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Dehumidifcation Learning Center
Dehumidification Learning Center

Types of Dehumidifiers for Basements & Crawl Spaces

Understanding how Dehumidifiers are classified

SaniDry™ XP

Specialized design. The SaniDry™ XP has high-capacity, heavy-duty features designed for optimum performance in basements and crawl spaces, where temperatures are low and humidity levels are high. Collected water can drain directly into a sump pump, as shown here, and be pumped out and away from the foundation.

Learning about the different dehumidifier types and how they work will help to ensure you choose the right moisture-control solutions for your basement or crawl space. We need dehumidifiers because, as we know, too much moisture causes problems - like mold that can damage materials, smell bad, and trigger adverse health reactions, and more. People are generally most comfortable indoors when the humidity level is between 30% and 50%. These levels are ideal, as mold has trouble growing when the humidity is below 60%. Dehumidifiers help to maintain optimal humidity levels by removing moisture from the air.

Desiccant dehumidifiers rely on basic absorption. A "desiccant" is a substance that reduces humidity by absorbing water molecules. The small "do not eat" canisters included in everything from vitamin and medicine containers to shoe boxes, are silica gel desiccants that help keep these products dry. To reduce humidity in a closet, you can buy desiccant packets or pouches that can be dried out and reused after the desiccant material becomes saturated. There are also mechanically-based desiccant dehumidifiers that blow air over a desiccant such as silica gel or bentonite clay. An electrically-powered desiccant dehumidifier can dehumidify a small room.

Refrigerant-based dehumidifiers use cooling coils to force condensation. Some dehumidifiers work by blowing air over a refrigerated surface called a coil - the same technology that makes refrigerators and air conditioners work. In a refrigerant-type dehumidifier, droplets of condensed water collect on the coil as air passes over it; then this condensate drips down into a reservoir, containing the water so that it cannot cause problems. Most dehumidifiers can be controlled by a humidistat: You set a target level of relative humidity, and the appliance will continue to operate until that humidity level is reached, or until the condensate reservoir is filled.

SaniDry™ air filtration system

Better air filtration. Because basement air can have higher concentrations of dust, mold spores, and dust mite debris--among other irritants, SaniDry™ dehumidifiers feature multi-stage air filtration that can trap these pollutants.

Dehumidifiers are classified by capacity, efficiency, and function. When choosing a dehumidifier, learn more about dehumidification and focus on these three factors.

Capacity: how many pints of water the unit will remove from the air over a 24-hour period (pints per day, or PPD) under "standard" conditions -80degrees F and 60% relative humidity (RH). Large-capacity models will be rated at 50-75 PPD. Medium = 45-50 PPD. Small = 25-40 PPD.

Efficiency: The Energy Factor (EF) tells you the amount of water (in liters) the unit can remove from the air per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity consumed. The larger the number, the more efficient the dehumidifier is. Larger dehumidifiers tend to be more efficient overall. 

Function: A smaller number of dehumidifiers are classified by function. For example, there are large-capacity "whole-house" dehumidifiers designed to work with a home's forced-air system. There are also dehumidifiers designed specifically for basements and crawl spaces, like the SaniDry® XP (basement) and SaniDry® CX (crawl space) models. These heavy-duty, high capacity dehumidifiers have features designed to handle the low-temperature, high moisture conditions encountered in these environments.

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