Smarter dehumidifiers for a healthier home | Digitized House

Smarter dehumidifiers for a healthier home

A dehumidifier, such as the portable hOmeLabs unit shown here, can go a long way toward making your home a healthier place. Image: hOmeLabs.

Outside the temperatures are soaring, and its possible the humidity level in your home may be increasing as well. There are many issues that can manifest themselves due to high humidity in the home, so figuring out how to control it protects your valuable investment.

Portable and semi-portable dehumidifiers are among the most popular units used in the United States for this purpose. And as a benefit of a recent surge in demand, dehumidifier manufacturers have been hard at work to make the devices smarter and more efficient.

Reasons to get a dehumidifier

There are many benefits to adding a dehumidifier to your home, and chief among them is making your home a healthier place. If anyone in the home has allergies, a dehumidifier is a must-have to cut down on allergens and keep your home free of issues like mold. Other benefits include:

  • Reducing moisture and the risk of mold and mildew: These two issues in the home are often the root cause of breathing problems and asthma attacks. Ongoing exposure may cause nervous system disorders.
  • Making your home smell better by ridding it of musty odors: Unseen water leaks (you need to fix those, by the way) or excess humidity in the home may cause an underlying earthy smell that a dehumidifier removes.
  • Reducing the number of dust mites: These live in every home, but they thrive in a damp environment.
  • Preserving wood in the home: A lower humidity level protects the wood in your home from cracking, including cabinets, doors, and trim work.

These are just a few of the benefits of adding a unit to your home that reduces moisture.

A trio of smarter units

From appliance maker Frigidaire, their model FFAD5033R1 has its controls on the top panel and is highly mobile for easy moving from room to room. Image: Frigidaire.
From appliance maker Frigidaire, their model FFAD5033R1 has its controls on the top panel and is highly mobile for easy moving from room to room. Image: Frigidaire.

When it comes to installing a dehumidifier, you will quickly find that not every product on the market is created equal. However, we’ve done the hard research to find three units that can help control your home’s humidity levels today:

  • Frigidaire FFAD5033R1: This unit runs just under $200 at most retailers and is portable, so you can use it in various rooms as needed. It removes as much as 50 pints of water per day from your home. It is very easy to get rid of the water it collects by simply removing the tank and dumping the water into a nearby sink. You can also hook the unit up to a drain if your home is particularly humid, so it can run continuously without the need to constantly empty the tank. The unit has smart features, such as scheduling and a humidity level sensor.
  • Friedrich D70BP: This small unit is considered semi-permanent in that you can move it, but you can also hook it up for continuous drainage as far as 15 feet away. It is Energy Star-rated for high efficiency and holds up to 70 ounces at a time. Features include a 24-hour timer and it will read both room temperature and humidity in the home.
  • hOmeLabs HME020031N: This portable dehumidifier has 4.5 stars out of 5 on Amazon with around 1,500 reviews. This is a fairly large dehumidifier that holds as much as nine gallons at a time. It has a sleep function and a modern design that blends in with most home decor. Simply choose the moisture setting that is ideal for your situation, and the unit will run for 24 hours or until the tank is filled. It will then shut off automatically, allowing you to use the unit whether you’re home or not. As with most units, you can also set it up to drain continuously.

These three units should work well for most homes, but there are many other options on the market from which to choose.

What to look for

If you decide to go with a different model, or you’re purchasing used, here are some things you’ll want to look at when choosing a dehumidifier:

  • Tank capacity: How much does the unit hold at a time and will that work for your needs? A smaller home will require a smaller tank size.
  • Drain hookup: Does the unit allow you to hook into a drain for continuous usage?
  • Energy Star: Is the unit Energy Star-certified? This makes a difference in the costs to run the unit.
  • Humidity readout: At a minimum, you want to know what the humidity in your home actually is, so check to see if there is a readout on the unit.
  • Scheduling: The ability to schedule the unit to run when you want is a nice perk. For example, you can run it while you’re sleeping and empty it when you wake up.

You also have the option to install a whole-home dehumidifier, but those are costly and really not necessary unless your home is 3,000 square feet or larger. These whole-home systems, such as those made by Aprilaire, typically integrate with the home’s heating and cooling system and would need to be professionally installed. 

Another point to keep in mind it that you may only need a dehumidifier at certain times of the year when the humidity is particularly high, so it’s a good idea to keep a watchful eye on it. Toward that end, we recently looked at a number of air quality monitors on the market that can give you real-time humidity readings.

Dehumidifier maintenance

Once you’re chosen a dehumidifier, be sure to maintain it regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This might include cleaning out the tank and any filters, for example, and ensuring you regularly empty the collected water from the tank.

At the end of the day, the unit you choose for your home depends on your individual needs. Most of the dehumidifiers available are fairly inexpensive and energy-efficient, so any you choose should work nicely for the typical American household and contribute to the health of any tech-focused home.  

More about this topic:

More from Holly Welles at The Estate Update
Control bath humidity with a medium-tech digital fan timer
4 indoor air quality monitors for a healthier smart home
Preventing environmental hazards with connected home tech
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author
Holly Welles is a home improvement writer helping others figure out homeownership and optimize their living spaces. She’s also the blogger behind The Estate Update (http://www.theestateupdate.com) and can be followed at @HollyAWelles on Twitter.

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