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At Basement Systems, we often hear from homeowners who have tried to repair a damp, moldy basement by installing a basement dehumidifier in their home. More often than not, these homeowners are bewildered because their basement is just as musty and moldy as ever.
In most situations, simply buying a dehumidifier and turning it on in your basement will not be enough to lead to a dry, healthy space in your home. In most cases, you will also need to address the source(s) of the humidity in the first place, which can include open vents, groundwater flooding, and moisture coming through the basement walls and floors.
Over the last 20 years, we've seen hundreds of thousands of wet, damp, and moldy basement problems, and we've provided a solution to each one. We can advice you on how to stop moisture in your basement, and explain to you what makes our warranted dehumidifier systems an effective choice for your home.
Our dealers are available for free, no-obligation dry basement estimates throughout Canada and the United States. To schedule your appointment, call or e-mail us today!
If your basement dehumidifier is running constantly, then there's a good chance that it can't keep up with the existing humidity in your basement. This may be because the basement is being ventilated with outside air, that the dehumidifier is not powerful enough, or that moisture is making its way in constantly through your basement walls and floors.
Install a dehumidifier with a powerful blowing motor that's rated to be able to handle 110% of the square footage of your basement or more. Close off all ventilation from outside air, and address all sources of standing water. Ideally, you should also seal your basement walls and floors to stop moisture penetration through the concrete.
Mold can't thrive unless the relative humidity of the space is 60% or higher in your space. If you have mold, then your dehumidifier is facing more moisture than it can handle or is not set high enough to do the job it needs to do.
Increase the dryness setting of your dehumidifier system. If your system uses a collection tray, make sure you're emptying it enough to allow the system to run constantly. Close off any vents that bring outside air into your basement, and eliminate all sources of standing water.
If this doesn't solve the problem, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful basement dehumidifier.
Dehumidifier systems can shut down for several reasons, most commonly when their water collection tray fills up. Alternatively, a broken humidistat system will disable the system, as will mechanical failure.
If the temperature in your basement drops below 65 degrees, some dehumidifier systems will have water frozen to their cold coils. If the system has an anti-frost sensor, it will turn off until the ice melts away.
Empty your water collection tray regularly. If you're having an issue with the cold coils, you'll need to make sure the average temperature of the space is higher.
If your system is experiencing a mechanical shutdown, contact either the store where you purchased the system or the manufacturer of the system to see if the system is under warranty, or how much the repairs would cost. Most dehumidifiers also come with a detailed product manual -- if your system has a digital interface, there may be an error message displayed that you can refer to in the manual. If your manual is lost or missing, many manufacturers will provide a copy for download online.
Mold needs three important things to survive: warmth, humidity, and food. To eliminate mold, you will need to eliminate one of these factors.
So which will you work on? If you've ever seen mold on food in your refrigerator, you know that mold can grow in temperatures that would be uncomfortably low for a human being. And since mold can eat virtually any organic material, we know that it's impossible to keep a home completely free of food for mold.
However, mold needs humidity levels of more than 60% to thrive, while humans can comfortably live with humidity levels of just 30%. This is where the dehumidifier system comes in.
Mold and mold rot in your basement can lead to cosmetic and structural damage to your building materials, damage to stored belongings in the basement, and mold spores in the air. And because the air in your home moves naturally upwards, any mold spores in the basement air will be pulled upwards into your living space.
Learn more about The Health Effects Of Mold
If you've ever seen water droplets forming on the outer surface of a cool glass, or you've seen water dripping out of a window-mounted air conditioner, then you already have an idea how a dehumidifier works.
Dehumidifiers pull air into their system and run it over a "cold coil". As the air is cooled, its humidity condensates on the cold surface. The dehumidifier collects this water and either drains it away or deposits it in a collection tray.
Here's a few of the qualities that make a great basement dehumidifier:
If you have a wet basement and you're using a collection tray, it can fill with water in as little as six hours. At this point, the system will turn off, and will stay off until you go downstairs and empty this collection tray.
Let's say that your dehumidifier's collection tray fills up every 18 hours, and you empty it once a day. This means that there are six hours each day that your system is not drying your basement at all! In an average week, that's 42 hours of inactivity, or almost two whole days!
Aside from that, emptying a dehumidifier system is an inconvenient chore -- especially if you don't use the basement on a daily basis.
Instead of dealing with this hassle, it's best to install a self-draining dehumidifier system. This system can be installed to drain into a sink, floor drain, or sump pump system. Or you can install a condensation pump with your dehumidifier and run the pipe out of a window or other location.
At Basement Systems, our self-draining SaniDry™ XP Dehumidifier is rated to remove 110 liters of water from a basement each day. Imagine what a hassle it'd be if you had to dump out even a fourth of that much water from a collection tray on a daily basis!
How powerful is the blowing motor of the system you're thinking of buying? If your dehumidifier isn't powerful enough to circulate the air in your basement, then it's not powerful enough to keep it dry. (The air in the basement won't circulate itself!)
Your basement dehumidifier should include a powerful blowing motor -- at least 250cfm. Circulating the air will allow your dehumidifier to circulate ALL of the air in your basement, not just within a small space around the system.
As the air circulates, it will be blown against everything in the space, drying the contents of your basement as well as the air.
The energy usage of a dehumidifier is not related to its size. While a larger dehumidifier system may seem like it should use up more energy, they often have much larger cold coils installed in their system.
In systems with small cold coils, the air taken in can move into the system and past the cold coils without ever having enough time to cool down and deposit its humidity (in the form of condensation). So air is going through the entire system without being dried!
Large dehumidifiers have up to 10 times the cold coil surface of the small ones, allowing it to remove as much as four times the amount of water with the same energy usage. While your investment might be a little more, you're saving a bundle in the end!
Even in a finished basement, there are many particles present in the air that can affect people with asthma and inflame allergies. Airborne particles that contain allergens, such as mold spores (even dead mold spores), dust mite waste, pet dander, and particles from cigarette smoke can all lead to respiratory issues.
As part of their operation, many dehumidifier systems will include an air filtration system in their operation. This can remove many of the allergenic particles from the air, making your home healthier and more comfortable for everyone.
Some systems will also offer an optional air filter to maximize the added comfort of the space.
Your dehumidifier should include a digital, adjustable interface. These systems offer three major advantages:
Convenient: Digital controls allow you to turn the system on and off without accessing the plug -- which isn't always convenient to reach. A digital diagnostic system can send you error codes should the system experience a failure. If your dehumidifier is being ducted from a closet, an advanced dehumidifier system can be adjusted by a control panel in your finished space -- just like a central air conditioning system.
Efficient: Mechanical dehumidifier systems can be set to arbitrary dryness levels, with preset running periods.
Digital systems can be adjusted to exact humidity levels that cause it to run only at the exact times it's needed.
Surge Protection: Many digital interfaces include protection against power spikes and irregularities. This is much more uncommon in a manual dehumidifier system.
Most homeowners prefer to move their utilities and appliances into a separate utility room, where they're out of sight, and out of mind.
If your dehumidifier is compatible with ductwork, then it can also be placed in the utility room, taking in air from your finished space, drying it, and blowing it back into your conditioned area.
To accomplish this, your system will need to include a powerful blowing motor that is competent to circulate the air in this way.
For maximum convenience, it should also include a digital interface, and an air and odor filter to keep the space comfortable and clean.
The power of a dehumidifier is rated by its daily ability to remove water. These ratings will often include a recommended square foot of coverage.
Some manufacturers will rate their system at a saturation of 100% humidity. It's better to consider a system that rates them under the more realistic AHAM conditions, which are 60% relative humidity at 80 °F.
Larger units are often the most energy efficient overall. It's a good idea to install a system that's a little larger than you need it to be.
At Basement Systems, we offer our customers two different dehumidifiers: our SaniDry™ XP Basement Air System, and our SaniDry™ CSB for crawl spaces.
Both systems are Energy Star Rated systems, with powerful blowing motors that are designed to keep air circulating throughout the space. Each includes an air filtration system and an optional odor filter to remove allergens and keep your space clean, healthy, and comfortable.
The SaniDry™ XP Basement Air System is rated to remove up to 110 pints of water per day, with a powerful 250 CFM motor and a MERV-11 air filter installed as a standard feature. A single SaniDry™ XP is able to dehumidify up to 2,500 square feet in an average-height basement.
Its powerful blowing motor is compatible with ductwork, so you can store it in a closet or utility area while it dries your finished basement. A digital interface allows you to set the desired humidity level from your finished basement without the need to directly access the dehumidifier.
The SaniDry™ CSB is rated to remove up to 90 pints of water per day, with a 200 CFM motor and a MERV-11 air filter included. A single SaniDry™ CSB can dehumidify a 6,000 square foot crawl space with a 3' high ceiling.
More about Our SaniDry™ Basement Dehumidifier
More about Our SaniDry™ Basement Dehumidifier
Our award-winning SaniDry™ system is the powerful, versatile system you need to help keep your basement dry all the time! At Basement Systems, we've spent more than 20 years developing our dehumidifier systems to be the most effective in the industry, and we're confident that it's exactly what you need to solve your basement and crawl space humidity issues.
If you're interested in pricing to install a SaniDry™ system, call or e-mail us today for a free, no-obligation basement dehumidifier estimate! Our Basement Systems Dealer Network serves throughout Canada and the United States.
Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.