Dehumidifier Types

It is important to understand how dehumidifiers are classified, as it will help you understand which moisture-control techniques will work best for you and your home.

Dehumidifiers are necessary because too much moisture can cause issues. Mold can build, and that can result in damaged materials, smelly odors, and harmful health reactions. People are typically most comfortable inside when humidity levels are somewhere between 30% and 50%. Mold generally can’t grow when humidity is somewhere below 50%. Dehumidifiers help retain optimal humidity levels by eliminating moisture from the air. If you want to learn more, we'll go into depth on how dehumidifiers are categorized and described below.

Desiccant dehumidifiers run on basic absorption.

A "desiccant" is a material that lessens humidity by taking in water molecules. Silica gel desiccants are usually located inside the tiny "do not eat" canisters found in vitamin and medicine containers in order to keep these products dry. You will be able to find similar desiccants that are encased along with clothing and other materials that need to be kept dry. To decrease the humidity in a closet, you can purchase desiccant packets or pouches that can be dried up and reused after it becomes saturated. Mechanically-based desiccant dehumidifiers that blow air over a desiccant such as bentonite clay or silica gel also exist. An electrically powered desiccant dehumidifier can dehumidify a small room at best.

Cooling coils force condensation by utilizing refrigerant-based dehumidifiers.

The majority of dehumidifiers that are used today function by blowing air over the refrigerator's exterior known as a coil, the same technology that makes air conditioners and refrigerators function properly. In a refrigerant-type dehumidifier, droplets of condensed water gather on the coil as air passes above it; then this distillation trickles down into a reservoir. A humidistat controls most dehumidifiers. You determine a specific target level of relative humidity, and the appliance will continue to function until that humidity level is obtained, or until the condensate reservoir is full.

Dehumidifiers are categorized by efficiency, capacity, and function. When choosing a dehumidifier, focus on these three key factors.

* Efficiency: The Energy Factor (EF) will tell you the amount of water (by liters) the unit can remove from the air per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity that is absorbed. The bigger the number, the more efficient the dehumidifier can be. Large dehumidifiers are often most efficient.

* Capacity: how many pints of water the unit will be removed from the air over a 24-hour period (pints per day) under standard conditions -80 degrees F and 60% relative humidity (RH). Large-capacity models are rated at 50-75ppd. Medium = 45-50ppd. Small = 25-40ppd.

* Function: A fewer number of dehumidifiers are categorized by function. For example, there are large-capacity "whole-house" dehumidifiers made to function with a home's forced-air system. There are also dehumidifiers specifically designed for crawl spaces and basements, like the WiseAire® 70 (Crawlspace) and WiseAire 95® (Basement) models . These high capacity, heavy duty dehumidifiers have features created to deal with the low-temperature, high moisture conditions that are prevalent in these type of environments.


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