How Does a Dehumidifier Work

How Does a Dehumidifier Work

When this device was invented, they probably thought it was easier just to call it what it does; remove humidity from the air. It may seem like a complicated machine but it isn’t. Let’s answer the question how does a humidifier work.

How Does a Dehumidifier Work

For the example we will discuss a standard room dehumidifier that may be put into medium size to large size rooms. When you turn your dehumidifier on and set the humidity percentage setting a fan will come on and begin to pull air into the dehumidifier. The air will, starting from right in front of it, be sucked into the unit.

At the same time the compressor is turned on, this is the same type of compressor you find in refrigerators and ice machines. The compressor pushes the Freon gas through a set of condenser coils and the condenser gets hot. The heat is dissipated from the condenser as the gas is passed through them.

The Freon is then transferred through a small tube called a capillary tube into the evaporator coil where the Freon turns to gas and gets cold. The gas is sent to the compressor and the compressor sends freon liquid back up to the condenser coils and this cycle continues over and over again.

The fan is pulling in the warm moist air onto the cold evaporator coils and water forms on the coils which drips into a bucket or is sent out on a drain hose, depending on what kind of dehumidifier you have. If you have a bucket, most of those dehumidifiers will stop running when the bucket is full because of some kind of water sensor switch.

When water reaches a certain level, you will generally get an indication that it is time to empty the bucket. The cooler air is heated when it passes through the warm condenser coils and now you have warm dry air being passed back into the room. This total cycle will continue until the room humidity reaches the level you set on the input thermostat settings.

When should you use a dehumidifier

When should you use a dehumidifier

The answer to this depends on the humidity levels in the room you need to dehumidify. Let me first tell you that any unit that uses a compressor is very expensive for your electric bill. Your refrigerator runs in cycles on defrost so that is not a constantly running compressor. If you have a dehumidifier with a drain hose, it is very possible to set it and forget it.

The basement is the most common place in which dehumidifiers are used, especially if they are unfinished and does have the air flow that the rest of the house does. In the winter basements tend to get colder than the rest of the house and you do not want to run a standard dehumidifier in rooms that are below room temperature of 68 degrees F. There are special dehumidifiers for room environments that are below 65 degrees and that will be discussed in another post at another time.

Remember that the evaporator coils get cold and water condenses on them. The colder the environment the easier for the evaporator coils to freeze and actually completely block the air flow of the dehumidifier. Eventually this can ruin the unit and make it unusable. In situations such as this it is less costly to purchase a new one that to repair the appliance.

Usually warmer climates cause humidity at a much higher rate than warmer ones so you probably won’t have much of a reason to run the dehumidifier in the winter unless your house is being heated by steam.

Will a dehumidifier help with asthma

Will a dehumidifier help with asthma

Humidity in your home can promote the growth of airborne allergens like mold and dust mites that contribute to asthma symptoms. If you have a family with people that get very allergic to a lot of things then you have your best reason to own a dehumidifier. When in house humidity is over 50 percent the chances for these airborne allergens increase significantly.

One of the most unseen side effects is what humidity can do to the structure of your home. There isn’t any material your home is made of that can handle the constant bombardment of moisture. Cracks in your wood, rust on metal are just a couple of the symptoms that humidity can produce when it comes to your home structure. Not even paint can hold up long term to this, sometimes people just paint over these symptoms to cover up the defects before selling a home.

Make sure you check humidity levels and look closely at the paint in any home you buy, especially the basement. One final symptom of having a room or home with high humidity is the attraction of unwanted pests such as mice, roaches and termites. Notice that when you have cooler climates you do not see as much of these rodents and bugs as you do in the hot humid climates.

Dehumidifiers are worth the costs for protection of your health, your home and even your furniture.

Improve Dehumidifier Efficiency

Improve Dehumidifier Efficiency

Most dehumidifiers give people easy access to the coils and a simple pipe cleaning brush wipe down ever so often will keep an open air way for proper air flow in and out of the unit. Don’t run the dehumidifier unit if below about 50% humidity. To operate efficiently the dehumidifier needs the room itself to have a decent amount of humidity.

The compressor, which is drawing the most amount of power, will continue to run non-stop if you set it to do just that. At some point the humidity in the room will be low enough to be not only unnoticeable by you but also by the machine. Some manufacturers can take your humidity down to 30% humidity but of course these machines generally cost a lot more money.  Besides these tips just keeping the water bucket empty will help you deliver a longer life to your dehumidifier.

Why your dehumidifier stopped working

There can be several reasons why your dehumidifier stopped working.

  • The bucket switch is open, this switch tells your dehumidifier that your water bucket is full and shuts the unit off when water reaches that level or pushes the bucket against it. If the switch is not operational the unit will never activate.
  •  he fan does not work. The fan is the driving force of the air flow between the condenser and evaporator, no air flow no dehumidification.
  • The compressor does not work. This sends the Freon, through the coils that collect the humidity from the air. If this dies on you then just buy a new one. This would be a sealed system repair and the costs are ridiculously high.
  • Power input and thermostat issues. These issues deal with power into the unit and can generally repaired quickly by any technician or like the switch, you may be able to do it yourself if you are a little bit handy and careful.

Why use a dehumidifier

Dehumidifiers are the most underrated appliance that you can own, unlike ovens, dishwashers, refrigerators, washing machines and other appliances, you never really see this working and the effects on your home and health can be overlooked and taken for granted.

Taking care of and maintaining it is one way of taking care of yourself and your family.


1 thought on “How Does a Dehumidifier Work”

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