Echolife Australia Dehumidifier Buying Guide
Author: Sabine Mordini-Pound
Excess humidity inside your home is undesirable - in this guide we'll discuss the different technologies that exist to tackle this and which dehumidifier might be best for your needs.
- Part One: why a dehumidifier?
- Part Two: which model is right for my home?
- Part Three: different technologies for different conditions
- Part Four: comparison chart
- Checklist and contact
Excessive indoor humidity can create issues for your home and your health: it can damage furnishings and lead to mould growth and the proliferation of dust mites (as this Sensitive Choice article explains). A dehumidifier can improve air quality by creating an indoor environment where bacteria, fungi or mould do not thrive - not only will this protect carpets, rugs, walls and floors but it will also prevent allergens from accumulating in the air. Great news for allergy and asthma sufferers!
How do I know if I need one?
Check for these visible signs:
- Condensation on windows and/or walls
- A musty smell in wardrobes or small closets
- Discoloured or lifting paint on walls and/or ceilings
- Mould growth on clothes or shoes
You can also measure humidity with a hygrometer: ideally indoor humidity should be between 30-50%. Above this level conditions will become favourable for mould and mildew growth as well as dust mites.
Choosing a dehumidifier might seem overwhelming but in fact it is quick and easy to narrow down choices to a handful of candidates. There are three important questions you need to answer:
- What level of dampness are you experiencing?
- What temperature will the machine be used in?
- What size is the area/room that needs to dry out?
What level of dampness are you experiencing?
Is it small and confined/localised (closets, bathroom, laundry,...)? Or is it on a larger scale like an entire room or rooms?
For small and confined spaces a portable and rechargeable dehumidifier should be sufficient. Filled with silica crystals, these small units will give you visual feedback by changing colour when they need to be recharged in a microwave. They are ideal for closets or bathrooms and don't need to be plugged into a power point.
If you have a humidity problem on a larger scale you will need a heavier-duty solution.
What temperature will the machine be used in?
Temperature should play a big part in your purchasing decision: some dehumidifying technologies work less efficiently in colder temperatures.
Do you live in a colder region where you mostly experience damp, or do you live in a warmer region where humidity and heat go hand in hand?
What size is the room that needs to dry out?
Choose a model with adequate coverage for the problem area. When in doubt, go for a model with a larger coverage and water removal capability if your budget allows (you may find you won't need to run the machine for as long and could save on electricity).
Some helpful tips when comparing features:
- Look for castors or a handle if you anticipate needing to move the unit around.
- Look for a continuous drain option if you intend to run the dehumidifier for long periods in the same place. This is especially handy since all the models we stock stop automatically when the tank is full. Keep in mind the continuous drainage option is often gravity-based so the drainage point will need to be lower or at the same level as your dehumidifier.
- Built-in humidistat: machines that have this will stop when the desired humidity level is achieved. They will periodically check the humidity in the room and turn back on if it increases.
Now that you have narrowed down your requirements, we'll go through which dehumidifiers are available so you can choose the right one for the job.
Best for warm environments with larger humidity problems. These can be loosely described as reverse air conditioners: they cool the air they draw in to collect the excess moisture, then warm this dryer air before circulating it back into the room. They require a fan to run so they aren't the quietest solution. New generation models use CFC-free refrigerant making them more environmentally-friendly.
Under optimal operating conditions (20ºC and above) compressor dehumidifiers are capable of removing large amounts of water. They're not well-suited to colder rooms so you will see their performance decrease if you place them in basements or garages.
Stable performance across a wide temperature range. These work like a sponge: a disk coated in an absorbent material rids the air of excess moisture - through fan heating the materials dries off and water collects in the tank.
Unlike compressor dehumidifiers desiccant models are fine in colder rooms. They have a higher power consumption than compressor models, however they may help you save on heating costs (due to the warmer air they return to the room).
Thermo-electric (or Peltier) dehumidifiers
Best for warm environments with small and localised humidity problems. These create a cold and hot differential but unlike a compressor model, they rely on voltage exchange to do so (so they will have poorer energy efficiency in comparison).
Thermo-electric dehumidifiers are very quiet and affordable. As they remove water quite slowly, they are only suitable for small spaces and like compressor dehumidifiers their performance drops in cold rooms.
A note on hot air
it's important to note that both compressor and desiccant dehumidifiers will heat the air before re-circulating it back into the room, although a desiccant dehumidifier will heat it more (the air will be noticeably warmer, a few degrees more than ambiant temperature).
If you live in a very hot region and are concerned by this, you could try renting a refrigerated air conditioner and running it for a number of days: as it cools the air it will remove some of its moisture. This may be enough to bring your humidity problem back under control.
We have put together this handy table for easy comparison of the larger dehumidifiers we stock. You can also download the table in PDF form here.
|Model||Cli~mate DH8D||Cli~mate DH10-C||Cli~mate DH20-E||Ionmax Ion610||Ionmax Ion612||Ionmax Ion622||Ionmax Ion632||Ionmax Ion681||Philips Series 5000 2-in-1|
|Australian warranty||1 Year Domestic||1 Year Domestic||1 Year Domestic||1 Year Domestic||1 Year Domestic||1 Year Domestic||1 Year Domestic / 3 Months Commercial||1 Year Domestic||2 Year Domestic|
|Coverage||30 m2||Large lounge rooms, kitchens or laundries||80 to 100 m2||Up to 25 m2||Up to 30 m2||Up to 50 m2||Up to 50 m2||Up to 7 m2||Up to 30 m2|
|Power||650 W||245 W||340 W||280 to 460 W||360 to 620 W||230 W||400 to 720 W||75 W||355 W|
|Recommended usage||Consistent performance across wide temperature range||Best performance in warm environments (20ºC and above)||Best performance in warm environments (20ºC and above)||Consistent performance across wide temperature range||Consistent performance across wide temperature range||Best performance in warm environments (20ºC and above)||Consistent performance across wide temperature range||Warm environments with small humidity problems||Best performance in warm environments (20ºC and above)|
|Water tank capacity||2 L||1.9 L||3.8 L||1.8 L||2 L||1.8 L||3.5 L||2.2 L||4 L|
|Approximate dehumidification||8 L / day*||10 L / day*||20 L / day*||6 L / day*||7 L / day*||12 L / day*||10 L / day*||600 mL / day*||25 L / day*|
|Shipping||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery||Free Australia Post delivery|
*Manufacturers test daily dehumidification rates in optimal conditions for each model. Compressor dehumidifiers are usually tested in high temperatures and humidity (for example 30ºC, 80% Relative Humidity), while desiccant models can be tested in high or lower temperatures and humidity (such as 20ºC, 60% RH). In your home the dehumidifier will not perform exactly as tested due to variable conditions.
We’ve created a short checklist to help guide you through your requirements: you can fill it out here and we will get back to you to confirm which model we think suits you best.
Best of luck with tackling excess humidity, and as always we are here to help so don’t hesitate to email or call us for further advice or questions.
Buying Guide contributed by Ivy & Hoot Digital Marketing Services