Photo: Shaffer Smith Photography
High humidity levels in the home encourage rust, mildew, mold and odors; and the moisture can damage cameras, computers and furniture. The problem is easy to solve with a dehumidifier, which is rated by how many pints of water it can take out of the air every 24 hours. A 25-pint unit will serve bedrooms and living areas, but for basements and areas with a laundry room or bathroom, consider a 35-, 40- or even 50-pint unit. These devices cost $175 to $250. Keep the following operation and maintenance tips in mind: • Be sure the dehumidifier outlet is protected by a ground-fault circuit interrupter. Avoid using extension cords; spilled water presents a shock hazard.
• Place the unit at least 6 in. from any wall so air flows freely; shut all nearby windows and doors.
• For the first few days of use, turn the humidi-stat to the extra-dry setting, which will remove moisture from room furnishings.
• Run the unit only when the room temperature is above 70 ½F. Frost can form on the coils when it's below 65 ½F.
• Look for a unit with an indicator light that signals when the water pan or bucket is full.
• To reduce the chance of shock, unplug the device before emptying the water bucket.
• Each month, dust or vacuum off the grilles or louvers, and scrub the bucket with a mild bleach solution to discourage mold, mildew and bacteria.
• Once every three months remove dust from the coils with a soft brush.
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