CHECKOUT LANE: Tips on how to pick out a basement dehumidifier
Check Out- dehumidifiers, at George Washington Toma in Weymouth, salesman Alan Stern talks about the new 50 pint Frigidaire unit which is self pumping. Thursday March 14, 2013.Greg Derr/The Patriot Ledger 2013BIZ Photo
Homeowners need to consider cellar’s size, age before buying
The size, condition and age of a basement are the determining factors for customers interested in buying a dehumidifier, local vendors say. Hardware and appliance stores typically start selling dehumidifiers in early April, when the rainy season starts and humidity rises.
Typically kept in basements, dehumidifiers decrease dampness and odors associated with mold by removing moisture from the air in a room. Units are rated by the number of pints of water they can remove from the air in a 24-hour period. Most models are rated between 30 and 70 pints.
The most popular models sold at Hancock TV and Appliance in Quincy and the George Washington Toma stores in Brockton and Weymouth are rated at 50 pints and cost about $200.
Some models come with pumps that send the water into a sink or basement drain. These models cost roughly $20 more than standard models.
Standard models drain into pans, which need to be emptied regularly. To avoid constantly needing to empty water collection pans, some customers keep their units elevated on a table or shelf in the basement. Gravity sends the water through a garden hose to a sink or basement drain, according to Paul Berrini, a sales associate at Hancock TV and Appliance.
“The heavy snow and rain created a lot of unexpected moisture this fall and winter, so some customers were interested in units that are designed to function at lower temperatures,” Berrini said.
George Toma, owner of George Washington Toma TV and Appliance, said dehumidifiers typically work effectively for five to 10 years. Models more than 5 years old do not meet Energy Star criteria, meaning they are noisier and less energy-efficient than those that do.
“New dehumidifiers come in digital models, which will tell you the temperature and the humidity,” Toma said. “Older ones have a knob to manually adjust how much humidity you want to pull out of the air.”
Some older houses with “really big basements might need multiple dehumidifiers, but they suck a lot of power,” Toma said.
Dehumidifiers aren’t efficient at pulling moisture from around corners or through doorways, he said. Square footage and the layout of the basement are the determining factors when deciding whether to buy large big unit or multiple small ones.
“Older houses’ basements leak more moisture from outside, especially if they have dirt cellars,” Toma said.
Reach Grant Tyson at email@example.com.