Install basement dehumidifier? (power tools, tools, damp air)


I currently have most of my tools all in a large plastic tool bin with a pretty good snap on lid (in my basement).
I was wondering if it makes any particular sense to install a dehumidifier in it to protect any power tools I move down to it.
The basement is not "dripping" wet, but the air is a "little" damp feeling in the summer, and there is some water that comes in a very small amount in one corner.
Thanks!
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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

If you will lay out the cash to buy a dehumidifier and the cash to install and operate it, your tools, your house and your wife's olfactories will never know how much they appreciate your effort.
If you do nothing; expect a stink from your basement, your tools, your house and your wife.
Tom in KY, finding mold in houses that could have been prevented,,easily.
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In Lowe's, in the houseplant section, get an inexpensive hygrometer, maybe $4. These things are notoriously inaccurate (as are many of the more expensive ones) so pick one that at least reads near the average of the others on the rack. If it reads more than 60 percent relative humidity in your shop (and it probably will) get a dehumidifier. I have what I consider a pretty dry basement and run one year round. When it has decreased the humidity below what you've set its humidistat for (about 50 percent RH), it will shut off. Effective at preventing mold and mildew in your basement as well. If you have a floor drain, sink or toilet in your basement, or it's a walkout basement, you can hook the dehumidifier up to a drain hose so you don't have to continually empty the condensate container. I saw several serviceable looking dehumidifiers at the local Habitat for Humanity Outlet Store for a fraction of what new ones cost.
David Merrill
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Effective at preventing mold and mildew in your basement as

Get a good one for ten bucks. Since nobody else has mentioned it, the reason to have one is the _wood_, not the tools. Condensation isn't likely to be too much of a problem in a basement, but the moisture content of the wood will sure run on up if you let it. We stored at 40% at school, which seems pretty good ~8% MC. Anything below 55% is going to be just fine.
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George said something like:

Well, a neighbor went through the hassle of setting up a pump to pull the dehumidifier's water out of the basin up into a P-trap (U-Trap?) that then connected directly to his big pvc septic pipe. Seemed like a lot of work, but I'm starting to really think even harder about this one---you guys have spooked me. :)
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I would vote for the dehumidifier. They don't cost that much and you can often find one in the classifieds for $50 or less. You will gain much more than clean tools. If your basement tends toward a little dampness you might keep mold at bay too.
I doubt that sealing them in a plastic container does that much good. Might even keep moisture in.
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Yes. Water vapor is a gas. It is intimately mixed with the air and goes wherever the rest of the air goes. Even in a nominally dry basement water vapor passes through the concrete foundation walls and floor. The relative humidity in the plastic container will be the same as that of the air in its surroundings; unless, of course, the container is initially filled with dry air and hermetically sealed and even that will likely just extend the time required to reach equilibrium (like the leaking double pane window units in my 30 year old house to cite an extreme example).
David Merrill

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Thomas G. Marshall wrote:

There are lots of good reasons to buy a dehumidifier. But if all you're trying to do is protect your tools, buy a light bulb instead. Just put a 25 watt light bulb inside your tool chest and leave it on all the time. You need a couple of small holes in your tool bin to be sure moisture doesn't get trapped inside. As long as the temperature inside is a few degrees warmer than the ambient temperature, no moisture will condense on your tools.
DonkeyHody "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgement."
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I agree that a dehumidifier is a good idea in general, as long as your basement stays above 40 or 50 degrees F. If you just want to protect your tools, though, you could get a little box of silica gel - I bought one from Cabelas.com that was intented for gun cases - it can be 'recharged' in an oven. This would be good for a relatively small enclosed space, and I would argue that it would still be effective even if the case was not completely sealed. If you're talking about hand tools rather than power, it's a good idea to wipe them with paste wax or spray them with topcote (or some other rust preventative that won't leave oil on your wood). Good luck, Andy
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I work in an old basement workshop of three connected rooms. It is damp, but no running water short of a monsoon generally. Since my furnace/AC is in the basement as well, I installed a closeable louvered vent in the hot air plenum. I have no more dampness problems summer or winter, tools don't rust--with a minimum of protection. It is warm in the winter and cool in the summer so it is always a workable temperature. In analyzing the energy useage pre and post louver, I can tell that the cost is minimal. And the biggest gain is the loss of mold--seen and unseen. The de-humifier cost much more to run, didn't work as well and was a general nuisance. The furnace and air are new high efficiency models which help as well. The old furnace was only about 60% efficient and didn't keep the basement warm, cool or dry since most of the heat went up the chimney. Plastic containers have their place, but you still need a dessicant os some sort or tools may rust in situ. I have used the plastic boxes, but find that I can better lay my hands on my tools if they are hanging within reach--then buy a hard hat if you are chrome dome like me! MTBuddha
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I work in an old basement workshop of three connected rooms. It is damp, but no running water short of a monsoon generally. Since my furnace/AC is in the basement as well, I installed a closeable louvered vent in the hot air plenum. I have no more dampness problems summer or winter, tools don't rust--with a minimum of protection. It is warm in the winter and cool in the summer so it is always a workable temperature. In analyzing the energy useage pre and post louver, I can tell that the cost is minimal. And the biggest gain is the loss of mold--seen and unseen. The de-humifier cost much more to run, didn't work as well and was a general nuisance. The furnace and air are new high efficiency models which help as well. The old furnace was only about 60% efficient and didn't keep the basement warm, cool or dry since most of the heat went up the chimney. Plastic containers have their place, but you still need a dessicant os some sort or tools may rust in situ. I have used the plastic boxes, but find that I can better lay my hands on my tools if they are hanging within reach--then buy a hard hat if you are chrome dome like me! MTBuddha
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