Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Drying Basements

My basement is 840 sf. It is damp. No visible water or seepage. When investigating dehumidifiers it seems that they are rated by the capacity of the tank. ie tank capacity in pints of water.  How can I determine the correct size of humidifier for an 840 sf basement?  It does not seem that I should operate on the premise of: if 45 pint capacity is good then 65 pint capacity must be better. I want to install a dehumidifier that is the correct size for an 840 sf basement. Any guidance would be appreciated. Thanks. Jim.

Dehumidification is like many aspects of life; reduce need to reduce demand. Your investment goes farther, you need less, and you are just consuming less when you reduce demand. It’s like investing in clean energy. You reduce you demand and you get more out of the energy you create.

Controlling moisture is essential for your family and building’s health. Moisture breads all sorts of bad things like mold, rot, bugs, and allergies. And it can be a silent nuisance. There are many molds that are not even regulated since they occur naturally and concentrations change depending on where you live. But you have the ability to maintain and control the levels of humidity. Here are some simple steps:

Direct Water
Direct water has to be controlled. First, keep it away from the house. Make sure the grade is sloping away from the house, and gutters and downspouts are working properly. Second, if it does come in, make sure you are catching it and sending it out before it sits on the ground. Perimeter drains with sump pumps work well. But you say that is not a problem, good.

Air Flow
Airflow is a tough issue. There was a time where airflow was essential to a building’s health and user comfort. The basement would offer a cool summer retreat for cooking, as well as opening the basement windows would bring cooler air upstairs. Airflow also prevented moisture from building up in the summer.

The trade off was a poorly sealed basement made a house colder in winter. We started to seal them up. We poured concrete over the dirt to stop evaporating moisture. We replaced windows with insulated units. We stuck boilers and furnaces without make up air, making them less efficient. In a sense, we stacked individual solutions without considering the space, or building’s, holistically.

The quick answer is air sealing is a good thing, especially when trying to control moisture in the summer and have more efficient heating in the winter. You do not want to dehumidify or heat the outdoors.

Selecting the right dehumidifier
There are basic factors that separate good versus bad appliances. I have biases against where an appliance is bought. Let’s just say I do not expect good quality from a big box store, ever. I only expect purchasing convenience, not product knowledge, good customer service, or a good value to quality ratio.

Tank size
Tank size has little relevance for me. Either you will empty it regularly or not. For the most part letting it fill up and forgetting to empty it negates the purpose of having one.

I prefer to have it drain. Drain into a sink, a sump pump, or sealed into the sewer line. I actually bought a condensate pump and stuck it in a bucket that the dehumidifier was emptying into, then running the hose line outside.

Pints Per Day
If you have a wet basement, buy the biggest pints per day. 65 is indeed better than 45. Bigger is not necessarily less efficient, it will just turn on less.

Digital Display
I am a fan of this, since I shoot for about 60 percent relative humidity in a basement. Not having one makes it a guess.

Frost Control
This prevents models from wasting energy by running without dehumidifying.

Auto Restart
Automatically turns the dehumidifier back on to its prior settings after a power failure, which is a good thing.

Continuous fan
I don’t really see the need to have the fan on when the unit is not removing moisture.

Pump
Big fan, since it is used to expel water to elevated drainage location.

Remote Control
Really?

Timer
Not necessary for a basement.

Energy Efficiency
Energy Star is a good start, but the lower the Kilowatts used per pint of water removed, the better.

Ratings
Always look for reviews. Users have the best experience.

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