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Dehumidifiers reduce the risk of moisture-related damage to your home and property, especially in areas like garages and basements that often have humidity levels above 60%. Dehumidifiers also prevent odors and improve comfort in indoor spaces. According to the Allergy and Asthma Foundation, dehumidifiers can also help improve the air quality in your home.
While continuously powering a dehumidifier will impact your energy consumption, there are plenty of Energy-Star certified options on the market. Energy Star certified dehumidifiers use 15% less energy than non-certified models. When purchasing models, use the device’s energy calculator.
Things to look for in an energy-efficient dehumidifier include room size, capacity, and built-in energy factor. These Energy Star certified portable dehumidifiers will take your home from damp to dry in no time.
What to Look for in an Energy Efficient Dehumidifier
“So many factors can lead to high humidity,” says Nikki Krueger, director of marketing at Therma-Stor. For example, structural elements of a home such as hardwood floors, temperature, and high dew points can all impact moisture load. “If you break them down and each one adds a bit of moisture, it adds up to a bigger moisture problem,” says Krueger.
A dehumidifier must balance performance, durability and ease of use. Here are some other factors to consider when narrowing down your search.
There are several varieties of dehumidifiers to choose from: whole house, desiccant and refrigerant. Whole house options and desiccants are tied to your home’s HVAC system and are the best way to deal with significant humidity issues. Refrigerant dehumidifiers are the most popular and are effective in controlling short-term humidity issues. They use a fan to move air over the refrigerated coils to remove moisture and collect it in a reservoir. Once collected, the water must be disposed of properly, either by emptying the tank or continuously via a garden hose and drain.
Size and capacity
When it comes to dehumidifiers, size matters. Dehumidifiers are sold by capacity, or the number of pints of moisture a unit can remove in 24 hours under ambient conditions of 80 degrees and 60% relative humidity. You should also consider the size of the unit itself and make sure you have enough space in the room where you plan to use it.
When choosing a dehumidifier, measure the square footage of the room, garage, or other space the unit will be used in. Then select an option for that area to maximize efficiency and energy consumption. For example, small dehumidifiers will remove humidity from a room of approximately 500 square feet. At the same time, whole-house options can be used in areas larger than 5,000 square feet.
The energy efficiency of dehumidifiers is measured by its integrated energy factor or IEF. The most economical and environmentally friendly dehumidifier is the one that removes the maximum humidity from the air (measured in liters) and consumes the least amount of electricity to do so (measured in KWh).
Here is a guideline for IEF:
- An IEF below 1.30 L/kWh means that the dehumidifier has below average efficiency.
- IEF 1.31-1.56 L/kWh means the dehumidifier has medium efficiency.
- IEF 1.57-1.7 L/kWh means the dehumidifier meets Energy Star rating criteria for above average efficiency.
- IEF 1.7 L/kWh and above means the dehumidifier is very efficient. Most energy efficient dehumidifiers can achieve 1.9 L/kWh IEF.
Location specific features
Depending on where a dehumidifier is located in your home, you may want to consider additional features to optimize performance; for example if you need wheels for portability, low temperature operation or frost resistant models when using the dehumidifier in a cold climate.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are dehumidifiers more efficient than window air conditioners?
Air conditioners and dehumidifiers perform distinct functions, so it is difficult to compare their energy efficiency. More often than not, an air conditioner will cost more to run than a dehumidifier. However, using a dehumidifier in your home on hot days can also reduce overall energy costs, since air conditioners don’t need to use as much energy to maintain the desired temperature and comfort levels in your home. .
How often should you clean a dehumidifier?
Dehumidifier filters should be changed or cleaned regularly. Some machines have permanent air filters that can be cleaned and reused, while others have disposable elements that need to be replaced. Refer to the owner’s manual for cleaning instructions and frequency.
Is there anything you can do to make a dehumidifier work more efficiently?
Along with choosing the right size dehumidifier for the space you’re using it in, make sure there’s enough room for air to flow in and out of the unit freely. Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual. Close all doors and windows and repair any leaks or cracks to prevent the entry of additional moisture. Finally, set the device to the optimal relative humidity level, between 30% and 50% (and 30% to 40% in colder climates during the winter months).
Are there any safe uses for the water collected by a dehumidifier?
Water from dehumidifiers is a type of “grey water” or waste water generated in households or office buildings from waterways without fecal contamination, including sinks, showers, bathtubs and dishwashers. Many manufacturers warn against using waste water from dehumidifiers, as it could be contaminated by remaining in the bucket. However, others argue that you can add bleach or vinegar to create an antibacterial solution for cleaning windows. Some other potential uses could be watering non-edible outdoor plants.
Why trust Treehugger?
Heidi Wachter has spent a decade researching and writing about reducing her environmental impact.
For this roundup, she studied customer, third-party, and dehumidifier reviews to find the best dehumidifier options in each category. She also spoke with indoor air quality and energy efficiency experts to find best practices for choosing an eco-friendly dehumidifier. She reviewed the energy-saving features, design, and price of each Energy-Star qualified dehumidifier.