Alen shipped us a MDF3-30 to test. At first glance, it could easily be mistaken for an air purifier. It is smaller
and more compact than other dehumidifiers we have tested. The housing is all plastic, and there is a digital control
panel on the top of the unit. The other Alen models, the 50 and 70 pint versions, are exactly the same with the primary differences being additional
weight/size and water removal capacity. These dehumidifiers pull air in from the front and exhaust through the top of the
unit, so there is an upward air draft that keeps air circulating while they are operating. Refrigerant based dehumidifiers are pretty straight forward in
terms of operation and use, but after a week's worth of testing and some additional testing during a bit of "accidental flooding" this is how
this model fared.
What I liked about the Alen Dehumidifier
While using this model in our conference room and warehouse, it performed well. In the warehouse space, where humidity during the summer can
shoot up during the day, the Alen needed to be emptied several times throughout the day. Under more extreme conditions like these, you can easily surpass the
30 pint rating (in terms of total moisture extracted during a 24 hour period). For use in the office, the Alen pulled the humidity levels down
to just under 50% in a little less than a day. We used two separate humidity
gauges to verify and both were within 2% of what the Alen's display read. So in
all, the 30 pint performed well in reducing humidity.
Alen dehumidifiers, like other refrigerant style models, will run quite a bit, even when the humidity level is where you want it. The fan will
circulate air throughout the space to ensure the humidity level doesn't begin to creep up. Additionally, while you can set a humidity level and allow
it to dry until it reaches that point, you can also set it for continuous use. This can be handy in dealing with minor flooding or cleaning up a leak. It
will continue to run and extract as much water as possible regardless of the relative humidity.
Unlike other brands, all three Alen models have the port in the back. For use in basements or areas where there is a drain nearby, this is an ideal
setup for connecting a hose to the unit and eliminating the need to ever have to empty the water reservoir. With gravity working for you, the water
simply flows down the hose and into the drain. Remove the plug, screw on the hose, and you're pretty much set. This is the most convenient and hassle-free
way to ensure efficient water removal.
Refrigerant style dehumidifiers like the Alen 30 pint must have casters. These three models, like most dehumidifiers that operate this way, are a
bit on the heavy side, so the casters, as well as the handle, add convenience and make it a little easier to move the unit. I like the design of the handle. It is located on top of the dehumidifier and pulls out from the plastic housing.
When not in use it can be pushed back in, flush with the top. This innovative design allows the Alen to retain its streamlined
appearance while adding functionality.
The air filter is very easy to access from the right hand side of the dehumidifier. Maintenance is simple,
consists of washing the filter periodically with warm soapy water and dry thoroughly before placing the filter back in
the machine. While it's not MERV rated, it will help to keep the coils and motor free of large debris like dust bunnies or hair, both of
which can reduce performance and shorten the lifespan of the appliance.
I like the digital, easy-to-read, built-in humidistat. After you select the desired level of humidity
on the controller, it reverts back and reads out the actual humidity. We tested this dehumidifiers built in hygrometer accuracy,
and it was within +/- 2 percentage points of our properly calibrated humidistat. There are two fan speeds, so for faster
drying and circulation, opt for the higher setting.
What I did not like about the Alen Dehumidifier
If you are unable to port this line of dehumidifiers, you will be creating a lot of work for yourself. The
30 pint Alen dehumidifier has a small collection reservoir, and the one we tested filled up within 4 hours (despite being
set at a very low humidity level). We highly recommend porting this dehumidifier and setting it to run on continuous mode.
While Alen offers limited lifetime warranties on their air purifiers, the Alen dehumidifiers only carry a 1 year
manufacturer's limited warranty. This dehumidifier will freeze up and not operate efficiently at temperatures below 41° Fahrenheit.
As with any refrigerant style dehumidifier the Alen models do kick out some heat. Unlike air conditioners (which operate on the same principle),
dehumidifiers do not exhaust cool air. Once cooled, moisture precipitates out, and the air then passes back over the motor. This warms the air
before it exhausts but this also allows for much more efficient drying. So comparable to other models the Alen 30, 50, and 70 dehumidifiers do
produce some heat and make some noise (mainly on high). In all though, any of these three will work well in your home. The larger models are
probably ideal, but all three help you pinch some pennies since they are Energy Star Qualified. The refrigerant is more ozone friendly than that used
in the past, and the performance is on par with even the most expensive room dehumidifier. If controlling dust mites, mold growth or humidity is your
goal, the Alen dehumidifiers are certainly worth a look.