- 1 Why Do I Need A Dehumidifier In My Basement?
- 2 Basement Dehumidifier Comparison Guide
- 3 How Do You Know If You Need A Dehumidifier In Your Basement?
- 4 How Dehumidifiers Work
- 5 Benefits of Using Dehumidifiers in Basements
- 6 What Is The Ideal Humidity Level For A Basement?
- 7 How Do I Prevent Mold In My Basement?
- 8 Types of Dehumidifiers for Basement Usage
- 9 Basement Dehumidifier Options
- 10 Tips for Choosing the Right Dehumidifier for Your Basement
- 11 Dehumidifier Installation and Maintenance for Basement Use
- 12 Tips for Effective Basement Humidity Control
- 13 References, Further Information, and Other Resources
- 14 Last Words On Choosing The Best Dehumidifier For Basement Use…
Basements are underground and as a result, are typically cool and damp. These are the perfect conditions to promote the growth and spread of mold and mildew. Not only does this have an effect on the health of those living in the home, but it can also cause other problems.
A cool and damp basement presents the right environment for rot, the infestation of insects, and other pests and can result in structural damage to the home. To reduce the risk of these potential problems, a dehumidifier can work to remove the dampness in your basement.
Why Do I Need A Dehumidifier In My Basement?
Basements, as the lowest level of a home and often partially or fully underground, have a unique relationship with humidity. Due to their subterranean nature and reduced exposure to natural sunlight, basements are more susceptible to high humidity levels. This vulnerability is driven by a combination of factors that contribute to the accumulation of moisture within these spaces.
Factors Leading to High Humidity in Basements
- Lack of Natural Ventilation: Unlike other parts of the house that benefit from regular air exchange through windows and doors, basements typically have limited ventilation. Stagnant air prevents moisture from escaping, leading to a buildup of humidity.
- Cooler Temperatures: Basements tend to be cooler than the rest of the house, causing warm, humid air from upper levels to condense upon contact with the basement’s cooler surfaces, such as walls and floors.
- Water Intrusion: The below-ground position makes basements susceptible to water intrusion from the surrounding soil, especially during heavy rains or floods. Even minor leaks or seepage can significantly contribute to increased humidity levels.
- Insufficient Insulation: Poor insulation in basements can lead to temperature differentials between the indoor and outdoor environments. This temperature contrast can result in condensation on surfaces, promoting humidity.
Consequences of Excessive Basement Humidity
Excessive humidity in basements can lead to a host of issues that extend beyond mere discomfort. Understanding these consequences underscores the importance of addressing and managing basement humidity effectively:
- Mold Growth: High humidity creates an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew. These fungi thrive in damp conditions, releasing spores that can spread throughout the home and pose health risks to occupants, especially those with allergies or respiratory issues.
- Musty Odors: The unmistakable musty smell associated with basements is a direct result of mold and mildew growth. These odors can permeate the entire home, making it less inviting and pleasant.
- Structural Damage: Prolonged exposure to high humidity can wreak havoc on the structural integrity of a basement. Wooden supports, beams, and other materials can weaken and degrade over time, compromising the stability of the entire house.
- Deterioration of Belongings: Moisture can damage stored items such as books, documents, clothing, and electronics. Important possessions can fall victim to warping, discoloration, and irreversible deterioration.
Importance of Maintaining Balanced Humidity
Achieving and maintaining balanced humidity levels in basements is paramount for a healthier and more comfortable living environment. By controlling humidity, homeowners can reap several benefits:
- Healthier Indoor Air Quality: Balanced humidity levels reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth, which can contribute to respiratory issues and allergies. Improved air quality supports the well-being of occupants.
- Preservation of Home Value: Preventing structural damage and mold infestations safeguards the long-term value of the property, reducing potential repair and renovation costs.
- Enhanced Comfort: A dry and comfortable basement extends the usable space in a home. Whether the basement is used for storage, recreation, or as a living area, maintaining the right humidity level ensures its functionality and comfort.
- Energy Efficiency: Excessive humidity can make a space feel warmer than it actually is, leading to increased use of air conditioning. By controlling humidity, homeowners can optimize their HVAC systems and potentially save on energy bills.
Basement Dehumidifier Comparison Guide
In our table below, we outline:
- Our picks of some of the best basement dehumidifiers on the market
- Images, as well as make and model
- Most important features
- Prices – These are the averages of price ranges that you will see on Amazon –
- $ = under $100
- $$ = $100-$500
- $$$ = $501-$1000
- $$$$ = more than $1000
- Customer ratings – These are the averages of customer ratings that you will see on Amazon, which can be very helpful in making your decision.
How Do You Know If You Need A Dehumidifier In Your Basement?
There are several signs to watch for that will tell you that a dehumidifier is needed in your basement. These include:
- mold growth on walls
- clammy air
- the smell of mold or mildew
- walls that feel damp
- Rust and corrosion appearing on metal objects
- moisture rising from the floor, and
- items stored there that smell moldy or bad.
A basement dehumidifier is designed to tackle all of these conditions and restore the area to a safe, dry, and healthy living or storage area. Since the air circulates around your whole home, reducing the dampness in your basement removes mold and mildew which can have an effect on the air you breathe elsewhere in your home.
How Dehumidifiers Work
Dehumidifiers, like quiet sentinels in the corner of a basement, play a crucial role in regulating humidity levels and maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. At their core, these devices operate on a simple yet effective principle to extract excess moisture from the air, helping to prevent the adverse effects of high humidity.
The Dehumidification Process
Dehumidifiers employ a process called condensation to remove moisture from the air. This process involves four key components that work in tandem to achieve the desired outcome:
- Compressor: The compressor is the heart of the dehumidifier. It plays a vital role in pressurizing and circulating refrigerant gas within the unit.
- Evaporator Coil: The evaporator coil is a serpentine arrangement of pipes that circulate the refrigerant. As warm, humid air from the surroundings is drawn into the dehumidifier, it passes over the evaporator coil. The coil is significantly colder than the incoming air, causing moisture in the air to condense into water droplets.
- Condenser Coil: Once the moisture has condensed on the evaporator coil, it’s collected and funneled to the condenser coil. This coil releases heat generated during the condensation process, which warms the now-dry air before it’s expelled back into the room.
- Fan: The fan is responsible for drawing air into the dehumidifier, directing it across the evaporator and condenser coils, and then expelling the drier air back into the room. This circulation not only facilitates the dehumidification process but also ensures that the entire indoor space benefits from the adjusted humidity levels.
Moisture Removal and Air Circulation
Dehumidifiers effectively extract moisture from the air through the interplay of temperature differentials. When warm, humid air encounters the cold surface of the evaporator coil, its moisture content condenses into water droplets. These droplets are collected in a reservoir within the dehumidifier.
Simultaneously, the warmed, drier air is passed over the condenser coil before being released back into the room. This process not only removes moisture but also elevates the air temperature slightly, contributing to the overall comfort of the indoor environment.
In essence, dehumidifiers excel at regulating indoor humidity by cooling the air to condense moisture and then reheating it to a comfortable temperature. This dual-action approach ensures that while excess humidity is effectively removed, the resulting air remains comfortable and conducive to a healthier living space.
Benefits of Using Dehumidifiers in Basements
Basements, often overlooked and underestimated in their impact, can significantly benefit from the addition of a dehumidifier. These unassuming devices hold the power to transform damp, musty spaces into dry, comfortable havens, offering a range of advantages that extend beyond simple humidity control.
Preventing Mold Growth
Maintaining optimal humidity levels is the cornerstone of mold prevention. Mold and mildew thrive in environments with excess moisture, and basements are prime breeding grounds. By introducing a dehumidifier, homeowners can tip the balance in favor of a less hospitable environment for mold spores. As the dehumidifier draws in humid air and condenses its moisture, it actively curbs the conditions that mold needs to proliferate. This proactive measure helps protect the health of occupants, particularly those sensitive to mold allergens and saves homeowners from the potential costs and hassles of mold remediation.
Reducing Musty Odors
The unpleasant, earthy smell associated with basements often originates from the growth of mold and mildew. These microorganisms emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contribute to the musty odor. Dehumidifiers play a dual role in odor reduction. By controlling humidity, they inhibit the growth of mold and mildew, which, in turn, reduces the release of odor-causing compounds. Additionally, the drier air circulated by the dehumidifier can itself help dissipate existing odors, leaving the basement smelling fresher and more inviting.
Basements often serve as storage areas for valuable items such as books, documents, clothing, and electronics. Unfortunately, high humidity can wreak havoc on these possessions. Paper can warp, electronics can corrode, and fabrics can develop mildew. Dehumidifiers act as guardians of these belongings, maintaining the humidity at levels that deter the deterioration caused by excessive moisture. By preserving the integrity of stored items, dehumidifiers ensure that the basement remains a safe and suitable space for storing cherished possessions.
Preserving Structural Integrity
The long-term effects of high humidity can extend beyond surface issues. Basements with consistently elevated humidity levels can experience structural damage, including weakening of wooden beams, corrosion of metal supports, and even deterioration of concrete foundations. By keeping humidity in check, dehumidifiers help safeguard the structural integrity of the entire house. This preventative measure not only ensures the stability of the building but also averts potentially costly repairs in the future.
What Is The Ideal Humidity Level For A Basement?
As for actual Relative Humidity levels, a basement can tend to already be very damp. This means that it is often advisable for the moisture content to be somewhat controlled. As a general guide, the basement should not exceed 65 percent humidity.
Compared to the rest of your home, the average room humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent. You will be removing water – possibly up to 100 pints daily – with the majority of that coming from basement air.
If you are unsure of the humidity levels within your home and basement, you can always monitor it. To make accurate humidity readings you should use a hygrometer.
How Do I Prevent Mold In My Basement?
Water is the cause of mold in your basement so in order to prevent further spread you must locate the source of the moisture. If there is a plumbing leak or water coming through a crack in the foundation, you will need to have these problems professionally repaired.
For more information on why you might need a basement dehumidifier, make sure to check out the short video below. In the video, Tom talks about the Sante-Fe compact dehumidifier. While we have not reviewed this specific dehumidifier model, the video still provides some useful information. As well as this, the AlorAir 90-pint dehumidifier below does a similar job to the one mentioned in the video.
If the mold is created by high moisture content in the air in the basement or crawlspace, your best remedy is to install a dehumidifier. There are several types and styles to choose from.
Types of Dehumidifiers for Basement Usage
Selecting the right dehumidifier for your basement is essential to effectively manage humidity levels and create a comfortable living environment. Understanding the different types of dehumidifiers available can help you make an informed choice based on your specific needs and the conditions of your basement.
Desiccant dehumidifiers operate based on a desiccant material, often a silica gel, that absorbs moisture from the air. These dehumidifiers are particularly well-suited for colder environments, making them a favorable choice for basements with lower temperatures. Unlike refrigerant dehumidifiers, desiccant models don’t rely on cooling coils to extract moisture, which means they can function effectively even in cooler conditions where traditional models might struggle.
Key Features and Benefits:
- Low-Temperature Operation: Desiccant dehumidifiers excel in cooler temperatures, making them suitable for basements that might experience seasonal shifts in climate.
- Quiet Operation: These units tend to produce less noise compared to refrigerant dehumidifiers, making them a discreet choice for quiet basement spaces.
- Portable Options: Many desiccant dehumidifiers are compact and lightweight, allowing for easy placement and mobility.
Refrigerant (Compressor) Dehumidifiers
Refrigerant dehumidifiers, also known as compressor dehumidifiers, are some of the most common and versatile models available. They operate by drawing air over cooled coils, where moisture condenses and is collected. These dehumidifiers are effective in larger spaces and can handle warmer conditions, making them a popular choice for basements with varying humidity and temperature levels.
Key Features and Benefits:
- High Moisture Removal Capacity: Refrigerant dehumidifiers are capable of extracting significant amounts of moisture from the air, making them ideal for larger basements.
- Efficient Operation: These units are energy-efficient and can maintain consistent humidity levels even in challenging environments.
- Wide Temperature Range: While not as well-suited for extremely cold temperatures as desiccant models, refrigerant dehumidifiers still perform well across a range of conditions.
Whole-house dehumidifiers are comprehensive systems designed to regulate humidity levels throughout an entire home, including the basement. While they are not specific to basements, they can be a valuable option for homeowners looking to control humidity on a larger scale. These systems are typically integrated with the home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, offering a centralized approach to humidity management.
Key Features and Benefits:
- Comprehensive Coverage: Whole-house dehumidifiers provide integrated humidity control across all areas of the home, including the basement.
- Automation and Control: These systems often come with built-in sensors and controls that allow you to set desired humidity levels and let the system adjust accordingly.
- Energy Efficiency: By working in conjunction with your HVAC system, whole-house dehumidifiers can contribute to overall energy efficiency by optimizing air circulation and temperature control.
Basement Dehumidifier Options
Here is a look at our picks of five of the best dehumidifiers for basement use:
AlorAir Basement/Crawlspace Dehumidifiers (90 Pint with Pump)
If you need a large basement dehumidifier, this could be the one you are after… That’s because it has the capacity to remove 90 pints of water per day.
The unit is designed for use in tight spaces such as a crawlspace or basement and can cover an area of up to 2,600 square feet. This also makes the AlorAir Dehumidifier a good choice for use in garages, cellars, and various storage areas.
The design features include an automatic humidistat control, a sensor to let you know when it is full of water and there is a timer for ease of unattended operation.
For more information on the AlorAir Basement/Crawlspace Dehumidifier, click the button below.
Frigidaire 60-Pint Dehumidifier
This is one of the best dehumidifiers for basement use as it will remove up to 60 pints of water per day. Plus, it uses a standard electrical power outlet.
Other features include low-temperature operation which will save you on the cost of energy use and as a result, this product is Energy Star Certified.
The easy-to-use controls include a digital humidity readout, a 24-hour on/off timer, and a control lock.
For more information on the Frigidaire 60-pint dehumidifier, click the button below.
Keystone KSTAD50B 50-Pint Dehumidifier
For a best-rated dehumidifier for basement use, this is an excellent choice. It removes up to 50 pints of moisture from the air per day and can be used as a whole basement dehumidifier as it has a coverage area of 3,000 square feet.
It qualified for an Energy Star rating in 2014 which tells you it has an efficient operating system that won’t blow your utility bill budget.
There are settings that are self-explanatory (Normal, Turbo, and Auto-Defrost) and when you add a hose it has continuous draining capabilities.
The dust filter is easy to remove and clean and this unit will also alert you when the filter requires cleaning.
For more information on the Keystone KSTAD50B Dehumidifier, click the button below.
Ivation 30 Pint Dehumidifier
You could call this a cheap dehumidifier for basement use but it does a lot for the price. It will remove up to 30 pints of water per day and is promoted by the manufacturer as being a “powerful dehumidifier.”
It comes with easy-to-operate controls and features a low-maintenance design where all you basically have to do is plug it in, select the settings, and let it run.
The reservoir holds 1.3 gallons of water. The humidistat and all other controls (fan speed, timer, filter alert) are visible with a bright LED display. There’s also an auto-defrost and auto-start function.
It has an Energy Star certification and sits on casters.
For more information on the Ivation 30 Pint Dehumidifier, click the button below.
Pro Breeze Electric Dehumidifier
This portable unit can remove up to 18 ounces of moisture per day and has a 52-ounce water tank capacity. Rated for use in spaces up to 2,200 cubic feet, the manufacturer says this model is a high-efficient and lightweight dehumidifier.
There is no compressor as it uses Peltier Technology and thermal-electric cooling. With an automatic shut-off and a light to tell you when the tank is full, this is a great little product.
It is described as being effective in controlling humidity in kitchens, bedrooms, basements, and RVs.
For more information on the Pro Breeze Dehumidifier, click the button below.
Tips for Choosing the Right Dehumidifier for Your Basement
Selecting the perfect dehumidifier for your basement involves more than just picking any unit off the shelf. To ensure optimal performance and efficient humidity control, it’s important to consider factors like capacity, features, and energy efficiency. Here’s a guide to help you make the right choice for your basement’s needs.
Calculate the Appropriate Capacity
The capacity of a dehumidifier is measured in pints per day, indicating the amount of moisture the unit can remove within a 24-hour period. To determine the right capacity for your basement, consider its square footage and existing humidity levels. Here’s a basic formula to help you calculate the appropriate capacity:
- Calculate the volume of your basement by multiplying its length, width, and height (in cubic feet).
- Estimate the current relative humidity level using a hygrometer.
- Use a dehumidification capacity chart provided by manufacturers to match your estimated humidity level and basement size to the correct pint capacity.
For example, if your basement measures 800 square feet and has a relative humidity level of 70%, you might require a dehumidifier with a capacity of around 40-50 pints per day.
When browsing dehumidifiers, consider the following features that can enhance the unit’s functionality and convenience for basement use:
- Adjustable Humidity Settings: Look for a dehumidifier that allows you to set and maintain a desired humidity level. This feature ensures the unit operates only when necessary, optimizing energy usage.
- Automatic Shut-Off: A dehumidifier equipped with an automatic shut-off function will turn off when the water collection reservoir is full, preventing overflow and water damage.
- Drainage Options: Some models offer continuous drainage options, allowing you to connect a hose for constant water drainage. This is particularly useful for basements with high humidity levels that require constant dehumidification.
- Air Filtration: Opt for a dehumidifier with built-in air filtration to help improve indoor air quality by capturing dust, allergens, and other particles as the air is circulated through the unit.
An energy-efficient dehumidifier not only reduces your environmental footprint but also minimizes operating costs. Look for these indicators of energy efficiency:
- ENERGY STAR® Certification: Dehumidifiers with the ENERGY STAR label meet strict efficiency guidelines set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These units are designed to use less energy while providing effective humidity control.
- Defrost Cycle: If you’re in a colder climate, consider a dehumidifier with a defrost cycle. This feature prevents ice buildup on the coils, allowing the unit to operate efficiently even in low temperatures.
- Dual-Stage Compressor: Some high-end models come with dual-stage compressors that adjust their speed based on humidity levels. This results in more precise humidity control and reduced energy consumption.
Dehumidifier Installation and Maintenance for Basement Use
Installing a dehumidifier in your basement can greatly improve the environment by controlling humidity levels, but proper installation and ongoing maintenance are crucial to ensure its effectiveness and longevity. Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you set up and maintain your dehumidifier for optimal basement usage.
The placement of your dehumidifier can significantly impact its efficiency. Consider these guidelines for optimal installation:
- Central Location: Place the dehumidifier in a central area of the basement where air circulation is most effective. This helps ensure that moist air is drawn into the unit and dry air is evenly distributed.
- Elevated Surface: Set the dehumidifier on an elevated surface, such as a table or stand, to maximize airflow and prevent moisture from accumulating beneath the unit.
- Keep It Clear: Avoid obstructing the airflow by placing the dehumidifier at least a foot away from walls and furniture. This allows air to circulate freely, improving its dehumidification efficiency.
Dehumidifiers collect moisture in a reservoir that needs to be emptied regularly. However, there are various drainage options available to make maintenance more convenient:
- Manual Emptying: This involves periodically removing and emptying the water collection reservoir. It’s suitable for occasional use but might not be practical for continuous operation.
- Gravity Drainage: Some dehumidifiers allow you to connect a hose to the unit, leading to a floor drain or sink. This option is ideal for basements where a drain is nearby, as it eliminates the need for manual emptying.
- Condensate Pump: A condensate pump can lift water to a higher point, allowing you to drain the dehumidifier’s reservoir to a distant drain or even a window. This is particularly useful for basements with limited drainage options.
Proper maintenance ensures your dehumidifier continues to function effectively and efficiently:
- Clean the Unit: Regularly clean the exterior of the unit with a damp cloth to remove dust and debris that can hinder airflow.
- Replace Filters: Some dehumidifiers have air filters that need to be cleaned or replaced periodically. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations for filter maintenance.
- Inspect Drainage Pathways: If you’re using a hose for drainage, ensure it’s properly connected and not kinked or blocked. If you have a condensate pump, check its operation and ensure the tubing is clear.
- Empty the Reservoir: If you’re manually emptying the water reservoir, do so before it reaches capacity to prevent overflow and water damage.
- Check for Ice: In cooler environments, occasionally inspect the coils for ice buildup. If you notice excessive ice, it might be a sign of a problem with the unit’s defrost cycle.
Tips for Effective Basement Humidity Control
Achieving and maintaining balanced humidity levels in your basement involves a combination of using a dehumidifier and implementing proactive measures to address moisture sources. Here are essential tips to help you take control of your basement’s humidity.
Adequate air circulation is essential to prevent stagnant, humid air from accumulating in your basement. Here’s how to ensure proper ventilation:
- Open Windows and Doors: Whenever weather conditions allow, open windows and doors to promote cross-ventilation. This allows fresh outdoor air to circulate and replace stagnant indoor air.
- Use Fans: Place fans strategically to facilitate the movement of air throughout the basement. Ceiling fans and box fans can help distribute air and prevent pockets of humidity.
- Ventilation Systems: Consider installing exhaust fans or ventilation systems to facilitate air exchange. These systems can help expel humid air and introduce fresh, dry air from outside.
Sealing Cracks and Leaks
Addressing sources of water infiltration is crucial to preventing excess moisture in your basement:
- Inspect for Leaks: Regularly check your basement for signs of leaks or water seepage. Address any leaks promptly to prevent further water infiltration.
- Seal Cracks: Seal any visible cracks or gaps in the walls and floors to prevent water from seeping in. Use appropriate sealants or waterproofing materials to create a barrier against moisture.
- Improve Exterior Drainage: Ensure that rainwater is directed away from your foundation by maintaining proper grading and using downspouts, gutters, and extensions to divert water from your home.
Using a Hygrometer
Monitoring humidity levels is essential for preventing imbalances that can lead to mold growth and other issues:
- Use a Hygrometer: Invest in a hygrometer to accurately measure humidity levels in your basement. Place the hygrometer in a central location for the best readings.
- Maintain Recommended Levels: Ideally, aim for humidity levels between 30% and 50%. Humidity that’s too low can cause discomfort, while levels that are too high can encourage mold growth.
- Adjust Dehumidifier Settings: Use the information from your hygrometer to adjust the settings on your dehumidifier. Set it to maintain your desired humidity level for consistent control.
References, Further Information, and Other Resources
When compiling information for this article on dehumidifiers for basement use, I consulted a variety of reputable sources, studies, and experts to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the content. Here are some key references that contributed to the creation of this informative guide:
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): The EPA offers valuable resources on indoor air quality, including guidance on moisture control and the benefits of using dehumidifiers to prevent mold and other issues in basements.
- ENERGY STAR: The ENERGY STAR program provides insights into energy-efficient appliances, including dehumidifiers. Their guidelines and criteria for energy-efficient dehumidifiers helped shape the content on energy efficiency.
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE): ASHRAE is a trusted source for information on indoor air quality and HVAC systems. Their research and recommendations influenced the sections on dehumidifier types and functionality.
- Home Improvement and HVAC Forums: Online forums dedicated to home improvement, DIY projects, and HVAC systems provided valuable insights from homeowners who have experience using dehumidifiers in their basements.
- Consumer Reviews and Ratings: User reviews and ratings on websites such as Amazon, Home Depot, and other retailers helped provide real-world feedback and insights into various dehumidifier models.
- Manufacturers’ Documentation: Information provided by reputable dehumidifier manufacturers, including technical specifications, user manuals, and product descriptions, contributed to the accuracy of details related to dehumidifier features and operation.
- Academic Journals: Studies published in academic journals on topics related to indoor air quality, humidity control, and mold prevention informed the content on the benefits of using dehumidifiers.
Last Words On Choosing The Best Dehumidifier For Basement Use…
With health concerns at the forefront and potential structural and destructive issues resulting from a damp basement or crawlspace, a dehumidifier is your best solution.
Even if you don’t have space or budget for a larger whole basement dehumidifier with a pump option, you have many other alternatives to choose from here. So make sure that you check out the options mentioned above, and pick the best basement dehumidifier for your specific situation.