|Guide to Choosing a Dehumidifier|
|We are often asked about the criteria we use to rate and evaluate dehumidifiers. Below are some of the critical factors we take into account in our evaluations of dehumidifiers plus some suggestions for you.|
Key Information to Keep in Mind
You should really consider using professionals like the technical sales people at AllergyBuyersClub.com to help guide you in choosing the proper dehumidifier for your needs. An improperly sized unit can be useless in preventing mold even if it's running unless the humidity in the room is brought below the proper level.
Most dealers only know that a dehumidifier can remove moisture from the air, but have no idea how to recommend a proper size. If you buy too much capacity, you will be paying for more than you need; but if you buy too little, the dehumidifier will probably run all the time and possible not even get to your desired humidity level. At the large warehouse home improvement stores, the only type of answer you will get from an employee (if you can find one to ask) concerning what is the difference between this dehumidifier or that will be an answer such as "about $50. " They can do the math, but they don't know what they are selling.
Not only can we suggest the proper size, but also the proper unit to solve your humidity problems. We carry a wide variety of sizes ranging from small units like our Comfort-aire 30 pint (pictured - $249.95) to industrial units that can remove hundreds of pints like the Ebac CD-60 low temp dehumidifier. Some units are for single rooms, others for a whole house like the 5-star rated Santa Fe priced at $1699.95, and one that can be installed as part of your existing heating/air conditioning system or for doing your own ducting between multiple rooms.
The magic humidity number to achieve is 50% or less because mold cannot grow at humidity levels below 50%. Since going down to 40% can be a waste of electricity and electricity can be expensive, try for a humidity range of 45% to 50%.
30-pint, 40-pint, 50-pint designations refer to the number of pints of water that the dehumidifier can remove in a 24 hour period under set conditions; not to the size of the water bucket that is usually only 16 or so pints. However, since set conditions are at 80 degrees and 60% relative humidity and very few homes will have those conditions, dehumidifiers will actually do less than those numbers at your location.
Additionally, when manufacturers state that a certain size of theirs can do 1000 square feet, they are usually assuming ideal conditions and are not taking into account that there are tremendous differences in humidity between areas such as southern Florida and a mountaintop in Colorado. Your outside humidity has a tremendous effect on your inside humidity.
Some dehumidifiers will only operate at temperatures about 65 degrees or they will form ice on the coils (ice up) and shut off the machine. Only those designed to operate below 65 degrees, called "low temperature" dehumidifiers, are recommended for most basements since the temperature is often below 65 degrees. Both our Comfort-aire and Delonghi dehumidifiers (pictured) offer low temp solutions starting at $179.95. These models have built in "frost guards" or "freeze guards" designed to turn off the compressor as soon as freezing is detected and leave the fan running to blow warm air over the coils. Some of the industrial units use a process called "hot gas" to actually heat the coils and allow them to operate down to 33 degrees. The Ebac CD30 is ideal for moisture control in cold areas with space constraints. Unfortunately, low temperature units are usually noisier than units designed to operate over 65 degrees.
Even if you have a low temperature unit, while it may not ice up, it may not be able to bring the humidity to the level you want because of the strong correlation between temperature and the ability of a dehumidifier to remove water. The lower the room temperature, the harder it is to remove the water. At 80 degrees it is possible to reduce the humidity to about 40%, but at 70 degrees the humidity can only be reduced to about 45%, and at 60 degrees or lower often only to about 60% unless you have properly oversized your dehumidifier.
Many people tell us that noise is a factor when choosing a dehumidifier. Low temperature dehumidifiers tend to be noisier than regular temperature units. All dehumidifiers make some noise but ones designed for bedrooms should have the noise recede into the background with a low hum noise level. The small dehumidifiers like the Comfort-aire 30-pint units we sell are the quietest.
Reliability of any appliance is very important and more so than usual with dehumidifiers. We have found that many models tend to break down after about 18 months or even sooner. Long gone are the days when dehumidifiers could be expected to last 10 ?C 20 years without a problem. Our experience tells us which dehumidifiers have the lowest return rate and highest reliability rate.
Suggestions On Use:
Buy a dehumidifier that is properly sized for your specific needs, conditions, and location. Don't buy one just based on a seemingly low price because in the long run it will possibly cost you more.
Position your dehumidifier so that it can get maximum airflow both into and out of it.
If you need to place it close to a wall, consider turning it sideways to improve the airflow.
Remove and clean the air filter frequently. This filter does little for the air that you breathe, but will stop dirt particles and dust from forming on the condenser coils and reducing the efficiency of the machine. If the filter becomes clogged, it will stop the airflow to the dehumidifier and cause the motor to fail prematurely.
Be sure to buy a dehumidifier with a good warranty for repairs and a company that will stand behind the warranty. We have found that manufacturers actually differ enormously when it comes to standing behind their machines. While 1-year warranty on most parts and 5 years on the sealed system is standard, who in their right mind wants to heave a heavy dehumidifier into their car and take it to the local repair center if it breaks down after a short time or requires frequent repairs.
Features to Look For:
Digital humidistats that allow you to set a desired humidity level have an advantage over those with just an adjustable dial, since you have no idea what humidity you will achieve at a position on the dial. This is important to those people who wish to maintain a level of humidity sufficiently low to avoid dust mites or molds that thrive in higher-level humidity environments.
Built in hygrometers to measure the actual humidity in the room will save you from having to buy a separate one to be certain that you are maintaining a humidity level of 50% or slightly lower.
An automatic shut-off when the bucket completely fills is a must so that the water will not overflow.
A bucket to which you can attach a hose for continuous gravity drainage makes the job so much easier. Since most buckets hold between 16 to 20 pints, one of the major inconveniences is emptying the bucket, especially in a very humid environment where this could be a task that needs to be done every few hours. A bucket that is both sturdy and has a built in handle will prevent the irritation caused by a flimsy plastic one without a handle that inevitably causes spilling water on the way to dumping it.
Built in pumps are not common, so we sell a convenient Condensate Pump at $79.95 that is capable of pumping the water 15 feet vertically and over 100 feet horizontally should you want the convenience. This way you can have the water pumped to a drain, sink, washing machine out-flow pipe, out a window, through a wall, or even to a different floor. You can actually tie it into your plumbing if you wish. Best of all, it works easily with most all of the dehumidifiers we carry.
An automatic defrost with an anti-frost sensor shuts off the dehumidifier when frost begins to build up and avoids frost build up and possible damage to the machine.
Automatic restart after a power failure is a plus, especially in a 2nd home where you are not always present, but is not as important in your primary residence where you will notice power outages.
Castors are a plus so that the unit can be easily moved from one location to another.
Energy Star rated dehumidifiers are efficiently designed to keep your utility bills down. Many dehumidifiers can draw a lot of juice and cost more than your average refrigerator to run if they need to operate for a long time.
Our will give you a head start on making your choice of which dehumidifier is best for you.
Verilux Floor Lamp Review
By Mercia Tapping
My husband asked me to find a floor lamp which he could read by, but which did not block the view of a rather special picture we have hanging behind his favorite chair. He is a rare breed of male that likes shopping in retail stores. I on the other hand, do not. So one Saturday night despite gnawing hunger pangs, I trailed around a number of retail stores to no avail. Neither of us could find any lamp we liked. Then on Sunday, I spent hours on the web searching for likely candidates. It was becoming increasingly clearer that we were not going to find an lamp we mutually could agree upon.
Then light dawned! I suggested to my husband that the ($169.95) we sell on our website might in fact fit his requirements. After a quick stop by our warehouse, I came armed with a "present for my Honey". My husband unpacked the lamp and set it up, needing no instructions, which seemed too good to be true. "How do you like the lamp?" I called hopefully from the kitchen. Silence. Puzzled, I went on an investigative trip to the living room where my husband was standing glumly . I repeated my question and my husband replied slowly "It just is not quite as bright as I thought". After a quick look at the light, I shook my head. "Honey, just take the white polystyrene packing off the light bulb and I think the light might be a little brighter!"
After making that adjustment, my husband settled into his chair with a satisfied smile. "It is a full spectrum natural light," said I, doing my promotional spiel, "Closer to real outdoors light, much healthier". My husband was oblivious to the health benefits and scarcely looked up from his reading. "Just what I was looking for Honey" he said adjusting the gooseneck to the perfect position for his reading. I learned something in the process. He did not care about it being a healthy light, but he has noticed the light it gives out is "more comfortable on his eyes". Mission accomplished.
Steam Cleaning for the Holidays
By Mercia Tapping
The family members were coming over for a holiday dinner and I decided to tackle a few areas of our house with the WhiteWing steamer to give it an extra sparkle, and do some of those forgotten spots which my otherwise wonderful cleaning lady skims over. My experiences are recounted below. While this is by no means an exhaustive audit of all this steam cleaner's capabilities, but for those of you with similar cleaning problems, I think you would find it interesting.
1. Filling the WhiteWing was done more easily with my large plastic water pitcher than the squeeze bottle provided by the manufacturer. The steam cleaner heated up just fine in about 15 to 20 minutes.
2. The first area I tackled was the grimy cranberry colored stair carpet, which looked terrible despite it had been cleaned with a conventional carpet cleaner the week before. This was definitely a "hands and knees" job. I sprayed each stair with the and then using the triangle brush covered with a towel I worked the brush quite vigorously on each step. The results were not perfect, but the difference was amazing and very visible. The stair carpet was no longer a focal point of shame! I think with a second "going over", I will achieve perfection. I was very rushed the first time, and knew a little more time is needed to lift out all the dirt! However, the results were sufficiently effective that I revised my "we need new stair carpet plan".
3. We have a white color tiled kitchen floor, which had to have been installed by a designer who never uses a kitchen. Steam cleaning a tile floor is very satisfying as it gets to all that dirt which collects around its edges of a tile floor and those annoying stubborn dirt specks or sticky globs.
4. My favorite task with a steam cleaner is the kitchen counter top, which is currently Formica and was satisfyingly silky smooth to the touch after steam cleaning with the WhiteWing. Our counter top is biscuit colored and any juice spill on the formica tends to stain and cling to the surface even after a spray and wipe. The change was subtle but visible So much so, that one of our holiday dinner guests asked me later whether I had installed new countertop. Even my husband remarked on the cleanliness as well as the "clean smell". I think both of us were getting tired of pungent citrus spray cleaners.
5. An area that is a dirt trap in our kitchen is the sink rim on the countertop. Using a fine nozzle attachment to the steam cleaner, I blew out a simply disgusting amount of dirt.
6. I sprinkled some cleaning agent on the pale biscuit ceramic kitchen sink and allowed it to sit for a while. Then I took the small circular brush and steamed around the sink . The combined action of steam and cleaning agent is much stronger than cleaning agent alone. For the first time in a while, the sink actually looked clean and not tired and shabby. It even dare I say it, 'sparkled".
7. I was on a roll, so I cannot rationally explain why I even bothered before a dinner party to steam clean the inside of the microwave and a grease and dirt trap around its fan, and the stove top, but I was in the mood for a mini cleaning blitz.
8. The storm door window pane was in a sad state after the winter, so a quick going over with the triangle brush which I prefer to the squeegee, and my guests the next night would not be greeted with a winter grimy door
9. The stains on the living room couch where my dear husband leaves greasy food droppings from his nightly snacks needed some emergency attention; as I did not have time to steam clean the whole couch and chair. A little pre-action with 212 cleaner and then using the large triangle brush of the WhiteWing steamer eradicated the memory of those annoying little stains!
10. One of the places which needed a lift before guests arrived, was my husband's bathroom, where he has the habit (driving me crazy) of leaving the remains of toothpaste all over the bathroom sink. A few strokes of the small circular brush around the sink and a nozzle brush around the toilet bowl rim and I was ready to receive guests.
11. A few hours later after our family dinner the memory of clean perfection long was gone. A greasy kitchen floor, stained countertops, chocolate cake smashed into the kitchen floor, and more were staring me in the face. After a 48-hour party recovery period, I just took out the steam cleaner and with less than 30 minutes cleaning everything was satisfyingly clean again, and you would never know that 19 people came over to dinner.
12. I have to say that steam cleaning for me is truly a preferable and more effective way to clean. I decided I should really try and train my cleaning lady on how to use it. So one day recently, I did an at home demo with the WhiteWing steamer. My cleaning lady, who is a cleaning fanatic, eyes grew rounder and rounder as I put this steam cleaner through its paces. Her first reaction was to ask how much it cost so she could use it for her other clients! I can understand why. Once you start cleaning with a steam cleaner there is no going back!
The is an AllergyBuyersClub.com exclusive and is available at the introductory price of $399.95 (regular price of $699.95). The is available at $39.95 for a gallon size.
For a complete range of steam cleaners that we carry, and their advantages and disadvantages please refer to our .
WhiteWing Steam Cleaner - Customer Evaluation
On 1/28/04 I purchased a WhiteWing steamer from Bob Cobe at AllergyBuyersClub.com.
Before talking with Bob over the phone, I had been preparing to purchase my steamer from another site. After one conversation, I knew I had found the level of service and subtlety of expertise I had been looking for, and not finding elsewhere. I needed my steamer for a very specific purpose. Bob not only recommended the right machine for the job, but went as far as testing/researching the exact attachment to make absolutely certain it would work for my application. It did, and Bob promptly shipped me the WhiteWing.
After receiving it, I had a very basic question, and called Bob. Of course, he had the answer. Working with Bob was a professional pleasure from start to finish. AllergyBuyersClub.com is lucky to have him, just as lucky as I was to work with him.
Thank you, Bob. You went above and beyond the call of duty. That is the definition of success.
For a complete range of steam cleaners that we carry, and their advantages and disadvantages please refer to our .
IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier - Customer Evaluation
Thanks for the message, but most of all thanks for being out there in the first place! I don't think I would have realized that there are viable air quality solutions available if I hadn't bumped into your very informative website one day recently.
Earlier this week I sent ya's an email asking when my order was going to ship. Low and behold, when I got home that night there were two giant boxes on my doorstep from IQAir! (My air IQAir air cleaner and extra replacement filters). Hmmm, I sent the email and like magic... poof! there was my stuff. I was half-tempted to send another email asking when you would be shipping Britney Spears to my doorstep :) ok, ok, I know you have limitations.
Anyway, I can't describe how much I have been suffering with the bad air at work in the past two years and finally... Finally, today, I fired up the IQAir air purifier and I feel like I took that first step toward being normal again. In the first day I already noticed a huge difference. Thank you so much, I am so optimistic now about my future I can't describe it (you see, I was under the belief that I was just getting older and that it was normal to be feeling sick every day) But actually it was just bad air. Can you relate to this at all?
Thanks again! Love you guys!
--CP (young at 41)
Editor's Note: Our various IQAir products can be found on the .
Choosing the Right IQAir Purifier For You
Smoke Removal Issues and Deciding between the HealthPro Plus and IQAir MultiGas units
By David Barnaby
Manager Technical Support
We have found we need to be careful when recommending the IQAir Healthpro Plus air purifier to potential customers to make sure we ask them why they want the V-5 gas filter cartridge and how they plan to use it.
If a customer has light gas and odor issues, the IQAir HealthPro Plus will be the correct choice. However, if the customer plans to use it for smoke during home renovations, the air cleaner would be necessary.
The reason for our recommendation is the Hepa filter in the GC series is located after the V-5 gas filter cartridge and it will adsorb some of the odors, even those that will now come from the hepa filter. The paper material in the Hepa filter is porous in nature and will adsorb gases and odors similar to the way your clothes do. Therefore the post hepa filter design in the IQAir GC series handles that problem.
We do not recommend the HealthPro Plus for smoking odor control because the machine will give off odors if moved from place to place - just as your bar room clothes will emit odors. Again the IQAir GC Multigas is the air purifier of choice for smoke odor control.
If a customer wants to use to use their air cleaner to remove continuous or large amounts of gases and odors, we recommend the IQAIR GC Multigas unit even though it is more expensive. At the risk of being repetitive, in the Multigas units, the Hepa filter is located at the bottom of the unit and the gas filters after it, which will also result in any outgassing from the Hepa filter to be removed by the gas filter cartridges. In addition, the IQAir GC Multigas has four large gas filter cartridges with a very large surface area, and more than twice as much filter media than the V-5 gas filter cartridge on the IQAir Healthpro Plus.
Furthermore, customers plan on doing any renovation to a particular part of their house like painting, refinishing a floor, etc. they would be better off opening the windows and airing out the room for several days. These air cleaners are not designed to be moved from an uncontaminated room to a room where there are renovations going on and then back to the original room with changing the filters.
Manager of Technical Support
The is priced at $795 and the is available at $995.
Reader Comment on Our Letter to Americans for Non-Smokers Rights
March 26th 2004
A good letter responding to the Non Smokers group. Now if I could only convince my sister to stop smoking. I don't like to visit her house because it reeks, and when she talks to me on the phone, I can hear her lungs wheezing. She wonders why she can't shake off recurring viruses and a persistent cough and lung congestion. She believes that since there is nothing in the bible against smoking that God has given her permission to smoke. Her lungs are clear on x-rays, but she swears up and down that the doctors have never done a pulmonary function test during her annual checkup.
The best I could do was convince her to buy a for the room in which she smokes, so that her roommate could have some modicum, as you say, of protection. The roommate comes home every night and throws open all the windows and doors as soon as she enters the house to help clear it.
This is the most painful aspect of our family's relationship with my sister. Everyone has asked her to stop smoking for her own sake. Her reply is "I don't want to hear about it". So she is banished to the outdoors whenever she visits any of us.
I am so grateful that I live in California where I can go for years without seeing or smelling tobacco smoke. Let us hope that better uses can be found for the tobacco crop so that the states that have come to depend on it for income don't suffer economic disaster.
Meanwhile, my good friend Beah Richards, whose bio recently ran on HBO, succumbed to cigarette-induced emphysema, which was tellingly described on the program. The last time I visited her, she could barely walk across the room with stopping to catch her breath. She had stopped going out because getting the oxygen bottle et al lined up was such a major project. Eventually, even the oxygen bottle isn't enough. I'm told she tried increasing the use above the recommended amount, and suffered oxygen poisoning ( metabolic imbalance) at one point. I have told my sister this to no avail.
The Extra Mile
By Bob Cobe
We had an opportunity last week to provide real customer service. A customer living in a town about 20 miles away who had recently bought an from us for her severely allergic child was so pleased that she wanted to purchase another from us for an imminent problem. Her public works department was going to tear up both a sewer line and gas line in front of her house within a week and she wanted a second machine for another area in her home.
When we ordered her new IQAir Multigas we were informed that stock had just run out due to the recent rush-to-buy orders avoiding a price increase. We called the customer back and explained that while the Multigas was currently out of stock, we could get her the IQAir HealthPro Plus that had the same chemical composition carbon filter as the GC Multigas unit although we felt for her application the Multigas was a better choice.
Then when we tried ordering the HealthPro Plus for her, our computers told us that the inventory that we had been told was available just a short time earlier, was now also "out of stock".
Rather than just telling the customer that we were unable to come to her aid and help solve her problem, we offered to loan her one of the seven IQAir units that we use in our office. Her only cost would be for a new carbon filter at our dealer cost.
She was very pleased with our response and happily came to pick it up the next day. This "extra mile" is the kind of customer service we like to give our customers.
The Potential Benefits of Using Local Honey
By Tom Ogren, Regular Contributor to AllergyBuyersClub.com
As one who makes his living by writing about allergies and asthma I am often asked about the potential health benefits of using local honey.
Honey contains bits and pieces of pollen and honey, and as an immune system booster, it is quite powerful. I have often in talks and articles, and in my books, advocated using local honey. Frequently I'll get emails from readers who want to know exactly what I mean by local honey, and how "local" should it be. This is what I usually advise:
First, a word of warning: do not give honey to babies one year of age or younger. This therapy is recommended for older children (five and up, and adults).
Allergies arise from continuous over-exposure to the same allergens. If, for example, you live in an area where there is a great deal of red clover growing, and if in addition you often feed red clover hay to your own horses or cattle, then it likely you are exposed over and over to pollen from this same red clover. Now, red clover pollen is not especially allergenic but still, with time, a serious allergy to it can easily arise.
Another example: if you lived in a southern area where bottlebrush trees were frequently used in the landscapes or perhaps you had a bottlebrush tree growing in your own yard, your odds of over-exposure to this tree's tiny, triangular, and potently very allergenic pollen is greatly enhanced.
In the two examples used above, both species of plants are what we call amphipilous, meaning they are pollinated by both insects and by the wind. Honeybees will collect pollen from each of these species and it will be present in small amounts in honey that was gathered by bees that were working areas where these species are growing. When people living in these same areas eat honey that was produced in that environment, the honey will often act as an immune booster. The good effects of this local honey are best when the honey is taken a little bit (a couple of teaspoons-full) a day for several months prior to the pollen season.
When I'm asked how local should the honey be for allergy Prevention, I always advise to get honey that was raised closest to where you live, the closer the better since it will have more of exactly what you'll need.
From: Tom Ogren 
Excerpt from "Nuances of Nasal & Sinus Self Help" by Susan Rudy
Chapter 15: Self Help for the Stuffy, Runny Nose
If the nose is too wet, dry it, but not too much! In humans, just like in dogs, the nose is more healthy when it is moist. One of the challenges in caring for a stuffy, runny nose is figuring out what has caused it, and when to seek medical care. Causes of a short-term or long-term stuffy and / or runny nose are reviewed in chapter two. The common cold, or viral upper respiratory infection (URI), influenza ("the flu"), allergies (allergic rhinitis), and sinusitis, (rhinosinusitis), are the most common causes.
Allergy, Cold, Flu, or Sinus Infection?
It can be tough to figure out whether symptoms are caused by allergies, a cold, the flu, or a sinus infection. Medical healers have to know the difference so they can apply the right treatments. Laypersons who know the difference can best judge when and how to manage alone, and when to seek medical care.
Allergies are a common malady affecting one of every five people in America (Zellerbach, 2000). Allergies are a reaction to touching, breathing, or eating the item one is allergic to, which causes the body to react by putting out chemicals (like histamine). These chemicals, which are released either right away, or hours to days later, cause the bothersome symptoms of itching (nose, eyes, throat, ears or skin), sneezing in bunches, runny nose, watery eyes, and sometimes coughing or wheezing in the lungs. Children especially, may have a telltale look to the face; a crease across the nose, dark circles under the eyes, and mouth breathing. Headaches or facial pressure may result from severe nasal stuffiness with or without the complication of sinus infection. Fever and body aches are not part of allergies, unless there is infection on top of the allergy. Fatigue may be present, however. Common items that cause allergic reactions are trees, grasses, weeds, molds, dust mites, pets, cockroaches, foods like peanuts, wheat, eggs and seafood, and food additives such as dyes and sulfites. Outdoor allergies to "pollens" in the air tend to be worse in seasons. Indoor allergies to dust mites and pets tend to be a year-round problem. People allergic to more than one outdoor pollen, may have symptoms much of the time. The frequency of food and insect allergy symptoms varies with exposure to the food or insect.
Actions that Help a Runny / Stuffy Nose from a Cold, Flu, Allergy, or Sinus Infection
1. Keep the nose open to drain the sinuses and to promote rest.
2. Help mucus to flow and drain.
3. Avoid breathing nasal irritants
Added Measures for the Runny / Stuffy Nose of Allergies
1. Avoid the offending allergen(s)as much as possible.
2. Prevent the reaction to the allergen when it cannot be avoided
3.Manage the symptoms after allergy exposure to keep the nose open and control mucus drainage.