A dehumidifier is used to reduce the level of moisture in the air. Used in homes and offices, dehumidifiers help prevent the spread of mould and bacteria growth caused by excess moisture, and to make the air less dense and humid for those with breathing problems. There are different types of dehumidifiers, and knowing how they work is important before deciding on which one to use.
First, check the moisture content in the air and see if you actually need a dehumidifier. There is a device that measures the degree of humidity in your home called a hygrometer. You can find one at your local hardware store. If you take a reading and the humidity measures at over 55 per cent, then you may want to use a dehumidifier. If it is less than 55 per cent, you could use an air conditioner, which mechanically acts similar to a dehumidifier, as it draws the warm moisture out of the air and sends it to the outside.
If you opt for the dehumidifier, there are standard dehumidifiers and desiccant dehumidifiers. The standard mechanical dehumidifiers draw air over coils, and as the air cools the moisture drips into a pan. A desiccant dehumidifier works by drawing the moisture out of the air with a desiccant product, such as silica gel. Standard mechanical dehumidifiers work best in warmer weather with high humidity, while the desiccant humidifiers work well with low temperatures and low humidity.
Be sure you are using the right size dehumidifier for the room. To make sure the dehumidifier you will be using is adequate for the space, check the EnergyStar.gov guidelines listed below in the "Resources" section.
Location and Tips
Keep dehumidifiers away from areas that attract a lot of dirt and dust, as this can collect on the coils and make them less efficient. Place it so it is not directly against furniture and walls, as you want all air to freely flow around the dehumidifier, and keep doors and windows closed while the unit is in operation.