Dehumidifier : What is it?
Dehumidifiers regulate humidity in an area by removing excess moisture from the air. Excess humidity causes common household problems like wall stains, water buildup, and peeling of paint or wallpaper. Dehumidifiers are commonly used in the winter, when outside surfaces are cold and ventilation is limited by insulation systems.
A dehumidifier uses fans to draw in moist air. The air is first passed through a filter to remove dust and particles, then to a cold evaporator where the moisture condenses into water. The water is then collected in a container for disposal. Most models also have a humidstat, which monitors the humidity level in the room.
Kinds of Dehumidifiers include the following:
Refrigerant dehumidifiers have evaporator coils that induce condensation. The water is pumped from a collection tray away from the unit or onto a separate container. They are fairly safe to operate and are effective against most forms of water damage. They perform well in high humidity situations, but they tend to freeze the water when used in low humidity. This forces them to stop absorbing moisture while the coils defrost.
Low grain refrigerant (LGR) dehumidifiers
LGR dehumidifiers pre-cool the air before drawing it over the coils, reducing the refrigeration necessary to induce condensation. They do not freeze as easily as refrigerant dehumidifiers, making them more effective in low humidity situations. They prevent moisture-related problems, such as misting and mold buildup. They also dry structures faster and have lower operating costs.
Desiccant dehumidifiers contain silica, which naturally attracts and traps water vapor. A heater element then evaporates the water from the silica and releases it as humid air. They work well in low humidity levels, but are not as effective in high humidity. They are ideal for areas with tiles, concrete blocks, or hardwood floors.
Air exchangers have an exchange core that draws in cool outdoor air from one side and warm indoor air from the other. The indoor air heats the outdoor air inside the chamber before exiting through a vent. The newly heated air is then released into the room as warm, dry air. They have low power consumption and work best when outdoor air is at freezing temperatures. However, they need dry outdoor air to operate. They become less effective when the outdoor air becomes humid from constant weather changes.
Noise. Choose a dehumidifier that operates quietly. Most dehumidifiers will make some background noise, but this should be limited to a soft buzz. Larger units and portable dehumidifiers tend to make more noise, so choose a model that matches the size of your room or house.
Humidstat. Look for a dehumidifier with a built-in humidstat to help you control humidity levels. Make sure it comes with indicator lights for monitoring and timers that allow automatic shutoff.
Filters. Choose a dehumidifier with a fine air filter to remove contaminants from the air. This will prevent allergic reactions from dust and small particles. Look for one with a simple disposal system for the trapped dust for easier maintenance.
- Do not dehumidify to levels below 35%. Excessively low humidity can cause dry, chapped lips, nose and throat itching, damage to furniture, and electrical problems like sparks and static.
- Do not drink the waste water from the dehumidifier. Although the water is technically distilled, the filtering process does not achieve food-grade quality and the water most likely contains microbes and fungi.
- Clean the dehumidifier after the cold season or when it will not be used for a long period. Keep all parts dry and dispose of used filters and cartridges before storing.
- In the first few weeks of operation, empty the tank about twice a day to prevent overflowing. When the device reaches maintenance stage, empty the tank one to two times per week, depending on the remaining moisture levels.
- Wipe all the small parts after emptying the tank to prevent moisture and bacteria buildup. Mae sure the unit is unplugged from the socket before cleaning.