Types of Dehumidifiers – 2021 Guide

| Last Updated: June 14, 2021

Humidity plays a significant role in how comfortable you feel.

If you live in regions with over 60% humidity, your body will struggle to transfer heat into the air. With so much water vapor around, you won’t sweat as much, causing the temperature to feel warmer than it is.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the different dehumidifier types and how they can make your house feel homier.

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Dehumidifier Types

High humidity causes severe dampness, which results in mildew and mold formation. This can lower the air quality of your home. What follows is a list of dehumidifier types available to draw water from the air to reduce humidity levels in your home or office.

Refrigerant

These dehumidifiers draw in the surrounding damp air, streaming it over evaporator coils that cool it to low temperatures. The condensation causes water droplets to form and collect in a pan. You’ll either have a unit that automatically drains the liquid via a hose, or you’ll need to empty the tank manually.

This process is only the first half of the process. The new, dry air passes over warmer condensing coils. While it heats up, a pump pushes it through an exhaust pipe to dry any damp surfaces or clothes.

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Desiccant

Desiccant dehumidifiers contain moisture-adsorbent materials whereby a rotor draws in the damp air. The desiccant wheel then evaporates the water removed from the air by adding heat to it. The vaporized moisture is pressurized out of the duct, thereby warming damp areas and preventing mildew and mold formation.

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The desiccant material within the dehumidifier is granular silica in porous form. This type is more effective in cooler climates that cause dampness, relying on a drying agent rather than condensation coils. You’ll find that most homes have refrigerant dehumidifiers due to the temperature at which they keep the interior spaces.

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Whole House

As the name implies, these dehumidifiers are central units that perform similarly to air conditioners. You’ll install them with ducts in every room, drawing the humidity from the air throughout your home or office. The installation costs are high, but the maintenance costs are lower, and these units have a longer lifespan.

Of course, you’ll need professional help for both the installation and maintenance. There’s usually an air-handler unit or furnace cabinet for heating and air circulation. 

Portable

On the opposite end of the dehumidifying scale is the portable unit. This type is easy to transport around the house on wheels and is usually equipped with a tray to contain the water drawn from the air. These units are classified by how many pints of humidity they remove from the air rather than the tank’s capacity.

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Portable dehumidifiers are more affordable than the whole-house variety but may require extra maintenance. Furthermore, you’ll spend more energy ensuring that the tank drains, whether it has a pump or not. They have more uses, such as drying spills, surfaces, or clothes.

Heat Pump

These dehumidifiers combine aspects of whole-house and refrigerant functions. The humid air passes over cold coils, causing the moisture to transform into water droplets that are collected in a pan. Since there’s a central unit with ducts performing this function, the liquid drains through a hose.

The heat pump comes into play when the air is transferred back into the living space. It heats the air before the exhaust blows it out, drying any lingering dampness. 

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Ventilator

Some homes have areas without adequate ventilation, such as crawlspaces and basements. They are prone to mildew and mold formation more than other places due to darkness and high moisture content. Ventilator dehumidifiers not only deal with the humidity levels but also ensure proper air circulation.

There’s usually a sensor involved that regulates the ambient humidity and temperature levels. When the area reaches critical percentages, the dehumidifier will switch on and get to work. 

Conclusion

As you can see, each dehumidifier type has a specific purpose and function. There are also different installation, maintenance, and operating costs involved. Before you make a purchase, ensure that you assess which one will suit your home or office best.

People Also Ask

Our guide may have left you with some unanswered queries. Here are some of the FAQs we regularly receive from our readers.

What Type of Dehumidifier Do I Need?

There are several factors you’ll need to think through before you can answer this question. Firstly, you need to determine the area the dehumidifier needs to cover. You should also see whether you require condensing or heating and whether a portable or whole-house unit will serve you better. 

Which Types of Dehumidifiers are Environmentally Friendly?

Many modern dehumidifiers have Energy Star ratings when they are environmentally friendly or operate with low power consumption. For instance, you can buy a refrigerant unit that uses coolant substances that don’t deplete ozone levels. In other cases, using the warm heat from the dehumidifier to dry a room is better than gas heating.

How to Tell Which Type of Dehumidifier I Have

You’ll know what dehumidifier type you have by determining how it draws in moisture and expels new air. Our guide provides explicit details for differentiating between types, but it mainly boils down to function and components. You’ll look for whether it condenses or heats, whether you’ll install it through the whole house or it’s a portable unit that you can move around, if it merely ventilates or if it uses a heat pump to dry the air.



My name is Bob Wells and I am a retired HVAC tech from Washington state. I am currently retired and no longer do much with HVAC, however, I feel like I have a lot of knowledge in the subject and I wanted to create a website where I could talk about what I've learned and help upcoming HVAC techs. Find more info about me and HVAC Training 101.