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Old 12-24-2012, 11:02 PM   #16
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Central Dehumidifier Question


The markup for the unit that was quoted by my contractor was around $1,200. Granted, some is markup, and some is labor, but I think that quote was to put a unit in the basement alone. I'm just not sure I'm willing to spend that much to pay someone to do it. It seems like it would be pretty straight forward to put one in. Mostly ductwork and wiring the controller. I would probably need a relay to stop the dehumidifier from running when the HVAC is on as well. A drip pan, and a level switch.

At any rate, how would someone approach a whole home dehumidifier in a house with a zoned HVAC such as mine? It doesn't seem like there is a good way to supply fresh/dehumidied air to several rooms without it being a ducting nightmare.

BTW, I appreciate all the feedback, and I hope everyone has a very merry Christmas!

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Old 12-25-2012, 04:26 AM   #17
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Central Dehumidifier Question


Some is mark up, some labor, some misc material, some is for first year labor warranty.
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Old 12-28-2012, 09:39 AM   #18
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Central Dehumidifier Question


A freestanding dehumidifier in the basement can be a DIY project. Some of the better freestanding dehumidifiers can be ducted. The freestanding dehumidifiers are designed to be quickly and easily installed, but they do not provide many of the features of the whole house units. Installing an efficient dehumidifier is key to saving money in the long run - just as it is with heating and air conditioning systems. The cheapest first cost unit may be significantly more expensive when you consider the cost to operate over time.

Whole house dehumidifiers are equipped with controls that can integrate with your existing HVAC controls. Installing a whole house dehumidifier in a house with zoned AC is possible - the installer must understand what you want from your HVAC system and they must understand the zone AC control as well as the dehumidifier control in order to deliver the comfort and indoor air quality you desire. This is what you are paying for when you have a contractor install your system(s). You are paying someone that has the knowledge and ability to install it correctly.

You are doing the right thing by asking questions and becoming educated about your house and the mechanical systems within. Keep asking questions - this will help you understand what you want and what is possible. It will allow you to determine if you want to undertake a DIY project, or if you should hire a contractor. You will be able to intelligently converse with contractors and make informed decisions.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #19
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Central Dehumidifier Question


I took another look at my HVAC ducting near my AHU, and it looks like both returns in my house are connected to a common plenum. There is a short duct run from the master and a longer run from the 2nd floor return that acts as the "main" return for the rest of the house. Would a dedicated return for the dehumidifier offer any benefit with this configuration? It looks like connecting to the HVAC return near that common plenum will draw air from both returns in the house, one of which is located near the top of my centrally located stairs and is open to the vast majority of the house including the basement (our house has an open floor plan) via that stairway (our house has an open floor plan) .
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Old 01-03-2013, 06:07 PM   #20
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Central Dehumidifier Question


The answer is maybe. AC returns are often undersized for the air handler they are connected to - adding a dehumidifier to the return which can run at the same time as the AC system will lower the efficiency of both the dehumidifier and the AC system as they are both fighting for the return air when they are running.

The dehumidifier moves less air than the air handler and may short circuit back through the air handler if the air handler fan is not running. Some dehumidifiers are installed in the way you suggest (in parallel with the air handler) with an interlock that runs the air handler fan at a low speed when the dehumidifier is operating to prevent this problem. This solution requires that the air handler fan consume electricity to operate at low speed whenever the dehumidifier operates. The dehumidifier will have a backdraft damper installed to prevent the air handler from short circuiting through the dehumidifier when the dehumidifier is not operating as well.

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