If you are considering buying a dehumidifier in Canada, it is good to do your research first. While they can be very useful in some parts of the country to improve indoor air quality, they may not be suited to all environments. You will also need to know what type and size of dehumidifier will best suit your needs and how to maintain your dehumidifier to keep it running at its best for as long as possible.
In this article, you will find out more about how dehumidifiers work, what to consider when choosing a dehumidifier in Canada, how to look after your dehumidifier, and some recommendations to help you decide on the right dehumidifier for you.
What is a Dehumidifier?
Dehumidifiers are air conditioning appliances that take moisture out of the air. You can use them at your home, office, or during construction and industrial processes to make the environment less humid. Dehumidifiers are used for thermal comfort and health reasons, to prevent mildew, and to eliminate musty odours.
Benefits of Dehumidifiers in Canada
While dehumidifiers can make the environment more pleasant by removing moisture from the air, there are other benefits to using dehumidifiers, too.
Prevents Mould And Mildew
As dehumidifiers remove humidity, they leave you with drier air. Having drier air will help reduce problems associated with dampness such as mould and mildew. Because mould and mildew need moisture to grow, using a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity levels makes the conditions less suitable for mould and mildew.
Can Reduce Allergies And Breathing Problems
People who live or work in conditions that are damp and mouldy are more likely to develop allergies, infections, and problems with breathing. Damp and mouldy environments are also linked with negative effects on the immune system. Reducing the moisture content of the environment will prevent dampness and mould and the health conditions associated with them.
People who have breathing problems such as asthma, have a compromised immune system, are elderly, or are very young can be particularly sensitive to issues caused by mould and dampness.
Inhibits Dust Mites
Dust mites can be found in even the cleanest homes as they tend to live in, for example, upholstery, carpets, and mattresses. They are microscopic creatures that do not bite but can trigger allergies in some people.
Dust mites need moisture to survive and thrive in humid and warm conditions. When you reduce the moisture in the air, you can reduce the number of dust mites in your home. This means you may reduce your allergy flare-ups, too!
Cooking, baths, and showers all create condensation. In the right conditions, condensation can contribute to the growth of mould. It can also affect the painted or wallpapered surfaces in your home. Using a dehumidifier will reduce the effects of condensation. This means that your home can be protected against excess condensation.
Can be Used to Dry Clothing
A dehumidifier can help speed up the drying process of your clothes and some models even come with a laundry-drying function. Dehumidifiers with a laundry-drying option can be very useful in homes without a tumble dryer or with limited space to dry clothes.
Protects Home Furnishings
If the air in your home is very humid, it can cause the soft furnishings in your home to harbour mildew. This can make the furniture feel damp to the touch and develop a musty smell. You can prevent this with a dehumidifier. However, you should not let the air get too dry especially if you have woodwork or antique furniture. If the air gets too dry, it can cause wood to warp and crack.
How to Choose The Right Dehumidifier For You
There are several things you need to consider when you are looking for the best dehumidifier in Canada for you.
The prices of dehumidifiers vary a lot from low-budget humidifiers starting from $80 to more expensive models costing around $500. If you only intend to use the humidifier in a small room, need an easily portable model, or want to target a specific area in your home, then the cheaper models will be sufficient for you.
The more expensive models are faster at removing moisture and can handle larger spaces more efficiently. They tend to be louder and more difficult to move, however.
The Room Size
When you are looking for a dehumidifier, you need to consider the maximum room size it is suited for. If the unit is too small or too large for the space you intend to use it in, you will not get the results you want.
Smaller rooms, such as kitchens or bedrooms, will only need a dehumidifier with about 250 square foot service range. If you want to dehumidify a large area such as your basement or all of your main floor, then you would need a larger model with a service range from 2000 to 2500 square feet. Whatever your room size requirements are, you will find dehumidifiers in Canada to meet your needs.
The Size of the Dehumidifier
Whether you will need a small, medium, or large dehumidifier, depends on the area you want it to cover and how much moisture you need it to remove.
- Small: With smaller dehumidifiers, you get less coverage and smaller water tanks. However, a small dehumidifier can be the right option for you if you only need it to remove moisture from a small space such as your bathroom or your RV. Most small humidifiers will hold up to two litres of water. However, some will hold much more than that. You will find some options for small dehumidifiers in Canada a little later in this article.
- Medium: The average medium-sized dehumidifier will hold about 50 litres of water. They are suited for larger rooms but in most cases will not be powerful enough to remove moisture from the entire home.
- Large: These are the most powerful dehumidifiers and cover the largest areas. Often, large humidifiers come with continuous drain systems to keep the need for maintenance low. They are well-suited for large basements or dehumidifying your entire home. You can find suggestions for whole house and basement dehumidifiers in Canada further down the article.
You will need to consider the portability of your dehumidifier if you plan to move it in and out of storage or between different rooms of the house. You will find plenty of options in the market.
The smallest dehumidifiers weigh less than 2.5 kg, which makes them very easy to move around. If you need a medium-sized or a large unit, then look for one with wheels.
Automatic Shutoff Function
The automatic shutoff is a useful function in a dehumidifier as it turns the machine off when it detects the tank is full. If a dehumidifier continues to pull moisture from the air when the tank is full, it can damage the machine and leak water onto your floor. Some dehumidifiers will also detect when the tank has been emptied and restart again automatically.
However, some dehumidifiers come with a continuous drain hookup, making the automatic shutoff function irrelevant.
Rate of Dehumidification
The dehumidification rate shows you how much moisture the dehumidifier can remove from the air in 24 hours and it should be a key factor when choosing a dehumidifier. The rate can range from as little as 500 ml to several litres in 24 hours.
You will need to consider the capacity of the humidifier tank, too. The tanks’ storage capacities range between 1.5-8 litres. Unless you have a humidifier with a continuous drain option, then you need to consider the ratio of the tank to the rate of dehumidification. As an example, a model that pulls 500 ml in 24 hours and has a 4-litre tank will need to be emptied less frequently than a model with a 1.5-litre tank and a rate of 500 ml per 24 hours.
Depending on the space you intend to use your dehumidifier, you may need to consider the amount of noise it makes. While it may not be important if you are using it in a basement, it will be if you want to use it, for example, in your bedroom.
Small dehumidifiers are often quieter and with some models, you might not even notice they are on. Humidifiers with Peltier technology are often the quietest ones. If the noise level is an important factor for you, we have included some quiet dehumidifiers in Canada for you to consider towards the end of the article.
Many people keep their dehumidifiers running day and night, especially if they live in a very damp and humid environment. If you need your dehumidifier to run constantly, opt for the most energy-efficient dehumidifiers to prevent your electricity bills from rising sharply and to reduce the negative impact on the environment.
Length of Warranty
When you buy a dehumidifier, you also need to consider how long the warranty period is should anything go wrong with the unit. Most dehumidifier units come with at least one year’s warranty and many offer up to five years of cover in case of malfunctions.
Where to Place Your Dehumidifier?
You will get the best results from your dehumidifier when it is properly placed. Here is what you need to consider when deciding the best place for your dehumidifying unit.
- Keep it clear from obstructions: Most dehumidifiers should be at least 15-30 cm away from furniture and walls. This will ensure its proper air intake and exhaust. Your owner’s manual should specify the distance needed for your model.
- Place it on a level surface: You should find a level surface for your dehumidifier where there are no obstructions to the intake of air.
- Keep your doors and windows closed: When the dehumidifier is in use, keep the doors and windows fully closed. If air keeps entering through windows or doors, it may cause your dehumidifier to work extra hard and result in higher energy bills.
- Check the room temperature: most dehumidifiers will work best when the room temperature is at least 18 degrees Celsius (65 degrees Fahrenheit). If you need a dehumidifier that works well in harsher environments, you should consider a specialized unit, such as a commercial desiccant dehumidifier designed for those conditions.
Do You Need a Dehumidifier in Canada?
There are indeed some areas in Canada where dehumidifiers might not be as useful, such as the provinces and territories that are very cold and may not get as much rain. However, other parts of Canada, especially the coastal areas, have more humid air and dehumidifiers can improve the quality of the air you breathe. If you are not sure whether a dehumidifier would improve the air quality in your home, there are some signs you want to look out for.
- You have recently moved to a new home and your allergies are becoming worse or flaring up more often than they used to.
- If a member of your household has prolonged allergies and this happens year after year.
- Your home or an area of your home has a persistent damp smell.
- When there has been heavy rainfall, you get water leakages.
- When you enter your home, you notice the air is muggy. This is a sign of water vapour in the air.
- A member of your household develops an allergy to dust mites.
- There has been an increase in the number of very small pests, for example, cockroaches, moths, spiders, or silverfish in your home.
- Your clothes have a damp or mouldy smell even after they have just been washed.
- You or a member of your household has a persistent cough, a runny nose, or other symptoms of a respiratory illness.
How Do Dehumidifiers Work?
Dehumidifiers use a fan to draw warm air currents into their coils. As the humid air is fed through the refrigerated coils, it contracts and leaves condensation inside the machine. The condensation is collected in the dehumidifier’s storage tank while drier air is released back into the room from the opposite side of the machine.
Many dehumidifiers have a meter that will measure the humidity in the room and allow you to set the humidity to the desired percentage. Most dehumidifiers can bring the moisture level down to a relative humidity of 30-50%.
What Are The Different Types of Dehumidifiers in Canada?
Dehumidifiers work by extracting water from the air as it passes through the unit. Below, you will find information on the different technologies humidifiers use to remove moisture from the air.
Desiccant dehumidifiers, which are also known as absorption dehumidifiers, bond the moisture they extract from the air with hydrophilic materials, for example, silica gel. Cheaper domestic dehumidifiers have single-use hydrophilic cartridges while commercial units can regenerate the sorbent, as hot air is used to remove moisture and expel the humid air.
Condensate dehumidifiers are also called refrigeration humidifiers because they use a refrigeration cycle to collect water. This water is known as condensate, which can be reused for industrial purposes. However, it is usually considered grey water. Some manufacturers include a reverse osmosis option where the condensate is turned into potable water using filters, which can be used, for example, to water non-edible plants.
A method, that is often used in small and mini dehumidifiers, is the thermoelectric cooling method called the Peltier Effect. When a dehumidifier uses this technology, it draws humid air using a small fan which enters the humidifier through its cold side. As the air cools, it releases moisture. When the moisture has been removed, the dry, cold air passes through to the hot side to be warmed again before it is released.
Humidifiers that use this technology are almost soundless because they do not use compressors to cool the air.
These are emerging types of dehumidifiers that include designs such as the ionic membrane dehumidifier. These dehumidifiers dispose of the extracted moisture as vapour instead of liquid.
Are There Any Side Effects to Using a Dehumidifier?
Dehumidifiers will not be equally beneficial for everyone and some potential side effects depend on the environment you live in. Because dehumidifiers make the air drier, they are not necessary in dry climates, for example, deserts or homes located at high altitudes. Properties that use electric or gas heating often have drier air, so dehumidifiers may not be needed.
If the air becomes too dry, it can make conditions such as pneumonia worse and it can affect your hair and skin. If you or someone in the family has eczema, very dry air can make them more prone to flare-ups.
Other side effects from the air getting too dry can include dehydration and damage to your furniture and woodwork.
Do Dehumidifiers Need Maintenance?
While dehumidifiers do not require a lot of maintenance, there are a few things the owners can do to keep them performing at an optimal level and help them last longer. The maintenance includes emptying the tank, unless it is done automatically, cleaning the tank and the coils, and replacing any worn or damaged components.
Note: Unplug the dehumidifier from the power source before you perform any of the maintenance tasks.
Inspect The Coils of The Dehumidifier
If the dehumidifier is exposed to freezing temperatures, the cooling coils can develop ice or frost, which reduces the components’ efficiency. If you notice ice or frost on the coils, you should, if possible, increase the temperature in the space you are using the dehumidifier to keep the coils warmer.
Some dehumidifier models come with an auto-defrost program. If your dehumidifier has this option, it will reduce the chances of frost or ice building up on the coils.
The humidistat regulates the moisture level that the dehumidifier removes from the surrounding air. You should not set the humidistat too low as this can make the air too dry and the machine ends up working too hard to extract humidity.
If your dehumidifier removes too much moisture from the air, the environment becomes uncomfortable and can cause structural damage to furniture and materials. An overworking unit will also cost you extra dollars by elevating your energy bills.
In most spaces, setting the dehumidifier at 50% will be sufficient. You can use a hygrometer to check the humidity levels and then set the humidistat to the required level.
Turning the compressor off and back on again quickly can cause overheating and lead to the compressor burning out. To avoid this, leave at least ten minutes between turning it off and back on for the pressure to equalize inside the system. To protect the compressor, some dehumidifiers have an automatic delayed start function.
Cleaning the Filter
Dehumidifiers have an air filter that eliminates dust and allergens from the environment. They also protect the internal components of the unit from damage. You should clean the filters at least twice a year, possibly more often depending on how much you use your dehumidifier.
In most dehumidifiers, the filters are on the front, above the water collection unit, and you can remove the filter once you remove the water container. Some dehumidifiers also have an intake filter, which is at the back of the unit, so ensure you clean both filters if applicable to your model.
While you are cleaning the filters, inspect them for signs of wear and tear. If you notice any damage, you should replace the filter.
Replacing the Filter
Some dehumidifiers have permanent filters, but others will need to be replaced. How often this needs to be done depends on how much you use your dehumidifier. Check the owner’s manual for details on the replacement schedule, as they vary between brands and models.
Cleaning The Tank
The water tank of your dehumidifier needs cleaning once a month when the humidifier is in regular use. While some people believe that emptying the tank is enough, if you want to keep the dehumidifier working at its best for as long as possible, you need to do more than that.
Turn the dehumidifier off before removing the water tank. Wash the tank with warm soapy water to remove any dirt and debris that may have been collected in the tank. When washed, disinfect the tank to prevent the breeding of mould and mildew. Not cleaning the tank can lead the dehumidifier to distribute mould back into the indoor environment.
Air Intake and Exhaust Grilles Cleaning
If the grilles of the dehumidifier are dirty, it can mean that your dehumidifier is not working at its optimal capacity. It can also lead to damage to the capacitor. The grilles should be cleaned at least once per year or more frequently depending on how hard the dehumidifier is working.
Your equipment should come with a brush attachment for a vacuum that you can use on the grilles to clear away debris and dust.
Using Dehumidifiers in Different Settings
When used at home, dehumidifiers will prevent excessive body perspiration; sticking and warping of doors and furniture; mould and mildew growth, and pests that thrive in damp conditions, including fleas, moths, woodlice, and dust mites.
At construction and renovation sites, dehumidifiers can be used to remove excess humidity and to remove mildew and mould growth.
In industrial settings, dehumidifiers can be used in climatic chambers such as freshwater treatment plants and indoor grow rooms where it is essential to control moisture levels. Industries that use dehumidifiers include food packaging and processing, printing, lithium-ion battery production, museums, and archive spaces.
If you have noticed a musty smell, more small pests, or an increase in allergies or breathing issues, your home could benefit from a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers improve the air quality in your home by removing excess moisture.
Using a dehumidifier at your home can make the environment more pleasant and be beneficial to the health of your household members. It will prevent mould and mildew as well as small pests that prefer damp habitats.
When choosing a dehumidifier, key factors to consider include the size of the space you want to use it in, the size and capacity of the unit, and how quiet you need it to be.
Frequently Asked Questions About Dehumidifiers in Canada
While many dehumidifiers in Canada can be left on all the time, you want to turn them off when the humidity is down to 30-50% to save energy. Many dehumidifiers will come with a function to set the level of humidity you would like so it will know when to turn off automatically.
On average, dehumidifiers last between five and ten years when they are properly maintained.
If you are looking for a quiet dehumidifier, you will want to choose one that produces below 53 decibels of noise.
While there are some dehumidifiers that can double as air coolers, most of them will not cool the air in the room. In fact, you can actually expect the temperature in the room to rise a little when the dehumidifier is working as it produces it while it works. This is one of the reasons you should always position it in a place where the air can flow freely.