What Is A Desiccant Dehumidifier?

Friday 20th October 2023

Ellen Warren

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Small dehumidifier next to a sofa

CONTENTS

High humidity can often create an oppressive atmosphere. Thankfully, dehumidifiers are an easy solution to this: drawing moisture from the air and preventing surfaces from becoming breeding grounds for mould. However, knowing what type to use can be difficult.

Our mould remediation services at ICE Cleaning are one of the leading specialist cleaning services in the UK. We work closely with local councils to adhere to Awaab's Law, ensuring that social housing is up to standard quality and keeping families safe from mould.

Read on to learn more about desiccant dehumidifiers and how they compare against other types of dehumidifiers.

Understanding desiccant dehumidifiers

Desiccant dehumidifiers are unique devices designed to extract excess moisture from the air. A desiccant, the material used in these devices, absorbs water molecules from the air.

This method contrasts with traditional dehumidifiers that cool down air to condense out humidity. Desiccants do not need to cool, they soak up moisture regardless of temperature.

The most common type of desiccant used in these machines is silica gel, similar to those packets you find in shoe boxes or electronics packaging. It is incredibly effective at drawing damp out of your environment.

They are ideal if you need low humidity levels or live in colder conditions where other dehumidifier types struggle because cooling is unnecessary. This makes them versatile and efficient options for maintaining dry environments.

Key components of desiccant dehumidifiers

A desiccant dehumidifier includes several essential parts, each contributing to its overall functionality. The heart of the unit is the desiccant material, a substance that naturally attracts and holds water vapour.

The desiccant is within a rotating wheel. As damp air passes over this wheel, it is drawn to the desiccant and leaves as dry air on the other side. This process ensures your space remains moisture-free.

The next important component is the heater; warming incoming moist air before hitting the wheel, increasing efficiency in drawing out more humidity. Finally, a fan inside the device pulls in humid air from your surroundings for drying, ensuring you breathe easier and live healthier.

Suitability of desiccant dehumidifiers for different environments

Desiccant dehumidifiers are a good choice for various environments. They are efficient in colder climates where condensation often forms due to the temperature difference between indoors and outdoors.

In spaces like basements or garages that are unheated, these devices work well because desiccants do not need heat to draw moisture from the air. They can absorb humidity effectively, even at low temperatures.

Commercial properties also benefit from desiccant dehumidifiers. Storage facilities or warehouses storing items are sensitive to dampness, so by maintaining lower relative humidity levels, companies can protect their assets and ensure a healthier environment.

Advantages of using desiccant dehumidifiers

Desiccant dehumidifiers can handle moisture well in cold climates. They work effectively at low temperatures, unlike other types that struggle to remove humidity under 15°C. This makes them a popular choice for colder environments like basements and garages.

Their quiet operation is another plus. If you need peace while working or sleeping, desiccant dehumidifiers will not operate too loudly. Research has shown that their noise level is significantly lower than that of refrigerated models.

These devices are also beneficial because they produce heat. This could lead to substantial savings on heating costs over time. Lastly, desiccants do not produce harmful gases, positively contributing towards environmental conservation efforts.

Like any device, desiccant dehumidifiers are not perfect. One limitation is their energy usage in larger models. Although they excel in colder environments, this performance comes at a cost - they consume more power than other types of dehumidifiers.

Another drawback lies within the desiccant material itself. Over time, it can wear out and need replacing to maintain efficiency. While not overly expensive or difficult to do, this maintenance requirement is something users should consider.

Comparing desiccant dehumidifiers with other types

With dehumidification, two main types dominate the market: desiccant and compressor-based models. Both have their unique strengths and limitations, making them suitable for different environments.

Desiccant dehumidifiers

  • Effective in low temperatures
  • Quiet operation
  • Small devices consume less power
  • Perform well in various temperatures
  • Compact and lightweight
  • Ideal for small rooms

Compressor dehumidifiers

  • Higher moisture removal capacity
  • Ideal for larger rooms with high humidity
  • Not ideal for quiet spaces
  • Not ideal for colder conditions
  • Require permanent installation
  • Ideal for basements and crawl spaces

Choosing between a desiccant or compressor model depends on your needs and environment. Desiccant models are ideal if you need a small, quiet device for bedrooms or living spaces, a low-energy-consuming device for extended use, or effective dehumidification in cold conditions. 

However, if you prioritise energy efficiency over noise levels and live in a warm, humid climate, then compressor-based units would be more suitable.

Remember to consider the size of the area that needs dehumidifying. Larger spaces may require higher-capacity units regardless of type. Understanding these key distinctions can help homeowners, landlords and tenants make informed decisions when choosing a dehumidification solution.

How desiccant dehumidifiers prevent mould

Mould growth is a common concern in many homes and commercial spaces. It not only affects the aesthetics but also poses health risks. Due to their unique operating principle, desiccant dehumidifiers are highly effective in preventing mould growth. 

By consistently maintaining lower humidity levels, desiccant dehumidifiers create an inhospitable environment for mould to grow and thrive.

Mould often grows in confined or poorly ventilated areas, such as kitchens and bathrooms. Desiccant dehumidifiers excel in these scenarios by efficiently controlling humidity without the need for significant air circulation. They help keep these spaces dry and prevent mould development.

Their quiet, energy-efficient, and portable features enhance their utility in maintaining a mould-free environment. By leveraging these advantages, you can create a healthier and more comfortable indoor space, free from the threats of mould and its associated problems.

Tips for maximising the efficiency of desiccant dehumidifiers

Positioning your desiccant dehumidifier correctly can boost its efficiency. For ideal efficiency, place the desiccant dehumidifier in a central spot with decent air circulation to take in as much moist air as possible.

Maintaining your device is equally important. Regularly check and replace the desiccant material to ensure optimal performance. This simple action can have an impact on the efficiency of your device.

Avoid overloading your unit by matching its capacity with room size. If you are attempting to dry a large house with just one little dehumidifier, it will be inefficient and may require a larger or compressor-based dehumidifier instead.

You should also use energy-saving settings where possible on your model. This helps maintain effectiveness while reducing running costs.

Frequently asked questions

What is a desiccant dehumidifier?

A desiccant dehumidifier uses absorbent materials to soak up moisture from the air. It's perfect for keeping damp at bay, especially in cooler climates.

Are desiccant dehumidifiers better?

Desiccant dehumidifiers are better in colder temperatures and drier environments. They're quieter but can be more expensive to run than their compressor counterparts.

Is a desiccant dehumidifier expensive to run?

The running cost of a desiccant dehumidifier varies based on usage and size. While they consume less power, higher usage may increase costs compared with other types.

What is the most efficient desiccant dehumidifier?

The efficiency of a desiccant dehumidifier depends on your specific needs. However, models like the EcoAir DD122 MK5 are known for their performance and energy-saving features.

Get in touch

If you are struggling to find a solution to mould, you can rely on ICE Cleaning's mould removal services. Our technicians use various dehumidification technologies to efficiently remove mould from your home and improve air quality indoors.

To learn more about our mould cleaning services, you can reach out to our friendly service team at 0208 066 0360 or enquiries@icecleaning.co.uk. We operate 24/7, nationwide, and will answer your call all year round. Get in touch today for a free, no-obligation quote and a lifetime guarantee*.

*subject to advisories

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