What does a dehumidifier do?Stay Dry
Moist air is able to dampen anything it comes into contact with and can make your home interior and fabrics damp and uncomfortable. Dehumidifiers are able to control the relative humidity of a room to provide a drier, more comfortable living environment.
Damp homes are breeding grounds for mold and mildew, and can be the cause of numerous health-associated issues including breathing difficulties like asthma and allergic reactions. Dehumidifiers can help to control the level of moisture in the air and in turn reduce the risk of mold and mildew build up.
Mold and mildew can create an unpleasant odour, which absorb into walls, fabrics and furniture. A dehumidifier will remove excess moisture from the air and get to the root-cause of unwelcome odours in the home.
Although dust mites are microscopic, they live in beds, mattresses, curtains, carpets and all other fabrics. They thrive in damp conditions and cause dust mite allergic reactions. Using a dehumidifier would help you get rid of them by more than half.
What are the different types of dehumidifier?
There are two main types of dehumidifier, which serve a similar function but are more suited to different environments and settings:
Often called Refrigerant dehumidifiers, compressor models are generally considered more suitable for environments of higher temperatures and higher humidity; meaning they are most suited to a typical home in the UK.
Compressor dehumidifiers draw in warm air which flows over refrigerated coils, condensing the water which then drips into a water tank.
Compressor / Refrigerant dehumidifiers are more widely available on the UK market due to their suitability for occupied homes.
Instead of using a cold surface to extract moisture from the air in the way that a compressor model does, these dehumidifiers have a desiccant wheel that absorbs moisture in a similar way to a sponge. Using an internal heater to dry out the desiccant and store the condensed moisture in a water tank, the dehumidifying process is then able to be repeated time and again.
Typically a desiccant tends to use more energy due to the way heat is used in the dehumidifying process; however they are more suited to working in colder environments. They are also lighter and quieter due to the lack of a compressor.
Features to look out for
A dehumidifier’s capacity is the stated amount of water it will be able to draw from the air per day. Compressor dehumidifiers tend to have capacities ranging between 0.5 - 50 litres. Generally a small capacity might work for a small room, and a larger capacity will be better for a bigger space.
Compressor dehumidifiers usually have technology to prevent water from freezing on the coils. Desiccant dehumidifiers typically don’t have this feature, as it’s not needed due to the way they operate.
A continuous drain function enables you to connect a hose to divert water directly out to drain, rather than collecting it in a tank. This can be particularly useful if the appliance needs to be left on for a long time and means manually emptying the tank is not required.
A timer enables you to program the dehumidifier to turn on and off at set times. This is a useful function if you want to save electricity or would like to run the dehumidifier while you are out of the house.
Some dehumidifiers have a built-in humidistat. These monitor the relative humidity of a room, and turn the dehumidifier on or off accordingly to maintain your selected humidity level.
These provide improved portability as they let you wheel the dehumidifier around rather than having to lift and carry it.