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Understanding the Updated Testing Standards for Dehumidifiers

New Department of Energy (DOE) efficiency standards went into effect in 2019/2020 for dehumidifiers. There was not a change in the dehumidifiers themselves, but rather changes were made in the testing environment and measurements used.

To be sold in the United States, dehumidifiers have to pass certain standard tests. 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 per day under the test conditions.
  2. Energy Efficiency – The amount of water removed by the dehumidifier per kilowatt per hour of energy consumed.

Testing Environment Changes

So, what changed? The testing environment and energy measure changed.

In 2012 dehumidifiers were tested in an environment of 80 degrees F 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

Now, under the 2019 standards, the testing environment is 65 degrees F 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, therefore lowering 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 Energy Factor is 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 F with 60% humidity.

Under the new standards, the energy efficiency is measured using the Integrated Energy Factor. Now, the energy consumed is measured when the fan is running 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 F with 60% humidity.

These changes in testing occurred because most dehumidifier use is in a basement or crawl space which has 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 be reluctant to change to a lower capacity,  please remember that the dehumidifiers haven’t changed. The performance is still the same, but at a lower temperature less moisture will be removed, 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.ft. and silently operates in temperatures down to 41 degrees F. The dehumidifier also comes with an optional condensation pump. Its 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 that have less moisture to remove and can rely on the use of the included bucket for daily emptying.

Pure & Dry Whisper 50 Dehumidifier with Pump
Pure & Dry Whisper 50 Pint Dehumidifier with Pump