Friday, 2 September 2016

How to Determine What Size Dehumidifier You Need

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If your home is showing signs of damp, musty odors, black/wet spots on walls or floors, you may well be considering a dehumidifier to help remove excess moisture in your home.  But how do you decide what size dehumidifier you need?

Generally, there are 2 things to look for when determining what size dehumidifier is best for your home:

CAPACITY
i.e. the amount of moisture a dehumidifier can extract from the air per day
(typically labelled in Pint Capacity, e.g. 30 pints, 50 pints etc)

AIR FLOW VOLUME
i.e. the amount of air and time it takes the air to move through the dehumidifier
(typically labelled as CFM which stands for Cubic Feet per Minute)


Let’s take a look at each of these 2 measurements in detail to help you work out what size dehumidifier is best for you:


CAPACITY OF DEHUMIDIFIERS

The capacity of a dehumidifier is based on the amount of moisture the unit can extract from the air per day (i.e. per 24 hours) and is typically labelled in pint capacity.

Generally speaking, a larger capacity dehumidifier will service a large room in less time than a smaller unit, but the amount of moisture in the air also needs to be taken into consideration so you may need a higher capacity dehumidifier for a smaller room if it appears more damp/wet to begin with.

Dehumidifiers are generally labelled with Pint capacity based on AHAM’s (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) size/capacity recommendations looking at the room size and humidity conditions before installing a dehumidifier (check for AHAM certified in the dehumidifier’s specifications) as follows:

AHAM Guidelines for correct size of Dehumidifier (pints):




HUMIDITY CONDITION
ROOM SIZE
500
sq ft
1000
sq ft
1500
sq ft
2000
sq ft
2500
sq ft
Recommended Pint Capacity Needed
Moderate damp,
Musty odors,
Humid weather

10

14

18

22

26
Very damp, Odors, 
Damp spots on walls & floors

12

17

22

27

32
Very wet, Sweating walls, Seepage

14

20

26

32

38
Extremely wet, Wet floors, 
High-load conditions

16

23

30

37

44




AIR FLOW VOLUME OF DEHUMIDIFIERS

The air flow volume of a dehumidifier it based on the amount of air and the time the air takes to move through the dehumidifier, and is typically labelled in a manufacturer’s specifications as CFM (cubic feet per minute).

Obviously a dehumidifier can only extract moisture from the air that actually passes through the dehumidifier so working out the air flow volume of a dehumidifier is important as all the air in the room needs to pass through the unit in order to extract the moisture.

To work out the correct Dehumidifier CFM requirements for each specific room you need to work out the room’s square footage and humidity level in order to determine how much air needs to go through the dehumidifier (based on size of room) and how many times the air needs to cycle through the dehumidifier per hour (based on moisture level), referred to as Air Changes per Hour (ACH).

Here’s how to work out the CFM requirements of a dehumidifier for each specific room:

·         Cubic feet of room* multiplied by recommended ACH** (Air Changes per Hour) divided by 60 (60 minutes)

The above calculation will give you the CFM you should be looking out for on a dehumidifier (see details below for how to work out cubic feet of room and recommended ACH).

Example:
640 cubic feet x 4 ACH (very damp) = 2560
2560 divided by 60 = 42.6 CFM

How to work out the Cubic Feet of a Room

*Use the following calculation to get the cubic feet of a room:
 
Measure the length and width of the room and multiply them together to get the total square footage.  Then measure the height of the room and multiply that measurement with the square footage to get the cubic feet of a room.

Example:
8 ft wide x 8 ft long = 64 square foot
64 x 10 ft high = 640 cubic feet


Estimated Recommendations for ACH

**Use the estimated recommendations for ACH as follows:

AIR
% HUMIDITY
VISIBLE SIGNS / SMELLS
RECOMMENDED ACH
Damp
60-70%
Clammy, musty smells
3
Very damp
70-80%
Mildew smells, stains on walls and/or floor
4
Wet
80-90%
Mold, mildew, stains & wet spots on walls and/or floor
5
Very wet
90-100%
Standing water, puddles
6


If you’re not sure about the % humidity in a room, you can buy a special thermometer (called a hygrometer) that measures the amount of moisture in the air for you:


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