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Choosing a Dehumidifier
submitted by Lorene Bartos, Extension Educator

Do you find your basement damp and smelling musty? With Nebraska summers and humidity many homes have this problem. Basements can be made drier by reducing the moisture level. Using a dehumidifier can help solve this problem.

A dehumidifier works much the same as an air-conditioner, in that, it takes moisture out of the indoor air. A dehumidifier condenses the moisture out of the air.

Most dehumidifiers are the same except for the amount of water they remove. Capacity is measured in the amount of water removed in 24 hours. Those with small capacity remove approximately 25-30 pints per day, medium capacity 40-45 pints per day and large capacity 50 to 60 pints per day. Consumer Reports recommends buying the largest capacity dehumidifier you can afford. A large capacity dehumidifier is recommend because it can handle a greater range of humidity and works more quickly and efficiently. A small capacity may be less expensive to buy but it is usually more expense to run.

Features to look for in a demunidifier are:

  • mobility of the unit
  • a tank easy to empty and clean
  • an on/off switch
  • an adjustable or electronic humidistat
  • energy star rated

Most dehumidifiers have casters or wheels for easy moving, a 6 foot power cord, a hose for drainage, a signal light and automatic shutoff, as well as, a 1 year warranty on the entire unit and 5 years on the compressor.

It is important to clean the tank to keep mold and bacteria from growing. Tanks not emptying directly into a drain should be checked and emptied every couple days. The front grille should be vacuumed, coils wiped off and the air filter washed annually.

A dehumidifier will help keep your basement dry but it is necessary to check for any problems causing moisture. Perhaps outside drainage problems need to be addressed.

Check Consumer Reports for rating of different brands of dehumidifiers.

(This resource was updated June 25, 2006 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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