With the onset of summer, the humidity level rises. High humidity causes many health complications for people who suffer from chronic respiratory diseases. By attracting black mold, it can further exacerbate those conditions.

Buying a dehumidifier is the best way to deal with high humidity. It lowers the humidity level by absorbing moisture from the air, allowing you to breathe comfortably.

Whether you’re buying a dehumidifier for the first time or replacing an older one, we’ll cover some factors you should consider before buying.

1. Clarify Your Needs

Before examining the technical specifications, it is essential to outline your reasons for purchasing a dehumidifier. Do you want one unit for a few rooms or your entire home? Will you be using it only in the summer or all year round? How smart do you want it to be? What issues do you want to combat with the dehumidifier unit?

Answer all of these questions as you read the shopping guide to choose the right product for your home.

2. Deciding the Type of Dehumidifier

The selection of the type of dehumidifier should come first, and should be based on the season the unit will be operated in.

There are three types of dehumidifiers on the market: thermo-electric, refrigerant and desiccant. Thermo-electric units are not very common. Desiccants dehumidifiers are preferred throughout the year, while refrigerant models do not perform well in very low temperatures. When it comes to operating the unit only in the summer, the refrigerant types perform much faster and use less energy.

So if you plan to buy a dehumidifier to use throughout the year, choose a desiccant model. If you only need it for summers, go for the refrigerant type.

3. Deciding on the Best Dehumidifier Size

To choose the right size dehumidifier for your home, you should compare three elements: capacity, humidity level, and room size.

Capacity refers to how much moisture the unit can remove from the air every 24 hours. It is usually measured in pints. The humidity level indicates the relative humidity of your room—whether it is lightly wet, moderately or severely damp, or completely damp. When selecting the right capacity for the right humidity level, take into account the size of the room in which the unit will be operated.

You can estimate the capacity requirement for the area you wish to dehumidify using the dehumidifier sizing table from EnergyStar as shown below.

From there, you can choose a dehumidifier that can accommodate the pint you need. It is best not to rely on the rated capacity advertised by the manufacturer as it is based on ideal test conditions. Opt for a unit with a higher capacity than required.

It is important to choose the proper size to avoid spending too much money on a large unit or choosing a smaller unit that does not meet the needs.

4. Tank Capacity, Auto-drainage and Internal Pump

In addition to choosing the right size of a dehumidifier, another important consideration is how you will empty the water that collects in the water tank during dehumidification. The unit that allows manual emptying should have a large water tank that can hold water for a long period of time without making the unit heavy.

Some continuous drainage dehumidifiers either come with an internal pump or drain the water using a hose. For homes with floor drains, all you have to do is direct the water from the tank to drain automatically. Units with internal pumps allow you to continuously dispense water wherever you want, whether it’s your sink, outdoors, or anywhere else.

Choosing a dehumidifier with an internal pump will simplify your life by removing the need to empty the tank frequently.

5. Operating Factors (Noise Level, Energy Consumption)

It is also imperative to consider the noise level when choosing the right dehumidifier, especially if you plan to operate the unit during the night or if your children are sleeping near it. If you are buying the unit primarily for your bedroom, you should keep the sound level no more than 40 to 45 decibels. Besides disturbing your sleep at night, high noise levels can also hinder productivity during the day.

A healthy lifestyle shouldn’t break the bank either. Be sure to take into account the dehumidifier’s operating costs. Energy Star-certified units consume energy more efficiently without increasing your electricity bill, so choose a model with this certification.

6. Ease of Use

If you intend to use the unit in multiple rooms, make sure it is lightweight and comes with wheels. While the wheels provide the convenience of maneuverability, the lightweight enables the dehumidifier to be carried by hand even without the aid of casters.

Choose a unit with an easy-to-clean water tank and filter. They should be easy to assemble and disassemble, and should not require frequent cleaning.

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