Do you have a dehumidifier that is over 15 years old? If so, it is time to replace it with a new ENERGY STAR® model that better helps you and your home. An ENERGY STAR certified dehumidifier comes with a range of great benefits, including improving your comfort, quality of life, and safety—and of course saving money on your energy bill. Here are some best practices to help you maximize your dehumidifier usage.
Where you put your dehumidifier is key to how well it will operate. Make sure to place it away from sources of dust and dirt, such as woodworking equipment, which can clog coils and grills. Most portable dehumidifiers have a top-mounted air discharge and can be placed against walls. If your dehumidifier does not have a top-mounted discharge, make sure it is located away from walls and furniture, so that air can circulate freely around the unit. Ideal placement will result in better overall operation.
Another key factor is finding the best time to operate a dehumidifier. Dehumidification season usually runs from April to October—peaking between June and September. On the other hand, dehumidification loads are very small or nonexistent in winter months, so units can be powered off or stowed away from November to March.
Give your dehumidifier a hand, so it, and your wallet, are not working overtime. A good starting point to reduce humidity is to have your dehumidifier’s relative humidity set point at 50% in order to promote greater comfort, indoor air quality, and health of building materials. Dehumidifier setpoints should not exceed 60% and should automatically drain to maintain better humidity control and improve quality of life.
Another easy place to start is by using vent fans in bathrooms and kitchens to remove humidity at the source. You can also repair any leaky outdoor faucets, which will not only help reduce humidity but will also save you money on your water bills. Plus, improving the drainage around the foundation of your home may result in decreased humidity in your basement.
The Right Model
If you are looking to add a new unit or replace an outdated dehumidifier, you may wonder which type of ENERGY STAR certified model is best for you and your home. As a baseline, most single-family homes with basements less than 1,000 sq. ft. can use small capacity units. Like refrigerators, old model dehumidifiers use a lot of energy compared to new units, so it is best to remove the old model from service. Even though old model dehumidifiers are often passed along as hand-me-downs to friends and family or used as second dehumidifiers, in most cases buying a new unit will pay for itself in just a few years and continue to provide energy savings for years to come.
This is a glimpse into how you can benefit from proper dehumidifier usage, but there are plenty more best practices you can take advantage of at ENERGY STAR®. On our website, check out the many other ways to focus on savings and lower your energy costs at home.