Desiccant Dehumidifier Buying Guide

Once you have decided that you need a dehumidifier, the shopping process is only just beginning. The consumer needs to assess their needs and evaluate some of the choices that are available on the current market. Some machines offer different features and some work better under certain conditions. To make a purchase that will provide you with the best value, you need to understand some of these factors and know which machines and features will best match your individual needs.

Deciding that you need a desiccant dehumidifier is a good step toward figuring out which model will work best for your home, but this is really only the beginning of the shopping process. In this guide, you can learn more about how these machines work, the benefits to this type of dehumidification and the different features and options that come with these models. By the time you are done reading this guide, you should be better equipped to compare the different models that are available and to select the machine that will best suit your needs.

How does it work?

We already know the intended purpose of a desiccant dehumidifier and why you may need to buy one, but there is still the question of how these machines work and what makes them different from the standard compressor models.

Desiccant dehumidifiers are a newer design than the compressor-driven machines and they work through absorbing the moisture instead of condensing it from the air. A desiccant model will use a fan to pull the humid air into the machine in the same way that a compressor model does, but what happens once the air enters the machine is very different.

Once inside the machine, the air is exposed to a rotating disc that is made from an absorbent material (typically a substance known as zeolite). As the air passes by the rotor, the moisture is extracted and a heater is used to regenerate the material while also releasing the water from the disc. The water then drips down into a collection reservoir where it can be either emptied by the user or released through a continuous draining assembly.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Much of the advantage to using a desiccant dehumidifier comes down to how these machines operate. They perform much better at low temperatures than compressor models do and they offer a performance level that is more consistent when they are out of their optimal temperature range. With most models, you will lose some effectiveness as the temperature increases, but the drop in performance is not as dramatic as you would see with a compressor model that is working in the cold.

For the disadvantages to these machines, you are mostly going to be talking about the cost. These models are generally more expensive to purchase because they cost more to produce and the average desiccant model will consume more electricity per hour of operation.

At above 20-degrees, you are likely to get better performance and efficiency from a compressor model than you are from that employs desiccant dehumidification. However, even though a desiccant model consumes more electricity per hour of use, it will be more energy efficient at low temperatures because of the loss of effectiveness that compressor models experience in cold environments.

Extraction Level

The amount of water that a dehumidifier can extract from the air in a day is one of the most important factors to consider. As with any dehumidifier, a desiccant model will have a listing for how many litres of water it can remove from the air in a day. The listed figure represents the amount of extraction that can be expected under the optimal conditions for the given machine. Environmental conditions like the temperature and the ambient humidity will affect the level of extraction that you will actually get when you use the machine.

The Humidistat

The humidistat is the mechanism that monitors the humidity in the area and manages the machine accordingly. The humidistat will test the humidity of the air that enters the machine and shut the dehumidifier off when the desired level has been reach. Once the dehumidifier is off, it will continue to monitor the air and when a high enough reading has been reached, it will resume operation to maintain the setting. Almost every machine will have an internal humidistat, but there can be a significant difference in regard to how the user sets the humidistat and the level of user control that is provided.

Water Removal

A dehumidifier is going to remove water from the air and as it does that, it will need to do something with the water. Every machine is going to have a collection tank where the water collects and most machines will also have the ability to be fitted with a continuous drainage kit.

If you are planning on using the water tank and emptying the water manually, then you will want to consider a few things about the design of the tank and how the machine operates. The first thing that you will want to consider is the size of the tank. If the tank is too small in comparison with the level of moisture extraction, then the user will need to empty the tank more frequently and this could be inconvenient. As the level of water extraction of the machine increase, the consumer should look for a larger tank to compensate for the additional water.

In addition to that, you will want to make sure that the dehumidifier has an auto shutdown feature and a full tank indicator. The full tank indicator will be good for letting the user know when to empty the tank and the auto shutdown prevents the machine from overflowing when the tank becomes full.

You also want to consider how easy it is to empty the water tank. The consumer should look into the accessibility of the tank and if it designed with features that make it easier to carry and less likely to spill. With some machines, the water tank is basically just a bucket that fits inside the machine, but with others, the tank will be fitted with a carrying handle and a spill-proof top.

Air Filters

Since a dehumidifier is a machine that is designed to process the air in an environment, it will come with some level of filtration to prevent dust and dirt from damaging the components. Some machines will only come with the basic dust filter, but there are models that come with filters that are designed to remove impurities from the air. For people that suffer from respiratory conditions, a model with enhanced filtration can be beneficial.

Along with the quality of the filter, the consumer should also consider filter maintenance when they buy a dehumidifier. The filters will need the occasional cleaning to keep the machine running properly and some machines may require replacement of the filter from time to time. Look into factors like how frequently the filters need to be cleaned and the cost of new filters for machines that require replacement.

Operating Conditions

If you want to get the most out of a dehumidifier, then picking the right model for the environmental conditions will be an important factor in your decision making process. Different models provide better or worse performance under different conditions and this means that selecting a machine that is poorly suited for the environment will cost you in efficiency and effectiveness.

The first thing to consider in regard to the operating conditions is the temperature. If you are looking for a desiccant dehumidifier, then that means that at least a significant portion of the use should be at 20-degrees or below. These machines provide good performance even at near freezing temperatures and they will be much more efficient in the cold than a compressor model. A machine that uses desiccant extraction will provide good performance in warm temperatures, so they can be good if they will be operating under a mix of both warm and cold conditions. However, if the primary use is going to be in warm environments, a compressor model will suit your needs better because the compressor machines are more effective and they consume less electricity per hour of use.

The next environmental factors to consider are the extent to which the air in the area is damp and the size of the area that it will need to dry. If the area is exceptionally damp, then you will want to look for a machine that offers more extraction per day. Along with that, if the size of the area is large, then you may want to look for a machine that offers more extraction. A smaller machine may be able to get the job done under these conditions, but it will take longer to reach the desired humidity level.

Additional Features

Controls – Look for a machine that has controls that are simple and easy to use. Along with that, you want to make sure that the controls provide the options that you want and the degree of control that you need.

Auto-Restart – A machine with this feature will restart automatically after a power outage. This can be an important feature for machines that will be operating in an unattended setting.

Laundry Drying – Removing moisture from the air will always help clothes to dry faster, but many dehumidifiers will come with a special setting that is designed for drying the user’s laundry. It will be a higher setting than the standard modes, so it should not be used for regular dehumidifying.

Timer – Some machines will come with a timer that can be used to turn the machine on or off. Some machines will have settings that run up to eight hours and others will have a full 24-hour clock.

Fan Speeds – For many dehumidifiers, having only one fan speed is standard. Consumers can find some models that have two or more and this can add an extra level of adjustability to the function of the machine.

Portability – For consumers that plan to use their dehumidifier in more than one location, portability will be an important factor. Having a model that is light and compact can be good for moving around. Additionally, you will want to find out whether the machine has wheels or a handle.