area is between fourteen to thirty-eight pints, or between six point six to eighteen liters.
- Very Wet – When you enter this room you may notice that it always smells musty and the air feels clammy or damp. You will also notice water beading on the floors, walls, windows, or elsewhere. You may also see moisture seeping at the edges of the room. The difference here though between wet and very wet is that with the very wet section you will notice actual standing water on the floor. The recommend capacity for a very wet area is between sixteen to forty-four pints, or between seven point six to twenty point eight liters.
Our Recommended Products
Alright folks so now you should be fairly versed into what sized dehumidifier that you need. Now the question is what model do you purchase? Which one is the best of the best and which one is a budget model that will get the job done for you? This is where our ‘Good, Better, and Best,’ approach will come in handy. The three products below we have weighed against the others on the market and determined these are the top in their class.
Now keep in mind that this article is focused on specific dehumidifiers for your basement. We are not looking at or recommending smaller dehumidifiers that are meant for bathrooms or other applications. There are many of these types of models out there but they will not have the power needed to fix humidity problems in your basement. Ok, with all that out of the way let’s take a look at our product picks:
First on our list and in the ‘Good’ category is the twenty-two pint dehumidifier from hOmeLabs. This is our price point model and will work in open rooms up to fifteen-hundred square feet. In most cases this will handle the size of most basements. Consideration does have to be made though if you are experiencing a lot of moisture issues in your basement.
Remember earlier in the sizing section we stated that you would need more power if there is routinely standing water in the area? Well, this is what I meant. A twenty-two pint will get the job done if you’re trying to get rid of that musty smell or other minor problems but if you are needing something more then I recommend you move on to the ‘Better’ section of this article.
The good news here though is that this ‘Good’ selection is under two-hundred dollars on Amazon as I write this article. (Prices can change at any time.) The other models will end up costing you more but will grant you more power. Ultimately, the choice is yours but if it were me I would choose the ‘Better’ section as you get more power and longevity out of the product. Yes, you’ll pay more upfront but I believe it’s worth it.
Our ‘Better’ category product is the Vremi fifty pint dehumidifier. This product works in rooms up to forty-five hundred square feet. It can remove fifty pints of water per day and is ideal for larger rooms such as office spaces and large basements. Even if your basement isn’t that large though this product will still work great for smaller areas. This is especially true if those smaller areas have a significant dampness problem. By having such a powerful dehumidifier in the room your problems will be resolved very quickly.
This is the product I would use if you have standing water in your basement. This is the product I would use if you have mold growing in the area. In just a few days you will notice a significant difference. This product is also only slight more expensive then the ‘Good’ selection. For about forty or fifty dollars more you get a more powerful system. As I said previously, this is the product that I would go for.
Alright folks we are now on to the best of the best. This product is going to cost you quite a bit more then the others but you are also going to be receiving a premium product that will last you quite a while. Before I recommend this product to you I first want to understand why you need a dehumidifier. You see there are a few reasons for one to purchase a product like this. The first is that you are having problems with moisture and are seeing signs of it on your windows, walls, floor, and in the extreme cases standing water in your basement or rooms. This is the most common reason to purchase a dehumidifier.
That being said though, there are other reasons for someone to want to purchase an appliance like this. That reason is allergies. You see when there is excessive moisture in a room there are side effects that come along with it. For example, in a room with too much humidity dust mites, fungus, and other allergens will begin to form. In some cases mold will begin to grow either on your floors, walls, curtains, blankets, and even on your clothes.
While no one is a fan of mold it can be much more impactful for those of us with allergies and those with asthma. My father is an asthmatic and it sometimes only takes the littlest thing to trigger an episode. My mother has to vacuum the house right after he leaves in the morning. If he’s there during vacuuming then the stirred up dust will set him off. Everything has to be as clean as possible. Installing a dehumidifier was one of the steps they took to clean the air in their home. The dehumidifier will make it less hospitable for mold and other allergens to get a foothold in your home. It should be noted though that if mold already exists that you will have to remove it yourself. The dehumidifier will prevent more from growing but it will not clean up the existing mess.
This ‘Best’ product DeLongshi is actually approved by the Asthma Foundation of America and the Allergy Foundation of America. They’re not playing around with this one folks. As I said before, it’s the best of the best. It is the only dehumidifier that I could find that was endorsed by these two organizations. This unit can also dehumidify up to forty-five hundred square feet, just like the product we mentioned previously in our ‘Better’ category.
The downside here is, you guessed it, price. The cost on this product is nearly four-hundred dollars. (Prices can change at any time.) While that may seem like quite an investment to make it will be worth it if you or your family member are suffering from allergies or asthma. I would only recommend this product though if you are looking to relieve allergy/asthma sufferers. If you are just look to dehumidify then you should go with the ‘Better’ category.
Before I close this article I wanted to take a moment here and let you know that when dehumidifying in your basement it is best to use a drainage hose that leads to your air conditioner’s drain grate. This will allow you to run the dehumidifier constantly and not have to worry about emptying the water container every few days. If your basement doesn’t have a drainage area then you are most likely out of luck as the hose needed are gravity fed. Also, note that the room you are looking to dehumidify doesn’t have to be completely open. In other words, if your basement is finished and you have two to three bedrooms down there then I would place it in the largest room out of the three. The other rooms will have a lessened effect, but they will still be dehumidified.
Well ladies and gentlemen, this concludes our best dehumidifier for your basement article. If you would like more information on dehumidifiers please check out our dehumidifier section by clicking here. If you find that I’ve missed something or if you have additional questions please do not hesitate to reach out to me.
Thanks for reading,