Dehumidifiers and off-peak electricity rates

by Chuck
(WI)

Utility companies offer on-peak and off-peak electrical rates. Which home dehumidifiers offer programs able to run the unit at times to take advantage of the cheaper electricity rates?




Answer

There are, to the best of my knowledge, no home models with a program specifically for this purpose. This is understandable given that the off-peak times vary widely between energy suppliers and even between states served by the same supplier.

Most models have a simple timer mechanism which can be programmed, at the very least, to switch the appliance on and off again once during every 24 hour period. This may be sufficient for your needs if the off-peak rate applies at the same times on every day of the week but some suppliers have different arrangements for different days of the week; the most common are rates that apply only on a weekend.

If your supplier's arrangement is one of the more complex you may find it more convenient to purchase a separate timer to control the operating times of you appliance. The more sophisticated timers allow control of multiple appliances and permit different settings for different days of the week. A digital timer is a better choice than a mechanical unit as it is usually more precise and generally allows greater flexibility in its settings.

Beyond this general information I cannot advise you as I am not an expert on timers. You will find timers at most large retailers who supply electrical appliances including many on-line. I suggest you visit two or three sites to compare specifications and to read customer reviews. Possible sites include homedepot.com, amazon.com and lowes.com.

I hope this is helpful.

Tom.

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Aprilaire 1750a Whole House Dehumidifier Thermostat?

by Tom Conner
(MI)

Is there a thermostat that will activate an Aprilaire 1750a Whole House Dehumidifier to maintain a constant relative humidity?

The Aprilaire 1750a Whole House Dehumidifier is a dew point based system that does NOT maintain the house at a constant relative humidity. It can vary 6% to 8% throughout the day, depending on the temperature.

Honeywell technical support told me that my current IAQ stat controls only RH based dehumidifiers. I understand that other dehumidifiers like the Ultra air and Sante Fe (both of which I've used) maintain the humidity setting selected on the unit or thermostat. They are based on a RH system rather than the dew point system.

Thanks




Hi Tom, thank you for your question.

I will start by saying that I will not answer your question directly. My advice is to contact Aprilaire's customer support and put your question directly to the company. The number is 1 (800) 334-6011. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.

If you prefer to email you will find the page for doing so at:

http://www.aprilaire.com/index.php?znfAction=InquiriesForm

My reason for offering this advice is that if you purchase an Aprilaire 1750a Whole House Dehumidifier and use any control device other than one expressly approved or recommended by Aprilaire you may compromise or invalidate the warranty on the appliance.

If you telephone it would be advisable to keep a note of the conversation, dated and timed, and to include the name of the customer service representative; alternatively, if you email, keep copies of your email(s) and the reply or replies.

I am sorry if I seem over cautious. They say "there are old pilots and bold pilots but no old, bold pilots" and I have been "flying" my dehumidifier for many years now. :)

Tom (Webmaster)




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Basement dehumidifiers with timers

by Anon.

What brands have dehumidifiers with timers that will turn the machine on and off at a specific time each day?




Answer

Hi, thank you for your question.

As you may have noticed we recommend several brands of which these four have timers:

Danby - Allows the user to specify a time (within a 24 hour period) at which the appliance will either switch off or switch on. It does not allow the user to program two actions, whereby the unit will both switch on and switch off within a given period.

Frigidaire - Operates in exactly the same way as the Danby.

GE - This brand has a timer but it is much more limited than those offered by the Danby and Frigidaire units. When the appliance is running the timer allows the user to program the unit to switch off after 2 or 4 hours.

Winix - This unit has the most flexible timer of the four models. This extract from the manual makes its capabilities very clear:

"Cycle Run Time
To set Cycle Run Time, push setting button (3) until cycle run time indicator (11) is lit. In this setting, the unit will run for either 3, 6, or 12 hours, then shut off for 3, 6, or 12 hours, then turn on again in the same cycle."

The other issue to consider with this brand is that it is the only one of the four with timers that also incorporates an internal condensate pump. This may be an advantage if you need a pump but adds to the price; a disadvantage if you do not need the pump.

As an alternative to the Winix you may wish to consider a Comfort-Aire unit which may be programmed to start and stop within a 24 hour period. This is a tad less flexible than the timer of the Winix but the unit does not have an internal pump, with the associated extra cost. Although this brand is not among our "top picks" it is one which we recommend to visitors who may prefer its particular mix of features.

Tom (Webmaster)

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Frigidaire Dehumidifier FAD704DUD
Extended Warranty - Yes or No?

by John Nabor
(Cleveland, OH USA)

Do you recommend purchasing the extended warranty?




Answer


Hi John, thank you for your question.

This question is not as simple as it seems and I cannot give you a simple yes or no answer. It depends on the cost, on the exact terms of the warranty you are considering and the probability of your dehumidifier failing within the warranty period.

Expert opinion suggests that if the cost of the warranty exceeds 20% of the purchase price of the item it is probably not a good deal. The reasoning is that above this level the cost of the warranty will probably exceed the cost of any repair. In the case of a dehumidifier this argument is not entirely compelling as, in many instances, the cost of a repair can exceed the cost of a replacement unit!

The terms of the warranty may disqualify your appliance for a variety of fuzzily defined reasons. For example, "normal wear and tear" may not be covered but this is not defined and might be interpreted in a dozen different ways.

The warranty may also involve you in expense, despite covering parts and labor. The Frigidaire extended warranty, for example, defines dehumidifiers as "carry-in" items. I interpret this to mean that the customer bears the cost of returning and collecting the appliance, whether by using her/his own vehicle or by paying shipping costs.

As for the probability of your unit failing within the period covered by an extended warranty I would say this is medium to high. It is an unfortunate truth that dehumidifiers currently in production have relatively short working lives, regardless of the brand.

It is also worth considering that the existing warranty includes an extended warranty, an additional four years, on the sealed refrigeration system. The refrigeration system is the most expensive item to repair and the cost of any repair will almost certainly exceed the cost of a replacement unit. Claiming against this extended warranty will involve you in some costs.

My final thought is that a dehumidifier costs a significant amount of money but, in the case of a portable home dehumidifier, it is not an expensive item compared with many others we buy for our homes. To put this in perspective the cost of the energy to run a dehumidifier will exceed its purchase price within anything from several months to two years, depending on usage.

Bearing this in mind it may not make a great deal of sense to spend extra money for an extended warranty that duplicates the existing cover of the refrigeration system and may still invove you in significant expense if you claim against it.

If you would like to see another opinion on this you might take a look at this web page. In this article Ray Martin, the financial adviser on "The Early Show" (CBS) discusses extended warranties in general and his piece is as good a synthesis of current thinking on the subject as I've seen.

I'm sorry to leave you with only "food for thought" rather than a definite answer but I hope my thoughts and Ray Martin's reflections will help you to make up your mind on this question.

Tom (Webmaster)

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Garage Dehumidifiers

by Anon.

How loud is the SaniDry?




Answer

Hello, thank you for your question.

The SaniDry brand includes two models; the SaniDry CSB, designed for crawl spaces, and the SaniDry XP Basement Dehumidifier. I assume that it is the CSB that you are considering but I will answer your question with regard to both units to make sure you have the information you need.

The SaniDry CSB Crawl Space Dehumidifier has a maximum noise output of 64dB while the SaniDry XP produces 68dB. Both these units are quite loud. A typical portable room dehumidifier of the largest type, around 70 pints, generates between 54 and 58 dB at its highest fan speed. The SaniDry units have only one fan speed so when the compressor is operating you may expect the 64/68 dB level.

As you are probably aware the dB scale used to measure noise is a logarithmic scale not a linear one so the difference in noise level between 54 and 68 dB is larger than it might appear. Both the SaniDry units would be considered noisy by most users although this is simply a result of their greater power when compared with portable dehumidifiers.

Both these units are ductable. Using ducting will reduce the noise output a little but, more importantly, allows the dehumidifier to be sited in an enclosed space that may be partially insulated against sound to reduce the noise nuisance.

If you are considering a SaniDry dehumidifier for your garage I assume it is either very large or that the ambient temperature is too low at times for a portable home dehumidifier to operate effectively, below 65F. For a typical garage attached or adjacent to a home you would not normally need so powerful a unit. If your need is for a low temperature dehumidifier but a lower capacity unit would be sufficient you may like to consider an alternative, such as the Ebac CD30. The CD30 will be powerful enough for a typical garage and can operate to lower temperature levels, down to 33F, than the SaniDry units.

If your need is for a dehumidifier as powerful as the SaniDry may I suggest you consider the Santa Fe Advance Crawl Space Dehumidifier or the Santa Fe Classic Basement Dehumidifier. Both the SaniDry and Santa Fe models are manufactured by Therma-Stor and the Advance is identical to the SaniDry CSB while the Classic equates to the SaniDry XP.

My reason for making this suggestion is that the SaniDry units are sold exclusively by Basement Systems through their network of licensed installers. Prices for these units are not published and are only available on application to your nearest licensed installer. The prices quoted include installation costs.

A non ducted installation involves nothing more than setting up the continuous drainage arrangement and attaching the unit to a power source. You may buy the Santa Fe dehumidifiers in store or online at published prices and undertake the installation yourself or employ a contractor you know or who has been recommended to you. Many users find installing the Santa Fe models with ducting a job they can tackle without engaging a contractor and ducting kits are available to purchase with the dehumidifiers.

I trust you will forgive me for answering questions you have not asked as well as the one you have and I hope you will find the additional information useful.

Tom (Webmaster)

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Quiet Home Dehumidifiers

by Hank
(San Antonio, Tx.)

I have been searching for a dehumidifier to buy. Finding many good ones, looking in the 60-70 pt. range.

I like Danby-GE-Delonghi-Soleus but, reading reviews, the wrench in the gears is the noise levels.

I want the quietest of the units I mentioned. PLEASE.....which of these units is the quietest in 60-70 pt. units???????

Thanks




Answer


Hi Hank, thanks for your question.

Let me start by saying that if you are looking for a 60 to 70 pint dehumidifier then we can eliminate DeLonghi from your list.

The largest capacity DeLonghi Dehumidifier is a 50 pint unit. DeLonghi is an Italian company and rates its dehumidifiers at European standards. What this means is that the water extraction rate of their dehumidifiers was measured in warmer, more humid conditions than most US built units and Asian imports.

Most dehumidifiers sold in the USA are rated at the conditions laid down by AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) of 80°F and 60% relative humidity. In these conditions a Danby 70 Pint Dehumidifier, for example, will extract 70 pints of water every 24 hours. In warmer and/or wetter air that rate will increase significantly.

DeLonghi Dehumidifiers are tested at 90°F and 80% RH where the DeLonghi 50 Pint Dehumidifier will extract 50 pints per day. Under the AHAM testing conditions that rate will be halved so, if we level the playing field, a DeLonghi 50 Pint Dehumidifier becomes a 25 pint dehumidifier, equivalent to the Danby DDR2501E 25 Pint Dehumidifier.

This leaves us with Danby, GE and Soleus. The Danby DDR7009REE 70 Pint Dehumidifier has a maximum noise output of 55.3dB, the GE ADER65LP 65 Pint Dehumidifier and the Soleus DP1-70-03 70 Pint Dehumidifier both produce a maximum of 59dB. This shows that the Danby produces the lowest noise level of the three brands on your short list.

A simple comparison of decibel output can be misleading. The decibel scale is logarithmic, not linear, like the Richter scale for measuring the magnitude of earthquakes. The human ear does not perceive increases in volume in a linear progression either.

A difference of 3.7 dB is noticeable to the human ear and falls between the "barely perceptible" (3dB) and "clearly noticeable" (5dB) levels. The quality of the sound is also important and one noise may be more intrusive than another even when both are of exactly the same magnitude in dB. Many of the most irritating noises produced by dehumidifiers are generated by secondary vibration, usually a sign of poor build quality. There is also an increase in noise over time as the dehumidifier "ages" which is likely to afflict poorly built models more quickly than more soundly constructed units.

The only evidence we have for the level of noise nuisance produced by a dehumidifier, as subjectively experienced by their owners, is from dehumidifier reviews written by dehumidifier users. Using this criterion I would prefer the Danby and Soleus models over the GE. Both the Soleus and the Danby units are also described in dehumidifier reviews as being "well built".

As the Danby also has the lower measurable noise level, in dB, all other things being equal the Danby wins my vote as the less noisy of the two. It is also among the brands we recommend and as such I would favor the Danby over the Soleus for other reasons.

The sad truth is that all dehumidifiers are noisier than we would wish them to be but my recommendation to you would be a Danby 70 Pint Dehumidifier as the least annoying model on your short list.

For more information about dehumidifier noise you may like to visit this page.

Tom (Webmaster)

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Interior Bedroom Dehumidifiers

by Mathew
(Dublin, Ireland)

Hi there,

I am not sure if the first time when I submitted my question I did everything as I should so I will try one more time.

I have a question around using dehumidifier in a bedroom.

Would you be able to advise me on which would be the best to use in a bedroom (so preferably quiet) which also could be used overnight - winters in Dublin are colder now and humidity levels higher which can be seen especially in the mornings as windows are covered with moisture.

The best one I could find so far is delonghni DNC 65 - but after reading your review I am not sure if this my best choice now - is there something really 'quiet' on the market?

Any help will be greatly appreciated.

Kind Regards,

Mathew




Answer

Hi Mathew

I'm afraid that the short answer to your question is "no". You may like to take a look at this article for a detailed explanation of why this is the case.

I agree with you that the DNC 65 is not the best choice. Desiccant models are more expensive to run than refrigerant units and can produce unpleasant odours. The difference in noise level is marginal.

My advice is to buy the lowest capacity refrigerant model you can find; 8 to 10 litres per day if your bedroom is typically sized, i.e. not the size of a tennis court :). The less powerful the dehumidifier the less noise it will make.

Other than that the only way to reduce the noise nuisance is to minimize operation while you re sleeping. For example, if you run the unit on its lowest humidity setting in the hours before you go to bed the air will be pretty dry by bed time. This may be enough to reduce, even eliminate the condensation problem without running the unit while you are asleep. Alternatively, If the noise prevents you from going to sleep but is not loud enough to wake you once you are asleep you could use a timer to start the unit an hour or two after you turn in.

Finally, you may just get used to the noise. I am not trying to be "funny" here. I started to use a large fan in my bedroom a few years ago because of a health problem. The first couple of nights it was difficult to sleep but I quickly became used to the noise and didn't consciously hear it. Now I can't sleep without it because if the fan is not running I am constantly roused by noises from outside - traffic for example - which are otherwise masked.

I know that my answers are "second best" but there really is no such thing as a "whisper quiet" dehumidifier, whatever a sales person may wish you to believe.

Tom (Webmaster)

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