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Guide to desiccant vs compressor
The most frequent question customers ask when enquiring about dehumidifiers is whether to buy a desiccant unit or a compressor unit.
The answer to this question, for virtually every domestic or leisure scenario, is to opt for a desiccant unit.
Desiccant units are significantly smaller, lighter, quieter and critically much more effective and efficient at extracting moisture
in virtually any every day scenario we are likely to experience in the UK.
Compressor dehumidifiers only work well in very high temperatures (over 27 degrees centigrade)
and high humidity. In contrast, even the most basic
desiccant units extract the same amount of moisture in any temperature
over one degree centigrade.
Whilst a desiccant unit may consume more power on an hourly basis than a compressor unit, they are much more effective at extracting moisture and achieve a better result in a much shorter time. Therefore
in real terms desiccant units are much cheaper to run than compressor units
. For example, at a normal room temperature of 21 degrees, a 7 litre per day extraction desiccant (power consumption 660 watts per hour) will extract more moisture in one hour than a 20 litre per day extraction compressor driven unit (power consumption 440 watts per hour) will extract in four hours. Therefore at an average domestic price of 10 pence per kilowatt hour the desiccant unit costs 6.6 pence to achieve the same result as the compressor unit which costs 17.6 pence.
Desiccant dehumidifiers use a desiccant material, typically Zeolite, which absorbs water vapour from the air in a similar way to silica gel. A fan draws air into the dehumidifier and passes it through a section of a slowly rotating wheel which holds desiccant which dries the air. The moisture is extracted from the desiccant by heating a portion of the wheel not being used to dry the air. All desiccant units are rated in test conditions of 60% humidity (as opposed to 80% for compressor units) and 30 degrees centigrade temperature. They will extract the same amount of moisture irrespective of the temperature in which they are working.
on a desiccant unit
the desiccant material does not expire
and will not need to be replaced / topped up.
The lifespan of a desiccant unit will be much longer
than a compressor unit as it is a much more simple process with far less moving parts, no compressor and no refrigerant gas being held under high pressure to potentially fail.
Compressor dehumidifiers work on the principle of moisture condensing on a cold refrigerant pipe inside the unit. As a result, compressor dehumidifiers work well in very warm conditions, but as the temperature falls so their effectiveness drops off dramatically. All compressor driven units are rated in test conditions of 80% humidity and, critically, 30 degrees centigrade temperature.
A three degree drop in temperature to 27 degrees results in a 50% loss of performance with Compressor units. At 21 degrees centigrade (which is room temperature) a compressor unit will only extract up to 25% of its theoretical maximum. Below 15 degrees centigrade most compressor units are struggling to extract one tenth of their theoretical maximum and in cooler temperatures below eight degrees basic compressor units stop working as the evaporator plates ice up.
a compressor unit rated at 20 litres per day extraction will only ever extract up to 5 litres in a normal domestic environment
; a unit rated at 18 litres will only extract up to 4.5 litres and a 10 litre will only extract up to 2.5 litres.
It is also worth noting that
a desiccant unit can reduce the humidity level to 40%
in a well sealed environment whereas a compressor unit will only reduce the humidity to around 50%.
40% humidity is below the rusting point of metal
which is another reason why desiccants are used for protecting vehicles, tools and equipment (as well as the fact that they will work in cold temperatures).
Other useful features that the desiccant units have are: 1/ continuous drain off facility which means that rather than just collecting the extracted moisture in a holding tank, there is option to drain off the moisture through a small hose which can be fed into a sink, drain point or separate holding tank; 2/ auto restart which means that after a power failure or power cut the unit will start back up automatically and continue to run at the same setting it was running at prior to the cut in power rather than going into standby and having to be manually reset. It also means that the unit can be left running on a plug timer if required which can be useful as it provides even greater flexibility of use than just the inbuilt timer and variable humidity level that can be adjusted by the built in humidistat.
Therefore if you require a dehumidifier for any of the following domestic, leisure or commercial applications then we recommend a desiccant dehumidifier:-
-mould / damp prevention at home
-laundry / clothes drying
-document storage / archiving
-car / vehicle storage
Our best selling desiccant dehumidifiers over the last six months have been:-
Eco Air DD122FW Classic 7 litre
£159 including VAT and delivery
Delonghi DNC65 6
litre per day extraction at £159 including VAT and delivery
MEACO DD8L 8.5 litre
per day extraction at £159 including VAT and delivery
Eco Air DD322FW Classic 10 litre
per day extraction at £185 including VAT and delivery
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