Given the current very frightening Covid-19 virus, we decided to bring a decision about buying a dehumidifier forward.
Why the hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier
We bought our dehumidifier six weeks ago when I could sense that this Covid-19 virus was now looking pretty dangerous.
Airborne microorganisms thrive in humid conditions so with summer just around the corner and this pandemic showing no signs of abetting anytime soon, I really want to make sure that we can do everything possible not to have bacteria, toxins, microbes and any virus, whether it be Covid-19 or the ordinary flu escalating.
All houses have a great deal of moisture in the air which naturally carries particles of bacteria. Although mostly harmless it seems like a great idea to remove them anyway to maintain health levels.
But buying a humidifier has been on our must do list for quite a while anyway, as it’s a sure way of getting rid of mold and moisture on windows through overnight condensation. That’s been driving my wife a bit crazy as it then gets on the lining of the curtains which she then has to have dry cleaned.
There are many Humidifiers to choose from
There are a huge choice of dehumidifiers out there. They range from $45 for a very cheap, one bedroom unit up to $2000.
But there’s a lot sitting in the $250 range which is where our budget lay. Like any equipment it depends on your needs and requirements, plus , of course, what you can afford.
Our house is relatively large at 3000 square feet, but it is only twenty years old and is very airy. So, factoring that in, I thought we could get away with one in the $250 category. If we had a home that was older and maybe boxed in with neighbors. Cold in the winter, and difficult to ventilate, well I would have taken that up a notch to about a $500 spend.
When choosing a dehumidifier, be aware that they have different noise levels, water tank capacities, automatic shut-off, automatic humidistat (measures the moisture in the air and automatically turns off and on maintaining a level which you have set it too). Timer, washable filter, wheels, clothes drying capability, wattage (generally the higher the wattage, the more power the machine has) and Energy Rating.
Understanding how Humidifiers Work
In a nutshell, dehumidifiers work on the same principle as refrigerators. That is they have a cold, refrigerated coil. They draw air by way of a fan and the damp air passes over the cold coil. It collects on this coil and water droplets accumulate which then drop into a water tank for collection and disposal. Think of them like a vacuum cleaner. It sucks the air in, removes the moisture, then blows the air without moisture back into the home again.
When you first turn your dehumidifier on, it will collect moisture from inside wall linings and cavities, carpets and furnishings, anywhere where moisture has accumulated. So as you can imagine it will be running overtime during this process and you’ll be working hard to keep it emptied until all that accumulated moisture has gone and it’s just running at a steady day by day level.
You will truly be amazed at the amount of water the dehumidifier picks up and turns into water. Because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there. Think of clouds in the sky, then think of those clouds in your home. It’s the same thing, but they’re more dissipated.
If you leave wet laundry drying just that creates moisture. After all, after they’ve magically dried over a day or two, that moisture has had to have gone somewhere, and I can tell you it’s gone into the atmosphere of your home.
That’s not to tell you to stop naturally drying your laundry on a rack. We still do and love that way of drying clothes, but, I just use this as an example. Cooking Is another, where steam is pouring off the potatoes, or, rice.
Problems we've had with the hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier
- It is a little noisy. Although it’s a noise you could get used to, we keep it in a hallway that we don’t often use. It’s about the same level as an air con unit.
- It’s sensor setting is a bit off, but not a lot. We run it at 55° when we should run it at 60° We have a separate hygrometer for humidity testing and it’s showing the hOmeLabs (such a strange name) 4,500 Energy Star running about 5° behind. So, fault of the sensor I think.
- It does exhaust heat into the room, but I guess that’s part of how they work so they’re likely to all do this.
- The bucket can be quite heavy if you let it fill right up. When we first got it we were amazed that turning it on in the morning and checking it 12 hours later we could virtually capture 10 gallons of water! Fortunately it does have a shut off so won’t overflow.
- On the bucket, it should be about 3” taller so when you go to empty it, it can drop over the sides if you’re not careful. It does have a hose attachment so it could empty straight and continuously into a drain, but where it is we don’t have that option. We have a spare shower not far from it so use the tub to empty the water into.
- The tank needs cleaning every so often (I guess once a month) as we’ve just seen a little bit of mold on it. But probably the same as any other.
- It doesn’t have an auto turn off after it reaches a certain level of humidity.
Why I recommend it
- It magically pulls an enormous amount of water ( for us 10 gallons) out of the atmosphere each day.
- Has wheels to easily transport it around if we need to.
- When it’s fill it automatically shuts off and issues a beeping sound.
- Pleasant design and seems very sturdy.
- Don’t know if this should go into the negative comments section but when we first got it we struggled a little with setting up auto programming through the user manual. I got hold of hOmelabs support team who very clearly and patiently went through it with me until it was all sorted out. Nothing better than to have confidence in the service department.
- Nice size. Completely unobtrusive.
- Given the efficiency, features, design and functionality I think it comes at a bargain basement price.
Specifications of the hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier
- Size: 24” x 15” x 11”
- Weight: 40lbs
- Wheels for easy transportation.
- Capacity: Removal of up to 50 pints per day.
- Designed for very wet spaces of up to 4500 square feet.
- Two year warranty (Plus an extra 6 months if you register on their website)
- Has auto shut off when full.
- Drain outlet for continuous draining.
- Eliminates, odors, moisture, allergens, dust mites, molds, toxins, bacteria.
- Has a turbo mode for faster moisture removal.
- Price: $220 with free delivery.
Vremi 4500 sq ft
Vremi 4500 sq ft.
- Direct competitor to the hOmelabs 4500 sq ft.
- Price: $250 ( hOmelabs $219 )
- Tank capacity: 50 pints (same)
- Has handles for manoeuvrability (hOmelabs doesn't)
- Measure 26" x 16" x 11' ( Virtually the same)
- Weight: 42lbs ( hOmelabs: 40lbs)
- Warranty: 12 months ( hOmelabs: 2 years + )
- Auto shut off: Yes ( Yes )
Ivation Energy Star Compressor Dehumidifier
Ivation Energy Star Compressor Dehumidifier
Direct competitor to the hOmeLabs 4500 sq ft dehumidifier
- Price: $260 ( hOmelabs $219)
- Tank capacity: 50 pints ( hOmelabs 50 pints)
- Handles (No) ( hOmelabs: No)
- Castors (Yes) ( hOmelabs: Yes )
- Measures: 23" x 16" x 11". ( hOmelabs 24" x 15" x 11" )
- Weight: 40 lbs ( hOmelabs 40lbs)
- Warranty: 12 months. ( hOmelabs 24 months + )
- Auto shut off : Yes ( hOmelabs Yes )
Questions and Answers
Would it work well in Florida?
Yes. We live in quite a humid climate and works well for us, so can't see why it wouldn't work well in Florida.
If there was a power cut, will this unit restart automatically?
According to the user manual, indeed it will.
Can you use a timer with this?
Yes you can.No you can't.
Is this thermo electric, or, a compressor unit?
What is the minimum operating temperature?
What size house is this unit designed for?
Up to 4500 square feet
Does it need a replacement filter?
No, it comes with a washable filter.
What decibels does it put out?
What is the lowest level of humidity it will work in?
Can it really handle a 4000 square foot house?
Yes, we've dried ours down from 70% humidity down to 35%.
Care and Maintenance of the hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier
- Keep the unit about 6 inches away from the wall where it is situated.
- Clean the water tank about every two weeks
- Clean the air filter every two weeks. This contains a lot of air borne toxins so important to do. Air doesn’t move readily through the dehumidifier making the unit work harder if it isn’t cleaned, just like a vacuum cleaner. Replace completely the air filter a couple of times a year if used constantly.
- Wash the filter every couple of weeks with a soft cloth.
- If storing the unit. Clean all the above and cover the dehumidifier with a plastic bag and store in a ventilated area.
- If turning your dehumidifier off, don’t turn it on again for at least ten minutes. This prevents damage to the compressor.
- If operating in very cool temperatures the unit may not function properly because the coils can be susceptible to ice buildup. If you suspect it’s not operating efficiently this could be the reason. Turn it off and inspect. If there is an ice buildup then the air is too cool for the unit to operate and should just remain off. The hOmeLabs 4500 square foot unit is efficient down to 35° F.
- Make sure when operating your unit that windows are shut as otherwise you’ll be pulling in unnecessary moisture from outside your home.
hOmelabs 4500 sq ft
First a note on delivery. The unit arrived well packaged. After removal from the box there were a few pieces of tape that had to come off. From there I had a little struggle with set up for auto programming, but a call in to hOmelabs support line with a very friendly patient person, solved that as they took me all the way through it. Until sorted.
There were some close competitors to this dehumidifier, but three things won us over. First was the design and looks! It’s in a part of the house where it’s not even seen but I love the sleek white looks it has compared to the others. Next was warranty. It is the only unit that offers a two year warranty and in fact we got two and a half years, simply by subscribing to hOmelabs website. Third was the price. Only a little cheaper but still.
We have it close to a bathroom and this bathroom has attracted mold as it doesn’t get a lot of ventilation. In the past we’ve scrubbed the mold off, only for it to reappear a few weeks later. This time although we’ve only had this unit for a month, we haven’t had any more mold over the time we’ve used it. Great physical sign that it’s pulling all those things like mold and bacteria out of the air. Also, we have had a problem with dust mites and this seems to have eradicated those too.
In these scary times with the rampant Covid-19, a dehumidifier is a nice deadly weapon to have in your home to fight it alongside everything else.