Like a basement, if you’ve ever lived in a home with a crawl space (sometimes called a “pier and beam” home), you’ve probably needed, at some point, to use a dehumidifier to cut down on moisture to preserve the foundation and subfloor of your home.
There are many dehumidifiers out there for crawl spaces, so finding the best one requires some work on the part of the consumer. Most crawl space dehumidifiers are specifically designed to remove water plus pollutants including mold and mildew and odors from damp areas and create dry air, as well as wood rot in very tight spaces where a traditional dehumidifier would not fit, would not be safe, or where people simply cannot crawl. Above all, they can save you a lot of money and headaches on crawl space repairs.
Like a basement dehumidifier, you first need to have some idea of the area you are trying to remove excess humid air from. Is it a small, partial crawl space or does the space extend under the entire home? Is there electricity available under the home or will you need to run a grounded cord? How much depth is there in the crawl space for a dehumidifier?
Once you’ve determined the space you are trying to remove humidity from and the size of your crawl space, it is time to actually look at potential products. First of all, though, let’s explore reasons your crawl space may be damp.
It is also important to know why your home may be becoming damp under the crawl space and the consequences of a wet crawl space, such as wood rot, mold growth, and musty odors.
In some cases, your crawl space may be wet because of a pipe drip or leak. That is usually something that can be corrected and stop the problem. However, in other instances, issues with the home’s foundation, such as foundation cracks or wall cracks, can let water inside the crawl space to make it feel damp too because the area is not one where air circulates regularly. If the crawl space has a dirt base, this will cause it to retain even more moisture.
Crawl space moisture can seriously damage a home. In addition to causing the foundation to shift—which may result in cracked windows or cracked pipes and tens of thousands of dollars in repair—a moist crawl space can also cause mold and mildew both in the crawl space and in the rest of the home. In addition to allergies that will affect people and pets, mildew and mold can also cause other health problems for homeowners. Also, insulation will become wet and will not function as well in a damp or wet crawl space.
In addition, a damp crawl space can easily become home to termites, ants, and other “wood destroying insects,” that can cause havoc on your foundation. In addition, depending upon the weather, a damp crawl space may also be a good spot for a variety of mammals and reptiles to attempt to make it their home.
An energy efficient crawl space dehumidifier helps because it can significantly reduce crawl space moisture, which, in turn, will aid in the wooden, metal, and concrete parts of the home’s foundation lasting much longer. Vapor barriers and similar methods simply can’t keep out all water, especially when the crawl space is over a dirt floor.
Selecting the Dehumidifier
There are many dozens of Crawl Space Dehumidifier marketed as specially designed for crawl spaces. If in doubt, contact an expert before you carry out a crawl space dehumidifier installation. However, here are some of the energy efficient ones we’ve found to be the best:
Dri-Eaz PHD200 Dehumidifier
Specifically designed to fit in areas where space is tight, this model gives the end user control of humidity levels while purporting to remove 75 pints of moisture per day. In addition, the unit features a built-in condensation pump and 20 feet of hose.
This helps drain the extracted moisture out of any crawl space, even if the exit of the liquid is essentially uphill. Compact, it can easily fit between floor joists, operates quietly, and has a very durable, polyethylene casing. This is a true professional-grade dehumidifier. Very light in weight, it can be used by anyone.
Designed and built in Italy, the Fral FDK 100 is made for basements or crawl spaces and can work well for homes that are situated on a high water table or along a lake or river. It can work in temperatures as low as 33 degrees Fahrenheit.
With a five-year warranty, it can pull up to 17 gallons of liquid in 24 hours and covers up to 3,000 square feet of space. Priced a little higher than the Dri-Eaz PHD 200, this unit can fit in as little as 23″ of height clearance.
Thermastor – Santa Fe – Compact 2 Crawl Space Dehumidifier
Compact and able to remove up to 70 pints of water in a day, this will work on as much as 1600 square feet of space. Energy star rated and considered portable, at 65 lbs, it weighs far more than some other models. However, for the tightest of spaces, its 12″ x 12″ frame is unbeatable.
Features an auto-restart function and is reasonably priced. Features that allow it to restart after a power outage make this one good for a “set it and forget it” scenario with small crawl spaces you can’t often access.
Horizon Titan XG60 – Crawl Space Dehumidifier
Weighing at only 40 lbs and also just 12″ by 12″, this one rivals the Thermastor Santa Fe Compact 2, but can only cover 1,000 square feet.
It can remove 60 pints a day from a space of approximately 1,000 square feet. It also comes with a remote control, meaning it will also work well in crawl spaces that aren’t easily accessible.
Ebac CD30E Dehumidifier
A commercial dehumidifier that is permitted for home use, this one can remove up to 17 pints of water in temperatures under 80 degrees Fahrenheit and is made of very heavy steel.
This can cover up to 3,000 cubic feet (note: That’s different than square feet most dehumidifiers indicate) and has remote control options. In addition, when humidity levels get too high, the machine has an alarm alerting you to change the settings. In the event of snow, it even has defrosters.