Basement Dehumidifier Basics
If you are planning to finish your basement there is one piece of equipment you should purchase to protect your investment. That purchase should be a dehumidifier. Even if you have a raw basement a dehumidifier is still a good idea. Moisture in your basement can lead to costly problems, renovation issues and can also become a health hazard.
Whether you live on Long Island or not excess moisture in your basement will lead to mold growth. Mold spores are every where. They serve a good purpose outdoors like breaking down fallen leaves and fallen trees but indoors the mold can cause poor air quality and could cause sickness to vulnerable individuals.
If you can smell or see mold in your basement you most likely have moisture or water infiltration. Mold needs moisture and where there is moisture or water there will be mold. Mold spores are every where they get brought into your home from pets, open windows, HVAC systems and when your house was built the mold spores were all over the building materials and your home was exposed to the elements before it was closed up. Mold spores are just part of the environment.
How Do You Control Mold?
The best way to control mold is to control moisture. If you have a leaky pipe or poor drainage outside your basement you should fix those issues immediately. Moisture on the other hand is quite tricky because it is difficult to notice if there is too much. Your basement is surrounded by damp wet dirt the possibility of excess moisture is almost guaranteed. The best way to control moisture is to set up a dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers are made to control moisture and there are a few different kinds you can choose to fit your own requirements. There are small capacity to large capacity dehumidifiers. That would depend on the size of your basement. There are options on dehumidifiers like auto turn off and on, humidity settings, auto water extraction and timer. Also some dehumidifiers may be easier to use with an easy to handle water bucket, wheels or casters to move it around, easy to read and use buttons, washable air filter.
Some contractors will build a space for your dehumidifier and have it auto drain into a slop sink, an ejector pump or a drain specifically designed and installed for the dehumidifier. This is the best way to incorporate a dehumidifier into your finished basement project because you get to plan where it goes and after its all done the dehumidifier looks like it was meant to be there. Usually they are installed in an inconspicuous spot. Like in a wall with a HVAC register over them. You wont need to bother with it except to clean the air filter. You can get one with auto off and on, set the humidity and walk away.
Another option is to get a dehumidifier with a pump. These will take the collected water and pump it to a remote location via a supplied hose. This is a good option because it allows the auto feature to run without you having to keep dumping the bucket. The hose also allows you to locate the dehumidifier within the vicinity of a drain or you can drill a hole through the side of the house and let the pump extract through to the outside.
The last way is to use the bucket and manually dump the water. If you have a sink in the basement already this wont be much of a hassle but if you have to lunk the water all the way up stairs to dump it it can get a bit bothersome.
With those three basic types of dehumidifiers you can design a strategy that best suits your goal to control moisture in your basement. Which will keep mold in basements out.
Kinds of Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers are rated by how much moisture they can remove from the air in a 24 hour period. Now the more moisture they remove the bigger more expensive and more money it will be to invest.
- Small Pint – These typically remove between 20 to 40 pints of moisture from the air per day. They are made for small spaces like a single or two room basement or a crawl space. Here is a list of small dehumidifiers.
- Half Pint – These typically remove between 40 to 60 pints of moisture from the air per day. They are made for slightly larger spaces. Maybe a three room basement or bigger crawlspace. Here is a list of mid-size dehumidifiers.
- Full Pint – These typically remove between 60 to 80 pints of moisture from the air per day. They are made for larger basements. Here is a list of large dehumidifiers.
- Whole House – If your whole house is experiencing excess moisture then don’t hesitate and invest in a whole house dehumidifier. Mold is just waiting for enough moisture to build up so it can proliferate. Here are a couple whole house dehumidifiers.
The bottom line is moisture and mold go hand in hand. Mold needs moisture and building materials to grow and proliferate. You can’t get rid of your building materials but you can get rid of moisture. Get a dehumidifier and stop mold before it gets a chance to thrive.
For more information about mold go here.