Installing a Dehumidifier to Dry a Damp Basement

It is summer time and with the arrival of summer in the Midwest, comes that relentless humidity. Damp basements often produce mold and can lead to other problems. One simple way to combat this, is to install a dehumidifier. Since I just installed a dehumidifier in my basement, I believe I am qualified to share this advice with you.

First of all, size matters. You need to purchase one that is suitable for the area of your space. So, before you go to the store, calculate the area of the room. Since I am a math teacher by trade, this is an easy task. Measure, in feet, the length and width of the room. Estimating the dimensions is good enough. Then multiply the length times the width. Yes, a calculator is allowed. That number is the area of your room in square feet (example 15ft X 20ft = 300 square feet). The size of your room will dictate how big of a dehumidifier you will need.

Now, it’s on to the store. Most stores have sales people that can help, but if you are a pure do-it-yourselfer, then you will need to find the size of the dehumidifier that best fits your space. Each box will be labeled with the appropriate square foot that the appliance can cover. So after you make your selection, it’s off to the register. Some stores will try to sell you a service agreement or an extended warranty in addition to the appliance. Purchasing it is up to you. The warranties on these appliances typically cover the condenser and little else and my experience has been that repairing them is as expensive as buying a new one. So, buyer beware.

Home again, at last. Installing the dehumidifier is quite simple, after you get it out of the box, that is. Of course, you’ll need an outlet nearby, but choose a location where your dehumidifier is away from obstructions. You want the air to move freely. After you remove the packaging, check to see if anything is inside the drain bucket. Your last decision is whether you want your dehumidifier to run continuously and drain on its own or if you want to drain it yourself. If, you use the room often, then emptying it yourself is not a problem. Otherwise, you may want to consider attaching a hose (refer to the owner’s manual) and letting it drain on its own. Some homes have floor drains or you can let it drain into your sump pump. Plug it in and away you go. Within a few hours you should notice a difference in the air.

The owner’s manual is quite valuable, so read it! In addition to providing some quick and easy installation directions, it also has information concerning the care of your appliance and some troubleshooting tips, if necessary. So, keep it in a logical place because in a few years you might need to refer to it.