Written on19/09/2020by Erika C.
Dehumidifier: How it works, and what is it for?
A dehumidifier is a household appliance equipped with a refrigeration circuit inside which circulates a refrigerant gas capable of absorbing moisture from the surrounding environment. Specifically, the water vapour present in the air is attracted by a fan, condenses, and the resulting water is released into a tank or collection tank to be emptied once reached the maximum limit.
All this also improves the hygiene of the environment... A high level of humidity favours the spread of mites, bacteria and fungus, as these pathogens also use water as a transport vector. All this leads to physical and respiratory complications, but it also damages materials such as wood, textiles, paints, etc...
Its use is straightforward and can be useful both in summer and winter because the dehumidification improves human resistance to heat as it contributes to the self-regulation of body temperature. During cold periods, on the other hand, condensation will be avoided on the internal surfaces of the house, such as windows for example, and it is known that condensation only anticipates the formation of mould. These are by no means easy to remove.
The dehumidifier solves small daily problems such as drying laundry if you don't have a balcony or outdoor space while avoiding the formation of unpleasant odours on the clothes themselves, which is unfortunately very frequent if there is not an ideal level of humidity in the air.
Today there are different types of dehumidifiers on the market, and each of them can be used in different environmental contexts. In particular, the dehumidifier can be distinguished as follows:
- wall mounted dehumidifier
- portable dehumidifier
- desktop dehumidifier
- professional or industrial dehumidifier
Each type has its advantages, and by analyzing them specifically, you can see which one is the most suitable for your needs!
The wall-mounted dehumidifier is undoubtedly one of the most technological and powerful types of dehumidifier. Design and technology lovers will not be able to pass it.
In addition to the classic task of absorbing humidity in even rather large environments, the wall dehumidifier, thanks to its structure, can be enriched with some special functions. For this reason, it often also acts as an ionizer: it charges the air with active oxygen, cleaning it and allowing the user to live in a healthy and hygienic environment, at a more than reasonable cost considering its capabilities!
The portable dehumidifier has practicality on its side. This type of dehumidifier is super effective, and at the same time, it has a compact structure, and if it is slightly more imposing, it is still equipped with wheels to facilitate its transport. This type can be transported anywhere and is ideal not only to occupy little space in your home but also for other environments such as offices, shops, libraries or laboratories with delicate electronic equipment, subject to malfunction in case of humidity.
Moreover, since it takes up very little space, it is ideal both in the bedroom and in the laundry room to facilitate the eventual drying of clothing, because usually, rooms of this kind are already sufficiently furnished and the minimum size is super sought-after!
The desktop dehumidifier is more practical compared to the portable dehumidifier because it is smaller in size. It is no coincidence that it can be used in environments like:
It is, therefore, a type designed for rather small environments or for environments where silence is an essential aspect, such as the bedroom. In fact, what is surprising is that this device is imperceptible at a sound level. Today you can also buy some models of portable dehumidifiers equipped with coloured LED lights to give an aesthetic value to the place where you want to use it!
The use of the professional or industrial dehumidifier is indispensable in particular working environments such as factories, where a high level of humidity would risk damaging the components of particularly expensive machines due to corrosion or possible moulds and bacteria.
However, there is also a real risk for employees' health. Fortunately, over time it became clear that inducing hot air into the environment (forced heating) to eliminate water vapour saturation was not only an unnecessary waste of energy, especially in warm seasons, but was also quite difficult to tolerate for those who had to live with it.
The industrial dehumidifier, thanks to its size that allows it to have a super capacity tank (at least 30 l), does nothing but solve all the problems listed above with moderate consumption, to benefit the economy of companies, the workers themselves and even the environment!
Factors to consider
The aspects to be taken into consideration when purchasing a dehumidifier are many and can be summarised as follows:
- Dehumidification capacity
- Power and consumption
- Additional features
- Type of water discharge
- Noise level
Let's analyse together what is meant by each factor!
The dehumidification capacity is one of the most important factors as this is precisely the purpose for which the dehumidifier was designed. This factor is expressed in terms of litres of water extracted in a given unit of time: the greater this is, the higher the dehumidifier's capacity will be.
In case of particularly humid environments, it is necessary to choose a model able to absorb about 20-30 litres of water every 24 hours. The volume of air that the dehumidifier can treat can also be obtained from the litres, usually expressed in m2 as it is easier to compare with the plan of the place where the dehumidifier will be installed.
Power and consumption
The power of the dehumidifier can vary from:
- a minimum of just under 100 Watt (smaller models)
- maximum 600 W and more (models for large environments)
In the domestic environment, however, an average power output of 300 watts would be ideal.
Consumption, on the other hand, is a very common aspect because it has an impact on one's economic balance sheet, also because dehumidifiers are generally used for rather long operating cycles or even in many cases, they always remain active.
In any case, it should be specified that most dehumidifiers have an intermittent electrical consumption, that is: the highest energy absorption occurs in a discontinuous way, except during the first ignition phase.
In order to have a clearer idea of the costs of this appliance, it is possible to estimate the hourly cost of its activity, considering that one kWh (the most common calculation unit to determine the electricity consumption in the utility bill) is equivalent to just over 3 hours of work for a dehumidifier with a power of 300 W.
Once you have determined the main factors, you can move on to assessing the additional functionality that makes each dehumidifier model unique. One of these can be an automatic shutdown, for example. However, you can also look for other functions such as air purification and actual sanitation. There are special filters that can significantly reduce the rate of allergens in the environment, as well as the possibility of buying dehumidifiers with integrated heating function and of course, thanks to technology; you can now also give remote commands via wireless mode!
Maintenance of the dehumidifier is as simple as it is essential; in most cases, it is only necessary to extract and wash the air filter periodically, and this operation allows the elimination of dust deposits and fungal spores inside the appliance. For this reason, it is crucial to evaluate the practicality of extracting the filter so that it can be washed frequently in all its parts in an optimal way. In any case, it is essential to remember that every amount of time, filters should be replaced and therefore, it is advisable to inquire in advance about any spare parts sales points.
Type of water drain
The type of condensation water drain is directly proportional to the tranquillity and the feeling of comfort felt by the user since the larger the drain container is, the less frequent will be the emptying operations, which also involve switching off and restarting the dehumidifier.
In conclusion, if you plan to leave the dehumidifier in a very humid environment for a long time, the priority will be to choose a model with a high storage capacity!
The noise level is not to be overlooked because very often, dehumidifiers are also in operation at night and could cause various inconveniences. On average, the noise emission of dehumidifiers is expressed in decibels (dB), and on average, humidifiers are divided this way in terms of noise:
- around 45 dB: silent
- around or more than 50 dB: noisy
In the latter case, it would be advisable to use this appliance in areas that are sufficiently isolated so as not to cause any disturbance. However, it is also true that if it is used in places such as cellars or garages, the noise factor is rather insignificant.
The price factor plays a crucial role in the choice of many users. The price range is from 100 to 250 euros for standard dehumidifiers, with the main features related to dehumidification.
If, on the other hand, if you are looking for more technological models, the price rises for the values indicated above. Still, it must be stressed that with proper maintenance, it is a household appliance that you buy at most two/three times in life. If you can not afford such an expense, it remains the alternative of the salt dehumidifier, which average price may be even lower than 10 euros. Still, you must take into account the purchase of future refills.
The most frequently asked questions ...
We are very keen to specify a small detail that does not directly concern the dehumidifier itself, but the air conditioner, which many times is equipped with the dehumidification function, but it is not always possible to start it and ... To conclude, we will also dwell on another "dilemma" somewhat debated on the web.
Read on to learn more!
How to set the air conditioner to dehumidifier
All the functions of the air conditioner are now controlled by remote control, and even if it may seem trivial, it is very common that you can not associate the dehumidification function to a precise button but ... Do not panic! The matter is much simpler than it looks and the symbol to look for on the remote control is nothing more than this:
The droplet represents water and was not chosen at random: in fact, this function is designed to collect the humidity in the air. It is essential, especially in Summer, because if very high, pushes the user to lower the temperature even more, with possible discomfort for your health!
Electric or non-electric dehumidifier?
The electric dehumidifier is ideal if the volume of air to be treated is quite significant: in fact, it draws energy from outside and has very high efficiency. Its cost is low, and one of its advantages is undoubtedly the fact that it is not made up of materials that wear out. The only wear and tear it can encounter is mechanical, like most household appliances. However, the whole thing is manageable through a few simple maintenance operations!
The non-electric or salt dehumidifier is instead composed of a container with salt compounds inside, sometimes combined with clayey materials, able to ensure a dehumidifying capacity also quite high. Probably, given that salt is the only "fuel", the consumption is low and even if the salts are subject to saturation and therefore require replacement once reached this stage, its autonomy is extended up to about 2-3 months, depending on the quality of the salt compound itself.
However, it must be specified that the use of the non-electric dehumidifier is recommended only in small rooms of maximum 10/12 m2.