How Do Dehumidifiers Work?

April 21, 2016

Dehumidifiers are a great way to keep your home’s climate cool and dry in the summer months. More than that, they can help make your home safer and more energy efficient. Purchasing a dehumidifier can help fight against mildew, warping of wooden surfaces, and even cracking of paint during muggy New England summers. Believe it or not, a dehumidifier can also help keep energy costs down.

First, let’s take a look at how dehumidifiers work.

A dehumidifier consists of several primary parts:

  • Compressor
  • Fan
  • Evaporator
  • Refrigerant
  • Water tank
  • Condenser

Each of these parts plays an integral role in making the machine run. To begin, the spinning fan pulls in the humid air, running it over the cold evaporating coil. The coil is kept cold by the refrigerant in the system, which is why it’s vital to annually perform checkups to make sure that enough refrigerant is in the dehumidifier, but more on that later. Once the air is pulled over the coil, it’s condensed into liquid which is then drained into a holding tank full of the evaporated water. The air that is made cold during this process by passing over the evaporator is then carried through a hot condenser, heating it and returning it to the room to collect new humidity and begin the process again.

This entire process is controlled by an instrument called a “humidistat,” which measures the humidity in the air, and is set to keep the room at a certain level of moisture that it detects in the air.

Experience the Savings

There are all sorts of dehumidifiers that come in a variety of shapes and capacities. What is important is that you are purchasing something that is energy efficient. ENERGY STAR® certified dehumidifiers can help you save on energy costs while removing moisture from the air. ENERGY STAR models use 15% less energy than standard dehumidifiers.

But how can a dehumidifier help you save money in the summer?

A dehumidifier allows for higher thermostat settings in the summer, which can save up to 6% of cooling costs for each degree the temperature is turned up. As the dehumidifier, which runs more efficiently than the air conditioning unit, is taking the moisture out of the air, the A/C unit doesn’t have to. The result is cooler, dryer air, all while saving on your energy bill.

Whether you are investing in a large central system, or a smaller and more portable system, you should always be looking for an ENERGY STAR certified dehumidifier, to ensure the most energy and cost savings. The energy efficiency of dehumidifiers is measured by Energy Factor, in liters of water removed per kilowatt-hour of energy consumed. In general, a higher Energy Factor means a more efficient dehumidifier.

Getting Started

When purchasing a dehumidifier, think about where you are going to place it and make sure that the unit is properly sized for the space and moisture level of the room. Today’s homes are built in a way that makes them more resistant to the outside forces of nature, but also causes them to trap more air inside. Positioning your dehumidifier in a room that has particularly little airflow can provide big changes in temperature and comfort. The humidity level and fan speed of your unit need to be considered in order to maximize your energy savings.

To learn more about dehumidifiers and how to save on your purchase, visit Mass Save’s dehumidifier page and get started today. You may be eligible for a $30 rebate when you purchase a new ENERGY STAR certified dehumidifier for your home.

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