Where to Place Dehumidifier in Basement for Optimal Results

Josh Miller

Josh is a contributing writer to the site and former HVAC specialist.

Last Updated on June 9, 2021

Basements tend to be dark and moist environments. They can become overly humid for several reasons, including water leaks, landscaping flaws, or misplaced gutters. During the summer months or in hot climates, warm air comes inside a basement and condensates on the cool walls.

An overly humid basement is a widespread problem that’s vital to deal with quickly. Basement humidity can damage the structure of a building, causing significant issues in your home.

One of the most effective ways of solving this problem is installing a high-quality dehumidifier in your basement. However, it’s essential to know where to place it for optimal results.

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Table of Contents

How to Tell if Your Basement Has a Humidity Problem

The way to tell if you have a humidity problem in your basement is to look for signs of water and moisture.

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1. Signs of humidity on the walls and floor

One of the best indications of humidity is stains or discolored spots on surfaces. These can typically appear on a basement’s walls or ceiling, indicating that water is leaking somewhere in the house and making its way to the basement. Also, look for peeled wall surfaces, spots of mold growth, or walls that feel moist to the touch.

2. The smell of rot and mildew

You might walk into your basement and occasionally notice a musty smell, indicating mold, mildew, or decay. This is a clear indication that the environment is becoming too humid and affecting the basement. Excessive mold can cause health problems, especially where venting in the basement connects to ductwork elsewhere in the home.

3. Damage to furniture or carpets

Look for any cracks on furniture or damage on carpets in the basement. Humidity easily and quickly affects fabrics and wood. If you have a humidity problem in the basement, you’ll notice changes in objects made of these materials.

4. Heavy and humid air

You might not have obvious indicators of humidity like leaks or landscaping problems, but perhaps your home isn’t well insulated, and hot air is creating condensation in the basement. As soon as you feel the air is heavier and more humid than usual, you might want to consider installing a dehumidifier to protect the structure of your house.

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Common Causes of Humidity in Basements

There are three primary sources of humidity in basements. The first one is rain or groundwater. All this water can flow into your basement without proper systems in place to redirect water away from the house.

The other two sources are moisture, either coming from inside the house or from an outside source. When there are leaks in the pipes or home appliances, water tends to flow toward the basement and accumulate there. Likewise, warm air can enter the basement from the outside and condensate because of the cold floor and wall temperatures.

When thinking about where to place a dehumidifier in your basement, it’s helpful to identify the problem causing the humidity. The following are some of the main issues in a home that lead to humidity problems.

1. Water leaks

Although it might seem obvious, water leaks are one of the first things you should check when looking for the cause of humidity. A clear indication that you have a water leak is water stains on the basement’s ceiling right underneath a bathroom or kitchen. This is generally an easy problem to solve since all you have to do is repair the defective pipe.

2. Landscaping flaws

Sometimes the grading of the land around a house isn’t optimized for proper draining. Your lawn should have a slope that faces outwards to carry rain or snow away from the house instead of towards it. If the hill carries water toward your home, it can accumulate around the foundation and slowly make its way inside.

3. Missing, misplaced, or defective gutters

The purpose of gutters and downspouts is to direct water away from your home. If you don’t have the proper gutters or downspouts, rainwater accumulates in the soil near the foundation. Consider adding extra downspouts on the roof and gutters. In general, you should have one downspout for every 50 ft. of the roof eave. Also, connect extenders to every downspout to carry water far away from the house.

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Where to Place a Dehumidifier in a Basement

Even though using a dehumidifier can seem simple and straightforward, there are a couple of things to think about when deciding where to place a dehumidifier in a basement. In a similar way to air purifiers, dehumidifiers need airflow, and their power has to match the size of the room for optimal use.

1. Source of humidity

Placing your dehumidifier near the source of moisture makes it more efficient. That’s why knowing what is causing the humidity is critical. Whether the moisture is coming from the interior or exterior of the house will dictate where the dehumidifier goes.

2. Size of the room

Consider the size of the basement and choose a dehumidifier that has sufficient power. If you are trying to dehumidify an enormous basement, placing the device right in the middle is best. The placement doesn’t matter as much for a tiny basement.

3. Airflow restrictions

Dehumidifiers need to suck air and pass it through their system to dehumidify it. Therefore, they need enough space around them without objects that block airflow.

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How to Prevent Water from Accumulating in Your Basement

If you find evidence that water is seeping through your home’s foundation and accumulating in the basement, consider other methods of eliminating the water. A system that some people employ for frequent water problems is a sump pump.

This kind of water pump can drain the water out from your basement and carry it outside. It prevents excessive amounts of water from accumulating in your basement and protects the foundation of your home.

Protect Your Home and Your Family’s Health

As soon as you notice any signs of excessive humidity in your basement, it’s essential to act quickly and prevent further complications. Humidity in basements is a widespread issue, and a dehumidifier is an effective tool for reducing moisture in that environment.

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