Your Guide To Dehumidifiers
Check for source of problems before shopping
Dehumidifiers are a necessary appliance in many homes and basements across North America. Excess moisture can facilitate the growth of mold and mildew and all their related problems; these problems include health issues, decay and more. Of course, dehumidifiers can be used in a variety of other situations, aside from basement use. Humidity in the air can add to the discomfort of hot days.
Throughout our guide to dehumidifiers we have advice on what to look for in a dehumidifier, including pages on heat pumps, chemical adsorbent dehumidifiers, dehumidifier maintenance and more. We also have brand profiles of Maytag, Whirlpool and more.
If your floor is wet and your walls sweat, a dehumidifier is a good investment. Before you jump into a purchase decision, though, be sure that you have done all that you can to alleviate the root causes of your basement’s dampness (or other moisture problem).
Things to look at before you buy a dehumidifier
The number one cause of wet basements is poor drainage. Make sure that all downspouts lead well off your foundation. Ten feet away from your house is a good rule, but in some areas, you may feel safer with drainage even farther away. Fixing the drainage problem may be a simple problem of extending all your downspouts. In some cases, you may need to go so far as replacing all of your eavestroughs and downspouts. This might cost you several hundred dollars but good drainage can be integral to keeping your basement dry. If your basement floods, a dehumidifier is definitely not going to fix the problem.
A secondary cause of wet basements can be cracks in the foundation. This may be more expensive to fix than a drainage problem. These are best fixed from the outside of the house, which may require excavating the outside of the foundation and patching. Some interior patches may work, but for the most part, these might only be a band-aid solution. If you have a leak in your basement, find out where the water is coming in and check this area for cracks in the wall. Make sure you deal with this before you buy a dehumidifier.
A third cause of dampness (not restricted to basements) is today’s airtight homes, which do not allow ordinary condensation to be released. Increased venting will improve this issue. Similar to the issues above, this may require you to get experts into your home (in this case, an HVAC professional). Household humidity from laundry machines, baths and sinks can cause mold growth and other serious harm within your home. A dehumidifier is a poor substitute for proper ventilation.
When you purchase a dehumidifier make sure that it is sized properly for your home. In some cases, you may need to strategically place two or more portable dehumidifiers. Bear in mind also that humidity ranges heavily from season to season. If you live in an area where winters are long, you can simply shut off your dehumidifier at this time.