Properly maintaining your home’s humidity can be important for both your health and your living space. Too much humidity in your house could possibly result in mold and wood rot, and aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. Dehumidifiers can help combat these problems by managing humidity, but older models can likely won’t have the same energy-efficient features as newer models, and may also be more prone to leaks and mold accumulation.
If your home struggles with high humidity, a professional can help you identify potential problems and their causes. One solution may be to then invest in an energy-efficient dehumidifier to help you control your home’s humidity levels to help keep your energy bill manageable.
When people talk about a home’s humidity, they’re often referring to relative humidity (RH), which is the amount of water vapor in the air as compared to the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold at the same temperature. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, your home’s humidity (RH) should be kept between 30% and 50% for health, comfort, and the prevention of mold and bacterial growth.
This level of humidity should be maintained during the summer and winter, with or without the use of an air conditioner. In cold climates, keeping your house’s humidity between 30% and 40% can help prevent condensation on windows. A dehumidifier with a built-in humidistat allows you to set the humidity for a given room or area within your home.
Unsure when to use a dehumidifier in your home? A hygrometer is a gauge used to measure humidity levels, and it can help you determine whether you have too much humidity in your house. There are also several observable signs that may indicate a humidity problem:
The benefits of using a dehumidifier may outweigh the costs — as long as the dehumidifier conserves energy. With an energy-efficient dehumidifier, you could possibly see several benefits:
Choosing the right dehumidifier for your home requires an understanding of the different types of dehumidifiers, dehumidifier energy consumption, ENERGY STAR®️ certifications, dehumidifier sizing and house humidity levels.
When deciding on the best energy-efficient dehumidifier, you should pick a dehumidifier type based upon your home humidity levels, where it will be located in your home and the climate of where you live.
There are several types of dehumidifiers to choose from:
Compressor dehumidifiers work by passing warm, damp air over a refrigerated coil, causing condensation, which is then channeled into a tank for removal. The dry air is heated to room temperature and then released.
Compressor dehumidifiers work best in warmer climates, as the condenser must be cooler than room temperature. They’re less suited to cold climates and can be bulky and noisy, so it’s important to consider their placement in your home.
If you need to control basement humidity, a desiccant dehumidifier is a good choice. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a desiccant wheel to remove moisture, rather like the way silica gel keeps food items moisture-free. A built-in heater restores the wheel’s ability to absorb moisture.
Though they are portable dehumidifiers, desiccant dehumidifiers can be more expensive and may be less effective in warm climates.
Thermoelectric dehumidifiers use a solid-state thermoelectric device to pump heat from one side of the condenser to another, cooling the opposite side in the process. As air is drawn over the cold side, it causes condensation, which is then stored in a removable tank.
Since thermoelectric dehumidifiers aren’t designed to remove as much moisture as compressors or desiccants, they’re best suited for small spaces such as closets and bathrooms.
To reap all the benefits of a dehumidifier, you’ll need to select the right model for your home. Dehumidifier features vary from model to model. While energy efficiency is important, homeowners should also look for features that allow you to control humidity levels and are easy to maintain.
Consider the following when looking for dehumidifiers:
Most dehumidifiers store condensed water in a tank for removal, so it’s important to determine the correct capacity for your needs. Too small, and you’ll be emptying the tank too often, while dehumidifiers that are too large for the space they occupy could consume more energy than necessary.
Tank capacity is measured in pints removed by the dehumidifier. Room size is calculated in square feet. The relative humidity of the room is also a factor when considering dehumidifier sizing, as it affects the amount of moisture the unit needs to remove from the air to attain an ideal humidity.
The following dehumidifier size chart can help you figure out what size dehumidifier you need for your home:
Large-capacity dehumidifiers can remove more than 50 pints of water a day. While rooms of up to 1,500 square feet are well suited to a large-capacity dehumidifier, room size is only one factor. Any space with excessively high humidity can benefit from large models, although they’re most often used for basements, garages and large rooms.
Check out the Frigidaire 70-Pint Dehumidifier in the Constellation store.
Medium-capacity dehumidifiers can remove about 50 pints of moisture a day. They’re most often used for wet bathrooms as well as large bedrooms and living rooms.
Check out the Frigidaire 50-Pint Dehumidifier in the Constellation store.
Small-capacity dehumidifiers can remove between 30 and 35 pints a day and are best used in small spaces, such as single rooms, closets and crawl spaces.
Check out the Frigidaire 30-Pint Dehumidifier in the Constellation store.
Whole house capacity dehumidifiers are just that — they can control humidity throughout the entire home. The cost of such units can be high, however, and in most cases, they aren’t essential. Stand-alone dehumidifiers are sufficient to meet most residential needs.
According to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the average wattage of a dehumidifier is 459 watts. In terms of energy consumption, they determined that a dehumidifier uses approximately 4.2 kWh/day. As with daily energy usage, a dehumidifier’s annual energy usage will depend on how often it’s running. However, the same study found that the average annual energy usage of a dehumidifier ranges from 477 kWh to over 1,000 kWh a year.
Dehumidifier watts are important to know when calculating the energy factor of your machine. The energy factor of a dehumidifier is measured in liters of water removed per kilowatt-hour. In order to be approved by ENERGY STAR®️, energy-efficient dehumidifiers must have an energy factor of at least 2.00, or an energy factor greater than 2.80 for dehumidifiers that remove more than 75 pints of moisture a day.
If you don’t know the energy consumption of your dehumidifier, watts can be measured by using devices like P3 Kill A Watt Edge. Simply plug your dehumidifier into the device, and it can calculate the energy consumption of your machine in active or standby mode.
Yes, dehumidifier size and capacity can affect energy use. The larger the unit, the greater the wattage, and the more energy it will consume while removing moisture from the air in your home. For example, the large-capacity Frigidaire 70-pint dehumidifier has a wattage of 745 watts, while the small-capacity Frigidaire 30-pint dehumidifier has a wattage of 320 watts. Additionally, these charts from Energy.gov show how a dehumidifier’s energy factor changes based on its capacity.
There are various steps you can take to ensure your dehumidifier works as well — and as efficiently — as possible. To get the most benefits out of your dehumidifier, you should:
Energy-efficient dehumidifiers play an integral role in maintaining a good humidity for your home. It can take a little research, from selecting the best dehumidifier sizing to the best energy-efficient features, but the proper dehumidifier can improve your home’s air quality as well as prevent moisture damage to the building’s structures.
Plus, check out our energy-efficient humidifier guide if you’re having trouble managing dry air in your home.
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