Many basements and crawl spaces are dark, damp, often chilly, and not subject to same foot traffic as the rest of the home, so it is no wonder we forget about them until it is laundry time or we need to find the holiday decorations. Almost everyone who has ever ventured into a basement is also familiar with that earthy, damp smell and, without proper climate control, your basement can turn into an uncomfortable and unsafe area.
With just 50% humidity, your basement can become a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and dust mites. Higher levels of allergens, mold and mildew, dust mites, and a musty odor can lead to—and further aggravate—asthma suffering, as well as weaken the overall health of the immune system. A dehumidifier is a cost-efficient and preventative measure you can add to your basement management to ensure the health, safety, and peace of mind in your home.
Most often, the relative humidity in your basement increases as water penetrates your concrete foundation from beneath and on the sides of your home. Moisture penetration occurs through capillary action when the surrounding soil becomes saturated with water. You can prevent excess water and soil saturation on the outside of your home by ensuring storm gutters are clear of debris and downspouts are sloped away from your home to divert water away from the soil surrounding the foundation.
On the inside of your home, you may have to do some detective work to determine where and how moisture is accumulating. Moisture accumulation may be from leaky faucets or pipes or an improperly ventilating dyer. In the summertime, you may experience condensation collecting around open windows as hot, humid air moves into the cooler basement. It is best to avoid ventilation using warm, outside air. Instead, air-conditioned ventilation is the preferred choice.
Finally, sealing your basement with a protective membrane or coat is a cost-effective way to help direct water accumulation but will not solve your moisture problems alone. However, adding a dehumidifier to the basement will help remove the excess water accumulations from membranes and drainage mats and well as from the air. By reducing the water penetration and removing the excess moisture with a dehumidifier, you can significantly improve the health and safety of your home and prevent costly repairs due to water, mold, and mildew damage. There are several dehumidifiers on the market capable of handling the size and moisture levels typically found in basements; all of which have many convenient features and functions depending on your requirements and budget.
Selecting an energy efficient dehumidifier (or desiccant dehumidifier) for your basement is entirely dependent upon the size of the basement and the humidity levels as dehumidifiers are rated by capacity over a 24-hour period. In other words, how many pints the appliance is capable of removing over the course of a day. When in the market for a dehumidifier, the first thing you should consider is how large a space you have and how much moisture is in the air.
Typically, basement dehumidifiers are more powerful and are capable of extracting up to 100 pints a day over larger square footage spaces. Of near equal importance is how you wish to remove the water collection, be it by a pump, drain, or condensate tray. You may want to consider the features of convenience such as digital displays, automatic restarts, and auto-defrost settings, as well as a built-in humidistat after identifying the key factors in this dehumidifier review.
Basements, especially unfinished ones, typically do not have many daily visitors checking in on the moisture levels and are far damper than the other parts of the home—and certainly do not come under the whole-house dehumidifier area. Higher humidity levels are due to ground water and rain water runoff penetrating the concrete foundation and seeping through the porous concrete foundation. An open basement window during the warmer months may also bring fresh, humid air inside. Finally, internal water sources such as a dripping faucet, a leaking washing machine, or an improperly vented dryer exhaust may contribute to the moisture levels.
Of the many options available for basement dehumidifiers, the Friedrich D70BPA is one of the best in its class for handling small to big jobs. This dehumidifier is ideal for moderate to incredibly damp basements and has a 70-pint capacity capable of handling your moisture issues and works extremely well in colder climates.
The Friedrich D70BPA is capable of handling damp to extremely wet conditions where standing water is found in rooms are large as 2,500 square feet. For larger, wetter spaces, this may mean emptying out the drain condensation from the removable condensate tray, but with the Friedrich, you have the option of setting up the external drainage. Of all the available options on basement dehumidifiers, external drainage is one of the most popular.
Continuous external drainage uses gravity to move excess water to a sink or drain and a condensate pump will move water horizontally or even vertically to your desired location. Rather than utilize gravity, which requires placing the dehumidifier at a higher level than the sink, drain, or plumbing system link the Friedrich D70BPA comes standardly equipped with a high-powered drain pump and allows you to remove the condensation directly to your desired location at a distance of up to 15 feet either horizontally or vertically.
The drain pump gives you the peace of mind that your dehumidifier will continue operating without requiring daily check-ups, especially when dealing with wetter or less frequented spaces such as your basement. Of course, you still have the option of emptying your water from the tray or using the continuous gravity drainage to remove your water. If you decide to use the condensate tray instead of the pump or continuous drain, there is an automatic shutoff function that will turn off the dehumidifier when the bucket is full. An indicator light will also illuminate on the front panel when your buck is full.
You may also collect your water in a container for future use rather than creating a direct link to your plumbing system. As always though, drainage water is non-potable so it cannot be used for drinking or watering your vegetable garden but your non-edible plants and flowers can benefit from your collected water as can your water bill.
Basements also tend to be cooler and, during the winter months, they can get relatively cold. Automatic defrosters are a valuable option and the Friedrich D70BPA can efficiently operate in ambient temperatures as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to its auto-defrost feature. Even if the ambient air is not at freezing temperatures, dehumidifiers can accumulate frost on metal coils inside. The frost may form by the process of chilling the air and drawing out the moisture. The cooling coils must, therefore, be at a temperature below that of the ambient air to effectively draw the moisture out and can thus lead to frost developing on the cooling coils. The auto-defrost feature on the Friedrich ensures frost damage will not occur nor will the unit stop operating when the basement is cooler.
In addition to the triple option drainage system and automatic defrost that comes standard on the Friedrich D70BPA, this unit has other valuable and convenient features that make it a top-rated choice for basement dehumidifiers. The LED display and buttons on the top panel are easy to read while you set your desired humidity levels for your basement. With the Friedrich, you can set your preferred humidity levels between 30% and 90% in increments of 5%. When you’ve reached you desired level of humidity, the compressor and fan will turn off, and a built-in humidistat will monitor the environment and turn the dehumidifier back on when needed.
The Friedrich D70BPA dehumidifier is also equipped with a removable and washable air filter. The air filter will help you stop contaminants such as dust, mold, mildew, and other allergens from becoming airborne and while the air filter is not a replacement for your air purifier, it can certainly assist in keeping your air cleaner.
An automatic restart is also a standard function on this Friedrich model should you experience a power outage. Once your power is restored, this dehumidifier will resume operating under the same previously programmed settings. This is particularly convenient if you are not home or simply forget to check the basement after an outage.
The Friedrich D70BPA has a modern design and a non-louvered front panel giving it a sleek look that does not have fins to accumulate unsightly dust and pet hair. For the power this unit packs, it is surprisingly small at the height of 23.25 inches, width of 15 inches, and depth of 11.5 inches. The Friedrich weighs in at 44 pounds but is conveniently equipped with caster wheels that allow easy maneuverability in your basement and the sleek, modern design enable it to blend in should you need the use the unit in other parts of your home.
Not all dehumidifiers are energy efficient and can increase your electricity bill considerably when first introducing a new appliance into your home. Inefficient units may also increase the negative impact electrical systems have on the environment as these dehumidifiers draw excess power from the grid. However, the Friedrich D70BPA is Energy Star® rated for efficiency meaning it is better for the environment than other dehumidifiers and will save you money on your electricity bill. There are two fan speeds on this unit, and this dehumidifier operates at a maximum of 7.7 amps and maximum wattage of 840 W. When the desired humidity levels are reached the unit automatically shuts off and the automatic timer feature means the unit will only run when you want it to run. The fan also stops once the compressor has kicked off, so the unit is only drawing power when it is needed. Other dehumidifiers in this class often have continuously running fans.
Given all the features of this dehumidifier and the reasonable price, the Friedrich D70BPA is considered the best basement dehumidifier in its class and excellently suited for home basement use and comes with a one-year limited warranty as well as a five-year warranty on the refrigerant system. Most dehumidifiers in this class only offer two-year warranties on the refrigerant system.
The easy-to-use electronic controls and indicator lights, the automatic defrost feature, the timer, the built-in humidistat, and the automatic restart feature make this an excellent choice for dehumidifiers. However, the three option drainage system that includes a built-in pump makes this Friedrich dehumidifier an adaptable and most convenient unit for your basement. For the size and moisture levels of typical home basements, this is the top pick. Spaces larger than 2500 square feet may require larger, more powerful commercial units outside the Friedrich D70BPA class.
No one enjoys the sticky, uncomfortable feeling they get or the stale smell of the air when entering their basement. Dealing with excess water through preventative action as well as adding the Friedrich D70BPA dehumidifier to the basement can quickly transform the space from unsafe and uncomfortable to a cool retreat or at least an area where you can bear to work in if it lacks the refineries of living space.