Dampness is a scourge for any type of interior, as it threatens the constructive integrity of the property. Damp atmospheres are also ideal for the growth of moulds and the breeding ground for unwanted insects such as cockroaches, mites and moths.
Choosing a dehumidifier is a quick fix when the humidity level in a room exceeds 50 %, but what should you look out for when choosing a device?
Physical and refrigeration dehumidifiers
Probably the most common variety of dehumidifier, these work by cooling the humid air with a refrigerated coil and then reheating the air to reduce the total humidity without affecting the room temperature. They are most effective in warmer background atmospheres where the relative humidity is above 45 %. Avoid technical dehumidifiers in colder environments, where they are less effective.
The desiccant dehumidifiers work on a different principle by using desiccant components (e.g. silica gel) to adsorb water vapour from the air. Desiccants generally have very small pore diameters and thus maximise the direct exposure of the surface to the air, which greatly increases the adsorption capacities.
Since they do not rely on air cooling to condense the water in the air, they work particularly well at colder temperatures - including sub-zero temperatures - since no water is created during the drying process.
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Using a Peltier heat pump (named after the French physicist Jean-Charles Peltier) to create a cold surface to condense the water vapour in the air, the electric dehumidifiers are best suited to environments where noise is an issue, as they do not have a mechanical converter and are therefore extremely quiet.
Air conditioning systems
Air conditioners look like dehumidifiers and are often dehumidifiers themselves. This is because they discharge the accumulated water when they cool the air. Window-mounted units, for example, drain water through a drip or evaporate indoor humidity through the doors. There is no need to buy a professional dehumidifier if you have a standard air conditioner.