What Size Dehumidifier For A Basement?

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Dehumidifiers are useful for filtering out moisture from damp places. But these humidity extractors come in a wide range of sizes, so you may be having a difficult time figuring out which size dehumidifier is appropriate for your basement. To do away with your doubts, we've consulted the experts, and here's what they recommend.

For an 800 square feet average-sized basement with 70 percent humidity, a 40-pint dehumidifier is ideal. The temperature, humidity, and square footage of your basement are the main factors to consider when sizing a dehumidifier. Basements come in different sizes and humidity levels, and the pint-size varies depending on these factors.

Because basements are below grade, they tend to absorb moisture from the soil. So they are usually damp and musty, which leads to mold and mildew growth. Inhaling mold spores can trigger allergies and respiratory disorders. High humidity can also damage your basement's furniture and architectural structure. Continue reading to learn how to prevent these problems by using the appropriate size dehumidifier as a convenient solution.

Dehumidifier electric machine isolated with multi color backgrounds, What Size Dehumidifier For A Basement?

The Right Size Dehumidifier For Your Basement

Basements may have a high relative humidity of 70 to 100 percent, making them prone to moisture and mold growth. In such a case, dehumidifiers are efficient in reducing that moisture by 50 percent, helping you maintain a comfortable basement with the ideal humidity level of 30 to 50 percent.

An average-sized basement measuring 800 square feet with a humidity of 70 to 100 percent needs a dehumidifier of 40 to 50 pints.

However, basements have different square footage measurements. Bigger basements with high humidity levels require higher pints of this moisture remover.

Temperature is also one of the deciding factors in choosing the appropriate size. Read further to better understand how to choose the right dehumidifier size for your basement.

Dehumidifier Sizing Chart

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has set the performance and capacity ratings of dehumidifiers. The new energy conservation standards took effect in June 2019 and were updated in early 2020.

According to DOE, they changed the way dehumidifiers were tested and used cooler and more realistic situations corresponding to a basement setting. Therefore, capacities have decreased because cooler air means less water extraction.

To make your search easier, we have added here a detailed dehumidifier sizing chart. This is based on the old standard of 2012 and the new standard of 2020 in relation to different square footage and humidity levels.

Humidity Levels: 300 sq ft space 500 sq ft space 800 sq ft space 1,200 sq ft space
Slightly damp air
50-60% Humidity
30 Pint (Old Standard)

20 Pint (New Standard)

45 Pint (Old Standard)

30 Pint (New Standard)

60 Pint (Old Standard)

40 Pint (New Standard)

70 Pint (Old Standard)

50 Pint (New Standard)

Heavier air (occasional musty smell)
60-70% Humidity
30 Pint (Old Standard)

20 Pint (New Standard)

45 Pint (Old Standard)

30 Pint (New Standard)

60 Pint (Old Standard)

40 Pint (New Standard)

70 Pint (Old Standard)

50 Pint (New Standard)

Wet spots on walls or floors
70-80% Humidity
40 Pint (Old Standard)

25 Pint (New Standard)

50 Pint (Old Standard)

30 Pint (New Standard)

65 Pint (Old Standard)

45 Pint (New Standard)

80 Pint (Old Standard)

55 Pint (New Standard)

Excessive moisture (possible mold growth)
80-100% Humidity
45 Pint (Old Standard)

30 Pint (New Standard)

60 Pint (Old Standard)

40 Pint (New Standard)

70 Pint (Old Standard)

50 Pint (New Standard)

90 Pint (Old Standard)

60 Pint (New Standard)

Moreover, most dehumidifier appliances are based on the 2020 updated standard. But you can still get dehumidifier models that were tested according to the 2012 old standard.

Hence, in buying a dehumidifier, make sure that you are aware of which type of standard it was tested.

Temperature And Humidity Levels

Your basement's temperature is also an important indicating factor to consider. Basements are usually the coolest areas in your home. But their temperature may be unpredictable at times due to climate conditions and the like.

Temperature and humidity are connected to one another as too hot and cold temperatures affect humidity levels. And so, before dehumidifying your space, it's crucial to monitor the levels of both measurements.

Since it's hard to estimate temperature and humidity levels, you might as well use a hygrometer for accurate measurements.

Click here to see this ThermoPro hygrometer on Amazon.

To find out more about basements and temperature, check out these articles below:

What Is The Ideal Temperature For A Basement?

Are Basement Apartments Cold? Are They Cooler In Summer?

Square Footage

The size of your basement is the most important factor in choosing a dehumidifier. The larger your space is, the larger dehumidifier it will require. Furthermore, basements have different types and physical aspects, so it's better to look into these factors to strategically select the best humidity extractor.

Conditions To Consider

If you can relate with the certain conditions below, it's convenient to choose a unit with a higher pint capacity:

  • Add 10 pints if your located in a humid climate
  • Add 5 pints if multiple people live there and you spend a lot of time in your basement.
  • Add 5 pints if your basement is also a laundry area with a dryer

What Is The Best Dehumidifier For A Basement?

The best dehumidifier type for your basement will depend on the temperature condition. There are reviews that vouch for a compressor dehumidifier, while some put in good words for a desiccant type.

A desiccant dehumidifier is recommended for a basement that is consistently colder than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, a compressor-based dehumidifier is recommended for a basement that is consistently warmer than 41 degrees Fahrenheit.

In addition, most experts still prefer a compressor-based rather than a desiccant dehumidifier. According to their reviews, compressor dehumidifiers are appropriate for large basements and their usually high humidity.

In contrast, desiccant dehumidifiers are efficient in small spaces and may not be powerful enough to handle large rooms below ground level.

Click here to see this Honeywell 50-pint dehumidifier on Amazon.

Click here to see this Midea (35 Pint 2019 DOE) dehumidifier on Amazon.

Is One Dehumidifier Enough For A Basement?

Yes, one dehumidifier is enough for a basement. A dehumidifier with the appropriate pint size for your basement's square footage, humidity levels, and temperature will assure an efficient dehumidifying system. Having two units will only lead to an expensive energy cost.

Where Should The Dehumidifier Be Placed In The Basement?

The dehumidifier should be placed in the centralized location of your basement. Manufacturers usually suggest that the dehumidifier's placement should at least have 6 inches of clearance, making sure it would draw air from all sides.

Air circulation is important, especially for large basements. If this appliance is placed on only one side, then the opposite end of your basement might stay humid.

Do Dehumidifiers Use A Lot Of Electricity?

Compared to other appliances like the water heater and air conditioner, an average dehumidifier has a rather low power consumption. It uses as much electricity as a personal computer. A 30-pint dehumidifier consumes 300 watts while a 70-pint dehumidifier only consumes 700 watts of energy.

Lastly, it should be noted that energy-efficient units will consume less energy than energy-inefficient ones.

How Can I Dehumidify My Basement Cheaply?

Dehumidifiers usually have low power consumption, but the appliance itself is a little bit costly. Thus, DIY dehumidifiers are great alternatives to remove moisture in your basement. They're not as effective as conventional dehumidifiers, but they are cheaper and can serve as a good temporary solution.

Here are a number of options that you can choose from for a DIY dehumidifier in your basement:

  • Rock salt - Prepare 2 5-gallon buckets. Drill small holes in one of them, and put it inside the other bucket. Fill it with rock salt and use it as a dehumidifier perhaps in your basement's kitchen. Refill the salt and empty the outer container as needed, when it gets filled up with water coming from the inner bucket.
  • Baking soda- Prepare a small bowl full of baking soda, and place it in the area you need to dehumidify. Watch out when the chemical compound hardens upon absorbing moisture. That means you'll have to dispose it of and replace it with fresh baking soda.
  • Calcium chloride- Put calcium chloride inside an old sock. Then tie it closed with a piece of string. Hang the sock in your basement's bathroom or anywhere you would like moisture to be sucked up.
  • Charcoal- Get a large can and punch holes on its side and lid. Fill the can with charcoal. After placing the lid on, place the charcoal dehumidifier in any of your basement's rooms.
  • Silica gel- Prepare a jar with holes on its lid. Fill the jar with silica gel, and attach the lid and voila! You now have a DIY silica gel dehumidifier.

In Closing

Checking humidity rate, temperature, and the square footage of the underground area will help determine the right dehumidifier size for your basement. It's also important to choose the best dehumidifier type and have it placed in your basement's centralized location.

But most importantly, in every humidity problem, it's better to look at the bigger picture. Keep in mind that even the right size dehumidifier may not perform at its full capacity if your basement has serious structural problems and other underlying issues.

To learn more about basements and how to prevent moisture problems, check out this post: Does A Basement Ceiling Need A Vapor Barrier?

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