Most of the time, we take our garages for granted. For the most part, a garage is treated as a home for our vehicles where they can safely reside, protecting it from the forces of nature and neighborhood kids. For a few people, a garage is a sanctuary to do weekend woodworking projects, or is a place to hide from children, the spouse, and in-laws. To them, making their garage as livable as possible is a task that needs to be given proper care and attention.
During the hot months, it’s not uncommon for garages to convert from a place to park your car to a hot sauna. Leaving all those airborne water particles flying about is not only bad for your vehicle, but it can do quite a number on your home. Humidity invites mold, and when mold grows as an uncontrolled pace, it’s only a matter of time before it finds its way into your living room and bedrooms.
By now, you’re probably wondering to yourself, “What can I do about it?? Well, dear reader, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce the relative humidity level in your garage. The simplest, most effective way of doing it is by investing in a dehumidifier.
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What is a dehumidifier?
A dehumidifier is an appliance that… dehumidifies. The purpose of this tool is to take away as much water vapor from a room as possible, giving it a fresh, non-muggy feel that you’ve become accustomed to during the hot months.
A dehumidifier works by suctioning up the indoor air in a room, condensing water vapor into manageable droplets and storing them in an onboard basic or expelling them through an exit hose.
Garage Dehumidifier Buying Guide
Even though there are several ways to prevent over-humidity in your garage, having a dehumidifier is the simplest, most cost-effective appliance to do the job. But not all dehumidifiers are built the same, nor can they all handle heavy-duty jobs such as clearing large garages of airborne water particles. In the following section, we’ll go over the various specs and features that you should keep an eye for when shopping for a garage dehumidifier.
There are two main types of dehumidifiers to choose from. The first is called a refrigerant dehumidifier which is the type described in an earlier section. It condenses water by suctioning in water-logged air then passes it around a cool coil.
The second type is known as a desiccant dehumidifier. This type uses desiccant packets, similar to those DO NOT EAT packets that come with new shoes and electronics, to absorb moisture from the air.
In our opinion, the refrigerant dehumidifier is the better choice. Desiccant dehumidifiers are better if you live in areas where temperatures dip below freezing, but since humidity is a larger problem in the hot months, the benefit of non-freezing desiccant packets is irrelevant.
The area coverage is the maximum room size that a dehumidifier can work optimally. This is another area where refrigerant dehumidifiers are better than their desiccant counterparts since refrigerants actively suction in water-logged air.
Before you finalize your purchase decision, you need to understand just how much area your garage covers. Larger garages require beefier dehumidifiers, but if you have partitions in your garage, then there needs to be a direct opening between each section in your garage if you want to get by with a single dehumidifier unit. Otherwise, you may need to get multiple compact models for each sub-room in your garage.
The condense rate measures how much water the dehumidifier can extract from the air within a 24-hour period. The right condense rate depends on just how humid your garage gets during the summertime. The only foolproof way to determine the correct condense rate for your unique situation is by using a hygrometer.
Different dehumidifier models provide different condense rates, typically ranging from 20 pints to 70 pints of water each day. Generally speaking, there really isn’t “overkill” when it comes to condense rates. For that reason, it’d be safer to get a 70-pint model than a 20- or 30-pint for your garage.
Even though you’re purchasing a dehumidifier to make your garage more comfortable to hide in during summer, there’s no denying that other parts of your home may become humid and unbearable, such as your bedroom. Unless you plan on sleeping in your garage, you may want to find a portable dehumidifier to take with you to every room in your home.
Storage Capacity and/or Drain Port
After a dehumidifier sucks out water from the air, it needs to go somewhere. Dehumidifiers come with a storage basin where the accumulated water is stored. The basin should be large enough to handle more than a day’s worth of water.
If you don’t feel like babysitting your humidifier all day long, then consider purchasing a model with a drain port. You can connect a hose to the port and run the hose through a garage window.
Dehumidifiers don’t just reduce the relative humidity in a room. They can also be used to filter the air in your garage (not desiccant dehumidifiers). For this reason, you’ll also want to take a close look at what sort of filters the unit comes with.
The ideal filter would be HEPA-grade which can capture up to 99.97% particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. If you smoke in your garage, allow your pet to wander in there, or have the garage door open frequently, then you’ll definitely need a finer filter to eliminate odors and airborne irritants.
Having a dehumidifier in your garage is the ideal solution to prevent rust and mold growth from accumulating on your tools, vehicle, and walls. Finding the right dehumidifier isn’t all that difficult; as long as you’ve finished reading this guide, you should be equipped with the knowledge required to pick up the best dehumidifier for your garage. The most important things to consider are the coverage area and condense rate. Everything else is just for added convenience.