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types of dehumidifiers

The 8 types of dehumidifiers explained

Maintaining your home surroundings comfortable is of extreme importance, and we go to great lengths to ensure we can truly relax in the home. That includes ensuring we have the ideal furniture, the electronic equipment we need for amusement, as well as the devices that provide all of the creature comforts we want. But if you reside in a humid place, even all of this can fail to make you totally comfortable in your area, and a dehumidifier could change that for you.


A dehumidifier is a mechanical device that functions to remove excess moisture from your surroundings. Just like there may be issues with the air being too dry at a house based on air conditioning and heat, other homes, particularly those in very humid areas, may require aid balancing the air inside by eliminating some extra moisture. In case you have a wet or musty odor in your house, or if you realize that mold and mildew develop easily in your kitchen and bathroom, you may benefit from using a dehumidifier.


types of dehumidifiers

There are lots of reasons a dehumidifier may be necessary to your space. In an environment that's always too moist, you run greater risks of this buildup of unhealthy toxins. Mold and mildew grow in dampness, and both of them produce spores that may be harmful or dangerous to breathe in. This is particularly important for those who have asthma, allergies, COPD, and other respiratory difficulties.

Along with creating mold and mildew, moist environments are uncomfortable for a living. Too much humidity makes space feel warmer than it is, and air conditioners work more difficult to cool your space.

Lowering the amount of moisture in the air can actually make a space more comfortable for living. In addition to heart ailments and joint problems such as arthritis, people with breathing difficulties also suffer from moist environments. Many such folks seem to move to drier climates, but occasionally, simpler solutions involve merely adding a dehumidifier to the space where they live.

The outdoor area is not as much of a problem in several of these cases as indoors can be, and it is a much more economical, easier solution than trying to move across a nation.


Regarding a dehumidifier operation, there are two primary types of machines, both of which are excellent in their technology. It merely depends upon the application about which will function better for your purposes. The first thing you need to consider is the climate where you live -- or function if you are trying to dehumidify an office or workspace.

If the ambient temperature of the distance from which you will need to eliminate moisture is warmer -- over 65 degrees -- it is easy to utilize the most well-known sort of dehumidifier, the refrigeration style unit.

But suppose we are talking about a cold environment where this kind of temperature control can not be guaranteed. In that case, these more conventional units can not be used without significant decay and cause for alarm. Alternatively, a desiccant dehumidifier is a better choice, as this does not require any particular temperature control to operate.


With a refrigerator type dehumidifier, moisture is eliminated by eliminating cooling the air. Air is drawn into the device via an intake and passed through a filter to remove particles of dust, dirt, and allergens, damaging to health and bothersome to underlying ailments. A fan pushes the air over the coil set, which cools the air, making the moisture inside condense and gathering into a water tank. Then, the dry air, which was chilled, is blown into the neighboring space by a fan.

These style refrigeration units operate exceptionally well in spaces that are not cold. They need attention in that you will need to regularly drain the water tank, clean and replace the filter on a schedule, and be sure that the grilles over the intake and exhaust are clean. You might need to inspect the humidistat -- the controller that sets the amount of humidity you need in the space-- from time to time to assure it has not been bumped or moved.

In general, however, with regular maintenance and cleaning, a fridge style dehumidifier is relatively simple to keep working, and they're fairly flexible, considering they come in many different sizes. In a suitable environment, where you have it placed far enough from a wall, you probably won't have any malfunctions, and the device should last several years.


In environments that are already colder, a refrigeration type dehumidifier won't work. This will result in the coils which cool the air to freeze and not work correctly. Having a desiccant dehumidifier, the refrigeration part of the procedure is removed. Rather than cooling the air to eliminate condensation, a chemical drying agent is used. This agent, or desiccant, is placed on a heat exchange wheel and used to absorb moisture from the atmosphere before that air is then pushed out through vents to the environment.

Desiccant dehumidifiers are not common in residential areas because most houses are kept at temperatures conducive to the refrigeration style dehumidifier. But, there are always exceptions. A few people who reside in colder environments do not heat their homes to a level that makes them work together with the more prevalent residential type of dehumidifier.


Specifying the size of the dehumidifier you need is one of the main parts of finding the proper unit for you. By way of instance, the kind you would use in an RV or mobile home could be different than that of the version you would use commercially. Many dehumidifiers are mobile, indicating you can transfer them easily from one area to another. These are typically intended for medium-sized spaces, such as smaller living rooms and larger bedrooms. Machines dedicated to this dimension are the most popular residential units, though some houses use whole-house dehumidifiers.


types of dehumidifiers

The majority of the dehumidifiers you see in home improvement shops are portable dehumidifiers. These are usually inexpensive to buy and lightweight, making them easy to carry from one room to another or even to a new site. They are often framed in plastic, so they don't have excessive weight or material, and while they could persist for quite a long time with good care, they are not as sturdy as an entire home or an industrial unit.

Another sort of portable dehumidifier is the type used for restoration, like when there has been a water spill or flooding that resulted in damage to a home or office area. They work on drying space and decreasing the amount of water damage, seldom even heavy-duty enough to fully restore the intense damage of something such as a hurricane or other catastrophe.


A whole-house dehumidifier is a centralized system that operates like an AC unit, clearing the whole house space of excess moisture. These fixed units are more costly and require installation by an expert, with requirements that they're on the duct work that's already installed for central air and heating purposes.

Ordinarily, this is managed where the furnace or air handler cabinet is located. There are a few of these whole house components. However, that stands alone.


With whole-house units, among the most common kinds of dehumidifiers is a heat pump unit. These use a fan to draw the moist air into the device and across a cold coil, precisely like the refrigeration style versions. The condensed water drops to a water bucket or tank and is then drained through a hose. The significant difference here is that the air is then heated again before being blown back through the exhaust and in the ambient space, much dryer than when it was taken into the unit.


Often, larger units will include a pump. The additional convenience is that you do not need to drain the tank, and the dehumidifier can keep doing its job.


These operate on the same principle as mobile desiccant units, using a heat exchange wheel with a desiccant to absorb water particles from the moist air before sending the altered, drier atmosphere back into space. These are more common in industrial areas since they use a great deal more energy than refrigeration design or heat pump dehumidifiers and may be expensive to operate.


When it comes to whole-house dehumidifiers, another type uses a sensor and an exhaust fan. These are not usually as efficient as other forms but can help maintain a crawlspace or basement dry so you don't end up with mold and mildew in a place that will be much damper than other regions of the house. With these kinds of dehumidifiers, the sensor control takes in the ambient humidity level. When it becomes too high according to a specified level, it will trigger the unit to turn on the ventilator and remove some moisture from the environment. The ventilator will pull in air from outside, so it is better to not use these in a climate that tends to be quite muggy, as this works contrary to the whole purpose of the unit. If you would like to install one of them, you must ensure that your gas furnace is vented accurately, as they can result in depressurization in a space, which causes gas spillage in some cases.


As all dehumidifiers will draw additional energy, you will want to ensure you are using the unit as economically as possible.

Begin by setting your humidistat at a reasonable level. There is no need to get your house set as low as 30 percent. Ensure that you keep it about 50 percent since this is the perfect humidity level for comfort anyhow. This will enable the unit to cycle on and off and save some energy.

Also, don't run your dehumidifier round the clock. If you are not going to maintain the area for many hours, turn off the unit and save some energy, which would otherwise be wasted on running the device to remove moisture from a space that nobody is using.

Be sure all your windows and doors are closed. Exactly like an AC unit, having windows open is a waste because the cool air -- or in this case, the dry air -- is escaping, and the wetter air is allowed to enter the space. This keeps the unit running more. Closing doors can help contain the area you want to dehumidify, particularly if you're using a smaller mobile unit.

You don't need to tack it to remove moisture from the air on the individual space you bought it for.

Keep the dehumidifier from walls and surfaces because this will block the airflow in and out of the intake and exhaust. Without free airflow, you waste a great deal of energy with a unit that will fail based on misuse.

You also need to continue your routine cleaning and maintenance to ensure efficacy. Any clog or blockage can reduce how well the system operates, prohibiting it from running without overtaxing the energy level.


types of dehumidifiers

Are you wondering if you require a dehumidifier? Consider these signs, you might:

  • Mildew
  • Mold
  • Fungus condensation around windows
  • Wet walls or ceiling
  • Rotting or weak wood
  • Musty smell or feel
  • Blistering paint and wallpaper

If you see a few of these symptoms around your house, you probably have too high of a humidity level in your living area and might want to think about a dehumidifier to rectify the issue. Make sure to think about your situation and how much work you want your dehumidifier to perform, so it is possible to determine your conditions' best type and size. Not all cases are the same, and at times, a whole-house unit is the best way to go. In other regions, the temperatures may be cooler, and you may need to work with a desiccant dehumidifier instead of a fridge style unit. Or, if you are just looking to keep your cellar drier, you may use a dehumidifying vent. Whatever your choice, make sure to carefully consider all your options before making a choice.

About the Author Tom Hanson

I’ve worked as an HVAC tech in Phoenix, AZ for the past 10 years. I created to help home owners select the right portable air conditioner, cooler or air purifier for their needs & budget in just a few minutes.

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