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DIY Dehumidifier – Secrets to Making the Best Homemade Dehumidifier {electric & non-electric solutions}9 min read

DIY Dehumidifier – Secrets to Making the Best Homemade Dehumidifier {electric & non-electric solutions}9 min read

Damp basement? Mold growth? I hear you. The dehumidifier is the first plan of attack. Know the tricks to make your very own homemade DIY dehumidifier and save money too.

Regardless of whether you want a store-bought or a DIY dehumidifier you need to remove moisture.  I would highly suggest looking at the source of the problem and correcting it.

However, you shouldn’t wait to install a dehumidifier to remove moisture from the air as soon as possible.  Keeping air dry will greatly reduce the risk of mold and mildew growth.

As you know not reducing moisture causes mold growth, and in turn leads to headache, fatigue, nausea and the list goes on.

This article is your go-to guide for building your own dehumidifier.  I’m going to cover both electric and non-electric solutions. 

I’ve extensively talked about removing humidity from home and basement, naturally without dehumidifier, that you must check.  

Those strategies combined with these methods will yield great results.

Is excess indoor humidity in the basement and house bad? And why?

The ideal Indoor humidity in the basement and house, for the best comfort, should be between 30-50%. In any case, 65%+ range makes it very uncomfortable.

To know more about the ideal humidity level, read this article.

Here are major issues that can pop up:

  • You will feel hotter than the thermostat suggests.
  • Frizzy curly hair – not to make you pretty and, for ladies, makeup smudging.
  • Problems with inhaling due to more air pollutants and sleep-related problems
  • You sweat but that doesn’t cool you off
  • It provides the best breeding ground, which is very dangerous
  • Structural issues in the house start to worsen. Wood swells and doors buckle.
  • Rust formation on iron-related objects in the house and structure. Oxidation starts to happen with other metals.
  • Clothes tend to grow mildew causing a horrible smell. The same problem starts to happen over pets.

These are just the major immediate issues you will start noticing and by no means, this is an exhaustive list.

For these reasons you would want to keep moisture to a minimum and how do you achieve it?

You can go one of two ways to make your own dehumidifier. Electric setup or the non-electric setup.  I will show both and see what works for you.

DIY Dehumidifier: Homemade Non-Electric 

Tools Needed for DIY non-electric dehumidifier project

  • Buckets – 2 numbers (one smalle height than the other)
  • Calcium chloride or rock salt
  • Drill

Non-Electric Dehumidifier Method

5-gallon bucket and a sieve over it
  1. Make several holes at the bottom of a bucket (find a broken or leaky bucket, if possible to save some money).  Several small holes are much better than a few larger holes. This bucket sucks the moisture.
  2. Place the bucket with holes inside another good non-leaky bucket.  This bucket will hold the water that is extracted. Make sure you have a lot of space in this bucket.
  3. Dump a few pounds of calcium chloride or rock salt in the top bucket (one with holes).  Make sure the holes are small enough that the rock salt doesn’t fall through.
  4. Find the best place to keep this set up in your basement.  You may also consider closets and cabinet space under the sink. For best results, place it where you have the issue first. This article goes in-depth on how to identify the right spot and where to keep the dehumidifier for maximum effectiveness.
  5. After a few days, you will see the water collected at the bottom of the bucket.
  6. Dump the water and place the bucket again.  You’ll be replacing the rock salt as it gets dissolved in the process (Never mind it’s very cheap)

Modifications to non-electric dehumidifier worth trying

There are a few modifications you can do to this homemade DIY dehumidifier setup to save even more money.

You could find a small bucket and a plastic sieve that perfectly fits over the bucket.

The advantage of this setup is you can have a few of them at different areas of the basement to evenly suck moisture from the house, without manually moving the air.

If you buy plants, they come from the nursery in a container that has holes in it, you could use it and not buy 2 buckets. 

Again, if you are a pet lover and have cats, you can swap the rock salt to silica-based kitty litter. 

Best desiccant to use in DIY dehumidifier-Rock salt and calcium chloride

I’ve heard calcium chloride, the salt used to melt ice on roads, are super fast-acting and cheaper.

Here is a detailed article on combating humidity providing a lot more ways than you can think of.

DIY Dehumidifier: Homemade Electric 

Tools Needed for DIY electric dehumidifier project

  • Copper tube coil
  • Big container
  • cooler box or an insulated foam container (a.k.a. Styrofoam cooler)
  • Mini water pump
  • Ice cubes

Electric Dehumidifier Method

  1. Get a really long copper tube and make it into a coil ( or buy the copper coil). You need more surface for the condensation to happen, so the lengthier the coil the better.
  2. If you have a cooler box lying around use it as a reservoir.  Add in a gallon of cold water and a lot of ice cubes in it to keep it cool.
  3. Drop a few frozen water bottles to keep the water extremely cold. When the ice in the bottle turns to water you should refreeze them to keep it cool
  4. Take the mini water pump and connect the water outlet hose to one end of the copper tubing.
  5. Use the water inlet hose from the pump into the reservoir.
  6. Return the other end of the copper tubing to the reservoir.  Use a rubber tube if you need an extension.
  7. Place the coil over a big container that can catch all the water when the condensation happens

That’s it.  This is a pretty simple and slick setup.  You should get a gallon of water accumulated in a day of this setup running.  Again, it depends on the surface area of the copper coil available.

To spice it up, you could add a small fan to pull air to hit the coil.  That way the air keeps moving around and the coil gets exposed to humid air constantly.  This gives the coil a better chance of improving the dehumidifying process. 

Another cool hack would be to use the coils from your old AC unit. Talk to a local HVAC guy, they throw them by dozens. You could remove a decent coil from a condemned unit in place of your coil and use it instead.

Difference between the store-bought and DIY dehumidifier

We’re going with the same principle in how we dehumidify. But the major difference is that the store-bought dehumidifiers have refrigerant (coolant gas) that keeps circulating.

The gas then gets condensed with the help of a compressor which provides the cool surface on the coil and fins.

Instead of just the coils, the store ones enhance this setup by coils that have fins to increase the surface area.

Natural methods to reduce humidity

Well, If you can’t do both the setups defined above, then here are a few more ideas that you can readily implement to reduce moisture in the air.

My suggestion, however, is that you would follow these suggestions anyhow regardless of whether you build your DIY dehumidifier or not.

Get a hygrometer and find the humidity level in the basement, before you do anything. I’ve got this post specifically addressing the ideal humidity that you need to maintain.

Good ventilation

Airflow increase will normally move the air which is a very good way to deal with humidity.  Stagnant air can cause a lot of issues, however, moving the air will move the moisture too. 

Ventilation works anyhow, so think of ways to move the air.  But use caution. When moving air you need to check if you are sucking in more moisture from outside or not.

Colder / shorter showers

I love to take a hot shower every day – Summer or winter – and water easily gets vaporized increasing the indoor humidity. 

Taking colder and/or shorter showers will help in not increasing the moisture level.

Dry clothes outdoors

Line drying clothes in summer is great with energy-saving.  But the side effect is ever better – less humidity indoors. Besides, the sun does its UV cleansing so your clothes will smell and feel better than drying in a dryer.

Fix leaking pipes, faucet and plumbing fixtures

Fixing any impending plumbing issues will greatly help in reducing humidity.  

In fact, you must try to fix the issue because it will be damaging your structure and you are probably paying a bigger water bill.

Running HVAC

Whether you know or not one of the functions of your AC unit is to remove moisture from the air. To cool the air the coil condenses the air and in that process condensation of water happens, that is excreted outside your house by the system.

So keep your AC unit running. 

Make sure to check the air filter every 3 months at a minimum. Clogged air filters don’t move the air that well.

Move plants outside

The water evaporates and putting more moisture into the air.

Buy a dehumidifier

Finally, I have to mention this.  DIY dehumidifiers and homemade dehumidifiers are eco-friendly, uses less energy and good on the environment, however they may not be as effective as a store-bought a dehumidifier.

So, head over to Amazon or a big box store and get a damn humidifier, keep it running and keep dumping the water away.  This is the easiest and the fastest albeit the costliest solution.

In Conclusion

I know you would be expecting to see DIY charcoal dehumidifier and DIY rice dehumidifier solutions in here.  Again, this list is not an exhaustive one, please check my our other blog to find a variety of other natural dehumidifying methods and solutions

In any case, making your own DIY dehumidifier isn’t complicated. You could get the non-electric setup in 5 minutes if you have all the supplies.

And for the explorers out there, try the electric version of the dehumidifier.

Hope you found this article helpful. If you can spread the word around a lot of families can save their homes. Please, share this image on Pinterest and other social media.

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