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Choosing the Right Dehumidifier

It doesn’t take a burst pipe or flash flood to cause significant water damage to your home or business. Water damage can result from simply having too much moisture in the air within the structure, a condition that can damage walls, flooring, and carpet, as well as setting the stage for mold and mildew.

It is important for any home or business to keep moisture and humidity levels within acceptable parameters. This can be done and maintained through the use of a dehumidifier, a device that extracts moisture from the air and converts it to condensation which may be easily disposed of. Dehumidifiers may be run continuously if necessary, although most scenarios may only require periodic treatments to keep moisture levels in check.

As with any type of water restoration equipment, it is important to pick the unit that will best serve your home. Some of the newer models have additional features such as humidstadts, which detect the level of humidity in a room and provide information that allows you to program your dehumidifier accordingly. The unit kicks on when humidity approached a predetermined level.

The capacity of the unit should also be taken into consideration, as larger capacity units can remove more water from the air in a small room in a shorter amount of time.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers has developed recommended capacity and sizing guidelines based on these factors.

AHAM Dehumidifier Sizing Guidelines – Room Size vs. Current Humidity Conditions

Condition Without Dehumidification

500 Sq. Ft.

1,000 Sq. Ft.

1,500 Sq. Ft.

2,000 Sq. Ft.

2,500 Sq. Ft.

Moderately Damp with Musty Odors in Humid Weather

10 pints

14 pints

18 pints

22 pints

26 pints

Very Damp with Odors and Damp Spots on Walls and Floors

12 pints

17 pints

22 pints

27 pints

32 pints

Very Wet with Sweating Walls and/or Seepage

14 pints

20 pints

26 pints

32 pints

38 pints

Extremely Wet with Wet Floors and High-Load Conditions

16 pints

23 pints

30 pints

37 pints

44 pints

Air flow volume is another consideration when choosing a dehumidifier. This is simply the amount of air that the unit can process during a certain block of time. This is measured in cubic feet per minute, or CFM. Basically, all the air in the room must be channeled through the unit in order to make sure the moisture is safely removed.

Air Changes Per Hour, or ACH is based on the level of moisture in the air and how many times the air should be cycled through the unit in order to provide maximum effectiveness. The higher the humidity, the more often the air should be circulated through the unit.

  • Damp air (60-70% relative humidity) feels clammy or smells musty. This is the typical humidity level in basements and crawlspaces. Recommended ACH = 3
  • Very damp air (70-80%) smells of mildew and may leave visible stains on the wall or floor. Recommended ACH = 4
  • Wet air (80-90%) is air in which mold and mildew are present, with visible stains and wet spots on the walls or floor. Recommended ACH = 5
  • Very wet air (90-100%) is the air in a space where standing water is present. Recommended ACH = 6

To determine the CFM that will be required from the dehumidifier, multiply the cubic feet of the room to be treated by the recommended ACH, then divide that number by 60 minutes. The result you end up with is the CFM your dehumidifier should be rated for.

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