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The Different Types of Dehumidifiers

Last modified: 2019-01-10 | Approximate reading time 3 mins

Amanda Harvey

If you’ve noticed an excessive buildup of moisture in your home, including condensation buildup on the windows or signs of mould, this could point to a significant issue with your home's humidity. Homeowners may not realize, but the air quality of your home directly depends on the comfort and health of your loved ones. Overly humid air can lead to a variety of health problems, but can be maintained with a dehumidifier!

There are three main types of dehumidifiers: refrigerant, desiccant and whole-house. Each one of models collects moisture differently, so knowing the specifics of how each one works will help you to determine which one would be best for your home. Read on to find out which dehumidifier style is right for your home!

Here are the specifics about different dehumidifier units!

1-Refrigerant Dehumidifier


source: Flickr, oneminutebuy

If you know how your fridge works, then you can apply those principals to this type of dehumidifier. This type of dehumidifier works by using a fan, a heat exchanger and a heat pump to remove moisture from the air. The refrigeration process cools a metal plate inside of the dehumidifier, and this is where moisture collects and condenses.

A fan that sits at the front of the device pulls air inside, forcing it over the cool metal plate. As moisture condenses, the liquid drips into the water tank that is inside of the dehumidifier. This results in the humidity in your home being reduced to normal levels, and when this happens, your dehumidifier should switch itself off or into standby until it is needed again.

The performance of a refrigerant humidifier declines dramatically in cooler climates, as there is often a formation of ice on the metal cooling plates. Although a refrigerant dehumidifier can operate at cool temperatures, it will require components that can perform at these temperatures, and sometimes even additional features. If you plan to use this type of device in rooms that are often cold, you may want to consider one of the other dehumidifier options.  

2-Desiccant Dehumidifier

While the refrigerant dehumidifier is the most well-known, a desiccant dehumidifier also does an excellent job at keeping moisture at bay. This type of dehumidifier uses an alternative method to that of the refrigerant. Rather than employing a cooling metal plate, a desiccant dehumidifier absorbs water from the air using a desiccant. If you’ve ever found a small packet of crystals labelled “silica gel” located in a pair of new shoes or alongside a new computer, you’ll be familiar with the desiccant material.

The material of a desiccant works to absorb water, keeping moisture from accumulating in fabrics and on devices. In a desiccant dehumidifier, the same principals apply. It operates by way of a wheel accompanied by a large desiccant. The wheel turns very slowly, absorbing the moisture from the incoming air flow. When the wheel is rotating, part of the wheel passes through a stream of warm air, reactivating the desiccant by driving off moisture.

Water condenses and is collected in the dehumidifiers collection tank, or automatically drains through the back of the unit. One advantage of this type of humidifier is its size and weight, as it is generally smaller and lighter than the refrigerant dehumidifier. Another reason to choose this unit is for its ability to operate in colder temperatures. If your dehumidifier is going to be used in particularly chilly rooms, then this could be the device for you! However, the downside of desiccant dehumidifiers is that they require a lot of energy. 

3-Whole House Ventilation Dehumidifier

source: Pixabay, Bilderjet

Certain dehumidifiers can be used for the entire home, and work more like a ventilation system to effectively remove mould, condensation and excess moisture from your home. This is the simplest type of dehumidifier in its operation. This model works by pushing air from the unit down into the home by way of a mounted grill.

The arrival of new air forces old, stale air out through your homes natural points of leakage, maintaining a dry and fresh air throughout the home.  It is cheaper to run than the two other models listed, and works quietly behind the scenes to keep the air in your home clean. This style of whole-house dehumidifier adds another layer to a home's existing HVAC system. Bear in mind that this style of dehumidifier requires a professional for installation, so get in touch with some, if this is the unit that you’re interested in. 

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