Moisture is a great friend and companion to mold and mildew, giving them room to thrive and invite other companions they work in hand with. This whole picture is especially common in large homes, where moisture might not be easy to control, leaving the home badly needing whole-house dehumidification.
The best remedy is to have the best-ducted whole-house dehumidifier running in equivalent proportion to the moisture level to keep it low.
One might wonder why there is a peculiar need for ducted dehumidifiers rather than regular portable unducted ones. Well, it is a choice to be made depending on your home.
I will address this issue later in the article, making a comparison case on whole-house humidifiers and the need for ducting.
For carrying out the best whole-house dehumidification process in your home, choosing the best whole-house dehumidifiers to use is very crucial, as one wrong choice could mean you are back to square one.
Walking through the process of choosing, it is also important to consider qualities that a whole-house dehumidifier possesses to see how befitting it would be for your needs.
I live in an area where moisture is a year-round issue for me. I have had to dehumidify my home several times and have tried out different models and brands of whole-house dehumidifiers; some worked great, while others didn’t quite cut it.
Through these experiences, I have put together certain qualities that the best ducted whole-house dehumidifier must possess.
My Top Pick
In this ducted whole house dehumidifier review, I have taken time to test and review four of the best-ducted dehumidifiers for your home. While each of the models has its pros and cons, the one I can most recommend is the Aprilaire 1970XL pro.
It was a tough challenge to decide on a top pick. All the products I ended up reviewing were Aprilaire whole-house dehumidifiers. Being the best brand on the market for this product type, it wasn’t a surprise.
I finally decided on the 1970XL Pro, which stood out for its raw dehumidification power. Even before I started using it, I understood its ruggedness that would last years and seasons of constant work.
I don’t want to dwell on the Aprilaire 1970XL pro for too long (as awesome as it is!); if you scroll down the page, you’ll find my more in-depth review of this great product. However, if you are in a hurry and just want to know the best-ducted whole-house dehumidifier, I recommend you go with the 1970XL Pro.
But, really, I’d suggest taking a few minutes to read my reviews of all the products before making a decision, as each one has something different to offer.
Keep reading on, and you’ll find my other reviews and expert information I’ve put together on the best whole-house ducted dehumidifiers.
Top 4 best ducted whole house dehumidifiers
With the designing and manufacturing history of Aprilaire since 1954, you can rest assured that the quality offered by their products is top-notch and would meet the users’ needs for the price. Their top-quality whole house dehumidifiers are very durable and built to last, and it can be seen in products like the 1870 XL and 1870F XL.
Moisture extraction rate
At 130 pints or 16 gallons per day, this dehumidifier pulled a vast amount of moisture from my home. This ability is greatly helped by its capacity to move a large amount of air per time, even better than other air purifiers I’ve seen whose specialty is to move air.
It is able to move air at an incredible rate of 310 cubic feet per minute, drying off every last bit of moisture in the air in the process. At 16 gallons per day, it can conveniently cover up to 7,200 sqft of houses.
Easy to install with different options
I found that its small and portable nature and other qualities of this product meant that it wasn’t much of a fuss to install.
It can be used as a stand-alone humidifier, placed above a drain or connected to a drainpipe, or simply installed on an HVAC system with ducts connected to it. Whichever suits your needs, this dehumidifier can do.
From my usage and observation, it was much more effective when installed with an HVAC system and ducts.
Easy to clean and maintain
A feature that I loved about this dehumidifier is that it does not use a water tray, saving me hours that would have been spent on weekly cleaning. All I’m required to do is replace the canisters once a year, and I’m good to go. Occasional body cleaning of the dehumidifier is also needed, but this is the same as any other electrical device I own.
Auto dehumidification makes it easy to use
First, I mounted the dehumidifier. This made it easy to use, as its thermostat and controls are within easy reach on the top side.
With the thermostat and digital controls, I could vary the humidity to my taste at 1-degree increments. After choosing my desired level, the dehumidifier automatically works to keep humidity at that point. With the digital controls and a handy LED display to match, it was pretty easy to do from my end.
I am very satisfied with the quality and durability of this product. The steel and corrosion-resistant aluminum coils make it a high-quality product that will last.
That alone should do justice to its quality and level of durability. If this product stopped working in a short period of time, it wouldn’t be due to physical material defects.
- 130 pints (16 gallons) of moisture removal per day,
- effective against very large houses up to 7,200sqft,
- lesser maintenance and cleaning are required due to the absence of a water tray,
- very easy to set up, automatic dehumidification,
- digital control and display for easy use,
- high airflow rate of 310 cubic feet per minute,
- the rugged build makes it durable and also able to work in harsh environments like basements and crawl spaces,
- can be used as a standalone or installed on an HVAC,
- continuous drain option,
- professional hire installation is compulsory to not void the product’s warranty,
- it costs quite a lot of money to purchase.
- The product comes with a five-year limited warranty. However, to not void the warranty, it must be installed by an HVAC professional only.
Removes up to 130 pints of moisture in 24 hours
At 130 pints of moisture removed every 24 hours, the quality of this dehumidifier speaks for itself. I was very happy with how much moisture it removed from the air daily. 130 pints is a lot, and it really made a difference in the quality of my home.
It basically did just want I wanted it to and carried out the primary task of reducing moisture, and at levels that high levels, it is arguably one of the best in the business.
The 1870F XL can also dehumidify homes as large as 3900 sqft. Though this puts it far below the 1870 XL pro, it is still very impressive considering the fact that there are few regular houses with far greater sizes today. For most of us, including me, this is more than adequate.
Effective for both whole house and crawlspace use
Due to its moisture extraction capacity and the area it covers, the 1870F XL is effective when used for whole-house purposes and in crawl spaces or basements. As long as such a basement or crawl space has a good drainage system installed, the 1870F XL would drop humidity level in no time, leaving it dry and harmless just as it should be. So the bottom line is I would recommend the 1870F XL for a whole house, basement, or crawl space.
I was pleasantly surprised at the inclusion of casters in the design of this product. This is no different from your regular wheels used in numerous products today, except that it is more durable and designed to handle the dehumidifier’s weight.
I’m always wary of products that come with unnecessary add-ons, but in this case, the castors are a definite plus. They make it so much easier to move the dehumidifier around, which is great because it’s quite heavy. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to lug my old dehumidifier up and down the stairs – with these castors, that’s a thing of the past.
This also means it is best used with a drain pipe attached rather than installed over a drain tray.
Digital controls with automatic dehumidification
Looking closer at the top side, I found a digital control panel installed for easy access. This control allowed me to easily set it for the desired conditions, especially expected humidity levels. Once I had chosen a set humidity, I could allow the device to run uninterruptedly until further use.
- extracts up to 130 pints of moisture per day,
- very suitable for whole-house uses as well as crawl space dehumidification,
- simple setup and installation,
- presence of castors makes it mobile and movable from one place to another,
- digital control panel for choosing a suitable humidity setpoint,
- designed for continuous draining,
- low maintenance frequency
- It noticeably increases energy bills,
- the internal drain pipe is prone to cracks as the years go by
- A five-year limited warranty backs the product, which must be installed by an HVAC professional only.
In my opinion, the standout feature of this whole-house product is the presence of a corrosion-resistant coil.
Though I approached the other parts of the dehumidifier itself with trepidation, especially since customer feedback is littered with failing product complaints within the first 2 to 3 years of usage, the condenser coils are definitely of a better grade. The coils are made up of corrosion-resistant material, which means it will be around for a while.
95-pint moisture extraction per day
1850 still averages an impressive amount of moisture removal per day, though not as much as the earlier reviewed 1870 XL and 1870F XL. This rate allows the dehumidifier to draw about 12 gallons of water in 24 hours and in an area of about 5,200 sqft. This capacity allows the product to effectively control humidity, preventing dampness, mold, and mildew problems in the home.
Auto mode with programmable humidistat
This dehumidifier is essentially like the others I have reviewed in the presence of an auto mode feature. It is operated by first inputting a desired humidity level, after which the dehumidifier can automatically toggle between the working and docile state depending on whether humidity is above or below the target set.
Installing this product was a breeze. All I had to do was set it up just over a drain, then level it. I also had the option of attaching a drain hose to the dehumidifier outlet instead. You can choose whichever one works best for you. However, ensure it is leveled. After this, all I was required to do was pick a set humidity level and let it run. How simple is that!
- corrosion-resistant aluminum coils mean it shouldn’t be giving way anytime soon,
- high moisture extraction rate of 12 gallons (95 pints) per day,
- very easy to set up,
- automatic dehumidification allows the machine to function only when the humidity goes above a set level,
- extensive coverage of up to 5,200sqft area makes it very suited to whole house applications,
- digital humidistat for choosing a set humidity level,
- the absence of a drain tray means it requires yearly maintenance.
I will be completely transparent with you here as I pride myself on honest product reviews. For a short time, I used the 1850 Pro before opting for the 1870 XL Pro, it worked just fine.
But its durability is more of a gamble. While researching this model, I noticed numerous complaints about how it only works for about 2 to 3 years. This life span makes the 1850pro an expensive dehumidifier to purchase. Note that installations need to be carried out by a professional for the warranty not to be voided.
- It comes with a five-year limited warranty with professional installation required not to void the warranty.
I was very pleased to find that this dehumidifier comes with corrosion-resistant coils. I have had other machines that haven’t been able to handle the moisture and have quickly corroded, so this was a major selling point for me. The machine is also very efficient at moving moisture, and I have been impressed with how well it performs in my crawl space.
Very suitable for the whole house and crawl space dehumidification
With a moisture extraction rate of up to 70 pints per day, this product would be a good fit for most homes and sealed crawl spaces. The manufacturer states its area service capacity to be around 3800 sqft; however, I would figure it at roughly around 2000 sqft from the tests I carried out. The dehumidifier isn’t as effective in spaces greater than that. In a suitable condition, however, it still remains a decent device and is worth the money, in my opinion.
Like all the Aprilaire products I’ve reviewed in this article so far, this dehumidifier is a low-maintenance device (and that’s how I like them!). It won’t require me to clean it frequently, and the filters are so efficient that I’ll only have to clean or replace them once a year. For the regular purpose of cleanliness, however, it is important you wipe off dirt on the exterior from time to time.
The first thing I noticed when unboxing the product was that it contains a digital panel, which comes with the dehumidifier when purchased. The design of this product allows users to choose specifically where the panel would be mounted. I chose to mount it on the top side as it is the most comfortable to reach. But if you prefer it mounted differently, you can place it elsewhere.
Though the product’s 70 pints per day extraction rate seems impressive, it remains low-end for a whole house and crawlspace dehumidifier. Therefore this product is more suited to small “whole house category” size use. I also did find it a bit noisy when operating too.
- corrosion-resistant aluminum coils,
- effective in preventing structural wood rot,
- simple installation procedure,
- flexible control panel mounting location,
- low maintenance frequency with only once-a-year filter cleaning or replacement,
- relatively low moisture extraction rate for a whole house and basement dehumidifier,
- more suitable to serve smaller houses
- a bit noisy,
The dehumidifier comes with a five-year warranty, which would be voided if not installed by an HVAC professional.
Can one dehumidifier work for a whole house?
A dehumidifier can cover any space as long as it is large enough. Therefore, yes, one dehumidifier can work for a whole house. Dehumidifiers’ designs are tailored to a specific room or building-sized, always matching their moisture removal and airflow rate. The larger the size of the house it can size, the larger its capacity as per moisture extraction and airflow rate would be.
Even in the largest of houses, as far as there is a dehumidifier that meets its specification (which there is), moisture can be controlled using a single dehumidifier. This class of products is mostly called whole-house dehumidifiers.
What is a ducted whole-home dehumidifier?
As the name implies, ducted whole-house dehumidifiers use an HVAC system’s ducts for the dehumidification process.
A ducted whole-home dehumidifier system is like attaching the dehumidifier to break airflow in the furnace system, or maybe not, depending on your professional hire. However, one thing that’s constant is that the dehumidifier removes moisture through the HVAC ducts instead of directly dehumidifying from the atmosphere.
5 Crucial Features to consider in choosing the Best ducted whole house dehumidifier
Initial and maintenance cost
Before you get into pricing and review, make peace with your pockets, knowing that getting a whole house dehumidifier would cost more than the regular ones you are used to.
That being said, consider the cost and equivalent performance before purchase. If it costs a lot, make sure it performs well enough, and if not, it should be able to do a decent job, to say the least. The truth is that op quality products would always cost more.
It is also important you consider installation and maintenance costs. For example, Aprilaire products require professionals to hire for installation in order to not void the warranty. There is also maintenance cost, which mostly involves purchasing new canisters or water trays per season or once a year, depending on the dehumidifier. Put all these costs together and have a clear cost knowledge going in.
As I said earlier, whole-house dehumidifiers are expensive due to their capacity. While we users can do nothing to change that, it is only expedient that you go for products with some form of insurance, which is a warranty. Different products come with different warranties depending on manufacturers, and I recommend getting one with solid insurance in case the unexpected happens.
Moisture extraction capacity and house coverage
Perhaps the most important feature when it comes to dehumidifiers is their capacity. This includes its moisture extraction rate (in gallons or pints) per day and the size of the home it can cover.
When it comes to dehumidifier capacity, higher is always better; however, purchasing way higher than you need and spending more money in the process is risky. This is why studying your home and getting what is befitting is important.
Humidity regulator with automatic dehumidification
For easy use and more convenient running, go for a product with a manual humidity regulator at least. However, the higher end of dehumidifiers is automatic humidity regulation, with a reference point set by the user. With this combination, you can simply set and allow it to work for a long period of time without the need for frequent monitoring.
- Installation options:
There are essentially two installation options for whole-house humidifiers – those that can be installed as standalone and mounted on an HVAC system with ducts and others that are strictly HVAC compatible.
Depending on the product you opt for, you might also need to install an HVAC system alongside it. What I’m saying, in essence, is that purchasing a dehumidifier with two installation options is always better than the other with just one option.
However, I would go with the HVAC-mounted product if you pick just one option, since we are considering the best-ducted whole-house dehumidifier.
How does a ducted whole-house dehumidifier work?
The ducted dehumidifier working principle is not really complex. They are installed on an existing HVAC system, possessing a high-capacity fan that pulls air from the ducts, forcing it through the dehumidifier, where moisture condenses as it passes through. This air is then released, and the condensed water is drained through another dehumidifier outlet.
A ducted whole house dehumidifier basically works underground, and in hand with the HVAC system, i.e., for it to work, the HVAC system has to be working too, though there are more advanced designs that allow the dehumidifier to work independently of the HVAC system.
How to duct a whole house dehumidifier
Before I go into this, remember that self-installation would most likely void its warranty if you purchased an Aprilaire product. It is always advisable to involve a professional.
However, you can Follow these simple steps to install/duct a whole-house dehumidifier;
- Mount the dehumidifier at a preferred location with easy access to the duct
- Install the condensation drain line to the dehumidifier and run it to a desired external drain. Observe the system well too, as you might need an anti-siphon connection to make it work
- Attach a duct hose to the dehumidifier’s exhaust line to draw air from the duct system. This hose should also be attached to the return air duct on the furnace.
- Finally, the dehumidifier’s return air duct should be attached to the return air duct on the furnace, mostly located near the grill.
Also Read: Best Portable Whole House Humidifier
Whole house dehumidifier pros and cons
There are many misconceptions about whole-house dehumidifiers, but I have compiled the pros and cons of using one.
What I Like about whole-house dehumidifiers
- Very convenient to run:
The convenience of using a whole-house dehumidifier is completely unmatched by any other kind of dehumidifier. The product is installed with an HVAC system, working as part of a system to remove moisture in the most subtle manner, completely without monitoring or any constant user input. The only role you would play is choosing a set humidity level.
- Optimal moisture removal in large areas:
The capacity of whole-house dehumidifiers is also great, with even the smallest ones removing at least gallons of moisture per day. For this reason, they are tagged whole-house dehumidifiers, as they can draw out moisture from very large spaces.
- Enhances the cooling qualities of an HVAC system:
Asides from dehumidification, whole-house dehumidifiers also help enhance the cooling qualities of an HVAC system, as they remove moisture from the air in the duct, leaving the system with only cold and moisture-less air. This reduces the cooling workload placed on the HVAC system.
What I Dislike
- Expensive to purchase and setup:
Great performance always comes at a great cost, and it is the same in the case of a whole-house dehumidifier. Due to their high capacity, they are averagely more expensive than the portable dehumidifier that you are used to.
- Cost maintenance:
Whole house dehumidifiers also cost quite a lot to maintain over time. Most of them either use a water tray or canister that needs replacement once or twice per year. Over time, these little costs would accumulate to become quite a lot.
Final Verdict: My take on the top best-ducted whole-house dehumidifier
Aprilaire 1870 XL Pro is my best-rated product for whole-house dehumidification based on quality and actual performance. Though it comes at quite a cost, the 130 pints per day rate coupled with airflow of 310 cubic feet per minute is matched by only a few domestic products and none on my review list.
I was looking for a dehumidifier that would be low maintenance and easy to use, and the 1870 XLAprilaire definitely fit the bill. It’s straightforward to set up and doesn’t require much maintenance, which is great because I don’t have time for much upkeep. It also thrives in harsh environmental conditions, like my basement or crawl space, which is important since those are the places I need it to work the best.
Additionally, the automatic dehumidification makes it much easier to use – I don’t have to worry about turning it on or off; it just takes care of everything. Overall, I’m really happy with this product and recommend it to anyone looking for an easy-to-use whole-house ducted dehumidifier.
I’d rate the excellence of the 1870 XL as only below the Aprilaire 1870F XL Pro dehumidifier, which shares most of its basic qualities. It also comes with a 130-pint moisture removal daily while sitting on casters for easy mobility around the home. Automatic dehumidification and low maintenance requirements are some of the extra qualities that make this dehumidifier a winner for me.
I hope this guide and comparison of the top whole-house dehumidifiers have given insight into what makes a great quality dehumidifier and which one is right for your home.