Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ. Today we will be doing a review of AlorAir’s crawl space dehumidifier. We will go in-depth on all of this products features as well as the pros and cons. But, before I get into this I first want to give you a horror story on high humidity crawl spaces that I personally experienced last year. You see a damp, wet, or high humidity crawl space can cause a whole host of problems. The extra moisture can attract mold, pests, odors, and worst of all… structural problems. If you’d like to skip past my personal story then by all means move onto the next section called ‘Sizing.’ Otherwise, read on my friends….
A few years ago my family and I decided to move out to the country. We found twenty acres with beautiful land and ponds all around. It was ideal. The only problem that we had was that the house was relatively small and there was no basement. Instead, we had a crawl-space. This was troublesome since we lived in Tornado Alley and were only about an hour away from Joplin, Missouri where that EF5 tornado hit about ten years ago. But, we had a storm shelter and we made do.
The house that we had bought was older and a lot of the necessary maintenance work just hadn’t been done over the years. Overall, we didn’t have too many problems with the house but there was a reoccurring pain my side and that was the crawl space. Crawl spaces are quite a bit different then basements, which I was about to learn. Looking back at it now I should have paid more attention to the crawl space and the moisture that it was attracting. Instead, I opened the vent and forgot about it for a year.
Well, about a year into my house I noticed that the floor in my hallway to the back door felt strange. If you stepped in certain spots the floor would give a little bit. Almost like a sponge or like if you were to step on a trampoline. My kids thought it was great and would hop up and down on it. Of course, me being an idiot, did nothing for another month. The sinking floor feeling spread down the hallway and even into the master bathroom. At this time I was starting to freak out so I called contractor to take a look at what was going on.
After just a few minutes of inspection he knew what had happened. The excess humidity from the crawl space had seeped it’s way up into my floor joists and floor boards. That sinking feeling I felt was the plywood rotting out. If I had done nothing the plywood would have eventually rotted all the way and I would have had a gaping hole in my floor leading to the crawl space. It was a disaster. I had to have all of the floor ripped up the entire length of the hallway and in my master bathroom. The plywood was ripped out as well and replaced. Luckily, the floor joists were undamaged. All in this mistake ended up costing me about seven-thousand dollars in repair bills.
Once the repair was done I set to work fixing my crawl space. I bought some crawl space liner and covered the floor and the walls. I sealed all of the vents to the outside the best I could as well. I checked the sump pump to see if it was working correctly, and it was. So, the last thing I did was have a new dehumidifier installed. I lived in this house for another year and within that year I saw no further problems. The floor that was replaced was holding up just fine… and was much nicer then the rest of the home’s floor! The occasional times I went down to the crawlspace I saw no indication of water pooling or mold growing. All seemed to be right in the world.
So, the lesson here folks is that your crawl space most likely needs a dehumidifier in it, especially if you live in a humid climate. If you aren’t sure or are hesitant to to make the investment then at least check the humidity levels in your basement regularly to ensure that you aren’t having any problems arise. Most folks use a hand-held humidity reader like this one found on Amazon. The humidity shouldn’t be above sixty percent. If you notice that the number is increasing then there are a few things you can do before purchasing a dehumidifier. Just like I mentioned above, you can purchase liners and cover the floor and walls with these waterproof liners. This will help moisture from coming up from the exposed dirt as well as the cracks or gaps in your foundation.
If you install liners and have even sealed all of the vents in your crawlspace but you are still having high humidity then it may be time to purchase a dehumidifier. I’ll be honest with you folks, this won’t be a cheaper purchase and that is precisely why I mentioned the above strategies first. Hopefully, they work for you but if they do not then it may be time to bite the bullet and make that investment into a dehumidifier. After all, would you rather pay a one time expense or pay a massive repair bill like I did?
First things first folks we have to determine which sized unit is right for you. This product from Alorair comes in two different sizes and three different models. There is the fifty-five pint model that can work in area up to thirteen-hundred square feet and then there are the ninety pint models that can work in rooms up to twenty-six-hundred square feet. Notice how I said models for the ninety pint? That is because one of the ninety pint models comes with a pump. I’ll get into the pump benefits later on in this article though.
The question now though is what size is right for you? The fifty-five or the ninety? Well, first you need to determine that all important square footage. If you are at thirteen-hundred or just above it then I suggest you go with the ninety pint. The other factor that you have to consider is the overall dampness of the crawl space. Is there already standing water that you can see? Is the soil muddy and showing water as you walk through it? In my old house you would feel your foot sink into the mud as you walked through it. The more water there is in the environment the harder your dehumidifier will have to work.
So, if you have a one-thousand square foot crawl space but there is standing water in that crawl space then I am going to recommend the ninety pint model. With dehumidifiers it is always safest to go an extra size up just to ensure that you’ve got enough power to get the job done. The last thing I want you to do is purchase a unit that is too small and end up having the same problems you had before.
Alrighty folks so now we are onto the meat and potatoes of this product review. This is where we will go over all of the various features that these three dehumidifiers have. The first and most obvious feature is the humidity control. This is where you will set your desired humidity and where you will see what the real humidity level is in your crawl space. The humidity is shown via a digital display. Upon turning the dehumidifier on it will show you the current humidity level in the crawl space, or other room that you have the appliance setup in. You are then able to begin adjusting the humidity to your desired level. This is done by using the up or down arrows. Each adjustment will take the number up or down by one percent. The humidity levels on this appliance can range from thirty-five to ninety-five percent. When you have set your desired humidity the screen will change back to show the current area’s humidity level. This dehumidifier can also work in lower temperatures when compared to other models. This unit has an operating range between thirty-four to one-hundred and four degrees Fahrenheit.
There is also an option called Continuous Mode that can be triggered by setting the desired humidity level to below thirty-six percent. You will know it worked as the ‘Cont. Defrost,’ light will have lit up green and the humidity readout will state ‘CO.’ Continuous mode is just that, the dehumidifier will run constantly without stopping. If you’d like to shut this off then adjust the humidity level back about that thirty-six percent threshold.
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 a crawl space home this drain is usually located just outside the home next to your air conditioner. The hose was only about five or six feet and it came out of the evaporator towards the 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. This dehumidifier from AlorAir uses the very popular HFC refrigerant known as R-410A. This is the same refrigerant that most new home air conditioners use as well. It is a very safe, non-toxic, and non-flammable refrigerant.
Just like an air conditioner your dehumidifier can eventually accumulate frost on the evaporator coils. If enough frost or ice accumulates then the unit will not be able to run correctly. Luckily, this AlorAir dehumidifier comes with an auto-defrost feature. What this means is that if the dehumidifier detects ice beginning to build it will shut down and instead focus on melting the ice. This is done by blowing the fan across the ice and preventing the refrigeration cycle from occurring again until the ice has all melted. You will know if your unit is defrosting by a red light indicator on the ‘Cont. Defrost,’ button. This feature is actually pretty common with other dehumidifiers as well but the AlorAir stands apart as it has what’s called a Hot Gas Valve Defrosting System. This makes for a much faster defrosting process than your standard system.
Continuing on with the components of this machine I should mention the evaporator coils. These are the coils that can get covered in ice that we just mentioned above. These coils are also a high failure point after years of use. If some of the coils get corroded or crack then the refrigerant in your dehumidifier can leak out resulting in your appliance no longer working. To help promote longevity of their product AlorAir has covered the evaporator coils with an epoxy coating. This will extend the life of the evaporator and help protect it against corrosives.
One more note on the internal workings of this machine, if you see a red light turn on in the ‘Comp’ button do not worry. All this means is that the compressor has kicked on and it is warming up. After a few minutes this light will turn from red to green and you will be good to go.
This AlorAir unit does come with a remote control system. That is something you don’t normally find on dehumidifiers and it’s a great feature as you don’t have to go down to the crawlspace to change settings every time. The downside here is that this controller does not come with the purchase of the unit. Unfortunately, you have to buy it separately. The controller can be found by clicking here.
This isn’t necessarily a feature but it is prudent that I bring it up. There are a variety of options when it comes to installing one of these dehumidifiers in your crawl space. Some folks like to hang them from the foundation wall. Others like to suspend them from the floor joists in the center of the crawl space. Either one of these will work, but the easiest method is to get some foundation blocks, bricks, or cinder blocks and create a level surface in your crawl space. Once it is level you can then set your dehumidifier on top of the bricks, again ensure that the appliance is level. Installing the appliance on the ground is not only the easiest way to do it but it is also the only way to do it if you wish to use AlorAir’s warranty. Yes, that is correct. They require that the unit be ground mounted for any warranty claim to be honored.
One consideration you should keep in mind when installing is how close you are to a drainage area. Remember, that the water from your dehumidifier is going to need to go somewhere. If you have a drain in your crawl space already then that’s great and it makes things easy. However, if the drain you need is a ways away or not gravity fed then you are going to need a pump. AlorAir does offer their ninety pint model with a pump. So, if you needed to you could pump the water out through a vent in your crawlspace. Just make sure that the water has someplace to go and it doesn’t just roll back into your crawl space. The pump may be more expensive but if you don’t remove the water then you’re not fixing anything.
This unit has some basic cleaning needs. The first and most needed is the cleaning of the filter. Now during my research I didn’t see an exact timing schedule to clean the air filter, but I am going to recommend at least every sixty days. The filter container is easily slid out and the filter can be popped into your hand. Note that before you attempt to remove the filter the dehumidifier should be off and unplugged. This is purely for safety reasons. You can clean the filter by taking a vacuum to it or by washing it with warm water. Do not use soap on it as you could damage the mesh. Before you put the filter back inside ensure that it is dry. Once the filter is back inside you are good to turn the machine back on. Besides the filter the outside of the unit should be wiped down with a cloth every few months to prevent dust, dirt, or grime from accumulating. Lastly, the evaporator coils should be cleaned once a year. You will need a special solvent to clean these coils and this is most likely something you can contract out to your local HVAC company.
These units require a one-hundred and fifteen power outlet. Before plugging it in please ensure that the outlet you used is grounded and is safe. This product comes with wheels to make for easy transport. The fifty-five point model weighs in at sixty pounds and the ninety pint model weighs in at ninety pounds. It also comes with adjustable feet so that when you are installing you can get the product as level as you need to be.
No matter if you buy the fifty-five pint or the ninety pint these units are quality made. They are tough and meant to withstand operating in a crawlspace for years on end. Now, I’d like to spend a whole bunch of time getting into the various Pros of this product but I did what I usually end up doing. I mentioned nearly all of the Pros in our Product Features section and now I don’t have as much to talk about! One of these times I’ll learn my lesson. That being said, here are some of the quick Pros that I didn’t mention above.
This dehumidifier is easy. What I mean by that is once you get it installed, hopefully level on the ground, all you have to do is connect the drainage line, set the humidity you want, set a timer cycle, and then walk away. It’s that easy. It’s even easier if you have the remote attachment. That way you can glance at the humidity level in your crawl space from inside the comfort of your home. The only thing you’ll have to do is occasionally go down there and clean the filter and the machine itself.
While this unit is marketed towards crawl spaces don’t let that fool you. This appliance can be used in a variety of applications. It could be that you have a large unfinished basement you want to control the humidity levels on. Or, perhaps you are in an office or a small warehouse. Whatever your need is this ninety pint model will definitely get the job done for you.
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 five year warranty from AlorAir. Yes, I said five years folks. That is a huge number that I frankly haven’t seen before. Most of the time I am seeing one to two year but a five year warranty is unheard of. It is good to see a company stand behind their product nowadays.
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 the manufacturer offers a five year warranty. Through my research I had found cases where they offered a complete replacement product. It’s good to know you’ll be protected here.
I would be amiss if I didn’t mention this. The price on these units is quite high and may scare a lot of folks off. I completely understand that. What may happened here is that some folks may see that price then opt for a much cheaper model, maybe even a home model with a thirty pint capacity. If you are looking for a solution for your crawlspace then I would not recommend going that route. Yes, I know it is cheaper in the short term but in the long term you are going to pay for it.
I heard a quote the other day that stuck with me. It came from a seasoned plumber and it went like this, “I’m too poor to buy cheap tools.” In other words, he only buys premium tools because they are going to last forever. If he bought lower end tools then he’d be having to replace them every few years. The same can be applied here as well.
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. 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.
Ok folks I think we’ve finally made it. We have made it to the homestretch. I believe I have mentioned every possible feature and option there is on this unit and now it is time for you to make a decision. Is this the unit that you want for your home? Is it right for your home? Before I close this article let’s take another quick look at these dehumidifiers from AlorAir. There is the fifty-five point, the ninety pint, and the ninety pint with the pump. Between these three models they have over one-hundred and fifty reviews all with an average of four out of five stars. That equates to an eighty percent approval rating. That is pretty good if you ask me.
If you’d like to purchase this unit, or if you just have more questions, then I recommend you click here to be taken to our Amazon partner’s product page. Also, feel free to check out our ‘Important Links’ section below for more information on this product. However, if this isn’t the right one for you then I encourage you to keep shopping around and educating yourself. I hope this review was helpful and that it provided all necessary information.
Thanks for reading,