Top 5 Dehumidifiers for Crawl Spaces in 2020

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Whether the crawl space under your home is hot and clammy or cool with moisture dripping off your ductwork, a great dehumidifier can solve the problem. Unfortunately, finding the best dehumidifier for crawl spaces isn't easy. Many systems on the market are designed for other areas of your home, so you're going to need a special type of machine.

In our crawl space dehumidifier review, we are going to tell you how to find the best dehumidifier for crawl spaces, cellars, and partial basements. We're also going to explain how these systems work while providing you with several options so you can pick the best machine to suit your needs.

Dehumidifiers Demystified

There are a number of ways you can pull moisture from the air in a room. A great dehumidifier will always outperform moisture absorbing bags and other gadgets, however. They are simple devices as well, considering most only have a few critical parts, whether it's thermo-electric or a compressor-based system.

Regardless of the style, a dehumidifier works by pulling in air and extracting moisture from it. The air passes over coils or sinks, depending on the style, before it’s ready to be collected. Some models have tanks to take care of the collected moisture while others use pumps or simply have an outlet hose.

 Do you need a Dehumidifier for your Crawl Space?

Have you ever walked by an air vent in your home only to get an unpleasant smell?  That could be moisture getting out of control in the crawl space under your home. Odors are an issue that can be easily addressed, but moisture can lead to more problems than just foul smells.

Mold and mildew are two of the most common problems brought on by excess moisture in crawl spaces. Installing a dehumidifier in that area can significantly reduce the amount of moisture in a damp crawl space or stop those issues from ever occurring. Ideally, you want to keep the humidity levels between 30 – 50%.

You can measure those levels with a hydrometer, but it's important to address any pre-existing conditions in your crawl space or basement beforehand as well. If not, you could just be putting a Band-Aid on a far more severe situation.

How to find the Best Dehumidifier for your Crawl Space

There is no shortage of dehumidifiers available that you can purchase for use in your crawl space. With that in mind, not all dehumidifiers are built for these cramped areas. A system built for a bedroom or living area isn't exactly suited for a dusty, damp crawl space.

What's the state of your Crawl Space?

A dehumidifier that’s built for crawl spaces isn't necessarily cheap, depending on the size of the area you need to keep under control. Before you consider a brand or size, you need to take a long hard look at the crawl space under your home. Ductwork and a few spider webs are common, but there may be bigger issues right under your feet.

Is the crawl space under your home covered in plastic, or is it just bare ground? That could have a major impact on placement as well as the issues behind the moisture in the area. A desiccant dehumidifier is efficient and quiet, whereas a refrigerant-based system is ideal for issues brought on my high heat and humidity. You may also need to consider any repairs to the crawl space or upgrades beforehand.

Dehumidifier Sizes

When shopping for a dehumidifier to install in your crawl space or unfinished basement, the first thing you want to consider outside of your budget is the capacity. Measured in pints, this specification tells you how much water a machine can remove from the air each day.

  • Small Capacity Dehumidifiers - You typically don’t see many of these systems in unfinished basements, although they are ideal for some small crawl spaces. A dehumidifier with a small capacity is typically rated between 25 to 35 pints.
  • Medium Capacity Dehumidifiers - In the medium class, you'll find dehumidifiers rated around 40 to 50 pints. These are best suited for larger crawl spaces under big homes and areas where mold could arise but are still relatively easy to manage.
  • Large Capacity Dehumidifiers – Any dehumidifier over 60 pints is considered a large machine in our eyes, and should cover any dug out basement or crawl space up to 4,500 square feet or more. Moisture will never be a concern, although space certainly could be.

Ease of Use

A dehumidifier may not be a complicated device, but some are easier to use than others. One of the main things to keep in mind is the control panel, which can have a digital panel or extremely simple controls. Regardless, in a dimly lit crawl space or basement, a well-lit control panel to make life a whole lot easier.

The water captured by your dehumidifier has to go somewhere, and that is usually the drip pan or outlet hose. The former is usually relatively easy to remove and dump, although some manufacturers design their entire systems with ease of use in mind.

Size

Size can be a significant hurdle to overcome when installing a large or even a small crawl space dehumidifier. While you still need to pick a machine that's the proper capacity for your home and its moisture problem, it's important to remember the overall dimensions of the system as well.

Weight also comes into play to a degree, depending on the location of the dehumidifier. Unless you have a stand-up basement or cellar attached to your crawl space, you will want to keep maintenance and drainage in mind. Always consider the location and placement of your dehumidifier and it's dimensions beforehand.

Installation

Installing a dehumidifier in the crawl space under your home isn’t necessarily something you’ll need to call in a professional for. In most cases, the installation comes down to the design of the machine. Some systems can be hung while others are designed to be neatly tucked away in a nook or corner or tie into your HVAC system.

Crawl space dehumidifier installation comes down to a few things with homeowners – space and size. In some cases, you may need to make some adjustments to part of your crawlspace to accommodate a system. As some units weigh over 50 pounds, that can be an issue as well, along with drainage if it relies on a crawl space dehumidifier pump or hose.

Noise Level

When you're using a dehumidifier, noise is one of the top things to keep in mind. Well, you'd be surprised by how noisy some models built for crawl spaces can be. That's where you need to consider the decibel level. It will vary from one machine to the next, but it's a specification that's easy to understand.

The engine from a jet can make your ears ring at well over 100 decibels while a vacuum cleaner may come in around 75 dB. The Trane XV20i central air conditioner is rated at 55 decibels, and the best dehumidifiers for crawl spaces are generally at that level or quieter. Again, placement is critical as you wouldn’t want a noisy unit under your bedroom floor.

Build Quality

This is tied to the conditions beneath your home, so we'll keep it short and simple. If your crawl space stays dirty and isn't covered, don't waste time looking at machines with a slick design. While they won't win any beauty contests, a commercial-grade dehumidifier will outlast other systems beneath your home.

A well-built machine should have a sturdy metal exterior, not one made from plastic. Points of weakness for dehumidifiers in this class include the feet on the bottom, inlets, outlets, and even the cord. All of those areas can be an issue with poorly built dehumidifiers, and a short power cord could definitely leave you in a lurch. Warranties on systems in this class are typically 5 years with some models going a bit above and below that range.

Crawl Space Dehumidifier Features

There are a number of handy features found on crawl space dehumidifiers that can make your life simple. Some would be considered creature comforts and unnecessary for the operation of the machine. A good humidistat is something you won't want to live without, and the same goes for a few of these other features.

  • Defrosting - As the name implies, this feature ensures your dehumidifier can work when the temperature drops. If you live in a cooler climate, it's a critical feature as it can get chilly below your subfloor.
  • Condensate Pumps – This feature is not for everyone, but if you don't want to deal with water, you'll want a system with a pump. Machines with this feature will automatically pump condensation through a tube to the place of your choosing although you need to keep the distance in mind.
  • Filtration – This is something you'll find on most, if not all of the top crawl space dehumidifiers in the industrial range. You will need to replace the MERV filter every so often but will remove various particles from the air while keeping your crawl space dry.

Those are just a few of the more common features found on crawl space dehumidifiers, but there are several others to keep in mind as well. Alerts and timers can help you keep your system running in peak condition. A digital control panel with backlighting will also make your life much easier in a dimly lit crawl space. Automatic restart, onboard diagnostics, and rotatable exhaust outlets are also things to consider.

Overviews of the Best Dehumidifier for Crawl Space

      Image                    Product

Santa Fe Compact 70

  • 70 PPD
  • Maximum 2,600 sq. ft.
  • 6 years Warranty
  • No Pump

Editor's Pick

AlorAir Storm LGR Extreme

  • 85 PPD
  • Maximum 2,300 sq. ft.
  • 5 years Warranty
  • With Pump

Aprilaire 1820

  • 70 PPD
  • Maximum 3,800 sq. ft.
  • 5 years Warranty
  • No Pump

Ebac CS60

  • 56 PPD
  • Maximum 1,500 sq. ft.
  • Tiered 1 -3 years Warranty
  • No Pump

AlorAir Sentinel HD55

  • 55 PPD
  • Maximum 1,300 sq. ft.
  • 5 years Warranty
  • No Pump

The Best Dehumidifiers for Crawl Spaces

While there are hundreds of dehumidifiers that can deal with humidity and moisture, you need a special type of system when those issues are in a crawl space. With that in mind, our selections are based on the factors discussed in our buying guide, not on looks or unnecessary bells & whistles. All of these dehumidifiers will work under a wide variety of homes and are built to last.

#1 Santa Fe Compact 70

The Santa Fe Compact 70 is designed to fit in smaller crawl spaces where access could be an issue. Whether you need to hang it between floor joists or sit it on the ground, the compact 70 has you covered. That's due in part to a rotatable exhaust outlet, although that’s far from the only reason we like this crawl space dehumidifier.

At 12”W x 12”H x 12”D, this system will not take up a lot of space, although it's heavy at 80 pounds. It has a capacity of 70 pints and can cover crawl spaces between 1,800 and 2,600 square feet depending on how well your crawl space is sealed. The system is rated to draw up to 70 pints of moisture from the air each day.

The Santa Fe Compact 70 is also one of the easier units control given the simple nature of this system. Despite its appearance, it has all the features you can ask for, including auto defrost for temperatures down to 49°F. You also get auto-restart and a two-stage filtration system with a MERV 13 filter.

You will need to set something up for drainage on this system, and there are no feet or casters on the bottom. It's quiet, however, at only 55 dB and comes with a 9-foot power cord. You'll get a 6-year warranty with the Santa Fe Compact 70 dehumidifier.

Things We Like

  • Excellent warranty
  • Dual filters
  • Auto-restart & defrost
  • Ease of use

Things We Don't Like

  • Short power cord
  • It’s expensive

#2 AlorAir Storm LGR Extreme

Commercial-grade dehumidifiers are often the best bet for basements and crawl spaces, and that's the case with the AlorAir Storm LGR Extreme. This system is rated at 85 pints per day and has an unusual designed that makes it completely waterproof as well.

From a mild mold problem from moisture to flooding, this system can handle it all. That includes inclement weather considering it has a hot gas defrost system to clear ice from the coils and an operating temperature range between 33 and 105°F. Those coils are epoxy coated as well.

This is another system that is easy to use by design. A small digital display gives you the readout for the inlet and outlet, and the MERV 8 filler is easy to access. It also has a long cord that is close to 20 feet. Automatic on/off, memory starting, and a condensate pump are other highlights of the AlorAir Storm LGR Extreme.

This crawl space dehumidifier is available in four different colors with yellow, red, blue, and green. It's a little larger than other systems at 22”D x 13.7”W x 17.3”H, but ideal for larger homes with serious moisture and humidity issues. The AlorAir Storm LGR Extreme dehumidifier comes with a 5-year warranty.

Things We Like

  • 85 PPD
  • Waterproof design
  • Reasonably priced
  • Long power cord

Things We Don't Like

  • May be too large for small crawl spaces
  • Lower rated filter

#3 Aprilaire 1820 Pro Crawl space Dehumidifier

Aprilaire is a well-known name in the dehumidifier world, and the Aprilaire 1820 is an ideal solution for cramped crawl spaces. This system is easy to operate and won't break your back at only 56 pounds. It's a little larger than the Santa Fe dehumidifier but still relatively small at 12.5”H x 12.5”W by 25”D.

This unit is capable of removing up to 70 pints or 9 gallons of water each day. It's extremely low maintenance as well when you consider there is no holding tank to empty, and the filters are good for a year. The digital control panel is small, but a nice touch, and it's quiet with the decibel level of only 54 dB. You may even forget it’s there.

The Aprilaire 1820 has four leveling feet and an 8-foot power cord. Depending on the model you choose, you can also pick up this system with a digital control that mounts to the wall in your home like a traditional thermostat. The system can function as a standalone dehumidifier or tie into your central HVAC system as well. There is no pump on this model so you'll need to plan out drainage beforehand.

This dehumidifier is quite capable, even if it's a little underwhelming in some areas compared to the competition. it has all the necessary features, including auto defrost and a MERV 8 filter, but sports a higher price tag than comparable models in this class. The Aprilaire 1820 is well-built and comes with a five-year warranty from the company.

Things We Like

  • Only 51 dB
  • Excellent coverage
  • Leveling feet
  • Energy Star qualified

Things We Don't Like

  • Won’t operate below 50 degrees
  • Short cord

#4 Ebac CS60 Crawl Space Dehumidifier

Whenever a company puts the word crawl space into the name of their product, you know they mean business. That's the case with an Ebac CS60 crawl space dehumidifier, which is built for tight spaces and smaller areas that require special attention.

With the Ebac CS60, you get a dehumidifier rated to handle up to a 1,500 square foot room. It has a washable slide-out filter in a fan that runs continuously, although the noise level is minimal at 57 dB. As for the dimensions, this system measures 14”H x 14”W x 20”D, which is about the average for this range. In other words, it should fit securely in most crawl spaces.

This machine can move quite a bit of air, considering it can process 360 cubic square feet of air per minute. It can pull up to 56 pints of moisture per day from your crawl space under ideal conditions and has an efficient rotary compressor. A set of rubber feet will help to dampen any vibrations from the system, and they’re two collapsible handles in case you need to move the unit for taking on the go.

From a hot gas defrost and feature to the easy-to-use industrial design, there's a lot to like with the Ebac CS60. With the right accessories, you could make this system fully automatic, although the warranty isn't as good as you'll find from other manufacturers. Ebac provides a one-year unconditional warranty on the system itself to go along with a 3-year guarantee on the compressor, condenser, and evaporator.

Things We Like

  • Hot gas defrost
  • 56 PPM
  • Space-saving design
  • 25-foot cord

Things We Don't Like

  • Fan runs continuously
  • Coverage for the price

#5 AlorAir Sentinel HD55 Crawl Space Dehumidifier

Our second choice from AlorAir is a bit different from our first. The AlorAir HD55 is also one of the more affordable systems if you have a smaller crawl space with a major moisture problem. While it looks like a simple system, appearances can be deceiving once you see what this dehumidifier can do.

The Sentinel HD55 is a unit rated at 55 PPD with a maximum outlet airflow of 130 CFM, although it does not have a condensate pump. At around 57 pounds, it's light and can fit into even the smallest of spaces given its dimensions of 12.2” x 13.3” x 19.2” which makes it one of the best small crawl space dehumidifiers.

You'll get most of the same features found on the Storm LG extreme as well. That means you can look forward to extreme water resistance, low-temperature operation, and coated coils. The system is compatible with the company's remote control monitoring, but you will need to purchase the controller separately.

When you need a crawl space dehumidifier that's easy to maintain in an area up to 1,300 square feet, the AlorAir Sentinel HD55 Crawl Space Dehumidifier should be very high on your list. It comes with the standard 5-year warranty from AlorAir.

Things We Like

  • Hot gas defrosting
  • Low-temperature operation
  • Corrosion protection
  • The size

Things We Don't Like

  • Price compared to similar systems
  • No MERV filter

FAQ

Q: What’s the difference between a crawl space and a basement?

A: The terms can be used interchangeably, but a basement is deeper. Both can use blocks to support outer walls, however, especially in a half basement. Crawl spaces are generally between 1 to 3 feet high.

Q: Should you install a dehumidifier in crawl space without encapsulation?

A: It depends on the situation and the condition of your crawlspace. More often than not, its recommended and something that won’t break the bank if you do it yourself.

Q: Can I use a regular dehumidifier in a crawl space?

A: It’s not something we would recommend, which is why there is a separate category for crawl space dehumidifiers.

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