Using a dehumidifier is the most efficient way to combat excess moisture in the air. Although it’s easy to control the humidity in a small room, basement dehumidification can be tricky because basements are spacious and often drafty.
However, with the right dehumidifier, you can reduce your basement’s humidity level and prevent damaging mold and mildew from growing.
Table of Contents
- Do I require a Dehumidifier in my Basement?
- Our Recommended Dehumidifiers for Basements in 2022
- Dehumidifier for the Basement Buying Guide
- Three Types of Dehumidifiers
Do I require a Dehumidifier in my Basement?
Before jumping in and deciding if you need one for your basement, we would suggest that you understand how they operate and why you need one. A dehumidifier treats the air in a particular space by removing moisture. This can bring some benefits.
The crawl space or basement is located underground between the range of 2 to 8 feet beneath the ground. Your climate as well as the seasons you experience will determine how much moisture and dampness you will have in these spaces.
Various elements can cause dampness in your basement or crawl space, like ineffective ductwork or sealing, but the main problem isn’t to do with damp floors or walls.
When prolonged dampness is not addressed, mold can start growing and will negatively influence your indoor air quality. There are numerous approaches to address this problem and a decent dehumidifier can help maintain stable moisture levels.
If you notice traces of moisture, mold, or foul smells in or from your basement, it might be a good opportunity to think about purchasing a dehumidifier.
What is the correct dehumidifier size? The factors that determine the size of your dehumidifier are things such as the size of the area and how much moisture there is in the air.
Dehumidifiers are classified by the amount of liquid they can get rid of in 24 hours. The bigger and more humid your particular area is, the larger your dehumidifier should be.
For instance, a 70-pint dehumidifier can comfortably handle an area between 700 to 1,200 square feet. Note that if the room or basement contains cool air, the unit will extract less moisture since cold air holds less moisture than warmer air.
Small: Removes 20-25 pints of moisture at a temperature of 65°F, alternatively 30-40 pints at temperature of 80°F (around 400-600+ square feet).
Medium: Removes 30-35 pints of moisture at a temperature of 65°F, alternatively 50-60 pints at temperature of 80°F (around 800-1,000+ square feet).
Large: Removes 40-55 pints of moisture at a temperature of 65°F, alternatively 70-90 pints at temperature of 80°F (around 1,200-1,500+ square feet).
Our Recommended Dehumidifiers for Basements in 2022
#5 Black+Decker BDT50WT 50 Pint Dehumidifier
This white and boxy dehumidifier is a champ at moisture removal with the ability to extract 50 pints of water from the air daily. The lack+Decker BDT50WT 50 Pint Energy Star Portable Dehumidifier is also intelligent, featuring intuitive touch controls and a digitally displayed humidistat. With four casters and a pull-up handle, the machine is a breeze to move around despite weighing 34 pounds.
From the well-organized control panel, you can select from three fan speeds and view maintenance indicators for the filter and water tank. You can choose one of four modes, including a basement mode with a preset of 45-percent relative humidity.
If you don’t want to run the dehumidifier all day, you can set a timer that ranges from 30 minutes to 24 hours.
With its 8.5-pint capacity, you won’t need to make frequent trips to the sink. There is also a vertical viewing window that lets you monitor the reservoir’s water level. Alternatively, you can attach a hose to the port for hands-free water drainage.
Thanks to the dehumidifier’s automatic shutoff, restart and defrost functions, you can count on it to last for years to come.
#4 hOmeLabs 3,000 Sq. Ft Dehumidifier
White, modern and efficient. Meet the 6 Gallon Dehumidifier by hOmeLabs. It can remove 50 pints of water from the air every day. Since the machine is Energy Star certified, it doesn’t cost a ton of money to run. The removable, 6-liter tank is easy to empty, and it features a viewing window that lets you instantly determine how much water is inside the reservoir.
On the back of the unit, there is a sturdy cover that protects the reusable filter. A set of four double casters allows you to roll the 40-pound dehumidifier anywhere in your basement. Two integrated side handles further boost the machine’s mobility. If you don’t want to empty the tank manually, use the drain outlet at the rear of the dehumidifier.
Read our full in-depth hOmeLabs 6 Gallon (50 Pint) Dehumidifier Review
The top-mounted touch panel will display alerts when the dehumidifier is full or in defrost mode. Additionally, there is a digital display that shows the relative humidity of the room. If you’re dealing with extreme humidity levels, set the fan speed to turbo for quick dehumidification of spaces up to 2,500 square feet.
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#3 COLZER 164 Pints Commercial Dehumidifier
If you’re looking for the most powerful dehumidifier for basements, then the COLZER is definitely for you. This portable dehumidifier comes with the power to remove up to 164 pints (20.5 gallons) of moisture every day, or 90 pints at AHAM, in rooms of up to 7,000 square feet. It does so by suctioning in up to 206 CFM.
This dehumidifier comes with a 1.32-gallon tray to collect the re-condensed vapor. An auto-shutoff system ensures that the COLZER doesn’t continue dehumidifying your basement’s air when the collection reservoir is full. You’ll also get a 6.6-foot drain hose to water your plants or a larger bucket (pump sold separately).
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#2 Waykar 2000 Sq. Ft Dehumidifier
This Waykar Dehumidifier is a super-sleek device that would fit well into any modern home. Not only does it look great, but it works fantastically. This dehumidifier can capture up to 34 pints of water vapor every day in 2,000-square-foot rooms or smaller. A 24-hour timer will help ensure that you don’t over-dehumidify your basement or crawlspace.
The digital control panel allows you to define the ideal relative humidity level of a room, in which the dehumidifier will automatically shut off upon reaching that level. A 6.6-foot drain hose will let water pour out of the device and into potted plants or a nearby sink. However, it doesn’t have a built-in pump, so you’ll have to pay close attention to the unit’s placement.
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#1 ALORAIR Basement/Crawl Space Dehumidifier
The ALORAIR dehumidifier is the go-to dehumidifier for basements and crawl spaces. Despite its compact design, it’s a heavy-duty dehumidifier that captures and re-condenses up to 55 pints of water every day. Thanks to a built-in defrosting system, the ALORAIR can thaw its own cooling coils, allowing it to run for several hours without any hiccups.
As an Energy Star-certified product, you can be assured that your electricity bills won’t spike due to constantly running this dehumidifier. With a built-in filter, the coils can stay cleaner for longer while trapping larger particles from going airborne. This tool is ideal for basements and rooms of up to 1,300 square feet.
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Dehumidifier for the Basement Buying Guide
Excess humidity can wreak havoc on your basement. A dehumidifier can prevent the damaging effects of humid conditions. To choose a dehumidifier that can handle the size of your basement, there are several features to consider, such as the reservoir’s capacity and the control panel’s configuration.
Let us point you in the right direction with this buying guide, so you can find a dehumidifier that can get the job done.
Since the sole purpose of a dehumidifier is to extract moisture from the air, the first feature to examine is how much water it can remove. Every manufacturer will detail the amount of water a dehumidifier can draw from the air per day under the machine’s specifications.
For efficient basement dehumidification, you’ll need a dehumidifier that can draw at least 20 pints of moisture from the air every 24 hours.
To adjust its water removal ability, you may change the dehumidifier’s fan speed. Keep it on high when humidity levels are elevated and low when you want to maintain the current relative humidity.
Going hand-in-hand with a dehumidifier’s water-removal capability is its tank capacity. The more water the reservoir can hold, the less often you need to empty the tank. Some models come with a drainage port that continuously drains the collected water. Many dehumidifiers also have a viewing window that lets you monitor water levels.
Although you may require your dehumidifier to operate daily, there will be times where you won’t be home to tend to the reservoir. That’s why having a dehumidifier with an auto-shutoff feature is useful.
This feature instantly turns off the machine when the tank is full to prevent water leaks and motor burnout. If you don’t want the dehumidifier to run constantly, choose one with a timer function.
The layout of the control panel determines how easy it is to change the dehumidifier’s settings. Out of all the configurations, touch panels are the easiest and sleekest. However, your main objective is to make sure the controls are clearly labeled and intuitive to use.
Many models have a digital display that shows the room’s relative humidity and indicator lights that tell you when the dehumidifier needs maintenance.
It’s highly unlikely that the dehumidifier will remain stationary throughout its lifespan so pick one with a manageable weight. Dehumidifiers usually come with caster wheels and at least one handle for convenient relocation. Look for double casters or wide-set wheels for optimal mobility. Don’t forget to check the dehumidifier dimensions to ensure that it will fit in the space that you plan to use it in.
Nearly all dehumidifiers come with a filter that traps harmful micro-particles like bacteria, mold spores, and allergens. However, the filter quality can vary across dehumidifiers. Some of the best filters are constructed from antimicrobial materials that are washable can save you money on replacements.
No one enjoys a machine that’s hard to use. We are delighted to inform you that we’ve listed several dehumidifiers that are reliable and easy to operate.
If you think you will move the dehumidifier to different areas in the basement often, search for one that comes with wheels. Units with computerized control boards and timers are something you’ll come across frequently. All things considered, some of the models in this range will have more features than others.
If you’re looking to place a dehumidifier in a basement under construction or you primarily utilize the space for storing items, then the noise level might not even be a problem. In fully constructed basements, you may want to dehumidifiers that operate at lower noise levels.
Most manufacturers understand this and produce dehumidifiers that operate at low noise levels for indoor use. It may be difficult to find the noise rating on certain models although it’s something to bear in mind if loud sounds are an issue.
Hose Drain Outlet
If you plan to run the dehumidifier constantly, you should think about finding a model equipped with an outlet house attached to it. While a minor feature, this outlet allows the unit to drain collected water automatically. This saves you the trouble of having to constantly empty the water tank.
This drainage system relies on gravity to drain water. Regardless of whether it’s a typical hose or a length of tubing made specifically for this purpose, these drainage systems can empty into an existing sewer and you don’t have to lift a finger.
The world is full of smart gadgets and it’s no surprise that you can buy a dehumidifier that’s clever enough to know when it needs to run. A unit fitted with an auto-humidistat does precisely that. It is a component that you can program to maintain the desired level of moisture.
When you use this function you can precisely determine the ambient moisture levels as well as setting the highest and lowest levels for that particular area. The unit utilizes its built-in sensors to constantly sample the air quality and when it detects levels outside your pre-determined range, it will turn on or off until the humidity levels fall within those limits.
In basements and other spaces where moisture gathers, you will probably need to install a condensate pump. It pumps the collected water to a removal point where it can be disposed of, such as a sewer or something similar.
If you wind up in a circumstance where this sort of set-up needs to be used to circulate air through your basement, you might have to search for a condensate pump that is compatible with your dehumidifier. Depending on the dehumidifier that you have, it might already have a built-in pump which makes it much more adaptable.
Some dehumidifiers have a condensation feature to convert the surrounding air into water. These dehumidifiers run at lower temperatures and run the risk of freezing under the right conditions. Under these circumstances, an auto defrost feature ensures that your unit can operate reliably.
Just like a freezer, the moisture inside will cause icicles to form. These can reduce the efficiency of the dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers fitted with an auto defrost capability would prevent these crystals from forming and keep the unit operating optimally in areas where the temperature is below -65° F on average.
Low Temperature Setting
In addition to auto defrost features, dehumidifiers have a range of settings for operating at low temperatures. These can be useful if you plan on using your new unit in freezing temperatures. These settings will allow a dehumidifier to run in temperatures below 41° F – which is well under freezing point.
Most dehumidifier owners may not even use these settings since they operate their units during the warmer months as the weather tends to be more humid. People working in areas such as the Pacific Northwest where cold weather persists for the majority of the year will truly appreciate the capability to remove moisture from their basements as the temperature falls.
The downside of most dehumidifiers is that they have a high operating noise level. This makes it difficult when the unit is placed in areas where loud noises may be a concern. In cases like these, a timer function could prove useful.
By programming these settings, a timer will determine when the unit will run. Therefore, homeowners can let their dehumidifier work when they’re not at home to hear it. Timers can also be valuable for collecting moisture when needed, such as when you hang out wet clothing to dry.
Three Types of Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers have varying levels of performance and some will work better than others depending on the ambient humidity of the basement.
Most dehumidifiers rely on a compressor to activate fans that draw air over coils that cause moisture in the air to condense into water. The resultant water is then drained into a tank that needs to be emptied when full. Alternatively, a hose can be attached to the unit that allows water to be continuously drained into a drainage system. Compressor dehumidifiers are the best units when it comes to tackling moisture in basements.
This category of dehumidifier draws damp air through a filter produced from desiccant material (a synthetic drying substitute). Water from the air is extracted and drips into a collecting tank. Desiccant dehumidifiers are great at regulating humidity in smaller spaces above ground and aren’t suited for basements.
Also known as “Peltier dehumidifiers”, named after the physicist Jean Charles Peltier who discovered a method of removing moisture from the air through a thermo-electric process.
The category of dehumidifiers works by passing damp air over surfaces called “sinks” where water gathers and is collected in a tank. These dehumidifiers work best in warmer environments and are often suited for smaller spaces. Because of this, they are not the most ideal solution for larger basements where the air tends to be cooler.
Cost And Capacity Considerations
Dehumidifiers are usually categorized by the amount of water they can extract from the air each day. While they have names like “small, medium, and large”, this often alludes to the power they have and the capacity of the collection tank.
These tanks are normally able to collect between one and three gallons of water. As a general rule of thumb, the more power the unit has, the bigger the tank will be. Drawing high amounts of moisture found in most basements require bigger dehumidifiers.
• Small Model.
These units are light, compact, and reasonably priced, often costing between $45 and $90. They are capable of drawing 15 to 30 pints of water per day. They are best used in smaller areas such as in cupboards.
• Medium Model. This model can gather between 30 to 45 pints of water per day and works best in medium to large spaces. Keep in mind that they may not be suitable for basements. The costs of these units range anywhere from $115 to $200.
• Large Model. With a gathering capacity of up to 75 pints of water per day, this unit would be the most ideal for use in basements. Prices range from $180 to $300.
Please take Note
The specifications for classifying the collection sizes of these units were revised by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2019. Previously, units were assessed at 80°F but this was eventually adjusted to a lower temperature of 65°F as of 13th June 2019. This was done to more accurately “reflect the success of the unit in a basement environment.” In practical terms, this would mean that units tested with the new parameters will likely quote lower but more accurate water collection numbers. For example, a unit that was previously marked as a 70 pint unit will be marked as 50 pint unit under the new rules. We have have included choices that were tested under both classifications and made notes of this accordingly.
What Are the Signs of a Humid Basement?
A thorough check of your basement can reveal multiple signs of a high moisture environment. The first sign people notice is a musty odor in the air. This is caused by mold and mildew, which you may notice on walls, ceilings, or items stored in the basement.
There may also be a buildup of condensation on the floor, walls, and windows. In more severe cases, this condensation can turn into puddles of water. Paint bubbles and yellowed stains are other signs to look out for.
If you have carpets in the basement, you may also see areas of the carpet with deteriorated fibers.
What Causes High Humidity in a Basement?
While every situation is unique, there are common issues that cause lead to a humid basement. Some problems originate from within the home such as plumbing leaks. Poorly ventilated dryers and inoperable stove exhaust fans can also cause high humidity.
Other sources may come from outside the home. Cracks in the foundation are one way for moisture to enter a basement. Gutters that are clogged or uneven ground that slopes toward the home are two other culprits.
If you tend to open your basement windows during summer, you’re also letting in humid air that can lead to condensation on the basement’s floor and walls.
What Are the Consequences of Having a Humid Basement?
Musty air is unpleasant, but excess moisture in the air can lead to more problems than just discomfort. Dust mites, mildew and mold spores thrive in damp areas. If your basement is humid, these contaminants can spread throughout the air. In turn, this can cause respiratory issues, especially in those who suffer from allergies or asthma.
Mold and mildew can also do a number on your personal belongings. When mold grows on objects like books, blankets, and furniture, they become damaged and need to be discarded. Moisture can also cause walls, foundation beams, and other structural components in your basement to rot, leading to expensive repairs.
How Do Dehumidifiers Work?
Dehumidifiers are hard-working machines. A typical dehumidifier pulls air in via its inlet using a powerful fan. The air is then circulated over the condenser coils that extract moisture from the air by forming water.
After the water is collected in the collection tank, the dried air is pushed back into the basement where it circulates throughout the room. Over time, the basement’s humidity is reduced to healthier levels.
How Does the Water Drain?
Each dehumidifier is different when it comes to the draining method implemented by the manufacturer. Some models have a removable reservoir that either lifts or pulls away from the machine. To dump the water, you simply carry the reservoir to the nearest sink to empty it.
Other dehumidifiers may have a removable reservoir and a drain port. To take advantage of this, attach a hose to the port and let it hang in a sink or next to a floor drain and the dehumidifier will drain itself.
Some dehumidifiers contain a pump. These models can remove the water even if the hose is placed vertically.
How Much Energy Do They Consume?
The cost of electricity can be brutal during peak seasons. However, most dehumidifiers won’t make a noticeable difference in the average home’s electricity bill. To measure how much money it takes to use a dehumidifier, you can calculate the kilowatts per hour it consumes. If you plan to run it continuously, multiply 24 and the dehumidifier’s wattage. Then, divide the number you get by 1,000.
How Can I Determine a Dehumidifier’s Effectiveness?
Luckily, there is no math involved in figuring out how effective a dehumidifier is at removing moisture from the air. Manufacturers almost always list a dehumidifier’s moisture removal capacity in the product’s specs. The amount of water it removes is calculated in one of two ways.
One way is by calculating how much water the dehumidifier removes when the relative humidity is at 60 percent and the air temperature is at 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which are the conditions used by the AHAM, or Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.
The other method involves measuring how much water the machine can draw from the air when the relative humidity is at 100 percent. This method tells you the dehumidifier’s water removal limit.
Since it’s highly unlikely that your basement is that humid, the dehumidifier is expected to perform better than what this rating shows – as long as the unit is adequately sized for your basement space.
What Humidity Setting Should I Use In My Basement?
At the point where the moisture exceeds 60%, issues will begin to emerge. Preferably, the levels should be somewhere in the range of 30% to 60%.
How Long Will My Unit Be Good For?
It might be disturbing to see a short warranty on your unit, but as a rule, they should last much longer than the warranty is good for. If you care for your unit it would easily last about 5 to 7 years.
How Often Must I Empty The Tank?
Generally, the units would work without requiring assistance but there is an exception. Most units have a fitted tank that you should attend to and empty regularly -which could get irritating if you have a basement with a lot of moisture. If you anticipate that this would be an issue for you, maybe it would be advantageous to consider a unit with a larger tank.
Another aspect to take note of is that some unit listings will include the unit’s holding ability. While one would think that this refers to the capacity of water that the unit can gather in the tank, this ability refers to how much damp air the unit can process from the air within a 24-hour timeframe. Either way, this measurement is still vital for checking how good a particular unit would perform in addressing the humidity in your basement.
How to Clean a Dehumidifier?
This need not be too much work if you follow the guidelines and clean it regularly. This is particularly significant because these units are prone to developing unwanted bacteria if they are not cared for and routinely disinfected.
The first thing to do would be to unplug the unit. Then clean the outside of your unit with a moist cloth and make sure you apply more force on the vents. When the exterior has been cleaned, you need to attend to the tank and see if it needs to be emptied. Make sure to clean the inside as well as the outside with mild detergent.
Remove the filter and use the same detergent to wash it as well as the water filter, if your unit has one. Once all of these have been washed and dried, assemble the unit again.
What Setting Should I Use?
The settings of your unit would boil down to your preferences, particularly with regards to how much moisture you have in the basement when measured against the general standard of 30%. By and large, the unit’s default setting should be good for addressing most situations.
If you are hoping to save on your electricity bill or address a huge humidity problem in your basement, you could always decrease or increase the setting.
Where Should I Place My Dehumidifier In The Basement?
The correct position for the unit is sometimes ignored, but it is very important as it can affect a unit’s effectiveness. Generally, it would be a good idea to place the unit at least six inches or further from any wall to ensure proper airflow around the unit.
Likewise, ensure that the unit faces the source of the moisture. If you are unsure then just face it towards the largest part of the area.
How Long Should A Dehumidifier Run Every Day?
In general, most people run their units for about 12 hours every day to address dampness in their basements.
However, current units are smart enough to start up automatically when excess moisture is detected and thus constant operation is not necessary.
Basements are useful spaces in any home as it offers additional space. The correct dehumidifier will assist in turning your basement into a dry and comfortable area. The prices between units can vary due to differences in features. These can include tank sizes, whether a pump is supplied, and the moisture conversion rate.
It could cost anywhere between $500 and $1250, but it all depends on your needs. There is a unit available for every basement. In the end, it would come down to your choice on which one you would like to have.
If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!
Last Update: 2022-08-10 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API