Dehumidifiers produce heat, therefore their energy efficiency is important in continental applications. However, on the left coast, they are used mostly in the winter, so the heat they produce is mostly a slightly more expensive form of something you're going to do anyway: heat the air in the house.
On the other hand, we may allow our rooms to cool below 65 degrees. I know that I do. But as I discovered yesterday when reading the manual of a Classic ECD15E Dehumidifier purchased from Home Hardware, operation of a dehumidifier at below 65 degrees is frowned upon, for two reasons: efficiency goes in the sink (so to speak), and the coils can freeze up, causing waste and damage. So much for the idea of moving the unit from room to room, leaving it in an unoccupied room. We could have lived with leaving it in the living room and allowing the dry air to seep into less used corners of the house, but the fan of the unit is too loud. Unfortunately, loud fans seem to be a fact of life in Canadian appliances (gas fireplaces, fume hoods...).
So I took the unit back, and Home Hardware kindly refunded the purchase price of $cdn190 plus taxes, which I thought rather a lot considering its simplicity.
For west coast uses, energy efficiency isn't so important, but the ability to operate (or at least the ability not to break down) at 65 degrees or less IS important. Those are two big differences from the dehumidifiers used in "continental" climates.
Any suggestions? Canadian Tire has a line of six dehumidifiers, all made by "Simplicity" (= Danby). I went out to Canadian Tire here, and found that they did have a couple of these in stock, but they were all in crates, no display. And no Efficiency Ratings for any of them. That was at the beginning of the search, so perhaps I was picky. Since then I've checked Future Shop (none), London Drugs ( none), Home Hardware (just the one mentioned, and a larger model of the same), Zellers, Superstore (their online catalogues don't list anything). Sears http://search.sears.ca/sears/srch?se_l=e&se_q ήhumidifier&se_cat=air&se_cmd=searchWithLinguistics&se_res=QIR_ShopOnline&cqon=true&se_n=1&se_p lists no less than 15 units, but after looking at a couple, I see no sign of low temperature operation, no mention of noise levels.
Going outside Canada, I saw a DeLonghi dehumidifier advertised as offering operation down to 44 F. Not sure how I'd get one here.
So, does anybody manufacture a "Left Coast Friendly" dehumidifier, and how can I get one in Canada? Our house is only 900 square feet, so the smallest size will probably be appropriate.
Finally, wouldn't a dehumidifier be more efficient if it took the warm moist air in at ceiling level, then expelled warm dry air at floor level? That would recirculate the air for those of us with 8- foot ceilings and thus no ceiling fans. Yet consumer dehumidifiers are universally designed to sit on the floor. I'm not sure what I'm suggesting, maybe a permanent installation in one room, or maybe something that can be moved around like a pole lamp.
-- Jonathan Berry