Question

Excess moisture in your home, your basement, or in a specific room can cause a whole host of problems. These problems could be made much worse if you or someone in your family suffer from allergies or asthma. A moist environment can lead to the growth of dust mites, fungi, and mold. These allergens are not only unhealthy but can also lead to rather extreme symptoms including shortness of breath or difficulty breathing.

As far as if dehumidifiers are worth the money I first need you to answer a few questions for me. What is your reason for purchasing a dehumidifier? Is it that your basement has a somewhat damp or mildewy smell to it? If that is the ONLY reason that you wish to purchase a dehumidifier then I would say that you cold hold off for a while. It is not an emergency that you use a dehumidifier.

However, if in that same basement you are seeing signs of water droplets forming on the inside of the windows, or even on the walls, then you have a larger problem. That problem can be magnified if you have areas of standing water forming in your basement. This is prime territory for mold and other allergens to begin growing. Even if you aren’t necessarily allergic to these contagions it is definitely worth the money to invest in a dehumidifier. Mold can lead to a host of short term and long term health problems. So, while you may feel fine today you may experience long term affects after living in the residence for multiple years.

Spending a few hundred dollars on a dehumidifier may just be the solution for you. It resolves the moisture problem and prevents these allergens from taking hold. That being said though, keep in mind that dehumidifiers treat the symptoms and do not cure the disease. In other words, if you are routinely having standing water in your basement then there is most likely another issue for this water. It could be faulty windows, it could be your drainage line from your air conditioner is clogged, it could be a crack in your foundation. In my old house we had a small gap between the foundation and the frame of the house. This caused water to leak in during bad rain storms.

The point I’m making here though folks is that while a dehumidifier will get rid of your moisture and water problem it will not fix the overall problem. So, if you are getting water in your basement over and over again then I suggest you look further into that. You will still need a dehumidifier but you should also take the time to fix the overall problem.

If you don’t have the money to fix the problem though then I suggest you invest in a dehumidifier. It will at least put a stop to future allergens and give you time to figure out the real problem at hand. In order to understand why size and what type of dehumidifier you need please visit our  buyer’s guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

Best

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.

Sizing

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:

Good: hOmeLabs 22 Pint Dehumidifier

hOmeLabs 70 Pint Portable Dehumidifier

BUY NOW

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.

Better: Vremi 50 Pint Dehumidifier

Vremi Dehumidifier 1,500-4,500 Square Feet

BUY NOW

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.

Best: – DeLonghi 70 Pint Dehumidifier

 DeLonghi 70 Pint Dehumidifier

BUY NOW

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.

Conclusion

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,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

For many the basement is a key part of the home. This is especially true if you have a finished basement. You get all of that extra square footage for an entertainment area, a guest room, a kid’s play area, or even a man-cave. Even if the basement isn’t finished though it is still where you store most of your belongings. One of the worst things that can happen to a basement is excess water. Now, in some cases this excess water could be from a severe rain storm that blew by and some of that rain made it’s way into the basement. In other cases though it could be that you have excess humidity in your basement.  A lot of times this is easy to tell. You may notice a damp or mildew like smell when you are in your basement. Or, you may see some water droplets on the windows or alongside the walls. In extreme cases you may even see standing water.

Having excess moisture or humidity in your basement and your home can cause a lot of problems. You see, this excess humidity can lead to a breeding ground for a variety of allergens such as dust mites, fungus, dust, and even mold. In some cases the mold can get bad enough that you start to notice it growing on the walls, floor, and everything else. I’ve seen extreme instances where mold can actually begin growing on curtains, bedspreads, and even your clothes. These allergens can not only cause visual discomfort but can also affect breathing ability, especially for those with asthma.

If your basement, or other area of your home, is experiencing symptoms like I mentioned above then you need a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will do just that. It will remove the humidity from your room or home until the desired humidity level has been reached. In this article we are going to take an in-depth look at one of the dehumidifiers that are currently on the market place today. Today’s product is from a company named Vremi. Their product, known as the Moisture Maniac, comes in two different sizes. The first size comes in at twenty-two pints and the other at fifty pints. I also have to say that I just love that product name. Moisture Maniac. Hah. It definitely sticks in your head.

Without further ado though, let’s dive in and see if this is the right dehumidifier for you.

Vremi

Before I purchase or review a product, especially a more expensive one, I always like to take the time and do some research on the company and the brand that is behind the product. In a lot of cases you can find out a lot about the product itself by doing this research. Say for example, a new product came out from Frigidaire. I would be more then comfortable purchasing the product because it has the Frigidaire name associated to it that we are all familiar with. It builds confidence.

The Moisture Maniac dehumidifier comes from the company known as Vremi. This company is still VERY new and was difficult to find a lot of information on it. Here is what I have found though. The company was founded in 2016 by Jordan Nathan, a recent college graduate. The company focuses on kitchen cooking ware and appliances, but over the past few years they have also branched out to more household appliances like dehumidifiers. They are based out of New York City but their manufacturing is done overseas. I know that to some of you it matters if the product is made within the United States and in this case it is not.

During the short three years that this company has been around they have launched over one-hundred and fifty products and have sold their products in over one-million customer homes. They offer warranties and full customer support on their products. I will say that I am a little hesitant purchasing a product from such a new company, but the upside here is that this company is still hungry and wanting to prove themselves against the competition. So, you may end up getting over the top customer support when compared to other companies.

Product Features

Alright folks so now that we’ve got our introduction and company research done let’s take a look at the product itself. In this section we are going to take an in-depth look at all of the various features that this dehumidifier comes with. At the end of this segment you should be very familiar with the machine and what to expect when you purchase. The first thing that we need to look at is exactly what size of dehumidifier that you need. In the case of the Moisture Maniac there are two different models to choose from. There is the twenty-two pint and then the fifty pint. As to what unit you need it is going to depend on how large of an area that you need to dehumidify. The twenty-two pint system can dehumidify rooms up to fifteen-hundred square feet where as the fifty pint appliance can dehumidify rooms up to forty-five hundred square feet. This larger model would be great for very large and wet basements or for a large open room such as an office or other commercial building. Also, the ‘pint’ rating that you see on these units is a measurement of how much water each of these units can remove from a room each day.

One thing I will say that it is not a big deal if you go over your square footage needs. For example, if you need to dehumidify a twelve-hundred square foot basement then it’s not a big deal if you purchase a fifteen-hundred square foot dehumidifier. Just keep in mind though that the larger the capacity the more expensive the machine is to purchase to operate. So, try to find the perfect size for your application. It is also wise to go up in size if you are working with a very damp room. The dehumidify will have to work harder to remove all of the excess moisture and a larger machine will perform better.

Now that we’ve selected the size of appliance you need we can begin to look at the other various features that these units contain. As you can see in the image there are a variety of options and notifications to take notice of when operating your dehumidifier. A good portion of these are alerts for your benefit and are not necessarily customization features. You have a clean filter alert, a water tank full alert, a defrost alert, and on/off signal. These allow you to easily identify if anything is wrong with the unit.

Vremi Moisture Maniac Dehumidifier
Vremi Moisture Maniac Dehumidifier

There are a few options here though that are worth noting. The first is that when turning on your dehumidifier for the first time you’ll notice that it starts in ‘Continuous Mode.’ When this mode is on it will not let you manually set the desired humidity level. Instead, the machine determines which is best for your home. If you’d like to set your own levels though then simply turn off the ‘Continuous Mode,’ and customize the level as you see fit. Once you’ve done this it’s as easy as adjusting the number to your desired humidity. (The left and right arrows on the display will allow you to do this.) There is also a ‘turbo’ mode on this unit that increases the speed of the fans which in turn increase the amount of moisture removed. It should be noted that turbo mode isn’t meant for long term use and will cause the machine to be louder then it was before. You are also able to set a timing cycle with this unit by clicking on the ‘timer’ button this will give you a twenty-four hour on/off cycle that will save you from constantly running the machine.

A lot of folks may not know this, but dehumidifiers are basically small air conditioners. You see an air conditioner actually removes humidity from the air as well. This is why your central air conditioner’s evaporator (The part above your furnace.) will drain water through a hose to your basement floor. This is the removed humidity. This is also why your basement can sometimes flood if this drainage pipe is clogged. The only main difference between an air conditioner and a dehumidifier is that the dehumidifier actually warms the air back up before it expels. All of the same parts are there though including refrigerant.

Because dehumidifiers are the same as air conditioners you can also run into very similar problems such as the coils on the evaporator freezing. I won’t get into the technical reasons as to why this can occur, but it can happen and when it does your dehumidifier will freeze up and no longer work as intended. The good news here is that the Moisture Maniac comes with an automatic defrost feature. When this feature is engaged it will turn the air conditioner part of the dehumidifier off and just run the fan. This will cause the ice to melt on the coils over time and result in the system running again. A word of caution here though, if this keeps occurring then you may need to deep clean the dehumidifier to prevent future occurrences.

Again, going with the similarities of air conditioners, dehumidifiers need a way to drain the water they take in. This is done either through a removable water tank or through a drainage hose attachment. The Moisture Maniac comes with both options. The smaller twenty-two point system comes with a one gallon water tank and the larger fifty pint system comes with a one point eight gallon water tank. When these tanks are full the system will automatically shut off to prevent water overflowing out of the appliance. There is also an LED indicator that will tell you if the unit is full.

Vremi Dehumidifier Moisture Maniac 22 & 50 Pint
Vremi Dehumidifier Moisture Maniac 22 & 50 Pint

The other option, which I am a big fan of, is getting a garden hose and installing it to the side of the dehumidifier. Then lead that hose to the same drainage area that your air conditioner drains to in your basement. This will allow you to continuously operate the appliance without having to watch the water levels. This is gravity fed and will only really work if the dehumidifier is in your basement.

Along with emptying the water tank there is another routine maintenance that needs to be done and that is cleaning. The outside of your unit should be kept relatively clean. There is also a filter that on the top of the unit that will have to be removed and cleaned on a monthly basis. Please note that it is best not to clean this filter with water but instead to shake it out. If you use water then you could damage the anti-bacterial mesh.

Two more points and then we can look at the Pros and Cons of this appliance. The Moisture Maniac comes with built in wheels and a handle. This makes it easy to move around your home. Overall the weight of the appliance isn’t too bad either. The larger model weights around fifty pounds whereas the smaller is only about thirty-five pounds. It requires a standard 110/115 volt three pronged plug-in and has a six foot lone power cord.

Pros

Most of the Pros of this product are already mentioned in the Product Feature section of this article. That being said, there are a few points I’d like to make before we move onto the Cons section. The first is that both of these dehumidifiers are Energy Star certified with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Energy Star program is designed to evaluate various appliances and determine if they meet the EPA’s efficiency standards. An Energy Star appliances is on average about fifteen percent more efficient then a competing machine. This means that you are getting a very efficient and low running cost appliance.

The other point I’d like to make is that these units come with a one year manufacturer’s warranty from Vremi. This will ensure that if anything does go wrong with the appliance within the first year that you are covered. Vremi also has a customer support e-mail for other questions or troubleshooting. This e-mail is support@vremi.com .

Cons

Every product, no matter who makes it, will have drawbacks. That’s just how it is. That being said, it was difficult to find specific cons on these products. Instead, nearly all of the complaints that I read through were towards the delivery of the product. Remember before how we stated that dehumidifiers are very similar to air conditioners and refrigerators? Well, just like with refrigerators you cannot turn or ship a dehumidifier upside down.

Just a few days ago I was helping my father move a refrigerator and we were very careful not to tilt it too far. The reason for this is if the refrigerator or dehumidifier is upside down or tilted too far then the oil can drain out of the compressor. Without proper lubrication your compressor will fail and the compressor is by far one of the most important components of your air conditioner, refrigerator, or dehumidifier. Many folks have reported premature failures of their dehumidifiers… but this is most likely due to them turning on the product right away after it being upside down. If the product did arrive upside down then turn it right side up and then wait for quite a while, maybe even a day. Then, start your dehumidifier up and you shouldn’t have any issues.

It also may be best practice to wait a day or two before turning on your new dehumidifier. The product may come to your home right side up, but who is to know if it was like that earlier that day. Always better to be safe then sorry.

Noise

Throughout my research one common complaint that I saw over and over again the noise level on these units. Users have said that they can be quite loud, even louder during turbo mode. Some have equated it to that of a white-noise machine. If you are using it in a bedroom you may have trouble sleeping otherwise it shouldn’t be too bad and I would imagine that you would grow used to the noise just like you do with a refrigerator running in your kitchen.

Cleaning

One of the main objectives of a dehumidifier is to lessen the possibility of mold growing within your home. But, what happens if the very thing that is supposed to be preventing the mold starts to grow mold itself? Well, this problem has happened to a lot of folks. Some may argue that this is a manufacturing defect and others would say that the consumers who had this problem didn’t take care of their dehumidifier in the first place.

A dehumidifier needs to be cleaned regularly. That means checking and cleaning the filter. The filter is located at the back of these machines as shown in our previous screenshot. Again, I couldn’t find this information to be one-hundred percent sure, but most of these dehumidifier filters come with what’s known as an anti-bacterial mesh. This mesh aims at preventing bacteria. If you attempt to clean the filter with water then you risk washing away this protective coating. Instead you should either try to shake it out or use a low powered vacuum with a hose attachment. This will clean the filter and still protect your coating. It’s not just the filter though that needs to be cleaned. Ensure that the machine itself is as clean as can be and if you began to suspect mold growing within it then take it apart and try to identify the culprit area. When dealing with water day in and day out there is always a chance that some could spill and get isolated within the machine only to stay there and become stagnant. This is a prime candidate for mold growth. This is why you need to stay vigilant and ensure the unit is as clean as it can be.

Conclusion

Well folks after reading through this article? What do you think? Is this the right dehumidifier for you? I can tell you that after doing my research on this product I am more then comfortable recommending it to you. Throughout my research I found very few cons, but just to be thorough let’s take a look at the facts on Amazon.com. As you all know Amazon contains a host of customer reviews. In the case of the Moisture Maniac There are over seventeen-hundred ratings and nearly all of these are five stars. Yes, that’s right, this product has a five star rating on Amazon.com as well.

If you would like to purchase this product, or learn more about it, then please click here to be taken to Amazon. Lastly, if you find that you have more questions or think you may need a different dehumidifier please visit our dehumidifiers buyer’s guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Kigali Amendment

This may be seen as a tired subject by now but over the past few months additional counties have come forward and ratified the Kigali Amendment. So far this month New Zealand and Mauritius have both ratified the document. The month before in September we saw Vietnam and Bhutan commit to the amendment.

For those of you who do not know, the Kigali Amendment is an addendum to the original Montreal Protocol that we all know so well. While the goal of the Montreal Protocol was to phase out Ozone damaging substances such as CFC and HCFCs the Kigali Amendment focuses instead on HFC refrigerants. This would include your R-404A, R-410A, R-134a, and others. Instead of the focus being on Ozone depletion we now look at Global Warming Potential.

There are a lot of nuances that come with this new amendment that I won’t get into here, but the end goal is to reduce HFC refrigerant usage significantly across the world. The thinking is that we have already done it once with CFC/HCFC refrigerants why not do it again with HFCs?

Each month that passes we have seen a steady stream of countries ratifying the amendment. As I write this article there are over eighty countries that have agreed to it. You can see the complete list of countries who have ratified the document by clicking here.

Notice anything after reviewing that list? Some of the biggest and most powerful countries in the world have not ratified the document. Some of these are India, Russia, China, and the United States. These countries are some of your biggest polluters in the world. (Mainly China and India.)

It is not a surprise that these other countries have not moved forward with the amendment. The real surprise is that the United States has not moved forward. Now, before I get further into this, I want to make a point that I do not get into politics on this website. It’s in poor taste and can alienate readers. That being said, prior to the 2016 election the United States was heading towards adoption of this amendment.

The Obama Administration was in Kigali, Rwanda at the time of the signing and had pledged to move forward with the amendment. However, since Trump was elected the status of the amendment has stalled. From what I understand, all that needs to be done is for the State Department to send the amendment to the Senate where the Senate will then ratify. But, Trump’s State Department has sat on the treaty and has no intention of sending it to the Senate. Even if the Trump Administration sent the amendment to the Senate there is still little hope of it being ratified by a Republican controlled majority.

The amendment itself was effective on January 1st, 2019 and now as we approach the end of 2019 I do not foresee this amendment showing up at the Federal level in the near future. It is just not on the top of anyone’s list. If the world wants to see the Kigali Amendment adopted by the United States then they will have to wait until the 2020 election and see how the American people vote.

If an alternative voice to Trump is elected then chances are the Kigali Amendment will move forward. But, if Trump is re-elected then the United States will be one of the few countries that haven’t signed the treaty.

At the time of the signing of the Kigali Amendment back in 2016 the United States had restrictive rules already on the books for HFC refrigerants. These rules were issued by the Environmental Protection Agency using their authority given to them by the Clean Air Act. However, shortly after Trump was elected a Federal Judge overturned these EPA rules stating that the EPA had overstepped it’s authority. The HFC rules were now null and void.

At the time of the signing the Kigali Amendment was seen as a similar step to the already existing EPA rules. There wasn’t much that would change between Kigali and the EPA’s rules. It was a logical next move. But in today’s world with the Kigali in limbo and the EPA’s rules overturned there is very little hope for a Federal plan on phasing down HFC refrigerants.

Without a change at the White House the only way to move forward now is through individual state mandates. Some states have already taken the imitative and proposed and passed their own HFC phase down rules. California was the first and New York wasn’t too far behind. There are now around a dozen states that either have passed HFC phase down laws or are currently working through their own documents within their state houses.

The downside here is that we get a mish mash of rules and regulations that vary from state to state. This can make it very difficult for manufacturers and even contractors/technicians from servicing multiple states. The other side of this who knows how long these state HFC phase downs will last. There was a story in the news a few weeks ago on how the Environmental Protection Agency had voided California’s automotive mileage per gallon rules.

California has their own version of the EPA known as the California Air Resource Board (CARB). CARB had created their own rules when it comes to automotive mileage per gallon. Recently though Trump’s EPA announced that those rules were voided and that the EPA had precedent over California’s CARB. This was a hostile move seen by California but frankly, there’s not much they can do about it. They may challenge it in court and we may see a ruling down the road, but my money is on the Federal Government winning. The Federal Government has even threatened to withhold Federal highway dollars to California if they do not comply with EPA authority. California is definitely in a tight spot here and it will interesting to watch this fight in the future.

All of this leads me to question all of these states that are passing individual HFC phase down laws. Do they have authority to do this? Will the EPA come after them for overstepping their bounds? Will we see ALL of these regulations tossed out? Will the United States ever phase out HFC refrigerants, or will we be using them the same way we are now in ten or twenty years from now? Time will only tell.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Mention USA and States

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that the grocery chain Aldi has received a GreenChill certification excellence award. The reward was given due to Aldi’s tireless efforts of converting their stores to become more climate friendly.

In 2018 there were no other grocery chains that received as many GreenChill store certifications then Aldi. For those of you who do not know, the GreenChill program was created by the EPA and focuses on food retailers throughout the country. This includes your supermarkets, supercenters, and wholesale outlets. The aim of the program is to reduce Ozone depleting refrigerants and to also reduce the carbon footprint of these various companies by switching to more climate friendly refrigeration systems such as HFOs or natural refrigerants such as hydrocarbons or R-744.

In order for a store to qualify for a GreenChill certification award it must meet specific requirements such as what type of refrigerant it is using, the charge of the various units at the store, and the overall emissions generated from the systems. Stores can qualify for silver, gold, and platinum certification. As of this summer Aldi had two-hundred and thirty-eight GreenChill certified stores. All of these certified stores are at the platinum level. They have been moving away from R-22 and in some cases away from HFC refrigerants. Their refrigerant of choice has been R-744.

It’s not just refrigerant that Aldi is concentrating on though. They have allocated five billion dollars over the next five years to remodel and update their existing stores to become more environmentally friendly. This includes various types of energy savings ranging from LED lighting, energy efficient building supplies, and more efficient refrigeration equipment and air conditioners.

R-744

Over the past ten years or so the use of R-744 has grown substantially. A large portion of these grocery store chains used the HCFC R-22 or HFC R-404A for their refrigeration systems. As you all know, R-22 will be entirely phased out in just a few months and there is already immense pressure on phasing out R-404A as well due to it’s extremely high Global Warming Potential (GWP).

There are lower Global Warming Potential alternative HFC and HFO refrigerants available but the problem with these is that they still contain a relatively high GWP. Sure, you’re reducing your GWP footprint by fifty percent but you’re still stuck with a refrigerant that has a mildly high GWP. There is risk that this new refrigerant that you’re investing all of your money into could be phased out ten years later. Why take the risk if there is an alternative that has a GWP of one? This is exactly why we are seeing so many businesses choose R-744 over some of the other refrigerants on the market.

In the past CO2 systems just weren’t reliable. CO2 operates at an extremely high pressure and  because of this the components have a high risk of failure and could also cost substantially more then traditional components. Over the decades though the technology for Carbon Dioxide refrigeration systems has improved. Along with this improving technology comes a cheaper price tag resulting in more installations.

These new R-744 systems are a mixture of either stand alone transcritical systems or various types of cascade systems such as a R-290/R-744 split. In Aldi’s case they have opted for the transcritical system for their hundreds of stores. Other stores, such as Whole Foods, have opted for the split/cascade systems.

Conclusion

The acceptable and unacceptable list of refrigerants seems to grow day in and day out. Here in the United States the rules are now being made at a State level as well as Federal level. This causes business owners a great amount of uncertainty that their machines may be next on the chopping block.

Installing a natural refrigerant at their location is a great way to future proof themselves from any potential phase outs down the road. Sure, a CO2 system may still be more expensive then a standard HFC but remember that upfront cost is paying towards your future. After all, CO2 as a refrigerant has been around for over one-hundred years. It is not going anywhere.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Columbus

With the phase out of R-22 looming only a few months away many businesses have either begun looking for alternatives or have already set a plan in motion. One such example can be found at the Taft Coliseum in Columbus, Ohio. This coliseum seats up to seven-thousand people and is used for basketball and hockey during the winter season. It was built all the way back in 1918 and has been a staple within the Columbus community for decades. I lived in Columbus back in the early nineties and may have even visited this arena. May have…

Because of this arena’s age, and also the phase out of R-22, a four million dollar renovation has been approved. While not all of this money will be going towards converting the refrigerant system a large portion assuredly will. I could not find the exact age of their current R-22 system but with these approved funds the city has agreed to convert the arena over to an ammonia (R-717) system. It is unknown rather it will be an absorption or a vapor compression system. My assumption would be the latter.

This project is still in the preliminary stages at this point as the city has not yet chosen a contractor. They are accepting bids up until October 4th so if you are in the area you should throw your hat in the ring!

I am curious why they ended up choosing ammonia. Don’t get me wrong, ammonia has been used in ice rinks for decades across the world. It is however a rather rare to see it in the United States. In most cases the United States and our Environmental Protection Agency has stayed clear of potentially ‘unsafe’ refrigerants such as ones with flammability and toxicity potential. But, now, with the push to phase out of not only HCFCs but also HFCs there are very few alternative refrigerants left out there to choose from.

In terms of longevity, business owners have two choices. The first is that they can go with the newer HFO refrigerants. These refrigerants are being developed by Honeywell and Chemours. In most cases they are relatively safe, but they do have a somewhat high global warming potential. Nowhere near as high as a standard HFC but still a rather high number when compared to natural refrigerants. Four of these new HFO refrigerants were approved for use in ice rinks by the EPA almost exactly a year ago in October of 2018. These included Opteon’s XP-10 (R-513A) and Opteon’s XP-40 (R-449A). As well as the Solstice N-13 (R-450A) and the Solstice N-40 (R-448A). I have seen quite a few stories across the US and even globally where arenas have begun adopting these new refrigerants in either retrofits or in entirely new systems.

That leads us to the second choice: natural refrigerants. Natural refrigerants include some of the oldest refrigerants on the market such as hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, and ammonia. In this example in Ohio they chose to go with Ammonia. (R-717 has been approved for ice rink use though by the EPA’s SNAP program since 2010.) Ammonia is a good choice for ice rinks due to it’s extremely high efficiency but I am still hesitant about the safety concerns. If the system is not properly maintained or an accident occurs it is not just the technician that could be in danger.

If it was me I would have most likely chosen the carbon dioxide (R-744) option. CO2 has been approved for ice rink use since May of 2016 and can provide arena owners a safe, relatively efficient, and a refrigerant that will never be phased out. There is no global warming potential concern with CO2 as it is literally the zero fro the GWP scale. This refrigerant, just like ammonia, has been around for over a century and won’t be going anywhere.

Just remember folks, that there are no ‘wrong’ choices when it comes to selecting a new refrigerant for your arena. Just ensure that the refrigerant that you have chosen is in the SNAP approved listing and will also stand the test of time.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigearntHQ

Sources

logo

Hello all. It’s been a while since I’ve written on RefrigerantHQ. I’ve still been watching the industry but as of recent the news has been rather slow and my time has been rather hectic. In the past two months I’ve changed jobs, purchased a new home, and am in the process of selling our old home. All the while my daughters started school and my son has started walking. It has been difficult to carve out time to write for this site.

The good news is that things have begun to settle back down. I am getting into a groove at the new job and all of the housing changes are nearly wrapped up. Today I found that I had some extra time so I wrote an article on R-22 and the wrapping up of the summer season. As you all know, this was the last season before the R-22 phase out goes into place in January. If you’d like to read the article please click here.

As the next month goes by I should have more time to work on the site and start continual updates again. I’m anxious for the weather to get colder again so that I am forced to spend more time indoors working on the website! If any of you have article ideas please feel free to reach out to me. The more the better.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

 

At the beginning of this year many folks thought that the price of R-22 would rise and rise. Some were predicting prices at five-hundred or even six-hundred dollars for a thirty pound cylinder. After all, this was the last true summer for R-22. At the end of this year on January 1st, 2020 the Environmental Protection Agency’s phase out of R-22 will be complete.

After that date imports or production of the HCFC R-22 refrigerant will be banned. The only way for a contractor to get a hold of R-22 will be through the backlog of product that refrigerant distributors are sitting on or through an EPA certified refrigerant reclaimer.

This phaseout has been ten years in the making and over those years the price of R-22 was expected to rise. In 2010 there was a restriction imposed on imports and production. In 2015 that restriction was ratcheted up. In each of these occurrences the price of R-22 climbed.

It reached it’s highest point during the summer of 2017. At one point it hit seven-hundred dollars for a thirty pound cylinder. In most cases though it averaged around six-hundred dollars a cylinder. There was a time where folks thought this was the new normal. That this six-hundred dollar price would be the baseline and that it would only go up from here as the 2020 date slowly approached.

Instead, the opposite occurred. It was towards the end of 2017 that the price began to fall. The price decline seemed like the typical winter price drop but as we moved into 2018 the price decline continued. There was some bounce back here and there but the overall trend was decline.

Why though? Why was the price dropping? There were two primary drivers. The first was the amount of product that was sitting on hand. Many refrigerant distributors had begun buying R-22 in larger quantities in anticipation of the price going even higher. Once the market adjusted to the higher price these distributors would then sell at just below market value and make a ton of profit. Or, so they hoped.

This extra inventory flooded the market and caused the prices to drop. As the prices dropped the distributors who were holding onto their product began to unload theirs as with each price drop they were losing more and more money. It was a snowball effect that led to the price falling downwards.

The other part of the equation was the R-22 alternatives and the R-22 reclaimers. During the ten years of the R-22 phase out it seemed like everyone was coming out with their own R-22 alternative refrigerant. There are dozens and dozens of them out there. Each one is it’s own unique refrigerant with it’s own unique requirements. Some of these alternatives required very little retrofitting as well. A contractor could buy an alternative refrigerant and do the retrofit on the customer’s unit all for under the cost of recharging their system with genuine R-22.

When R-22 hit that peak price point of six-hundred dollars a cylinder the alternative market began to grow. Along with the alternatives came the certified reclaimers. Throughout my research and talks with those within the industry the supposed ‘sweet spot’ for alternatives and reclamation is about four-hundred to five-hundred dollars a cylinder. If R-22 falls below that four-hundred dollar price then alternatives/reclaimed product doesn’t make sense. After all, why buy a knock-off version if you can get the real thing for the same price?

Today

So, here we are folks. It’s the middle of September of 2019 and the summer has passed us by. If there was going to be a price increase on R-22 it would have been this summer. Instead, the pricing didn’t move at all. No, today folks we’re seeing a thirty pound cylinder of R-22 going between two-hundred and fifty to three-hundred dollars a cylinder.

Yes, you heard me right. We are at rock bottom prices here. Remember what I said about alternatives just a bit ago? That four-hundred dollar sweet spot? Well, we’re not even close. Alternatives and reclamation are no longer competitive. There is just too much product out there. The market has been flooded and it’s a race to the bottom as everyone keeps lowering their prices to offload their product before the deadline comes.

Now, don’t get me wrong. After 2020 distributors can still sell R-22… but a lot of folks are wanting to get out now. The reason for that is all of these R-22 machines out there are from 2010 or earlier. At the beginning of the phase out the EPA stated that no NEW R-22 machines could be manufactured within the United States.

So, if you have an R-22 unit running at your location that unit is nearly ten years old already. Even before the phase out began in 2010 manufacturers were switching to R-410A models in anticipation. So, your R-22 unit may even be closer to fifteen years. They say that an average home air conditioner will last between fifteen to twenty years. These units are on borrowed time.

Herein lies the problem. The demand for R-22 is going to drop soon and it will drop quickly. With each year that passes more and more R-22 air conditioners are being retired and replaced with R-410A. This decline in demand will also lead to an even lower price point of the product.

These distributors are walking a fine line. If they hold onto their R-22 product until after the 2020 phase out there is a chance that the price could rise again. However, the demand is going to start dying down soon as well. When is the right time for them to unload their product?

During this summer there were quite a few times where the price dipped down five or ten dollars a cylinder. In most cases when this occurred it was due to a distributor unloading their backlogged product and removing themselves from the R-22 game.

Conclusion

The question now is what will happen over the next few months. Will prices remain flat until January hits? Will we see an increase in January? If so, how much? Over the years of writing articles on refrigerant I have learned one important thing. Do not try to predict. The market is anything but stable and it is very difficult to say what will happen.

The key point I will make here in this article though is if you are a contractor and are needing R-22 refrigerant NOW is the time to buy. Heck, now is the time to stock up. I do not say this in anticipation of higher prices, as I just don’t know what the market will do, but I say this due to rock bottom prices.

I’ve been running this blog for about five years now and this is the lowest I’ve seen R-22. It may or may not go up in 2020 but I’d rather have the peace of mind now and get a hold of that low priced product.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

It was announced last Friday that an agreement had been made between the Federal Government’s EPA/Justice Department and the company Southeastern Grocers (SEG). Southeastern Grocers is a large grocery store chain that operates nearly six-hundred stores across the southern United States.  They operate under various supermarket chains including BI-Lo, Winn-Dixie, Fresco y Mas, and Harveys Supermarket. They have over forty-five thousand employees and over eight billion in revenue.

The court case emerged from the Environmental Protection Agency accusing SEG of not following the Clean Air Act. Specifically, on the refrigerators within their stores. These refrigerated units use HCFC refrigerants and were not being actively monitored for leaks. Along with that, there was not proper record keeping on what maintenance had actually been done.

The agreement states that SEG will work to solve their issues over the next three years. Part of that is investing four point two million dollars to reduce SEG’s dependency on Ozone depleting systems. SEG will also pay a three-hundred thousand dollar fine. But wait, there’s more! It’s not just fines and investment that SEG will have to go through. Along with all of that they will also have to put in place a corporate policy when it comes to refrigerant management. This will include a bi-monthly leak monitoring program to ensure leaks no longer go undetected and if they do then they get repaired in a timely manner.

Most grocery stores/supermarkets have an average leak rate of twenty-five percent. SEG will now be expected to maintain a twenty-one percent leak rate in the first year, a nineteen percent in the second, and a seventeen percent by the third year (2022). They also are mandated to use non-Ozone depleting advanced refrigerants in all of their new stores as well as in fifteen existing stores. (These would be any of the SNAP approved refrigerants for commercial refrigeration.) If any of these requirements are not met over the next few years then SEG could face additional, possibly harsher, fines and penalties.

The Clean Air Act states that owners of commercial refrigeration equipment that contain fifty pounds or more of refrigerant must regularly be checked for leaks and if a leak is occurring to have that leak repaired within thirty days of detection. It should be noted that there is a threshold here, not EVERY leak has to be repaired right away. A determination needs to be made as to how large the leak actually is. I won’t get into all of the details in this article, but the EPA states that for commercial refrigeration the leak cannot exceed a rate of twenty percent. (This used to be thirty-five percent, but was changed at the beginning of this year.) If you’d like to view the EPA article on this topic click here.

Conclusion

While this fine and mandated investment may seem like a lot it is just a blimp in the radar for a company like Southeastern. They bring in billions a year, this won’t have much impact on them. Don’t let that fool you though folks, the EPA doesn’t discriminate when it comes to company size. If the Clean Air Act isn’t being followed then your business could be at risk as well. It’s just that SEG was a much bigger target for an investigation. This initial agreement is subject to a thirty day public comment period and then final approval from the court.

If you walk away with one thing from this article know that proper record keeping is essential. Even if you have regularly scheduled maintenance if you don’t have the records showing so it is all for not. Be sure to cross your Ts and dot your i’s in these matters to prevent any future risk of EPA investigations. Use these companies that are going through the EPA headaches as warnings to others out there.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

Over the past few months I have seen a rash of articles from all over the web stating that the price of Freon is going through the roof in anticipation of the Environmental Protection Agency’s planned phase out that hits January 1st, 2020. The frustrating part about all of these articles is that nearly all of them have it wrong. Or, if they don’t have it wrong, they are misstating the facts. In this article I aim to educate you, the homeowner, on what exactly is happening on January 1st, 2020 and if you should worry.

Freon

Before we dive too deep into this article I first want to explain the term Freon. When you hear Freon you most likely think of any refrigerant that is found in refrigerators, cars, home air conditioners, etc. Here’s the thing though, Freon is actually a very rare find nowadays. You see Freon is a brand name of refrigerant. It is just like how Coca-Cola is a brand name of soda. If you want a soda you don’t say you want a Coke, instead you say you’d like a soda. The same thing can be said with Freon. When you hear the term Freon nowadays it really only applies to one type of refrigerant known as HCFC R-22.

R-22 dates all the way back to the 1930s and falls under the HCFC classification of refrigerants. HCFCs along with their sister refrigerant class CFCs actively damage the Ozone Layer. Way back int he 1980’s there was an international treaty passed called the Montreal Protocol. This treaty aimed at phasing out all of the Ozone damaging refrigerants. Freon was included in this. Over the years there have been various Ozone damaging refrigerants phased out.

The last refrigerant on this thirty year phase out list was R-22 Freon. This product’s phase out began in 2010 and has had a staggered approach every few years. The final end date of the R-22 phase out is January 1st, 2020. After this date no new imports or manufacturing of R-22 will be allowed into the United States. The only way to purchase R-22 refrigerant from then on will be from distributors who stock piled it or through refrigerant reclaimers. (Think of refrigerant reclaimers as companies who recycle and clean used refrigerant.)

Do You Have a Freon R-22 System?

Here’s the good new folks. In most cases homes will be using a Puron refrigerant system. This is also known as R-410A. Puron systems started to become popular in the late 2000’s and once the initial phase down of R-22 hit in 2010 Puron as the go to alternative for new air conditioners. So, if your air conditioner is from 2010 or newer then chances are you have a R-410A Puron system.

However, if your air conditioner predates 2010 then you should check to see exactly what refrigerant your system takes. It is most likely R-22 but it is always good to physically check. You can do this by locating your outside air conditioning unit and looking at the sides for a white labeled sticker. In some cases there are a few stickers so be sure to look them both over carefully. The text may be small but you should see either a ‘R-22’ or a ‘R-410A’ marking on the system. This alerts you to what kind of system you have.

If you find a R-410A marking on your air conditioner then you have nothing to worry about. Remember, the only refrigerant being phased out in 2020 is R-22. Your HFC R-410A is perfectly safe and will be around for a quite a while longer. If you find that you do have an R-22 unit then be prepared for potentially expensive repairs.

Price

Obviously, with the impending phase out we would all expect the price on R-22 to go up and up. Well, it did… sort of. You see when the phase out started in 2010 we had a jump in price. It was about three-hundred and fifty to four-hundred dollars per thirty pound cylinder. Then as the years went by the price stabilized and maintained the price point we mentioned earlier. It was then in 2015 that a tightening of the EPA’s phase out took hold and the market’s supply was constricted.

This caused the price to start to climb again. It was in 2017 though that we saw the dangers of price speculation. At one point in 2017 the price for a thirty pound cylinder climbed all the way up to over seven-hundred dollars. Everyone thought that the price was only going to go higher so they all bought up as much as they could. This was it. Every year after 2017 was going to be worse and worse.

Well folks, that just wasn’t the case. After the extreme prices of 2017 the price on R-22 began a downward trend. With each passing season the price kept moving downward. Now, as I write this article in August of 2019 the price is now under three-hundred dollars a cylinder. That is an amazingly low price and we are only a few months away from total phase out of the product.

At this point it is anyone’s guess as to what will happen to R-22 pricing as we get closer to that impending January 1st, 2020 date. We could see prices remain flat at around three-hundred dollars or we could see it climb again and soar over five-hundred dollars a cylinder.

Sealed System

Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System
Refrigerant Cycle in a Closed System

Even before you have a contractor come to your home and look at your air conditioner you should be aware that air conditioners are what’s known as closed systems. What that means is that the refrigerant in your air conditioner moves back and forth between different cycles and it, in theory, never runs out or needs refrigerant refilled.

If you find that your unit is low on refrigerant or is completely out do NOT just refill your machine with a new refrigerant. I repeat do NOT do this. Your system does not need a top off. It does not need just a little bit more refrigerant to get by. No. If you are running out of refrigerant that means that somewhere in the refrigerant cycle there is a leak. Your unit is leaking refrigerant and will continue to leak refrigerant until a repair is made. If you dump more refrigerant into it without fixing the leak you are literally throwing money down the drain. Potentially a lot of money too if yours is an R-22 unit.

I like to think of it as a above ground pool. If you get a puncture in the pool lining water will leak out. Sure you can always add more water but it’s not fixing the problem. Adding more refrigerant doesn’t fix the problem either. It’s just prolong the inevitable and wasting money.

Repair or Replace?

Alright, so let’s say you have an R-22 unit at your home and it breaks down over the summer… or the fall. What do you do? There are a few things to weigh here before making a decision. First, call out a contractor and determine exactly what has gone wrong and how expensive the actual repair will be. In most cases if a major component broke on your air conditioner then you will need a refrigerant recharge after the system has been repaired. These refrigerant recharges are where things can get expensive on R-22 units.

The typical rule of thumb is between two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton of your air conditioner. (You should always check the exact specifications of your machine, but most of the time the two to four pound guideline will be sufficient.) Most home air conditioners are between one ton and five tons. (Anything over five tons is considered a commercial grade unit.) So, as an example let’s say you have a four ton R-22 system that needs recharged. Let’s do some math here to determine exactly how much you’d pay for a refrigerant recharge.

3 pounds of refrigerant * 4 tons = 12 pounds of refrigerant.

$400 per 30 pound cylinder of refrigerant = $13.33 per pound of R-22

$13.33 * 12 pounds of refrigerant = $160 for a recharge.

Now that we have figured out an R-22 recharge let’s take a look at the new counterpart refrigerant known as R-410A. 410A typically costs about ninety dollars per twenty-five pound cylinder. So, let’s do the same scenario above but this time substitute the $13.33 R-22 per pound with the $3.60 per pound of R-410A.

$3.60 * 12 pounds of refrigerant = $43.20 for a recharge.

Conclusion

While the amounts mentioned above may not seem that bad, keep in mind that you also have to pay for the actual repair as well. The repair could be a couple hundred as well. You also need to consider what the price per pound on R-22 would be if the price went up significantly when the 2020 deadline hit. Let’s say it rose to six-hundred dollars a cylinder. That one-hundred and sixty recharge bill now just jumped to two-hundred and forty dollars.

The decision to repair or replace is going to have to be a judgement call. If this is the first repair for your R-22 unit then it may make sense to throw four or five-hundred dollars at it. But, if you are having to repair the unit multiple times a season then your best choice would be to scrap it and purchase an entirely new R-410A system instead.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

R-1234yf

I read an article earlier this week on counterfeit 1234yf refrigerant being caught at a port in Poland. This refrigerant was no doubt bound for the Western European market. Polish authorities, in co-ordination with Honeywell, seized the counterfeit shipment and had it destroyed at the purchaser’s expense. As most of you know R-134a was phased out entirely in new vehicles within the European Union. While there was not a specific refrigerant chosen as a replacement most of the market moved towards this new HFO known as R-1234yf. It had a low Global Warming Potential, it had no Ozone Depletion Potential, and it was only slightly flammable. It seemed like the perfect solution.

This was great news to the big refrigerant manufacturers Honeywell and Chemours (DuPont). These two companies hold patents on 1234yf. This patent is not expiring anytime soon. In essence, these two companies have a monopoly on the automotive market within the European Union. There is an alternative refrigerant, CO2/R-744, that was developed by the German company Daimler… but it is still in it’s infancy stages and is not widely used in new models yet.


After writing this article I was informed that I was mistaken when it comes to the patents on 1234yf. There are various patents that are held on 1234yf and they fall into two categories. The first is known as the process patent and the other is known as the application patent.

The process patent is a patent on the recipe that is used to create HFO 1234yf. Honeywell holds a patent here, but there are other ways to create 1234yf. So, outside companies can produce 1234yf legally and hopefully come in at a competitive price point.

The application patents are just that. They are patents on the certain applications that 1234yf can be used in. Honeywell for example holds patents using 1234yf in automotive applications. So, while other companies can produce 1234yf we are still at a bottleneck with the application patents. The good news is that these may expire earlier then the 2030 date that I had mentioned earlier.


The price on R-1234yf is a whole other story. Typically, you could get a pound of R-134a for around three-dollars. This is what folks were used to and what they expected to pay if they needed an air conditioning repair. R-1234yf however is in a whole other ballpark. Your typical price per pound on this product could range from fifty to seventy dollars a pound.  That is nearly a two-thousand percent increase in price to businesses and customers.

So, now let’s look at this critically. We have a very high priced product, a product that is produced by a select few companies, and it is a product that EVERY vehicle within the European Union needs. I’m sorry folks, but these three points means that this is a prime candidate for counterfeit or fraudulent product to hit the market. This is just human nature. Yeah, there is a risk if these folks get caught but there is also a huge reward: profit. Think if this counterfeit product hits the market at twenty percent less then the genuine Honeywell/Chemours product. Customer gets a significant savings and the business behind it makes a killing.

In order to stop this fraudulent product Honeywell has been working with various governments within the European Union and even with China. There was a publicized incident last year in the Czech Republic where fraudulent 1234yf was found at a port. The year before Honeywell and the Chinese government prosecuted a person involved in the production and sale of counterfeit 1234yf. This individual received nine months in jail. There was another incident reported by the CoolingPost last month. This time a shipment was seized at a Polish port.

Most of this product either comes in to a Eastern European country’s port or it travels by road from China, into Turkey, into Bulgaria, and then to whatever western country they wish. Just like with previous counterfeit refrigerant, the product is coming from China. These are most likely the same guys who were producing counterfeit R-22 a few years back when R-22’s price had hit record highs. It was also the Chinese that was found to be violating the Montreal Protocol by still widely producing and using R-11. It is not a surprise that they are diving into the fraudulent HFO market.

Honeywell states that they are going after these fraudulent 1234yf products to protect consumers and to protect their equipment.  They may very well have the interests of protecting consumers but, in my opinion, all this is is Honeywell protecting their monopoly and aggressively going after anyone tries to infringe on their market. Whatever their motivations are they are going to have one hell of a game of whack-a-mole on their hands. The Chinese have been very lackadaisical when it comes to enforcing regulations and preventing illegal products from being manufactured and sold. For every company that Honeywell goes after another one will pop right back up.

Who knows folks, maybe this product is one-hundred percent clean and is made to the same specifications that Honeywell/Chemours have set forward. Even if it was though it would still be targeted and destroyed for patent infringement.  I won’t make a lot of friends by saying this, but I am not a fan of this monopoly. No two companies should control the entire automotive refrigerant market.

Conclusion

While we haven’t felt the pressure of this high priced HFO product here in the United States I can assure you folks that it is coming and it is coming sooner then you think. Earlier this year I did an article on the number of cars using 1234yf. The numbers were staggering. In 2019 nearly sixty percent of new vehicles use R-1234yf. In just a few years that number is expected to climb to ninety percent. R-134a is being phased out here in the United States as well and the only real alternative at this time is 1234yf.

This trend only really started to hit US automotive manufacturers back in 2015. Most automotive companies state that it takes an average of five to six years for a vehicle to need an HVAC repair. Next year is when we may really start to see that sticker shock when folks begin bringing in their vehicles for an air conditioning repair. We could have a simple compressor replacement and recharge price increase by hundreds of dollars.

Don’t get me wrong folks, I am not advocating for any illegal product. Frankly, it is not safe and you never truly know what you are getting. That being said, there definitely needs to be more competition introduced into the 1234yf marketplace.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

7-Eleven, the world’s largest convenience store with sixty-eight thousand stores, has announced a partnership with Honeywell and their Solstice refrigerant line. Specifically, 7-Eleven has announced that they will be switching their condensers away from R-404A and over to the Solstice N40 refrigerant in the United States and Canadian markets. That is nearly twelve-thousand stores. This was the next logical step for 7-Eleven as last year they began a similar transition in their Japanese market. This switch was mandated by law, but it must have gave 7-Eleven the encouragement to switch additional stores over in North America.

I’m not an expert on supermarket or gas station coolers, but I noticed that when I was reading about this that they only intend to replace the condensers and not the rest of the machine. I am assuming that these are cascade systems that are being replaced and that the other refrigerant used is more climate friendly such as R-744. If any of you know of a different approach that they could be using feel free to let me know. It is always good to learn something new!

The replacement refrigerant known as Solstice N40, or R-448A, is a newer refrigerant from the Honeywell corporation. This refrigerant is a zeotropic blend between numerous refrigerants and is classified as an HFC/HFO mixture. It contains twenty-six percent of HFC R-32, twenty-six percent of HFC R-125, twenty-one percent of HFC R-134a, seven percent of HFO R-1234ze, and twenty percent of HFO R-1234yf. Just by the numbers I would call R-448A an HFC refrigerant rather then an HFO.

R-448A is designed as a replacement for R-404A in supermarket systems and can be used as a retrofit as well as on newer models. The retrofit is fairly simple and has been described as a near drop in replacement for R-404A. Notice I said ‘near.’ There are still some slight adjustments that have to be made before it can be used in an 404A system. 448A is meant for low and medium applications commonly found in super-markets, gas stations, vending machines, and other smaller systems.

It has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of one-thousand two-hundred and seventy-three. While that is still quite a high GWP it is nowhere near it’s predecessor. R-404A has a GWP of three-thousand nine-hundred and twenty-two. By making the switch to R-448A 7-Eleven will see a nearly sixty percent reduction of GWP. It is also more efficient then R-404A. In the lower temperature applications users can expect to see five percent in energy savings. With the medium temperature systems users can see up to fifteen percent in energy savings.

Lastly, it is safe as well with an A1 rating from ASHRAE. That means it is non-flammable and non-toxic. The flammability rating is a big deal as so many newer refrigerants nowadays seem to sacrifice safety for environment. Take R-1234yf for example, it’s predecessor R-134a was not flammable at all. 1234yf on the other hand is rated as 2L or slightly flammable. It is good to see that a next generation refrigerant is able to tackle both GWP and public/technician safety.

Conclusion

While 7-Eleven moves forward with this new refrigerant the question that I have on my mind is how long will this refrigerant last? Yes, it is a definite improvement over the HFC R-404A but it still has a GWP of over one-thousand. This refrigerant may last for a while and companies can all give themselves a pat on the back for becoming more environmentally friendly, but chances are that they will have to be switching refrigerants again in another five to ten years due to the pressure of getting rid of high GWP refrigerants.

If it was me I would either hold off on replacing/updating my HFC equipment, or if I had to update then I would opt for a natural or hydrocarbon refrigerant such as R-744 or R-290. At least with these you know that you do not have the risk of phase down looming around the corner. If there is one thing business owners can’t stand it is uncertainty.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources

It is no fun living in an area with high humidity. Here in Kansas City, as I write this article, it’s ninety percent humidity. When you walk outside you almost feel like you’re swimming, the air so thick with humidity. While this is not a pleasurable experience it can be even worse when this extreme humidity is found within your home.

The ideal humidity levels for our homes is between thirty to fifty percent. If you fall below that thirty percent level then you risk developing a rash, having dry/cracking skin, or even be more susceptible to illnesses such as the Flu or common colds. On the other end of the spectrum, if your home is above that fifty percent humidity then your home becomes a prime environment for mildew, dust, fungus, and mold.

If the humidity gets bad enough, you can actually begin to see black mold begin to grow on your floors, walls, curtains, and even on your bedspread or clothes. Having these allergens thrive within your home is not safe or sanitary. If left unchecked you, or someone in your family, could develop allergies. This can get especially bad if they suffer from asthma.

Adding a dehumidifier to your home will allow you to get your humidity levels in check and prevent these allergens from taking root. But, if you’re simply looking to get rid of a damp or mildew like smell from your basement then dehumidifiers can help with that as well.

Whatever your reason for looking at dehumidifiers the next question is what kind should you get? There are dozens of choices out there today and it can be a little confusing. In this article we’re going to take an in-depth look at the Keystone KSTAD50B fifty pint dehumidifier.

Product Features

Before we get into the Pros and Cons of this dehumidifier I first like to take some time and do a review of the various product features of the appliance. This lets us become familiar with what you will find if you decide to purchase this appliance.

First things first though, before we get into all of the bells and whistles we need to determine if this is the right sized dehumidifier for you. You see, if you purchase a dehumidifier that is too small for the room you are working in then you will never reach your desired setting and your dehumidifier will constantly be running causing you to experience high energy bills.

The good news is that the Keystone KSTAD50B comes in at the fifty pint size. This is one of the larger sized dehumidifiers out on the market today. (There are seventy pint models from some other brand names.) A fifty pint model will work in a room, basement, or home with a size of up to three-thousand square feet.  This size should be more then enough to suit your needs. The only case I can make here for NOT buying this unit when it comes to size is if you are only trying to dehumidify a small room in your basement. You may be going a bit overboard here with this model. The larger model though isn’t going to hurt anything though, it’ll just end up costing you more.

Now that we’ve got the sizing requirement out of the way let’s look at the controls. The product comes with an LED display that shows you the humidity level and allows you to set your desired humidity setting. (Remember, just like what we said earlier, between thirty to fifty percent is ideal.) Along with the humidity setting you are also able to set a twenty-four hour timer that allows you to schedule a start or shut-down time for your appliance. The fan comes with two settings: normal and turbo.  In case you experience a power loss the Keystone product comes with an auto-restart feature. So, right when the power comes back on so does your dehumidifier. The filter for this product is located at the top of the unit and is easily pulled out and cleaned.

There is one feature on here that you don’t normally find on other dehumidifiers. This is the auto-defrost function. You see, 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.

Just like with air conditioners your dehumidifier can accumulate ice around the evaporator. This ice can grow and eventually freeze your entire unit. This is where the auto-defrost feature comes in handy. If ice begins to accumulate then the function will kick in, melt the ice, and then continue on like normal.

Every dehumidifier comes with a water bucket. After all, the water it is removing from the air has to go somewhere, right? This bucket will have to be emptied periodically. The good news here is that there is a visible indicator on the outside of the bucket. You can glance at this to tell right away how much water is in there. (The water bucket is located at the front of the machine in the bottom section.) Emptying the water tank is relatively easy. You just slide out the drawer and grab the handle from the top. Then empty the water and slide it back in. If you forget to empty this water bucket then the machine will sense that it is full and will shut down until the bucket is clear of water.

If you are not a fan of having to constantly empty the water bucket then you can also attach a garden hose to the dehumidifier. If you route this hose to a drain then you can have a constantly running dehumidifier with no need to worry about emptying the water tank. Just remember that this only works with gravity. If you have the dehumidifier on the ground and route a garden hose to a sink above the dehumidifier then the water will not flow.

The last feature I want to make before moving on is the overall portability. This product comes with four casters or rollers that allows you to easily push or pull the appliance to the desired area. If you do need to pick up the product it only weighs thirty-six pounds and won’t be too bad to move around. (Just be sure to empty the water tray if you attempt to pick it up!)

Pros

As I usually do when I write reviews I covered a lot of the Pros already in the Product Features section. These are your digital read outs, your drainage hose compatibility, ease of portability, and other features. That being said, there are still two Pros that I want to bring up to you now.

The first is that these dehumidifiers come with a one year warranty from Keystone. You are protected here if your appliance breaks down. So, if you are one of the unlucky ones to experience a product failure you will be covered to get a new product. The price point on this unit is quite lower then the other products that I have reviewed. This could be that it comes from the Keystone manufacturing company and the others I have looked at were from more ‘famous’ companies such as Frigidaire and hOme Labs. Either way you look at it though, this is a aggressively priced system.

The next Pro worth mentioning is that all three products are Energy Star certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Energy Star program is designed to evaluate various appliances and determine if they meet the EPA’s efficiency standards. An Energy Star appliances is on average about fifteen percent more efficient then a competing machine. Along with the Energy Star rating you also get a one year full warranty from the Keystone manufacturer.

Cons

Every product, no matter who makes it, will have drawbacks. That’s just how it is. That being said, it was difficult to find specific cons on these products. Instead, nearly all of the complaints that I read through were towards the delivery of the product. Remember before how we stated that dehumidifiers are very similar to air conditioners and refrigerators? Well, just like with refrigerators you cannot turn or ship a dehumidifier upside down.

Just yesterday I was helping my father move a refrigerator and we were very careful not to tilt it too far. The reason for this is if the refrigerator or dehumidifier is upside down or tilted too far then the oil can drain out of the compressor. Without proper lubrication your compressor will fail and the compressor is by far one of the most important components of your air conditioner, refrigerator, or dehumidifier. Many folks have reported premature failures of their dehumidifiers… but this is most likely due to them turning on the product right away after it being upside down. If the product did arrive upside down then turn it right side up and then wait for quite a while, maybe even a day. Then, start your dehumidifier up and you shouldn’t have any issues.

It also may be best practice to wait a day or two before turning on your new dehumidifier. The product may come to your home right side up, but who is to know if it was like that earlier that day. Always better to be safe then sorry. The good news here though is that if your dehumidifier does end up not working after a few weeks or months Keystone offers a one year warranty. It’s good to know you’ll be protected here.

Another point worth mentioning is the cleanliness of the inside of your dehumidifier. I touched on this briefly but I’d like to bring it up again as this was another common complaint. A few consumers stated that they had mold growing on the inside components of their dehumidifier. Mold grows due to stagnant water. Normally this will not happen if the appliance is taken care of. That means having the filter cleaned regularly, have the water tank emptied in a timely manner, and a just overall cleaning. If you do start to notice a mildew smell or see signs of mold then you can do one of two things. You can take apart the dehumidifier and do your best to clean the unit. In most cases this works fine and you are up and running again. If the mold is extreme then you may need to scrap the appliance and purchase a new one.

This leads me to my next point. These dehumidifier models won’t last forever, nothing does. From what I have read these models tend to last anywhere from two to four years. After that the quality or the amount of humidity removed begins to go down. In some cases the machine no longer operates at all. Most consumers just opt for buying another model after theirs fails. This is up to you, just be aware that if you purchase you may end up doing again in another three or four years.

Conclusion

Well, that may have seemed like a whole lot of information at once, but I wanted to give you a complete picture of what this dehumidifier can do and what you can expect before you purchase. If you are interested in purchasing this unit then please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner where you can have the product shipped right to your door. Speaking of Amazon, this product has nearly two-thousand reviews on their website with an average rating of four out of five stars.

Lastly, if you find that you have more questions or think you may need a different dehumidifier please visit our dehumidifiers buyer’s guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Having a high humidity level in your home can cause a lot of problems. The best humidity range for homes is between thirty to fifty percent. If the number is any lower then you can run into a host of issues such as rashes, dry and breaking skin, and even increased illnesses. On the other hand, if your humidity levels are too high then you can have a whole other series of problems.

Homes with high humidity levels are prime breeding grounds for mildew, dust, fungi, and mold. Yes, if the humidity levels are too high in your home you can begin to see mold growing on your walls, floors, curtains, and even on your clothes or bed spread. Along with all of that these mold and fungus spores can wreak havoc on allergies. My father for example suffers from rather severe asthma and has to have the humidity in his home tightly controlled to prevent any flare ups.

But hey, maybe you aren’t even looking to use a dehumidifier to get rid of allergens but instead to dry out your basement. One of the most frustrating things is having a completely finished basement only to have that musty damp smell linger throughout the room. Adding a dehumidifier to your basement will remove that excess humidity and will eventually remove that smell.

The question though is what kind of dehumidifier should you get? There are a lot of choices out there on the market place and it can be a bit overwhelming on which one to purchase. In this article we are going to take an in-depth look at three Frigidaire dehumidifier models. These are the FFAD3033R1, FFAD5033R1, & FFAD7033R1. While we have three different models here the only real difference that you are going to see is the capacity or size of the unit. These three dehumidifiers come as a thirty pint, a fifty pint, and a seventy pint but besides that are exactly the same.

Without further delay, let’s dive into this product review and see if this is the right dehumidifier for you.

Frigidaire

Now before I ever buy any product, especially an expensive one, I always like to take the time and research the company and the brand behind the product. After all folks, a company’s brand name is paramount to a company’s success. If you have a recognizable and reputable brand name then people will know your product. They will know what to expect. Look at cars, as an example. You know what to expect if you buy a Lexus. You expect a premium car that is top quality. The brand name tells you that. The very same principle can be applied to dehumidifiers. Yes, I know it’s not as exciting as a new Lexus, but it is still worth it to do our research and understand the name and the company behind the product we’re looking at.

Frigidaire FFAD3033R1, FFAD5033R1, & FFAD7033R1 Dehumidifer
Frigidaire FFAD3033R1, FFAD5033R1, & FFAD7033R1 Dehumidifer

The Frigidaire company is one of the oldest refrigerant and air conditioning companies out there. In fact, I bet most of you have already heard of this company name. Chances are if you go into your kitchen right now that you’re going to find an appliance from Frigidaire. I don’t care if it’s a dishwasher, a microwave, an oven, or even your refrigerator. Speaking of refrigerators, did you know that Frigidaire was one of the very first companies to invent, patent, and began selling refrigerators? All the way back in 1916 Frigidaire was around and they were selling refrigerators. Over one-hundred years ago.

Since that date so long ago Frigidaire has grown and prospered. Over the years they have innovated, developed, and invented all new applications. With a century of experience behind them I would say that they are a great candidate to purchase a dehumidifier from. They have the knowledge, the development, and one of the most recognizable brand names within the industry. Along with all of that they have a variety of dehumidifier  products to choose from. If you find that this unit is not the right fit for you then I highly encourage you to visit Frigidaire’s online Amazon.com store so that you can find and select the perfect product for your needs.

Product Features

Now that we’ve learned a bit about the company behind these products let’s take a look at some of the various product features that can be found on these dehumidifiers. Once we’re through our product features we’ll move on to the Pros and Cons section.

Sizing

As you have already read there are three different sizes in this product review. For someone who isn’t used to purchasing a dehumidifier it can be a bit tough to gauge exactly what sized unit that you need for your home. The good news is that there is a method when choosing a dehumidifier. Below I will give you the quick summary on how to determine the right size but if you want a more in-depth read feel free to check out our dehumidifier sizing guide by clicking here.

    • FFAD3033R1 – This is the thirty pint model. In other words, it can remove up to thirty pints of water within a twenty-four hour period. This is the smallest size and while it will work for a moderately damp basement you will get better results if you move to the fifty pint. (If your basement is a thousand square feet or under you can get away with the thirty pint without an issue.)
    • FFAD5033R1 – This is the fifty pint model. In most cases this is going to cover your needs. Even if you have some moisture beading on your walls. This will dehumidify up to fifteen-hundred square feet as long as you don’t have actual standing water in your home.
    • FFAD7033R1 – This is the seventy pint model. This is the biggest size of this model range and will be more then big enough to handle a two-thousand square feet area with standing water. Most folks recommend going a size larger then what you need when it comes to dehumidifiers. Your machine won’t work as hard and will last longer.

    Ok, so now that we’ve got sizing understood let’s take a look at the various other features that these products have.

Features

A lot of folks may not know this, but dehumidifiers are basically small air conditioners. You see an air conditioner actually removes humidity from the air as well. This is why your central air conditioner’s evaporator (The part above your furnace.) will drain water through a hose to your basement floor. This is the removed humidity. This is also why your basement can sometimes floor if this drainage pipe is clogged. The only main difference between an air conditioner and a dehumidifier is that the dehumidifier actually warms the air back up before it expels. All of the same parts are there though including refrigerant. These Frigidaire models use the HFC refrigerant known as R-410A. While this refrigerant has a higher global warming potential then we would like it is widely used and will be around for quite some time.

Alright so we’ve understood the sizing and how the dehumidifier works now let’s take a look at the controls and display of the unit. All three of these units comes with a digital humidity display. You are able to adjust the desired humidity by simply pressing up or down on the arrows beneath the display. Remember, just like what we said earlier, that between thirty to fifty percent is the optimal humidity levels for our homes.FFAD3033R1, FFAD5033R1, & FFAD7033R1 Dehumidifier

Continuing with the control panel, you are also able to set the fan speed between low, medium, and high. These models also come with a twenty-four hour on/off timer. This allows you to set the timer option so that the unit will turn on/off at your leisure. You also have an indicator light when the water tank is full and when the filter needs cleaned. If the water tank does become full then the dehumidifier will automatically switch off to prevent an overflow of the water container. There is a gauge on the front of the dehumidifier that shows you where the water level is as well.

Speaking of water tanks, this dehumidifier comes with a thirteen pint water tank. The water tank is found in the front of the machine and can be easily pulled out. It also comes with a handle and a splash guard to make emptying the water a simple and clean process. If you’re still not a fan of having to remember to empty the water tank then you could also purchase a hose attachment that will allow you to drain the water and run the system constantly. Just remember that when doing this you will need to use gravity to your advantage. This won’t work if you have the hose feeding upwards to a sink, but perhaps you could put the dehumidifier on the counter next to the sink and feed the hose in that way.

This dehumidifier comes with an anti-bacterial mesh filter that is located at the back of the machine towards the bottom. Remember not to ‘wash’ these filters with water. If you do then you risk damaging the anti-bacterial coating. It is best to shake out or to take a vacuum hose attachment to it. This filter is located at the bottom of the machine and can slide right out. It is best practice to clean the filter and the entire machine regularly to prevent any water or mildew from building up from within the machine. If uncleaned there is risk of mold growing within the appliance.

Each one of these dehumidifier models comes with a noise level of around fifty-two decibels. That is a bit louder then your standard refrigerator running in your home. Another comparison would be that to the volume of a quieter conversation. In other words, the dehumidifier isn’t going to be so loud you can’t hear anything… but there is going to be a noise level attached to it. Unfortunately, this noise isn’t isolated to just these types of dehumidifiers. It is common across all sorts of models. If noise is a huge concern then you may want to invest in a central dehumidifier and have it operate within your utility room.

These dehumidifiers are easy to transport. The largest model, the seventy pint, only comes in at about forty pounds. You also get caster wheels and a handle at the top of the unit. There shouldn’t be any problems when it comes to moving this unit around your home.

Pros

As I usually do when I write reviews I covered a lot of the Pros already in the Product Features section. These are your digital read outs, your drainage hose compatibility, ease of portability, and other features. That being said, there are still two Pros that I want to bring up to you now.

The first is that these dehumidifiers come with a one year warranty from Frigidaire. As you read in our previous Frigidaire section, this is a great company that will stand by their product. You are protected here if your appliance breaks down. So, if you are one of the unlucky ones to experience a product failure you will be covered to get a new product.

The next Pro worth mentioning is that all three products are Energy Star certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Energy Star program is designed to evaluate various appliances and determine if they meet the EPA’s efficiency standards. An Energy Star appliances is on average about fifteen percent more efficient then a competing machine. Along with the Energy Star rating you also get a one year full warranty from the Frigidaire manufacturer.

Cons

There is one common complaint that I see across all dehumidifiers. It doesn’t matter what brand it is or what model it is. It all seems to be the same. Basically, we have some customers state that the dehumidifier doesn’t work right out of the box or that the unit prematurely failed after only a few weeks or months of use. This sounds pretty bad, right?

Well folks, there is a reason for this. To help illustrate my point, I’m going to go back to a few weekends ago when I was helping my father move to his new home. It was just the two of us doing the heavy lifting and he had a garage refrigerator we needed put on the trailer and then hauled back into the garage at the new home. The whole time we moved this refrigerator we were very careful not to tip it too far and to keep it standing up right.

Why did we do this? After all, it would have been easier to turn the fridge on it’s side and carry it that way. But if we were to tip the refrigerator, or worse lay it on it’s side, then the oil that is in the compressor will drain out and into another area of the refrigeration line. That means that your compressor is no longer getting lubricated and that means you are going to have a compressor failure very soon.

The same thing happens when turning your dehumidifier upside down. The catch here is that when you buy these machines online they may arrive at your home upside down. No need to worry though folks. Just turn it right back up and then WAIT for at least a day or two before you power it on. Having it right side up for a day allows the oil to drain back into the compressor. By taking the steps above you are able to avoid the problem of premature failure.

Ok, so now that we’ve got the big one out of the way let’s moves onto some of the actual faults of the product. The first is that this unit does not come with an auto-defrost system. What is that you may ask? Well, there is a chance that your unit can ice over near the condenser. (Remember, this is a small air conditioner.) If it does ice over your dehumidifier will no longer work until the ice is removed. Some dehumidifiers have a defrost function that automatically thaws the ice. With these models I would suggest turning the unit off and letting the ice melt. It may be a pain, but it fixes the problem. If the problem persists then I recommend a good cleaning… which leads me to my next point.

The cleanliness of the inside of your dehumidifier is very important. I touched on this briefly but I’d like to bring it up again as this was another common complaint. A few consumers stated that they had mold growing on the inside components of their dehumidifier. Mold grows due to stagnant water. Normally this will not happen if the appliance is taken care of. That means having the filter cleaned regularly, have the water tank emptied in a timely manner, and a just overall cleaning. If you do start to notice a mildew smell or see signs of mold then you can do one of two things. You can take apart the dehumidifier and do your best to clean the unit. In most cases this works fine and you are up and running again. If the mold is extreme then you may need to scrap the appliance and purchase a new one.

This leads me to my next point. These dehumidifier models won’t last forever, nothing does. From what I have read these models tend to last anywhere from two to four years. After that the quality or the amount of humidity removed begins to go down. In some cases the machine no longer operates at all. Most consumers just opt for buying another model after theirs fails. This is up to you, just be aware that if you purchase you may end up doing again in another three or four years.

Conclusion

Ok, folks. We made it through! We covered absolutely everything on this product that I could fathom. If you are still thirsty for more information please check out our ‘Important Links,’ section below for the official instruction manual, installation guide, and more. If you are interested in purchasing this unit then please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner where you can have the product shipped right to your door.

Lastly, if you find that you have more questions or think you may need a different dehumidifier please visit our dehumidifiers buyer’s guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

 

Question

Before I answer your question let’s take a quick look at what benefits dehumidifiers can offer you. Adding a dehumidifier to your home can solve a lot of problems. Most folks end up using a dehumidifier to resolve a damp smelling basement. You could also see them used in rooms where humidity can collect such as a hall bathroom or a laundry room.

While they can remove humidity and water from a room, or your whole house, they also have another purpose. If you, or someone in your family, suffers from allergies then a dehumidifier may be the right solution for you. A home with high humidity can lead to all sorts of problems such as dust mites, mildew, fungus, and even mold to begin growing. In some extreme cases of high humidity mold begins to grow on the floor walls, curtains, and even on your clothes or bedspread.

Adding a dehumidifier can get your humidity levels back to the optimal level of between thirty to fifty percent. This will remove the environment for these allergens to grow and prosper. But, how does a dehumidifier work? Does it actually contain Freon?

Freon

There are a few different types of dehumidifiers out there, but by far the most common are the ones that contain Freon. So, yes, to answer your question dehumidifiers do contain Freon. But, what is Freon? Well folks the term Freon is actually a brand name of refrigerant. Think of it like how Coca-Cola is a brand name of soda. Many people call all soda under the brand name Coke. The same thing applies with Freon and refrigerant.

In fact the actual brand name of Freon isn’t used very much anymore in today’s world. Most of the Freon branded product from DuPont/Chemours has been phased out due to their Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). Some Freon refrigerants are your R-12, R-22, and R-502. R-22 is the last to be phased out and will see total phase out by January 1st, 2020.

Now you may be wondering why your dehumidifier uses Freon/refrigerant. Well, that is because your dehumidifier is actually just a small air conditioner. Yes, that’s right. It works almost exactly the same as your central air conditioner. Have you ever noticed the hose from your central air conditioner that leads down to a drain in your basement? This hose drains the water when your air conditioner removes humidity from your home.

With dehumidifiers the same air conditioning cycle with refrigerant is performed. The only difference is that at the end of the cycle where the cold air is normally blown back into your home the air is instead warmed back up to room temperature by an additional heating element. So, you get the humidity removed from your home and then the air warmed back up so as not to cool your home.

The back and forth changing states of the refrigerant in your dehumidifier is what absorbs the humidity and converts it to water.

Conclusion

In conclusion, your dehumidifier does not contain Freon…but instead contains a different type of refrigerant. Most likely it contains an HFC refrigerant. In the models that I have looked at recently they all seem to contain the HFC refrigerant known as R-410A. (This is also known as Puron refrigerant.) This refrigerant is very common nowadays and can be found in most of your newer central air conditioners.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

United AirLines

The past few weeks have been rather crazy on my side of the world. I started a new job a few weeks ago, put a contract down on a house, and the kids start school in just a month. Time is definitely flying by. I’m hoping here in a few months things will begin to calm down… but we will see.

Overall the news has been rather slow in the refrigerant industry the past few weeks. One story I did come across today though was that United Airlines has announced that they will be spending twenty million dollars to replace their aging air conditioners. These aren’t the air conditioners on the plane though. No, these are mobile units that are used while the plane is parked at the gateway to keep the plane nice and cool for when passengers leave or board the plane.

Truth be told, I didn’t even know these existed. I had assumed that the planes had their built in air conditioners running while on the tarmac through an auxiliary power unit. (Similar to what we do with heavy duty semi trucks.) Instead, airlines have these units called Air Conditioning Units for Aircraft (ACUs) and Pre-Conditioned Air Units (PCAs). They are a heating and cooling unit that can be moved to any plane on the tarmac. It makes perfect sense and is most likely more cost efficient then having APUs installed on each plane.

The Investment

The ACUs and PCAS that United Airlines have are aging and use the HCFC R-22. As we all know, R-22 is completely phased out here in just a few months. (January 2020) While this is good news I will say that United Airlines isn’t doing this out of the goodness of their hearts or to protect the climate. No, it is a business decision. These older units are not performing where they should be and in some cases are not able to fully cool the plane. Along with that they are also breaking down more and more frequently. This is not only costing in repairs but it is resulting in downtime for United Airlines. Downtime means money lost.

The plan is to invest twenty million dollars in replacing sixty-seven GPUs and eighty-five PCAs across their network. While that may seem like a large number, it is only a dent when compared to their total of five-hundred GPUs and four-hundred and sixty-four PCAs. Everyone has to start somewhere though. Along with replacing older R-22 units they will also be making the switch away from diesel/gasoline models and over to all electric. While electric models in the end cost more to operate United Airlines is seeking government grants to help offset the extra expense. So, I do have to give them credit here. They are making an effort at being green with these new units.

Conclusion

There doesn’t seem to be an end to the versatility of R-22. I swear, it’s everywhere. For most of us when we hear R-22 we picture a home or office building’s air conditioner. It’s the most popular and widely used R-22 application. But, since I’ve been doing this site I have seen R-22 ice rinks, R-22 fishing boats, R-22 shrimp boats, R-22 refrigerated transport, R-22 supermarket freezers/refrigerators, and now R-22 airline air conditioning.

The business owners who operate these machines are a whole other animal. These aren’t your residential customers who have an air conditioning unit that’s ten or fifteen years old that needs replaced. No, for the most part these business owners hold on to these R-22 air conditioners for as long as they can, sometimes longer then they should. This is all due to the investment needed to either retrofit their systems or to purchase a whole new HFC, HFO, or natural refrigerant system.

Sure, a homeowner may spend five or ten-thousand dollars on a new R-410A air conditioner. But, what about United Airline’s spending twenty million dollars on new portable air conditioners? That number is staggering and it is only about fifteen percent of their air conditioners. This is from a huge conglomerate like United Airlines. Now imagine a small town having to replace an R-22 ice rink. Or, a fishing company have to replace their refrigeration system on five or ten boats. The costs can be staggering and in some cases unaffordable. Many folks just kick the can down the road and hope their situation will improve a year or two later.

I don’t know if this constitutes as good news or not, but R-22 is at record low prices right now. This was unexpected in the market place and the assumption is that there is just a massive oversupply in the market place right now. Everyone has bought up and is holding onto what product they can. In some cases I have seen reports of small business owners buying pallets of R-22 just in case their aging system breaks.

The end is coming for these R-22 machines. We can bury our heads in the sand and ignore the problem, or we can come up with solutions. Is a retrofit possible? Is there an alternative refrigerant available for the application? Could the conversion be done in baby steps like what United Airlines is doing? Whatever way is decided, these R-22 systems need to be retired.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Sources:

Update

Hello all, hope everyone had a great Fourth of July. I took my girls out to my city’s gathering for the night while the wife stayed home with my son. It turned out to be a good night and just a few minutes after the show thunderstorms rolled in. It was perfect timing and the girls fell asleep on the way back to the house. Memories in the making.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the refrigerant industry over the past few weeks and I have to say it has been rather slow when it comes to news stories. I’ve been looking for something exciting to write about and it just hasn’t shown up. The only promising lead I have seen come across my alerts is that the state of Delaware has announced they will begin phasing out HFC refrigerants as well. In this case instead of going through the State Congress the governor of Delaware has given the responsibility over to the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. (DNREC – The equivalent of the EPA for the state of Delaware.) The DNREC has until March of 2020 to propose HFC phase down regulations.

This now brings the total up to seven states that have passed laws or are working on regulations that will phase out HFC refrigerants. Many more states that are part of the Climate Alliance are expected their own plans to phase down HFCs as well. I hate writing smaller news stories so I didn’t feel like this one warranted it’s own update. If you want to read more on this topic though you can click here and be taken to the hydrocarbons21.com website. They did a story on this a few days ago.

One thing that I did want to mention to everyone is that I will be starting a new full-time job on Monday the 8th. For those of you who do not know, RefrigerantHQ is a hobby of mine that I work on during the evenings and weekends. I had a great opportunity fall into my lap that will allow my expanding family to purchase a larger home.  My new job will be in the same field that I work today, software and website development.

As always with a new job the first few months can be rather hectic as you try to learn and absorb everything that you can. I have every intention to make time for RefrigerantHQ over these next few months, but if you notice the updates have slowed a bit this is why.  Once I get acclimated and have become accustomed to things I foresee the usual updates that you have all seen over the past years.

Thank you all for reading and as always, if you have any article ideas please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Thanks again,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

There are many reasons to purchase a dehumidifier. It could be that you are looking to air out and remove that damp smell from your basement or laundry room. It could be that you are having trouble with condensation building up on your windows. Or, it could be that you, or someone in your family, are suffering from allergies or even asthma.

If parts of your home, or your entire home, have excess humidity a variety of things can happen. Firstly, you will notice it by the feeling of the room. The higher the humidity the more uncomfortable the room will be during the hot days of summer. It’s not just that though, a home with excess humidity can be a prime candidate for dust mites, mildew, fungi, and even mold. In some cases the mold can begin growing on the walls or your curtains. In extreme cases the mold could begin to grow on your bed sheets and even on your clothes. This mold, mildew, and dust can wreak havoc on allergies. They could result in itchy or water eyes, sneezing, coughing, or even a skin rash. If you are an asthma sufferer then things could get much worse.

Adding a dehumidifier to your home will not only increase the comfort level for your family but it will also make your home less hospitable for these allergens to grow. The question though is what to look for when purchasing a dehumidifier? There are a variety of sizes, considerations, and product features that should all be taken into consideration. In this article we’re going to take an in-depth look at the dehumidifiers that are manufactured under the brand hOmelabs. Are these the right ones for you? Let’s find out.

hOmeLabs

Now before I get into the actual details, Pros, and Cons of a product I always like to take some time and look at the company behind the product. After all, the manufacturing company can say a lot about the quality of the product. Brand names have power. Don’t believe me? Just ask Coca-Cola or Toyota. These names mean something to people when they hear them. While a dehumidifier brand may not mean anything to you I can assure you that the same differences can apply.

Well folks, I looked and looked trying to find information about the company that makes this air conditioner. Here is what I did find. The product comes from a company named hOmeLabs. Their website can be found by clicking here. I was not able to find an about us, a Wikipedia page, or any historical information about the company.

Here is what I did find. They are an appliance company head quartered out of New York. It is a relatively small company of two-hundred people and it was founded only a few years ago in 2016. Their mission is to use the latest computer technology to make the most advanced appliances out there rather they be microwaves, toasters, humidifies, window units, and even crock pots. So, while there isn’t as much information or historical backing with this company they do have the plus of being an innovating and aggressive new company.

If you find that you aren’t comfortable with purchasing from a lesser known company then I would suggest going with a more commonly known name such as Frigidaire. I wrote a product review on Frigidaire’s dehumidifier just the other day. It can be found by clicking here. This all basically goes back to the tried and true or the start up. What are you more in favor of?

Product Features

In this section I like to go through the various product features that can be found on this hOmeLabs dehumidifier. This lets you know what you are getting into. Once we are through this we’ll then take a look at the Pros and Cons of the product.

Sizing

First things first though, before we start talking about the various features this product has we need to determine if this is the right dehumidifier for you. This product comes in three different sizes. We have the thirty pint, the fifty pint, and the seventy pint.

There is a method when choosing the right sized dehumidifier for your home, I’m going to give you the quick summary but if you want to read the full article feel free to click here.

    • HME020030N – This is the thirty pint model. In other words, it cane remove up to thirty pints of water within a twenty-four hour period. This is the smallest size and while it will work for a moderately damp basement you will get better results if you move to the fifty pint. (If your basement is a thousand square feet or under you can get away with the thirty pint without an issue.)
    • HME020006N – This is the fifty pint model. In most cases this is going to cover your needs. Even if you have some moisture beading on your walls. This will dehumidify up to fifteen-hundred square feet as long as you don’t have actual standing water in your home.
    • HME020031N – This is the seventy pint model. This is the biggest size of this model range and will be more then big enough to handle a two-thousand square feet area with standing water. Most folks recommend going a size larger then what you need when it comes to dehumidifiers. Your machine won’t work as hard and will last longer.

Ok, so now that we’ve got sizing understood let’s take a look at the various other features that these products have.

Features

Some of you may not know this but a dehumidifier is almost the exact same thing as an air conditioner. Yes, you have nearly all of the same components and even operating cycle that air conditioners or refrigerators have. You see your air conditioner functions as a dehumidifier a well. That is why your inside air conditioning unit has a hose leading to a drain. In my old house this was located in my basement. The hose was only about five or six feet and it came out of the evaporator towards the floor drain. This water that is being drained is the same water that will be filling up your dehumidifier. The only real difference between these two machines is that the dehumidifier has an extra heating element in the last step of the cycle. This is to prevent air conditioned air from flowing into your home. This is also why you may feel some heat coming from your dehumidifier. Just like air conditioners your dehumidifier uses refrigerant. While I couldn’t find the exact refrigerant used with this machine I can only assume that it is the standard HFC refrigerant R-410A. 410A is found in nearly every new central air conditioner here in the United States. It is very safe, non-toxic, and non-flammable.
hOmeLabs Dehumidfiers HME020030N, HME020006N, HME020031N

This dehumidifier comes with a digital readout that allows you to set the humidity to your desired level. All you have to do is press the left or right arrow buttons to tune your humidity. Remember that the best humidity for us is between thirty to fifty percent. If you go too low then you risk introducing dry skin and drying out your respiratory tract and if you go too high then your risk mold and mildew. Try to stay in between that thirty to fifty percent goal. When your dehumidifier does reach the desired humidity setting then it will shut-off. If the humidity in the room changes then your dehumidifier will kick back on.

Along with the humidity setting you can also see a variety of alerts and indicators when looking at the main display. You have your standard alerts such as clean filter, auto-defrost, and water tank is full. You are also able to adjust the fan setting from normal to ‘turbo’ mode or high. There is a twenty-four hour timer that allows you to control when you want the dehumidifier to operate. Lastly, there is a setting called ‘Continuous Mode.’ This is the default setting and when it is on you will not be able to adjust the humidity settings up and down. Continuous mode is basically your default  humidity setting, if you want to customize then you need to turn it off.

The water tank tray is located in the very front of the machine and can be easily pulled out. (Refer to screenshot.)  It also comes with a water level window that allows you to see where the current water level is at just a glance. This is a nice feature as you don’t have to keep pulling the water tray out and check the level. If the water tank becomes full then the dehumidifier will shut-off automatically until it is emptied. When this occurs you will see the indicator light up on your main dashboard.

If you don’t like having to empty the tray during operation you can also have continuous operation if you connect a hose to the unit and lead the water to a drain. This connection is located on the back of the machine just below the filter. hOmeLabs recommends using a simple garden hose with a threaded connection point. This would work best in basements as you can have it drain through the same place where your air conditioner goes through. Also note that this hose is gravity fed, so the water will not flow unless the drain is lower then the dehumidifier. (Your kitchen sink won’t work.)

Remember earlier how we said that dehumidifiers are in essence modified air conditioners? Well just like with air conditioners there is a risk that your dehumidifier can accumulate frost. I won’t get into why this is, but if you’re interested on the science behind this click here. The good news here is that these dehumidifiers from hOmeLabs come with an auto-defrost feature. If frost is detected on the machine then the compressor will shut off while the fan will keep blowing. This prevents any more refrigerant cycle and instead just blows warm air across the machine. After sometime the frost will melt and then normal functions can begin again.

The last two features that I want to mention before we get onto our Pros and Cons are the auto-restart function and the portability. The auto-restart function is just that. If your power goes out for whatever reason you don’t have to worry about the having to restart the dehumidifier when the power comes back on. My old house was like this with our air conditioner or furnace. If the power went out and then came back on I would have to remember to flip it back to cool or else my house would be an oven after only a few hours. Having this feature gives you peace of mind that there is one less thing you have to worry about when the power goes out.

Lastly, let’s look at the portability of this dehumidifier. The product comes with rollers or wheels for easy transport. It also comes with side handles so that you can easily pick it up and carry. The largest seventy pint model only weights forty pounds so it shouldn’t be too bad at all to move.

Pros

Most of the Pros we covered in our product features section but I do have a few things to discuss here as well. The first is that you get three different sizes to choose from with these hOmeLab models. This will allow you to save money by not buying the largest option available. That being said, a lot of folks recommend purchasing a larger size then you would normally need. This ensures that your humidity problem is taken care of and that your dehumidifier is not being overworked. With these three models I would say that the fifty pint model is the best choice. It gives you a happy medium between the two and will most likely handle the demands of your home. If you do have a very large home then you should look at the seventy pint.

hOmeLabs Dehumidfiers HME020030N, HME020006N, HME020031N
hOmeLabs Dehumidfiers HME020030N, HME020006N, HME020031N

The other big pro here is that hOmeLabs offers a two year warranty on their products. That is double what the competing Frigidaire model offers. On top of that hOmeLabs will actually stack on another six months to warranty if you take the time to register the product on their website. Lastly, many folks have stated that these dehumidifiers from hOmeLabs run much quieter then competing models. While I wasn’t able to find a specific decibel level for this machine the crowd doesn’t lie. Person after person raves about just how quiet this machine is.

Cons

Every product, no matter who makes it, will have drawbacks. That’s just how it is. That being said, it was difficult to find specific cons on these products. Instead, nearly all of the complaints that I read through were towards the delivery of the product. Remember before how we stated that dehumidifiers are very similar to air conditioners and refrigerators? Well, just like with refrigerators you cannot turn or ship a dehumidifier upside down.

Just a few days ago I was helping my father move a refrigerator and we were very careful not to tilt it too far. The reason for this is if the refrigerator or dehumidifier is upside down or tilted too far then the oil can drain out of the compressor. Without proper lubrication your compressor will fail and the compressor is by far one of the most important components of your air conditioner, refrigerator, or dehumidifier. Many folks have reported premature failures of their dehumidifiers… but this is most likely due to them turning on the product right away after it being upside down. If the product did arrive upside down then turn it right side up and then wait for quite a while, maybe even a day. Then, start your dehumidifier up and you shouldn’t have any issues.

It also may be best practice to wait a day or two before turning on your new dehumidifier. The product may come to your home right side up, but who is to know if it was like that earlier that day. Always better to be safe then sorry. In fact, even hOmeLabs instruction manual states this on the very front page:

To prevent any internal damage, it is very important to keep refrigeration units (like this one) upright throughout their journey. Please leave it standing upright and outside the box for 24 HOURS before plugging it in.” – Source

The good news here though is that if your dehumidifier does end up not working after a few weeks or months hOmeLabs offers a two year warranty. From what I have read from other users hOmeLabs has excellent customer service and is willing to work with you to solve any problems.

Cleaning

One of the main objectives of a dehumidifier is to lessen the possibility of mold growing within your home. But, what happens if the very thing that is supposed to be preventing the mold starts to grow mold itself? Well, this problem has happened to a lot of folks. Some may argue that this is a manufacturing defect and others would say that the consumers who had this problem didn’t take care of their dehumidifier in the first place.

A dehumidifier needs to be cleaned regularly. That means checking and cleaning the filter. The filter is located at the back of these machines as shown in our previous screenshot. Again, I couldn’t find this information to be one-hundred percent sure, but most of these dehumidifier filters come with what’s known as an anti-bacterial mesh. This mesh aims at preventing bacteria. If you attempt to clean the filter with water then you risk washing away this protective coating. Instead you should either try to shake it out or use a low powered vacuum with a hose attachment. This will clean the filter and still protect your coating. It’s not just the filter though that needs to be cleaned. Ensure that the machine itself is as clean as can be and if you began to suspect mold growing within it then take it apart and try to identify the culprit area. When dealing with water day in and day out there is always a chance that some could spill and get isolated within the machine only to stay there and become stagnant. This is a prime candidate for mold growth. This is why you need to stay vigilant and ensure the unit is as clean as it can be.

Conclusion

Ok, folks. We made it through! We covered absolutely everything on this product that I could fathom. If you are still thirsty for more information please check out our ‘Important Links,’ section below for the official instruction manual, installation guide, and more. If you are interested in purchasing this unit then please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner where you can have the product shipped right to your door.

Lastly, if you find that you have more questions or think you may need a different dehumidfier please visit our dehumidifiers buyer’s guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

There are a variety of reasons why you may be in the market for a dehumidifier. It could be that you are trying to get rid of that damp musty smell coming from your basement. Or, perhaps someone in your family is suffering from rather severe allergies and you are looking for a way to improve the air quality within your home. My father for example suffers from extreme asthma and having a dehumidifier in the home is just one of the things we can do to make him more comfortable.

Whatever your reason is it can be a bit overwhelming when you decide to purchase a dehumidifier. If you look online at the various e-commerce websites you will see dozens, if not hundreds, of different models, sizes, and options. How do you know which one is right for you? And, if you go into a big box store how do you know that you are getting a quality product?

In this article we are going to strive to answer those questions for you by taking an in-depth look at the Frigidaire dehumidifier models FAD301NWD, FAD504DWD , and FAD704DWD. Normally I do one review for each product but in this case these dehumidifiers are exactly the same. The only difference that you will see is the pint size. (I’ll get into that later.)

Frigidaire

Now before I ever buy any product, especially an expensive one, I always like to take the time and research the company and the brand behind the product. After all folks, a company’s brand name is paramount to a company’s success. If you have a recognizable and reputable brand name then people will know your product. They will know what to expect. Look at cars, as an example. You know what to expect if you buy a Lexus. You expect a premium car that is top quality. The brand name tells you that. The very same principle can be applied to dehumidifiers. Yes, I know it’s not as exciting as a new Lexus, but it is still worth it to do our research and understand the name and the company behind the product we’re looking at.

Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier2
Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier2

The Frigidaire company is one of the oldest refrigerant and air conditioning companies out there. In fact, I bet most of you have already heard of this company name. Chances are if you go into your kitchen right now that you’re going to find an appliance from Frigidaire. I don’t care if it’s a dishwasher, a microwave, an oven, or even your refrigerator. Speaking of refrigerators, did you know that Frigidaire was one of the very first companies to invent, patent, and began selling refrigerators? All the way back in 1916 Frigidaire was around and they were selling refrigerators. Over one-hundred years ago.

Since that date so long ago Frigidaire has grown and prospered. Over the years they have innovated, developed, and invented all new applications. With a century of experience behind them I would say that they are a great candidate to purchase a dehumidifier from. They have the knowledge, the development, and one of the most recognizable brand names within the industry. Along with all of that they have a variety of dehumidifier  products to choose from. If you find that this unit is not the right fit for you then I highly encourage you to visit Frigidaire’s online Amazon.com store so that you can find and select the perfect product for your needs.

Product Features

In this section I like to go through the various product features that can be found on this Frigidaire dehumidifier. This lets you know what you are getting into. Once we are through this we’ll then take a look at the Pros and Cons of the product.

Sizing

First things first though, before we start talking about the various features this product has we need to determine if this is the right dehumidifier for you. This product comes in three different sizes. We have the thirty pint, the fifty pint, and the seventy pint. There is a method when choosing the right sized dehumidifier for your home, I’m going to give you the quick summary but if you want to read the full article feel free to click here.

  • FAD301NWD – This is the thirty pint model. In other words, it cane remove up to thirty pints of water within a twenty-four hour period. This is the smallest size and while it will work for a moderately damp basement you will get better results if you move to the fifty pint. (If your basement is a thousand square feet or under you can get away with the thirty pint without an issue.)
  • FAD504DWD – This is the fifty pint model. In most cases this is going to cover your needs. Even if you have some moisture beading on your walls. This will dehumidify up to fifteen-hundred square feet as long as you don’t have actual standing water in your home.
  • FAD704DWD – This is the seventy pint model. This is the biggest size of this model range and will be more then big enough to handle a two-thousand square feet area with standing water. Most folks recommend going a size larger then what you need when it comes to dehumidifiers. Your machine won’t work as hard and will last longer.

Ok, so now that we’ve got sizing understood let’s take a look at the various other features that these products have.

Features

A lot of folks may not know this, but dehumidifiers are basically small air conditioners. You see an air conditioner actually removes humidity from the air as well. This is why your central air conditioner’s evaporator (The part above your furnace.) will drain water through a hose to your basement floor. This is the removed humidity. This is also why your basement can sometimes floor if this drainage pipe is clogged. The only main difference between an air conditioner and a dehumidifier is that the dehumidifier actually warms the air back up before it expels. All of the same parts are there though including refrigerant. These Frigidaire models use the HFC refrigerant known as R-410A. While this refrigerant has a higher global warming potential then we would like it is widely used and will be around for quite some time.

Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier
Frigidaire FAD301NWD Dehumidifier

Ok, so now let’s take a look at the controls this Frigidaire dehumidifier offers. These units come with a digital display that allows you to set the desired humidity percentage within your home. (Remember that the perfect humidity for our homes is between thirty to fifty percent.) These units have a humidity range of between thirty-five to eighty-five percentage so you have more then enough flexibility to find that perfect setting for you and your family. You are also able to control the fan settings through this digital display. There are three settings of high, medium, and low. You are also able to set a timer. This timer will allow you to customize when your dehumidifier runs. This is a great feature if you want to be energy unconscious or want to have it turn off/on during the night.

Continuing on with the digital display you also get an indicator on when your filter needs cleaned and you get a full tank alert indicator that when your water tank has reached capacity. Speaking of water tanks, this unit can hold just over sixteen pints of water. The tray comes with a splash guard to minimize spills and can be easily pulled out from the front of the machine. If you don’t like having to empty the tray during operation you can also have continuous operation if you connect a hose to the unit and lead the water to a drain. This would work best in basements as you can have it drain through the same place where your air conditioner goes through. Also note that this hose is gravity fed, so the water will not flow unless the drain is lower then the dehumidifier. (Your kitchen sink won’t work.)

This dehumidifier comes with an anti-bacterial mesh filter. Remember not to ‘wash’ these filters with water. If you do then you risk damaging the anti-bacterial coating. It is best to shake out or to take a vacuum hose attachment to it. This filter is located at the bottom of the machine and can slide right out. It is best practice to clean the filter and the entire machine regularly to prevent any water or mildew from building up from within the machine. If uncleaned there is risk of mold growing within the appliance.

All three of these dehumidifier models come with a noise level right around fifty-three decibels. This is a little bit louder then a refrigerator running in your home or about the volume of a quiet conversation in your home. I won’t lie to you here, while the machine may not be loud… you are still going to notice the sound. Just be prepared for that before your purchase. This bothers some people and not others. Personally, I don’t hear very well so I doubt I wouldn’t even notice it.

Even the largest sized of these units, the seventy pint FAD704DWD, only comes in at forty-six pounds. The other two are under forty pounds. It’s a rather light machine but to make moving it easier for everyone Frigidaire has added rollers/wheels to the bottom for easier transport. Along with that there is also a top handle for an easy grip. There shouldn’t be any problem in moving this dehumidifier around.

The last point I want to make is that the smaller sized thirty pint model FAD301NWD is missing some of the features of it’s bigger brothers. With the thirty pint model you only get one fan speed and you do not get the digital humidity readout, instead you get mechanical controls. If it was me I would purchase the fifty pint as you get the extra features and just overall more capacity of water removed per day.

Pros

As I mentioned in the last section, the two fifty pint and seventy pint models are where it’s at. While yes, the thirty pint will get the job done, I would opt for the better controls and larger capacity. Regardless of what model you choose you can be safe in your buying decision. Throughout my research on this product I have found nothing but raving reviews. For example, on Amazon.com, there are over twelve-thousand reviews with an average rating of four out of five stars. With the features we mentioned above you are sure to get a quality dehumidifier to suit your needs.

All three products are Energy Star certified with the Environmental Protection Agency. The Energy Star program is designed to evaluate various appliances and determine if they meet the EPA’s efficiency standards. An Energy Star appliances is on average about fifteen percent more efficient then a competing machine. Along with the Energy Star rating you also get a one year full warranty from the Frigidaire manufacturer.

Cons

Every product, no matter who makes it, will have drawbacks. That’s just how it is. That being said, it was difficult to find specific cons on these products. Instead, nearly all of the complaints that I read through were towards the delivery of the product. Remember before how we stated that dehumidifiers are very similar to air conditioners and refrigerators? Well, just like with refrigerators you cannot turn or ship a dehumidifier upside down.

Just yesterday I was helping my father move a refrigerator and we were very careful not to tilt it too far. The reason for this is if the refrigerator or dehumidifier is upside down or tilted too far then the oil can drain out of the compressor. Without proper lubrication your compressor will fail and the compressor is by far one of the most important components of your air conditioner, refrigerator, or dehumidifier. Many folks have reported premature failures of their dehumidifiers… but this is most likely due to them turning on the product right away after it being upside down. If the product did arrive upside down then turn it right side up and then wait for quite a while, maybe even a day. Then, start your dehumidifier up and you shouldn’t have any issues.

It also may be best practice to wait a day or two before turning on your new dehumidifier. The product may come to your home right side up, but who is to know if it was like that earlier that day. Always better to be safe then sorry. The good news here though is that if your dehumidifier does end up not working after a few weeks or months Frigidaire offers a one year warranty. Through my research I had found cases where Frigidaire offered a complete replacement product. It’s good to know you’ll be protected here.

Another point worth mentioning is the cleanliness of the inside of your dehumidifier. I touched on this briefly but I’d like to bring it up again as this was another common complaint. A few consumers stated that they had mold growing on the inside components of their dehumidifier. Mold grows due to stagnant water. Normally this will not happen if the appliance is taken care of. That means having the filter cleaned regularly, have the water tank emptied in a timely manner, and a just overall cleaning. If you do start to notice a mildew smell or see signs of mold then you can do one of two things. You can take apart the dehumidifier and do your best to clean the unit. In most cases this works fine and you are up and running again. If the mold is extreme then you may need to scrap the appliance and purchase a new one.

This leads me to my next point. These dehumidifier models won’t last forever, nothing does. From what I have read these models tend to last anywhere from two to four years. After that the quality or the amount of humidity removed begins to go down. In some cases the machine no longer operates at all. Most consumers just opt for buying another model after theirs fails. This is up to you, just be aware that if you purchase you may end up doing again in another three or four years.

Conclusion

Ok, folks. We made it through! We covered absolutely everything on this product that I could fathom. If you are still thirsty for more information please check out our ‘Important Links,’ section below for the official instruction manual, installation guide, and more. If you are interested in purchasing this unit then please click here to be taken to our Amazon.com partner where you can have the product shipped right to your door.

Lastly, if you find that you have more questions or think you may need a different dehumidfier please visit our dehumidifiers buyer’s guide by clicking here.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

Important Links

Question

Dehumidifiers are used all over the country rather they be a smaller portable system or a centrally installed system that moves through your duct work. While their function is rather basic, removing excess humidity from your home, their benefits are numerous.

Excess humidity in your home can cause a whole host of problems. It could be causing a damp or musty smell to come from your basement. It could be causing water to condensate on your interior windows. It could be causing mold to begin growing on your walls or curtains. Whatever symptoms you are seeing a dehumidifier can help with all of them. To see all of the various benefits that dehumidifiers can offer please click here.

However, if a dehumidifier is used excessively in one room or in the winter then you can risk your humidity falling to low. Yes, it is all a balancing act folks. You don’t want the humidity in your home to be too high as if it is then you can have problems such as mildew, dust mites, fungi, and even mold. These allergens can then affect loved ones in your home resulting itchy/watery eyes, coughing, sneezing, and in more severe cases trouble breathing. The good news is that all of this can be corrected with a dehumidifier like we mentioned earlier.

If your humidity is too low then you can have a slew of other symptoms. These symptoms can include dry skin that can eventually turn into cracked and bleeding skin. It can also result in the drying out of your respiratory tract. This means that you will be more susceptible to infections such as colds, sinus infections, and even the flu.

There has to be a balance of humidity in your home. The recommended and most comfortable humidity level is between thirty to fifty percent. Any higher or lower and you can begin to experience some of the symptoms that we mentioned above. This is why you should be running a dehumidifier in the late spring, summer, and early fall. Then, as the temperatures began to fall you can pack away your dehumidifier and replace it with a humidifier. (One of the top selling humidifiers that I know of can be found by clicking here.)

Conclusion

So folks, to answer your question… yes a dehumidifier can result in dry skin. This can happen in one of two instances. The first is that you leave your dehumidifier on constantly throughout the summer and also keep it in the same room. This will result in a lower humidity then what we are used too and can result in these dry and cracked skin symptoms.

The other possibility is running the dehumidifier in  the winter. I don’t know why you would do this, but if you are and are suffering from dry/cracking skin then your dehumidifier is most likely the culprit.

If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you check out our complete buying guide that I completed earlier this week. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.

Thanks for reading and I hope that this article we helpful,

Alec Johnson

RefirgerantHQ