Living in the US comes with one obligation – getting a dehumidifier. These units take away excess water from the air improving the air quality and prevent water damage in a room. Their placement is one of the most crucial decisions you have to make to ensure they work as efficiently as possible. And as you well know, basements are the best place to start drying. But now the big question is, will a dehumidifier in the basement help the whole house?
It depends on the type of dehumidifier you’re using and the size of your home. You can either use a portable unit or a whole-house unit. You don’t have to worry about the size of the dehumidifier when installing a whole-house model. But it’s a must you size a portable dehumidifier right.
These two types of dehumidifiers have their pros and cons. Understanding what each type has to offer can help you during your decision-making moment. I will be taking you through some of the reasons to and against buying a portable model or installing a whole-house dehumidifier. Read along!
What Type of Dehumidifier Can Work for the Entire House From the Basement?
Basements are the most obvious places to place a dehumidifier since they are mostly the culprit source of high moisture levels in a house.
For this reason, most homeowners go for a basement dehumidifier. However, that becomes a problem later when they realize the other rooms in the house need a dehumidifier.
Of course, there is the option of getting small portable dehumidifiers for each of your rooms. But for convenience and maintenance ease, it’d be best to find a dehumidifier that can run from the basement and be able to dehumidify your whole house.
Most people opt for a portable unit that they can move around the house, room by room. However, there is also the option of buying a dehumidifier designed to attach to an HVAC system.
Portable or Whole-House Dehumidifier?
These are the types of dehumidifiers you need to size when considering a basement dehumidifier that can dehumidify your whole house. It’d be best to understand what each type offers before you can choose either of them.
One of the assumptions that most people make is that a portable dehumidifier is the easiest option as it’s cheaper and easiest to install.
However, the question remains – will a portable dehumidifier in the basement help the whole house? I doubt it.
But before you can make your decision based on my doubts, let’s examine the two options you have – a whole-house model and a portable dehumidifier.
a) Portable Dehumidifier
A portable dehumidifier is, just like the name indicates, a mobile unit that can be moved from your basement to your bedroom to help reduce moisture levels.
However, it is only designed to address humidity in one room or a small section of your home. This unit is not recommended if you have humidity problems across a larger area.
As the name suggests, a portable dehumidifier is a model to move room to room, basement to the bathroom to reduce the air moisture levels.
It’s primarily designed to help lower humidity in a single room or a small section of a home. For the same reason, you cannot rely on it to help the entire house when you’ve placed it in the basement.
Portable dehumidifiers are relatively cheaper and quick to install compared to the other option. Most of them are made using plastic materials.
They come with a water collecting bucket designed to collect the moisture collected from the air. They need frequent maintenance.
These units are relatively small in size and capacity, something that facilitates their portability. However, you can only use them room by room and not for the entire house, no matter the placement.
a) Whole House Dehumidifiers
If you need a dehumidifier that can address the moisture situation in your home, a whole-house dehumidifier is the best option for you. You can install the unit in the basement, and it can help dehumidify the whole house.
Unlike portable units, a whole-house dehumidifier can reduce and manage humidity in your entire home. These units come with an enormous compressor and multiple large-sized coils that allow them to get rid of more moisture faster.
And the best part is, you can outfit a whole-house dehumidifier with ducting to make its fan as effective as possible.
I should mention whole-house dehumidifiers use durable materials such as heavy-duty plastics or stainless steel.
You have the option of hiding it out of sight by installing it in your basement. Installing the unit is a complicated process, and purchasing one can be pretty expensive.
It would be best to have a licensed HVAC professional installer set up the unit for your home.
What to Consider When Buying a Whole-House Dehumidifier
And now that you know you need a whole-house dehumidifier for your whole house, you might want to know these units require perfection during installation. That is why it’d be best you note the following before you can shop for a whole-house dehumidifier.
Professional Installation: If you’re planning to get a whole-house dehumidifier that can help the whole house, you have to consider hiring a professional HVAC installer to set it up. The installation process is complicated for DIY skills.
Temperature: Since you’re considering a whole-house dehumidifier to install in your basement, you might want to consider a model designed to work with temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Most basements have temperatures averaging 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Maintenance: when buying your whole-house dehumidifier, you might want to consider a model with automatic water draining feature for reduced maintenance. Else you will get a model that requires emptying every time water collects, which is the same inconvenience you get with a portable dehumidifier.
How Often Should You Run Your Dehumidifier in the Basement to Help the Whole House?
The rule of thumb of running a dehumidifier, no matter the type, in a dumpy basement is to run it at least 12 hours per day. However, you can run more frequently than this if you want to maintain the ideal humidity levels downstairs.
And as you can remember, you installed the unit to help the entire house. So, running more than 12 hours would help get the humidity levels upstairs to the ideal levels. The more you run the appliance, the fresher the air will become.
You can also install a multi-room hygrometer to help you monitor the humidity levels in all your rooms. The device looks like a thermometer, but it measures moisture levels in the air rather than temperature.
Even though a dehumidifier might come with a built-in hygrometer, not standard in whole-house dehumidifiers, it’d be best to install a multi-room model.
How Do You Know if You Need a Dehumidifier?
If you notice any of the following signs, then you have a high-humidity problem in your home.
- The humidity level above 50% – the recommended level for a home is 30% – 50%.
- A stuffy feeling in your home and damp residue on your walls.
- Condensation on your walls or other surfaces in your home.
- Mold growing on your ceiling and corners.
- A musty or stale smell in your home
- Your wallpaper starts peeling off.
- Watermarks on the floors.
Can a Dehumidifier Kill Mold?
Not really! However, a dehumidifier can help reduce their spread. If you notice mold in your home, you have a high moisture level facilitating mold growth. If you install a dehumidifier, the moisture is taken away. That means no more new mold will grow. However, that doesn’t mean you have killed the already developed mold; it stays dormant. You could get an air purifier and run it together with the dehumidifier to filter the air for the molds.
Whole-House Dehumidifier for Whole-House Dehumidification
A portable dehumidifier in a basement won’t help the whole house. It’s designed to help dehumidify a space or a room. However, if you could install a whole-house dehumidifier in your basement, you can expect it to help the whole house. It has the potential to remove humidity from multiple spaces in a home.