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How are Refrigerant and Electric Dehumidifiers Different?

Excessive moisture in air is not only uncomfortable and unhealthy, but it also leads to several issues like increased growth of mold and mildew, stained or sweaty floor and walls, and weakened foundation due to the higher rate of corrosion caused by dampness.  In a home that is located in southern climate or has ineffective ventilation, dampness keeps it toll there. The most efficient (in some cases the only) solution to high humidity is to use a dehumidifier. These are machines that run on electricity and remove moisture in the air. Usually, domestic dehumidifiers and refrigerant dehumidifiers are used to dry air, but smaller electric dehumidifiers are also common.

The Drying Mechanism

Mitsubishi Electric Dehumidifier

Mitsubishi Electric Dehumidifier

The refrigerant dehumidifiers rely on a compressor to cool a coil. As the moist air is passed over the coil the water vapors in the air condense, drying the air. The air is then passed over a heating coil. On the other hand, electric units work on the principle of thermoelectric peltier’s effect; when electric current is passed through two different materials they acquire different temperatures. The air passes over the cooler material and the water vapors condense and then it is passed over the warmer material which returns the air temperature to normal. The dried air is then released to the surroundings. The electric dehumidifiers not only run on electricity, but they use it to remove moisture.

Effectiveness and Noise Level

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are much more effective then the electric dehumidifiers. They can remove moisture from very large rooms. Since electric dehumidifiers cannot remove large volumes of water from the air, they come as very compact units that are suitable for small spaces like closet, small rooms, bathrooms etc.

The electric units do not have any moving parts they are much quieter than refrigerants which contain a noisy compressor. Nevertheless, several brands are manufacturing silent refrigerant dehumidifiers with comfortable noise levels.

Maintenance and Repairs

Refrigerant dehumidifiers consist of filter, fan and coils which need to be cleaned and replaced. It consists of moving parts which can rub against each other or experience a restrain to their movement and weaken or break. If any one of the moving part is not working, the appliance loses its efficiency. One can replace the damaged part with additional cost. Electric dehumidifiers only consist of wiring and can have some circuit problem which can be fixed more easily. They require virtually no maintenance.

Common Design Features

Electric dehumidifiers are usually available as very compact units that are very light-weight. They often come with a manual dial to control the humidity levels and a small cup which store the collected moisture. They have a capacity of about 0.5 to 1 pint per day making them suitable for dehumidification of smaller spaces. They cost very little, generally between $30 and $100.

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are larger units that come in capacities ranging from 10 – 70 pints per day. This makes them effective for moderately to large sized rooms. They come as portable devices which can be moved from room to room or as very heavy unit for dehumidification of the entire house. The water is either collected in a container or continuously drained out using a hose.

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