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Damp basement? Hurry before stores run dry on dehumidifiers

Consumer Reports News: May 16, 2011 11:25 AM

Dehumidifier sales climb with the temperature, peaking in June, just ahead of the dog days of summer. That means now is the time to take advantage of the widest selection at stores, especially if you live in one of the many regions hard hit by heavy rains and flooding. Consumer Reports latest dehumidifier review identified eight models, ranging from $160 to $300, that will make the basement and other muggy areas of your home more tolerable.

Dehumidifiers are grouped by size. Large models are those that claim to remove around 60 to 70 pints of water per day. In our tests, they work more quickly and efficiently than smaller models. Our top-rated Kenmore (full Ratings and model numbers available to subscribers) is particularly effective at dehumidifying air, and it features an on-board pump that can send water from its tank to your basement slop sink or out a nearby window. If you choose the latter, make sure the water shunts away from the foundation, or you can end up trading one moisture issue for another. We also like a large-capacity Soleus dehumidifier, whose extra-large tanks means less frequent emptying.

If you're dealing with a smaller space that only occasionally gets damp or wet, you can save about a hundred bucks by choosing a mid-sized dehumidifier. These units typically handle 45 to 50 pints of water per day. GE claimed the top spot in this category, with a $200 50-pint dehumidifier that offers excellent water removal and energy efficiency. Kenmore's 50-pint model has pinpoint accuracy, which allergy sufferers will appreciate, since mold, dust mites, and other allergens thrive when relative humidity gets above 50 percent.

Small-capacity dehumidifiers, which remove between and 25 and 40 pints per day, are suitable only for small spaces that get damp, but not wet. Kenmore took home top honors in this category, with a 35-pint model that delivers excellent water removal and accuracy for just $160.

One model we don't recommend is the LG LD650EAL. Though it's a superb dehumidifier when it works, one of the three units from our initial test never did so, and a fourth model stopped removing moisture after about 50 hours.

For more information, watch this Consumer Reports buying guide video for dehumidifiers.

Daniel DiClerico

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