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Understanding the Updated Testing Standards for Dehumidifiers

New Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards were enacted for dehumidifiers in late 2019 and early 2020. Dehumidifiers themselves didn’t change; rather, changes were made in the testing environment and measurements used.

Dehumidifiers must pass specific standard tests to be sold in the United States. The DOE tests the performance of dehumidifiers based on power consumption and effectiveness under specific environmental factors.

The two main standards are:

  1. Pint Capacity – The amount of water removed daily under the test conditions.
  2. Energy Efficiency – The amount of water the dehumidifier removes per kilowatt per hour of energy consumed.

Testing Environment Changes

So, what changed? In 2012 dehumidifiers were tested in an environment of 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 60% humidity. This resulted in the typical 30-, 50-, and 70-pint models of dehumidifiers, which referenced the amount of water they could remove from the air in 24 hours at those conditions.

Dehumidifier Capacity Comparison Table
Approximate Square Footage
  500 Sq ft 800 Sq ft 1200 Sq ft
  Pre 2020 Capacity New Capacity Pre 2020 Capacity New Capacity Pre 2020 Capacity New Capacity
50-60% Humidity
Air will feel Slightly Heavy
40 or 45 Pint 30 Pint 60 Pint 30 Pint 70 Pint 50 Pint
60-70% Humidity
Air feels slightly heavier, may smell "musty"
40 or 45 Pint 30 Pint 60 Pint 30 Pint 70 Pint 50 Pint
70-80% Humidity
Wet Spots Visible on wall and/or Floors
50 Pint 30 Pint 60 or 65 Pint 50 Pint 80 Pint 50 or 55 Pint
80-100% Humidity
Seepage on walls and floors. Sometimes mold may be present
60 Pint 35 Pint 60 to 70 Pint 50 Pint 90 Pint 55 or 60 Pint

Under the 2019 standards, the testing environment has changed to 65 degrees Fahrenheit with 60% humidity. These new conditions have less moisture to remove from the air in a 24-hour period, which reduces the number of pints a dehumidifier removes and lowers the necessary capacity of the dehumidifiers. The standard capacities are now 20-, 30-, and 50-pint units.

The 2012 energy efficiency standards called for measuring the Energy Factor, the amount of water removed per kWh of electricity consumed. This test was only performed when the dehumidifier was on and actively removing moisture in an area at 80 degrees Fahrenheit with 60% humidity.

Under the new standards, energy efficiency is measured using the Integrated Energy Factor. The energy consumed is measured when the fan runs, but the dehumidifier’s refrigeration system is not. This is a more accurate representation since the compressors in the dehumidifier turn on and off based on the current humidity level of the space. This test is performed in an area that is 65 degrees Fahrenheit with 60% humidity.

These changes in testing occurred because most dehumidifiers are used in basements or crawl spaces, which have a lower ambient temperature. The 64-degree temperature more accurately mimics these areas, as does the measure of energy consumption.

50-Pint is the New 70-Pint

While you may have purchased a 70-pint dehumidifier in the past and are reluctant to change to a lower capacity, please remember that the dehumidifiers haven’t changed. The performance is still the same, but less moisture will be removed at a lower temperature, hence the lower pint capacity required. A 1200-square-foot basement at 80 degrees and 60% humidity will have more moisture in the air than a 65-degree basement at the same humidity level. Therefore, a 70-pint under the old standards is equivalent to a 50-pint under the new standards in most cases.

Recommended Dehumidifiers

Depending on the size of your space, we recommend the Pure & Dry Whisper 30-Pint or 50-Pint with Pump. The Pure & Dry 50 Pint is great in spaces up to 1000 sq. feet and silently operates in temperatures as low as 41 degrees Fahrenheit. The dehumidifier also comes with an optional condensation pump. It’s Energy Star rated and up to date with current DOE standards for dehumidifiers.

The Pure and Dry Whisper 30-Pint Dehumidifier is ideal for smaller spaces with less moisture to remove and can rely on the included bucket for daily emptying.

Pure & Dry Whisper 50 Dehumidifier with Pump

See our recommended dehumidifiers Here!

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