Basement Dehumidifier that is effective below 40 degrees F

by Mike Miles

I am struggling to find the best criteria-based answer to the question of what the best dehumidifier for my situation is. Here are my facts

I have a camp in Maine on a lake, located maybe 100' from the lake. There is an underground water table that is relatively high from the mountain behind the camp. The basement, which is 24' x 36', and is 8' tall has no leaks at all, but is constantly moist, typically 85% humidity. I think it is capillary movement of water through the foundation. The upstairs of the house is typically 30-40% humid. The basement space is unheated. The building is unused in the winter, and temps get into the high 30's, lo 40's in the winter. The space has a gravity drain.

The EBAC FreeStar seems like a good choice, but I am having sticker shock over its $2000 price tag, and wonder if it is overkill for the space. If it is overkill, is the EBAC CD85 up to the task? I am also bothered by the 1 year warranty on the EBAC units, compared to the 5 years for the Sani-Dry and Aprilaire units that seem also to be possible choices.

The other two choices are the SaniDry XP, which is also pricey at $1700, and the AprilAire 1710A. One thing that worries me about the Sani-Dry is the minimum operating temperature. The spec sheet says 40, but I think your material says it (or its clone, the Santa Fe Classic) functions from 55 degrees, which I think is probably inadequate for the space.

The Aprilaire seems attractive not only for its price ($1145), but also for its quiet operation, its moisture extraction capacity (90ppd) and its nominal operating range temperature-wise (40 degrees-95 degrees). I am told that the 40 degree number is unrealistic, though, (like the Sani-Dry) and don't know whether to believe that.

What advice would you give? Is there another unit that would offer more value for me?


Hello Mike and thank you for your question.

The critical issue in your question is the temperature of your basement. If you need a unit that can operate in temperatures at or below 40F models designed for domestic applications, SaniDry/Santa Fe and Aprilaire, are less than ideal; a commercial dehumidifier would be a better choice.

The Ebac Free Star is a much more powerful model than you need. The Ebac CD85 is suitable for enclosures with a volume of up to 8,369 cubic feet (237m3). Your basement has a volume of 24 x 36 x 8 = 6912 cubic feet so the CD85 will be effective.

At around $1250 the CD85 is among the least expensive of the models available that combine a water removal capacity adequate for your basement with the ability to operate effectively at the low temperatures found in your basement in winter. The key to its low temperature operating capability is its "hot gas defrost" feature which is absent from models designed for domestic applications as well as many other commercial models.

The issue of warranty is a little unclear. There is certainly a one year, unconditional warranty from Ebac. One retailer,, refers to an additional three year warranty on "compressor, condenser and evaporator". I can find no confirmation from Ebac so this may be correct, in error or a warranty available from the retailer. You can find this reference at this url:

I would recommend that you contact Sylvane for clarification. Sylvane is a highly reputable company with well trained sales advisors which is currently offering the CD85 at $1249 with free shipping.

Finally there is, to the best of my knowledge, no other model which meets the technical specification required by the size and temperature of your basement that is less expensive than the CD85.

I hope this covers all the points you have raised.

Tom (Webmaster)

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Jun 07, 2012
CS 60
by: Mike

Thanks, Tom, for the benefit of your wisdom. I talked to Sylvane, who endorses your call, with one twist. They say that the EBAC CD85 is a new model without much of a track record. They recommend a model with similar capacity, the EBAC CS60, at about the same price, on the strength of its excellent track record as a durable piece of equipment. They would recommend the Santa Fe Advance but for the important need to dehumidify during the winter.

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