If you live in an area prone to excess humidity (and the resulting mold, mildew, damp walls and musty smells that often accompany it), a large dehumidifier can help keep moisture levels below 60 percent. That’s about what’s recommended to reduce the risk of rot, water damage and peeling paint.
However, not all dehumidifiers are created equal, and the size of the unit you choose depends on the scope of your humidity problem. For example, if your space is more than 1,200 square feet, you need a high-capacity portable dehumidifier—one that can pull up to 60 pints of water out of the air per day.
The size of your space also affects how often you’ll need to empty the water collection tank. Some models drain the tank directly into a nearby sink or sump pump; others require you to remove a water hose from the device and feed it down the drain.
If you want to avoid the mess of emptying a water tank, consider a model with an automatic sensor that shuts off the machine when the tank is full. This feature saves you the hassle of emptying the tank and prevents overflow, which can damage the appliance or your home. Other nice-to-have features include a filter option that helps clear out germs and dirt for cleaner, healthier air. And because it’s important to protect delicate electrical components, look for a dehumidifier that’s designed with Secure Protective Environments (SPE)—a type of insulation used in industrial climatic chambers to ensure the integrity of sensitive electrical equipment and medical or museum specimens.