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Dehumidifcation Learning Center
Dehumidification Learning Center

What are the Types of Dehumidifiers?

Understanding how dehumidifiers are classified will help you put the right moisture-control techniques to work in your home

SaniDry™ XP

Specialized design. The SaniDry™ XP has high-capacity, heavy-duty features designed for optimum performance in basements where temperatures are low and humidity levels are high. Collected water can drain directly into a sump pump, as shown here.

We need dehumidifiers because too much moisture causes problems -like mold that can damage materials, smell bad and trigger adverse health reactions. People are generally most comfortable indoors when the humidity level is between 30% and 50%. Mold has trouble growing when the humidity is below 50%. Dehumidifiers help to maintain optimal humidity levels by removing moisture from the air. Just ahead, we'll explain how dehumidifiers are described and classified.

Desiccant dehumidifiers rely on basic absorption. A "desiccant" is a substance that reduces humidity by absorbing water molecules. The small "do not eat" canisters included in vitamin and medicine containers are silica gel desiccants that help keep these products dry. Similar desiccants are packaged along with clothing and other items that need to be kept dry. To reduce humidity in a closet, you can buy desiccant packets or pouches that can be dried out and reused after the desiccant material becomes saturated. There are also mechanically-based desiccant dehumidifiers that blow air over a desiccant such as silica gel or bentonite clay. At best, an electrically powered desiccant dehumidifier can dehumidify a small room.

Refrigerant-based dehumidifiers use cooling coils to force condensation. Most of the dehumidifiers in use today work by blowing air over a refrigerated surface called a coil -the same technology that makes refrigerators and air conditioners work. In a refrigerant-type dehumidifier, droplets of condensed water collect on the coil as air passes over it; then this condensate drips down into a reservoir. Most dehumidifiers can be controlled by a humidistat: You set a target level of relative humidity, and the appliance will continue to operate until that humidity level is reached, or until the condensate reservoir is filled.

SaniDry™ air filtration system

Better air filtration. Because basement air can have higher concentrations of dust, mold spores and dust mite debris, SaniDry™ dehumidifiers feature multi-stage air filtration that can trap these air pollutants.

Dehumidifiers are classified by capacity, efficiency, and function. When choosing a dehumidifier, learn more about dehumidification and focus on these three factors.

  • Capacity: how many pints of water the unit will remove from the air over a 24-hour period (pints per day, or ppd) under "standard" conditions -80degrees F and 60% relative humidity (RH). Large-capacity models will be rated at 50-75ppd. Medium = 45-50ppd. Small = 25-40ppd.
  • Efficiency: The Energy Factor (EF) tells you the amount of water (in liters) the unit can remove from the air per kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity consumed. The larger the number, the more efficient the dehumidifier is. Larger dehumidifiers tend to be more efficient.
  • Function: A smaller number of dehumidifiers are classified by function. For example, there are large-capacity "whole-house" dehumidifiers designed to work with a home's forced-air system. There are also dehumidifiers designed specifically for basements and crawl spaces, like the SaniDry® XP (basement) and SaniDry® CX (crawl space) models. These heavy-duty, high capacity dehumidifiers have features designed to handle the low-temperature, high moisture conditions encountered in these environments.

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