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Correcting some misinformation
on July 2, 2013
There is misinformation floated in some of the comments. Hopefully this will clear up most of it. As an engineer type, I do more of the detail thing but hey, whatever floats your boat.
NOTE: Although I own this model, this is mostly information on dehumidifiers in general. Other reviewers offer detailed specifics so no duplication needed here.
This covers 1-how it works; 2-sizing tips; 3-general tips, 4-cautions and user reflections.
HOW DEHUMIDIFIRES WORK
First, a dehumidifier is just like an air conditioner except for the location of the warm coil [technically the condenser coil]. With an A/C system the warm coil is outside the house [needs a 2nd fan], so an A/C unit has its cooling coil [technically a DX or expansion coil] inside the house [cooling it] and the heat it absorbs from the house air is transferred to the warm coil outside the house. Basically it is simple; the heat in the house is dumped outside. It's gotta go somewhere!
With a dehumidifier, the warm coil is inside, so the air cooled by the cooling coil blows across the warm coil [one fan needed]. Why? What happens? Well the cool air passing through the cool coil is warmed by the warm coil before exiting the unit.. The net result is that air discharged from the dehumidifier leaves the unit at about 100F [or about 20F warmer than room temperature]. What happens is that a dehumidifier does a better job removing moisture from the air but does not cool the house.
If you are a little confused, try this. Turn your dehumidifier off for about 5 minutes [this is important, trust me]. When you turn it on, put your hand immediately over the discharge air from the unit. You will feel cold air. As the warm air coil heats up, the discharge air changes from cold air to warm air. What you feel is how the cool coil is transferring the heat it absorbed from the incoming air to the warm coil.
Last, how humidity is reduced: When the cool coil cools the air, it lowers the air to below its "dew point". What is that? That is the temperature where the air can't hold any more water vapor. Then water begins to collect on the coil surface and drip down to the collection bucket. That is the whole story except that the efficiency of the dehumidifier decreases as the house humidity is reduced.
Forgot to mention that its ability to remove moisture from the air also drops as the humidity drops, so your bucket does not fill as often. Bottom line: It runs longer trying do the same amount of work [efficiency, get it?]
NOTE: If you try to drop the humidity too low, the reduction in efficiency will begin to show up in a warmer discharge air and longer run times. This results in the temperature of your living space increasing. Raise the dehumidifier humidity set point to correct that and do not run continuously,
WHAT SIZE IS NEEDED FOR A LIVING SPACE [NOT A BASEMENT]
Most comments concern basement applications. This is for a small house, some of which applies to larger homes. Also it assumes the house is at least 15 years old. Newer houses usually have their living space wrapped by a vapor barrier, thus protecting it from the outside. That makes a big difference in the dehumidifier size needed.
For example, my 1200sqft house is a 50 year old brick [brick seals better than wood siding]. During and after a rain if the 50pint dehumidifier is turned off, the humidity goes from 50 to 70% in an hour. It then takes 3 hours to drop it back to 50%.
If you have a house larger than 2000 sq ft, you may need a two or more dehumidifiers. Some will tell you that you're A/C reduces your humidity but it makes it colder too. With a dehumidifier you can control humidity AND temperature; something you cannot do with just the A/C alone. There is no wrong answer as to sizing unless yours is too small. Too large and it will tend to heat up your room a little; so when in doubt go bigger.
If you have the equipment needed, Internet search for "how to size a dehumidifier".
No equipment? Here is a simple way to "guestimate" a size. FIRST, does your area usually have high summer humidity? Ask your local radio or TV station. Or check the Internet. High=65% or more. Low= 40% or less. 40% means that a dehumidifier will not help.
For high humidity, a dehumidifier works well. If you want to also reduce your electric bill, keep your humidity below 50% and your temperature in the low 80's. [adjust to your comfort level]. However, look for you savings in comfort, not money; don't expect it to be paid for in big reductions in electricity bills. It does reduce your bill somewhat.
FOR A 1,000 TO 1,400sqft home: choose a 45-55 pint unit.
FOR A 1,400 TO 2,000sqft home: choose a 70 pint unit
TIPS FROM EXPERIENCE
Dehumidifier compressors "WILL" fail; usually within 2-4 years. I rarely buy extended warranties so this is my exception. Buy a three year guarantee that is tied to a local store. Mine cost $20 for a 50pint unit. Do not buy a factory guarantee [see note below]. A guarantee that requires shipping will cost a boatload to return, making the guarantee meaningless. BE SURE TO RETURN YOUR WARRANTY CARD and keep your receipt in a safe place. They do honor their 5 year compressor warranty and from what I hear gere, often by giving your money back, no return required. WOW.
LAYING DOWN ETC
The compressor is designed to pump refrigerant GAS. Turning a unit back on quickly or laying it down causes LIQUID refrigerant to enter the compressor. This puts a severe strain on the compressor that shortens its life if it fails to destroy it completely.
MY EXPERIENCES WITH THIS MODEL
I have a "DWD" the 2013 Frigidaire model and feel it is the best choice on the market, despite its tech support [NOTE: one reviewer said they got a cash refund from Frigidaire for a unit with a bad compressor - solving ship costs]. It is well designed, including an efficient "squirrel cage" fan [slightly increased noise but much better].
Our dehumidifier is centrally located and reduces the humidity throughout the whole house. If you have a problem with that, see if one or two room fans help.
Noise is subjective [different strokes for different folks]. Personally, we eat and have conversations in our small dining room with the unit less than 3 feet behind my wife and it is running on high. If I listen for the noise, I can hear it but the noise does not interfere with us. I am hard of hearing; background noise can really bother me. I do not feel it is overly loud but you must decide what you want. You know, most folks are strong enough to move it somewhere else; do you think? I say buy the size Frigidaire you need.
My senior citizen wife has no problem with removing or dumping a full bucket. Any problem must be caused by "technique," rather than design.
The tech support is only by email and you get a list of standard problems after several days. WARNING; save on a guarantee and pay the price. I've dealt with many tech support systems. I always get helpful people to talk to. Email only? Give me a break.
Price? Amazon's price is great. Balance its price considering warranty cost, taxes and decide. I imagine it varies by state.