If you have a warehouse or large basement and are all too familiar with that mildew, musty smell you’re in the right place. If you need a dehumidifier but are afraid a residential dehumidifier may not be tough enough to handle the job then you need a commercial or industrial dehumidifier. They are more rugged, powerful, and heavy duty. These sturdy units will transform the air quality and feel in your space.
Below is a buyer’s guide that will answer all of your frequently asked questions, define a glossary of terms, and give an overview of our top brands.
- What is the difference between residential, commercial, and industrial dehumidifiers?
- How can a dehumidifier help after a leak or flood?
- Can I use a commercial or industrial dehumidifier in my home?
- How much water will a commercial or industrial dehumidifier remove?
- How can I calculate how many cubic square feet my room is?
- What is my recommended ACH?
- How can I determine the recommended CFM?
- What is a desiccant dehumidifier?
- What temperatures can these units operate in?
- Is there a dehumidifier that will fit in my crawlspace?
- Is there a dehumidifier I can use in my indoor pool and spa area?
- Are they noisy?
What is the difference between residential, commercial, and industrial dehumidifiers?
Dehumidifiers are generally broken up into 3 categories: residential, commercial, and industrial. Residential units are smaller, less expensive, and quieter. They do not look industrial so they can easily be placed in living area without disrupting the décor. Check out our buyer’s guide on residential dehumidifiers here:
Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers can be used interchangeably and are stronger and more durable than residential units and therefore tend to be more expensive. These dehumidifiers are primarily made of steel or heavy duty plastic while residential units are commonly made of light weight plastic that can be less durable. Because commercial dehumidifiers are built out of more durable material, they tend to last longer than residential units so they are an investment.
Extreme temperatures, high humidity, mold and mildew often come from poor insulation and a lack of central air system. Using a commercial dehumidifier in a warehouse can help protect your machinery from electric failures and damage to merchandise while maintaining a healthy work environment for employees. Making this investment can preserve valuable items in places such as basements, garages, warehouses, server rooms, electrical switch rooms, and many more!
How can a dehumidifier help after a leak or flood?
If you’ve had a leak or flood it’s important to act quickly. The first 24-48 hours are vital in preventing mold and bacteria from growing. After removing the water from the area, using a fan to dry the residual moisture can be too time consuming. That’s where a commercial or industrial dehumidifier comes in handy. They can remove deep imbedded moisture from wood flooring, wall frames, and other hard surfaces more quickly and efficiently.
Not only will they speed the drying process, but it will inhibit the growth of mold and prevent a musty smell from developing. In order for the dehumidifier to work optimally, it’s important to keep the windows and doors closed during this process. Most commercial and industrial units have wheels so you can easily move it from area to area and remove moisture where needed. If you live in a flood area, commercial and industrial dehumidifiers are a great investment to save you time and money after a flood.
Can I use a commercial or industrial dehumidifier in my home?
Yes, as long as you don’t mind their rugged exteriors. Both commercial and industrial units are made to reduce high levels of moisture and can be used interchangeably, as well as inside the home depending how much square footage you want to dehumidify.
Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers are good for large residential spaces in humid climates. There are units designed for specific places in your home including crawlspaces, pool areas, basements, and garages. Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers will reduce mold, condensation dripping from pipes or windows, and eliminate musty smells. Just like with residential dehumidifiers it’s important to know the size of the space you are trying to remove moisture from. This will help you choose the best unit for your needs. If you plan to use one of these units in your home, be sure to check the product description since some of the industrial and commercial models require special outlets or voltage.
How much water will a commercial or industrial dehumidifier remove?
Water removal is based on how many pints per 24 hours and square footage. Commercial and industrial units can remove up to 160 pints, while most residential dehumidifiers remove up to 70 pints. Some industrial dehumidifiers units can only remove 50 pints which is similar to a residential unit but they are more heavy duty and will last longer. Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers can reach a variety of square footage so make sure both the square foot coverage and pint size fit your needs when choosing a dehumidifier.
How can I calculate how many cubic square feet my room is?
Using a tape measure or ruler, measure the length and width of the room. Multiply the length and width numbers to get the room’s square footage. To get the cubic feet square footage, you measure the height of the room and multiply that by the square footage.
What is my recommended ACH?
ACH is air changes per hour, which tells you how many times the air should pass through the dehumidifier each hour. This will help you determine the airflow needed to properly dehumidify the area. Here are the recommendations based on humidity levels:
- Extremely Wet:
Humidity levels are between 90%-100%, you can see large puddles or have standing water. The recommended ACH is 6.
Humidity levels are between 80%-90%, the area has visible stains, wet spots, mold, and mildew. The recommended ACH is 5.
- Very Damp:
Humidity levels are between 70%-80%, the room has visible moisture on walls or floor and a mildew smell. The recommended ACH is 4.
Humidity levels are between 60%-70%, the area feels damp and smells musty in humid weather. Typical for basements and crawlspaces. The recommended ACH is 3.
How can I determine the recommended CFM?
To figure out the CFM, multiple the cubic square footage by the ACH value. Divide that number by 60 (minutes) to come to your recommended CFM. If you cannot find a unit with a high enough CFM, it is recommended that you purchase two units.
What is a desiccant dehumidifier?
Desiccant dehumidifiers use naturally absorbing materials such as silica gel to dry air. You may be familiar with silica gel from those packets you find in a new pair of shoes and other items. These packets are placed with these items to provide the same moisture absorbing properties.
Air is drawn into the unit and passes over a rotating wheel of silica gel. It draws out water from the air absorbing the moisture into the gel wheel. A small portion of air, known as reactivation air is heated and passes back through the wheel. Any moisture present in the wheel is released into this air stream, reactivating the gel wheel. The reactivation air will leave the unit as warm, moist air and should be vented outside of the area being dehumidified.
Desiccant dehumidifiers are ideal for cooler climates, low humidity environments, or areas that need deep drying such as hardwood floors. Since they do not produce water, these units can operate in subzero temperatures. These units are usually much quieter than other industrial or commercial dehumidifiers because they don’t require a compressor.
What temperatures can these units operate in?
Commercial and industrial dehumidifiers can operate in lower temperatures, generally as low as 33°F. Desiccant units can operate in subzero temperatures.
Is there a dehumidifier that will fit in my crawlspace?
Certain indoor spaces, specifically crawlspaces and basements often have higher humidity levels. If too much moisture is in the air, water will condense on surfaces like pipes, windows, and walls. But sometimes the water condenses out of sight, behind the walls or above ceilings. A musty smell is often a telltale sign of excess moisture in the air. If have this odor and/or can see condensation, a crawlspace dehumidifier can help solve the issue. These units are easy to install, durable, and long lasting.
Is there a dehumidifier I can use in my indoor pool and spa area?
Indoor pool and spa areas are naturally humidified from heating water in the pool. This excess of humidity can create mold, poor air quality, and structural damage. Using a dehumidifier will create a more comfortable environment and protect the infrastructure.
Are they noisy?
The noise levels for commercial and industrial dehumidifiers are higher than that of residential units. Fortunately, these dehumidifiers are usually placed in areas where noise isn’t a concern like a warehouse or basement. Be sure to check the product description, some units provide the dBa rating so you will have a better idea of what noise level to expect.
ACH — ACH stands for air changes per hours which calculates how many times per hour air will circulate through the dehumidifier. The higher the humidity in your space, the higher the recommended ACH would be.
CFM — CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and measures how much air the dehumidifier can move. The higher the value, the more air is being pushed through the unit.
Commercial & Industrial dehumidifier — these dehumidifiers are able to remove more moisture than residential units across larger square footage areas like basements, warehouses, and construction sites.
Desiccant Dehumidifier — uses a silicia gel to absorb moisture from the air. This type of dehumidifier will not produce water so they are ideal for extremely low temperature environments.
Easy mobility — many units have handles and casters that allow for easy mobility from space to space.
Gravity Drain — the dehumidifier must be elevated above the hose allowing gravity to naturally drain the water down.
Hot Gas Defrosting — automatically melts frost build up on the coils allowing for optimal operation of the unit in low temperatures, most of our Ebac models have this helpful feature.
Humidistat — similar to a thermostat, it indicates the relative humidity and allows you to adjust to a desired level.
Integral Condensate Pump — allows the unit to pump the water out while being left unattended. Condensate pumps can pump either vertically or horizontally and will automatically begin the process once the water reaches a certain level.
One of the top rated companies, with over 35 years of experience in the design and development of industrial dehumidifiers, they provide powerful and reliable products. Ebac offers a variety of portable and wall mounted units as well as desiccant models.
Aprilaire prides themselves on providing superior indoor comfort through temperature, humidity, air purity, and air freshness. Aprilaire has great basement and crawl space dehumidifiers because they are easy to install and deliver great results.
Dri-Eaz’ mission is to improve and restore indoor environments by providing the best portable solutions. Dri Eaz specializes in products for restoration and remodeling projects including moisture measurement systems that are accurate and easy to read.
More On Dehumidifiers:
- Shop for Commercial Dehumidifiers
- How to Select a Dehumidifier
- What Capacity Dehumidifier Do I Need?
- Dehumidifier Features: What to Look for When Buying a Dehumidifier