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How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

28 Jan 2021

There are many reasons why purchasing a dehumidifier can be good for your home and your health. In the UK, we have a particularly humid climate, which combined with indoor heating throughout the winter (humidity increases in heated air), can make for very humid homes and workspaces.

High humidity can cause all sorts of problems. From mould to dust mites, to keeping your electronic equipment functioning (it can cause rusting or short circuits). If you’re looking for a way to tackle high humidity, one of the best and easiest ways to do this is by using a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers are helpful in a wide variety of situations from flood damage to dust mite eradication to making your indoor air easier to breathe.

However, choosing a dehumidifier can take a little more work. It’s important that you get one that fits the application its needed for, taking into consideration things such as the size of the space that needs drying, the temperature, and the relative humidity, among other things.

It can be helpful to know how dehumidifiers work to understand which one you require. There are 2 main types of dehumidifiers: desiccant and refrigerant dehumidifiers. Each function in its own way and performs best in different conditions.

How Does a Desiccant Dehumidifier Work?

Desiccant dehumidifiers draw wet air into the dehumidifier using a fan where it passes over a desiccant moisture absorber, which is held on a slowly rotating wheel. The parts of the wheel not being used are heated up which triggers the moisture in the air to condense and drip out into the water tank. The air is then reheated and pumped back into the room, reducing the relative humidity in the atmosphere.

Unlike refrigerant dehumidifiers, desiccants continue to remove moisture even at temperatures as low as 0° F. In fact, desiccant dehumidifiers are especially effective in cold environments and are particularly suited to places such as crawlspaces, basements, and garages.

How Does a Refrigerant Dehumidifier Work?

Refrigerant dehumidifiers (or compressor dehumidifiers) use a fan to draw in air and pass it across cold coils similar to the way a refrigerator functions. The moisture in the air condenses on the coils and drips into a water tank where it is either collected or pumped out. The air is then reheated and sent back into the space as warmer and drier air.

The refrigerants use a built-in compressor to cool down the coils and this allows for coils of larger size to be chilled. This larger surface ensures a lot more water can be condensed and collected, making these dehumidifiers perfect for industrial and commercial use.

Refrigerants need the outside air to be warm in order to function. For this reason, they are not well suited to cold environments. On these occasions, a desiccant would be better suited.

Contact us today on 0800 808 9126 to find out how we can help you find the right dehumidifier to suit your needs. Our team can help you decide which dehumidifier is right for you.