Jeff Flowers on March 3, 2015 1 Comment If the air in your home contains too much moisture, not only will it lower your overall indoor air quality, it may also pose a risk to your health. Buying a dehumidifier for your home is the easiest way to remove excessive moisture from your indoor air. It works, because these devices are designed to extract the excess water vapor from the air. Too much relative humidity in a building can lead to mold, mildew, and an array of illnesses for anyone inside. The percentage range of relative humidity that humans feel most comfortable at is between 20% and 60%, but this will vary depending on the individual person. Some personal traits that impact comfort levels include each person’s clothing, level of physical exertion, and overall health. Ideally, homes should be kept below 50% relative humidity at all times in order to minimize health problems. Some maladies that occur in humans who spend time in overly-moist environments include: Click Here to View All Home Dehumidifiers Breathing problems Lung ailments Skin rashes Suppressed immune systems Gastrointestinal issues When a home has too high a percentage of relative humidity, its air quality is adversely affected. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has deemed low-quality indoor air to be a major concern to inhabitants and to the structures themselves. Building structures, especially closed ones, that contain too much moisture often develop: Mold Mildew Bacteria Condensation Infestations of dust mites Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) It’s no wonder so many homeowners are opting to purchase dehumidifiers to keep the indoor air in their home at optimal levels. However, before you buy the first one you find, it’s wise to become familiar with the many features that are available to you. 1. Pint Capacity The pint capacity of a dehumidifier refers to the number of pints of moisture that can be removed from the air within 24 hours. For a home, a capacity of 70 pints or less would be optimal for a house, while industrial and commercial establishments need machines that have higher extraction capabilities. 2. Collection Container Residential dehumidifiers have collection tanks that can be taken off easily to empty so the extracted water, also known as condensate, can be disposed of. Many models automatically turn themselves off after the tank is filled. This is a popular feature and one you should look for when buying a dehumidifier. Once the bucket is full, it must be emptied in order to continue pumping. Condensate is not fit for further use, and therefore, should be appropriately discarded. Using it to water plants or hydrate animals is advised against, as the dirty water may make them sick. 3. Controls: Electronic vs. Manual While many of today’s most popular dehumidifiers have electronic controls, some still have manual alternatives. Electronic versions commonly utilize a button-press control system, while manual versions have a dial to turn. This is another feature that you should consider when buying a dehumidifier for your home. 4. Humidistat In order to measure the relative humidity of a home, a humidistat is necessary. This feature also provides readouts to the dehumidifier so the machine can adapt its settings. These devices may be built into a machine or can be purchased separately. It’s more convenient for it to be built-in, but not necessary. 5. Auto-Defrost and Low Temperature Options For a dehumidifier to operate in low temperatures, an auto-defrost special feature will be needed. Machines that are only designed to withstand normal temp ranges won’t be able to handle air that is 30°F or colder. Anti-frost sensors can be helpful in regions that have extremely cold climates, especially when combined with the low temp options. 6. Auto-Restart Function If you want your dehumidifier to automatically restart after a power interruption, consider getting a unit with an auto-start mechanism. With this function, your machine will automatically turn itself back on and maintain its previous settings once the power has been restored. 7. Auto-Shutoff Another popular automatic function feature is the auto-shutoff. When the collection tank is full of condensate, the machine will automatically turn itself off to alleviate spills and overflows of the collected material. 8. Reusable Air Filter If you want to have higher air quality in your home, consider purchasing a dehumidifier that utilizes an air filter. The cleaner your household air is, the healthier you and your family members will be, and it’s wise to purchase reusable and washable filters. While this will certainly help improve your indoor air quality, the most effective way still remains to buy an air purifier. 9. Noise Factors When looking at dehumidifiers, take noise level ratings into consideration. Because these machines tend to make whirring sounds while doing their jobs, finding the quiet model is typically preferred. Just be sure to consider all features, and not just decide based on a units’ decibel level. 10. Continuous Drainage System Buying a dehumidifier with a built-in hose for continuous drainage can be much more convenient than emptying the collection tank manually. This is an especially helpful feature if you plan to run your device around the clock, like in your basement for example. You can buy a model that comes with a continuous-drainage pump built into it, or you can purchase the pump to attach externally. 11. Caster Wheels If you want to be able to move your dehumidifier around your house, it would be wise to purchase one with caster wheels. It’s much easier to roll your unit around, then try to carry it. Please note, not all home dehumidifiers have caster wheels included, whereas the majority of industrial models do. If you plan on moving your dehumidifier around your home, then this is one must-have feature. 12. Permanent Installation or Portable Think about whether you want your dehumidifier to be installed permanently or have the ability to move it around. Permanent installation essentially anchors it to a specific area within your home or commercial building, while portable models allow the flexibility of moving them around. The portable models typically weight less, are smaller, have caster wheels, and come with a handle to carry it. 13. Desiccant Units Dehumidifiers that are considered desiccant models use a drying agent to remove water vapor from the environment. This process does not require a compressor and works the best in low temperatures with low relative humidity. Desiccant units are often affordable and appropriate for light use. 14. Mechanical Units A model that is considered mechanical has features similar to those in air conditioners. Cold and hot coils within the unit draw indoor air in, extract moisture, and then collect the condensate in a holding tank. These machines are quite effective, so are often chosen in areas with the highest percentages of relative humidity. In addition to pondering specific features for your dehumidifier, take other preferences into consideration. For example, decide upon, your price range, and which brands you prefer. It would be wise to read manufacture and consumer reviews about the various makes and models in order to find the right one to fit your house, budget, the climate you live in, and your family’s lifestyle.