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While a number of people welcome the summer heat, few welcome the humidity, particularly inside their home. A dehumidifier reduces the water content of the air and makes your home feel cooler, which can save you on air-conditioning costs. It can also save you from damage that results form prolonged excess humidity: wood (such as doors and hardwood floors) can warp, swell, and buckle, and high humidity encourages the growth of mold and mildew.

When planning for a dehumidifier, first decided if it should be a standalone unit or built into your heating/cooling system (an option only if you have a forced air system).

Built in units are wired into household electricity and drainage so that their only routine maintenance is cleaning or changing a filter. Portable dehumidifiers allow you to dehumidify a portion of your home, and they can be used even if you do not have forced air heating/cooling.

Look for these features:

  • Power - If the unit is portable, it should plug into a standard electrical outlet
  • Drainage - Water removed from the air is collected in a tank or pan that needs to be emptied periodically. Some units allow for continuous drainage by connecting a hose between the unit and a floor drain. If not, make sure the tank or pan is easy to empty.
  • Control - The best units have a humidistat (humidity gauge) that lets you set the desired humidity level, and an alarm to alert you when the collection tank or pan is full.
  • Filtering - since a built-in fan pulls air in and blows it out, units include a filter that will require periodic cleaning or changing.

Finally, when shopping for a dehumidifier, you should think about the location of the unit, expected humidity, and the size of the room (or house). It is important that the unit be sized in accordance with the square footage of the room so as to ensure that it can do the job expected without having to invest more money than necessary.

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