It’s not uncommon to try to avoid having dry air in your home. Not only can very dry air exacerbate some health problems, but it’s also quite uncomfortable. At the same time, though, too much moisture in the air or high relative humidity can also wreak havoc with allergies and can allow mold to grow throughout your home.
As such, it makes sense to be careful with the air in your home if you’re using a dehumidifier. Before you buy one, though, it’s vital that you know the size of the unit that you need. Failure to do so can leave you suffering from the air that’s too humid or that’s simply not humid enough.
Fortunately, it is possible to find the perfect dehumidifier for your home if you’re willing to do a little research. Taking the time to learn a bit about these products and how they work can help you find the right device for your needs.
Basic Dehumidifier Sizes
Before you buy a dehumidifier, you’ll need to know what product sizes are available out there. Fortunately, most dehumidifiers come in fairly standard sizes.
One of the most common is the thirty-pint dehumidifier. This smaller dehumidifier collects around thirty pints of water every day, making it a good fit for spaces as small as five hundred square feet and as large as three thousand square feet. If you live in an area with higher humidity, though, that effective size goes down to a maximum size of about fifteen hundred square feet.
The next size is the fifty-pint dehumidifier. This humidifier is too big for any space less than fifteen hundred square feet, but it can work in spaces of up to three thousand square feet without a problem. The seventy-pint dehumidifier, on the other hand, is meant for entire homes or office spaces and needs at least two thousand square feet to work.
Finding the Right Size
Since you now know that there are various sizes of dehumidifiers, it makes sense that you would want to find the right one for your home. Given that several variables are in play when you’re looking for the perfect unit, you can’t go by the size of the box alone. Instead, you’ll want to take a look at a handful of major factors that will impact how well a dehumidifier will work for you.
You’ll always start with room size, as this is probably the easiest thing to find out. Your goal is to find a unit that’s big enough to work in the room but that’s not so big that it’s going to drive up the energy cost of using the unit in that space.
The next thing to consider is the amount of moisture in the space. The higher the level of moisture in the air present, the higher the relative humidity and thus the harder that the dehumidifier will have to work. As such, you may have to go for a bigger device if you’re dealing with a space that’s more humid.
You’ll also want to figure out how much water the unit can hold at a time. If you’re going to expect the unit to work in a larger room, you’re going to need it to be able to collect more water at a time and thus you’ll need the unit to have a higher overall capacity.
Simply put, more people in space means more water in the atmosphere. If you’re going to use the unit in a space that’s full of people, you’ll probably need a higher capacity.
Some rooms put more water out into the air as a matter of course. If you’re going to put your dehumidifier in a space that has a washer and dryer, for example, you’re going to need a unit that’s able to pull more moisture from the air.
Doors and Windows
Rooms with more doors and windows have a tendency to let more moisture into the room via one-way airflow. If you’re working in a room that’s got plenty of windows and doors, then, you’ll need to make sure that you have a larger dehumidifier available.
Finally, you do need to think about the cost. A top-of-the-line dehumidifier is good, but it’s not going to help you much if it manages to break your budget.
What You Need to Know About Size
It’s important to remember that dehumidifiers are sized not by the actual size of the machine, but rather by the amount of water that they can remove from the air in your space each day. The bigger units are those that tend to take up more space, of course, but they’re considered bigger simply because they can remove so much more moisture from the air. As such, any discussion about size has to center around dehumidifying ability.
As we move forward, we’re primarily going to look at how pint capacity is going to impact your search for a good dehumidifier. The pint capacity is a good starting point because it’s a hard number, but it should be noted that even this capacity is something that can vary due to the presence of a higher level of humidity. Even then, though, it’s wise to be able to do a little math to figure out what you need.
Choosing What You Need Basing on Room Size
It’s never a bad idea to start by measuring the room in which you want your dehumidifier to work. This is fairly simple math, but for those who have never done it before you can calculate the square footage of your room by multiplying the width and length of your room together. A room that’s ten feet by ten feet then is going to be one hundred square feet. You’ll use this number to figure out the size of the dehumidifier that is right for you.
At a basic level, you’ll want to start with a thirty-pint dehumidifier. This dehumidifier is the rare unit that’s not really all that impacted by humidity – it’s going to function fairly well in any space that’s up to fifteen hundred square feet. That means that it’s usually a good fit for large open areas like basements, but it’s not going to do quite as well if you’re expecting it to take care of your entire home.
It’s when you get up to the forty or fifty-pint units when things really start to change. These units are usually good for spaces of up to two thousand square feet, but they really excel when these spaces are a bit damper. If mold tends to grow in space, for example, you might want to consider picking up a unit that’s around this size.
The bigger residential units weigh in at around seventy pints and they tend to be good for those spaces that are larger than two thousand square feet. They work well almost anywhere, but they do best when there’s a lot of moisture present.
The bigger dehumidifier units tend to excel because they don’t have to work quite as hard to keep bigger spaces dry and you won’t have to worry about emptying them too often. With that said, choosing a unit that’s much too big for space not only means wasting energy but also means that you’re going to end up paying much more for a unit than you might expect.
Desiccant vs. Refrigerant Dehumidifiers
When looking at dehumidifiers, you’ll generally notice that they come in two varieties – the desiccant and refrigerant. Desiccant models tend to have lower capacity but they tend to be more efficient in cooler areas, so they tend to be better choices when you’re dealing with temperatures below sixty-five degrees. Refrigerant units, on the other hand, tend to excel when you’re dealing with hotter spaces. These units have higher overall capacities and work best in spaces where the temperature goes above sixty-five degrees. While these units can work in cooler spaces, you’ll have to watch out for frost on the evaporator coils as they work.
The Key Features of a Good Dehumidifier
Now that you know the math behind how you can find a good humidifier, you’ll want to ensure that you know what makes a good unit stand out from the rest of the pack. Fortunately, there are a few factors that are always important.
The first thing to look at is always functionality. You want a unit that actually decreases moisture levels without malfunctioning. After all, a unit that doesn’t work just isn’t worth buying. Likewise, you want something that’s going to run for more than a few months without suffering major problems. The longer the unit lasts, the better a deal you’re getting.
It’s also a good idea to make sure that you’re getting a dehumidifier that comes in at the right price point. While you’ll generally pay a fair price for something that’s a higher quality, it’s not always the case that a more expensive product is the one that’s going to cost the most. Make sure that you’re looking more at the functionality and utility of the unit than at its price tag.
Finding the right dehumidifier doesn’t have to be a struggle. Simply know the size of the space you need to dehumidify and then make sure that you’re looking at a unit that’s sized appropriately. If you can match the right unit to the right space, you’ll be able to get the relief that you need from the local humidity.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can a dehumidifier be too big?
Yes, a dehumidifier can be too big. It’s not that one of these units can be so big that it can pull too much moisture out of the air, but rather that one of these units that’s too big for space is going to be too loud, that it will take up too much room, and that it’s going to cost too much to operate. As such, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you’re looking at a unit that’s not so big that it will interfere with how you intend to use your space.
2. How do I know what size dehumidifier I need?
The best way to figure this out is to start by looking at the size of your space. Measure the width and length of your room, then calculate your square footage. From here, you can look at the recommended room sizes for most dehumidifiers and then figure out what size of unit you need. As a note, you’re generally going to want to go bigger if you’re looking at a space that’s very humid, especially if you’re worried about issues like mold or standing water in your home.
3. How many square feet does a 20-pint dehumidifier cover?
As a rule, a twenty-point dehumidifier is going to be a good fit for a space that’s no bigger than three hundred square feet. The great news here is that a unit with this capacity is going to work fine for that size of space virtually no matter how high the humidity, if only because that space is so small. If you’re concerned, though, it does make sense to go with a slightly larger unit to ensure that you are getting the kind of utility that you need.
4. How many square feet does a 50-pint dehumidifier cover?
Fifty pints are going to be sufficient to cover many spaces. By some measures, at least, these units are going to be sufficient to handle spaces of up to two thousand square feet without a problem. Even better, they’re still useful even when these spaces are fairly damp. A fifty-pint unit is usually ideal to use even in those spaces in which mold commonly grows.