Since a basement is underground it is more vulnerable to collecting moisture than the other parts of your home. You need to ensure that your basement is well waterproofed, but you may also benefit from the use of a basement dehumidifier. A basement dehumidifier is a device that removes excess moisture from the air and can reduce the amount of mold and mildew that is produced. People with allergies can especially benefit from the addition of a basement dehumidifier.
A basement dehumidifier uses a fan to pass the moist air over a cold metal coil causing the air to lose ability to hold water. The excess water is placed into a reservoir for later emptying and the dry air is released into the room after passing over warm metal coils.
Before purchasing a basement dehumidifier you will need to determine what size you need. Many people believe that larger basement dehumidifiers will be more energy efficient as they can remove more moisture from the air quickly. Others believe that they high energy that is used when these units are first started up eliminate any energy savings when compared to a smaller unit. A smaller unit will not use as much energy when it is first started but it will need to run for a longer period of time. To help improve energy efficiency it is a good idea to keep your unit’s coils clean.
You will also need to determine whether you need a permanent unit or a portable unit. If your basement is only occasionally humid, in response to rain for example, you may do better with a portable unit. The other advantage of a portable unit is that it can be moved wherever you need it in the home. If, however, you live in a place where it is usually cold and damp you will be best served by a permanent basement dehumidifier.
Those of us who have basements know that while they are great space for storage or extra living space they are also an impossible breeding ground for mildew and mold. The problem is made worse when a basement is used for storing old papers and storage of items in cardboard boxes. Paper can become a prolific breeding ground for mildew and mold, making the damp and dank basement even worse. A basement with high humidity can become vulnerable to wood warping or even worse, wood rot. While a basement dehumidifier can really help, to get the maximum impact you will also need to look into some of the root causes of basement dampness.