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Keep your home dry this winter

Keep your home dry this winter with a dehumidifier

Dampness is just a fact of winter in New Zealand, and during these colder months, damp air can make our homes colder and expose us to allergens. Dehumidifiers are a great way to combat the damp. They remove concentrations of water vapour in the air which makes your home warmer, they make your home healthier by restricting the spread of airborne allergens such as dust mites, mould, and mildew, and since dry air is easier to heat than damp air, they’ll also increase the efficiency of your heating. 

Dehumidifiers work best in rooms with a temperature between 10 and 15°C. It’s important to note that dehumidifiers can warm the air slightly, but they should not be considered a source of heat. To get the best balance of warm and dry during winter, use your dehumidifier alongside a heating solution like a heater, wood fire or heat pump.

There are two different types of dehumidifiers:

Compressor

Compressor Dehumidifiers contain a cold refrigerated surface. Once the damp air inside the room hits the cold surface, the water separates from the air, condenses on the surface, and then drips into a collection bucket. Compressor dehumidifiers become ineffective in climates below 12°C, making them a good option in those warm, wet, humid summer conditions.

Desiccant

Desiccant Dehumidifiers blow damp air through a rotating disk filled with moisture-absorbing material, which separates the moisture from the air. Because the disk is not dependent on temperature to do its job, desiccant dehumidifiers perform better in temperatures below 12°C than compressor models, making them the best option for drying out your home in winter.. The downside is that desiccant models cost significantly more to run than compressor models.

How do I best use my dehumidifier?

Perform best when placed in the centre of a room with doors and windows shut. We advise vacuuming before switching them on, otherwise the filter can clog up quickly. It is best to use a model which has an adjustable humidistat allowing you to choose from a range of humidity levels. We recommend a humidity level between 30-50% because removing too much water from the air can result in dry skin and itchy eyes.

What to consider when purchasing a dehumidifier

  • Size: Smaller dehumidifiers are more portable, but have smaller water tanks, which means they must be emptied more frequently. Depending on the model, dehumidifiers can extract up to 20 litres a day, but many have lower capacity tanks. Consider the size of the room, as larger units will be more effective in larger rooms.
  • Price: A general rule of thumb: the more you spend, the more efficient the machine will be at removing moisture from the air.
  • Energy efficiency: Check out energy efficiency rating, which indicates how much energy the dehumidifier uses to extract each unit of moisture from the air. A higher score means it uses less energy to do its job.
  • Humidistat: Like a thermostat for relative humidity, a humidistat allows you to set your desired humidity level and the dehumidifier will work until the room reaches that level.
  • Timers: Allow you to set the times a dehumidifier will switch on and off, giving it a set duty period each day.
  • Noise: Most dehumidifiers make upwards of 50 decibels (dBA) of noise. Check out the decibels rating as every model is different. This is particularly important if you will be running your dehumidifier in a bedroom overnight.
  • Washable air filter: More expensive models have washable air filters like those in air purifiers and heat pumps. These filters capture airborne contaminants, which is important, but you’ll also need to wash the filters to keep the air fresh.
  • Hose connection: Some dehumidifiers can be plumbed with a hose, allowing continuous drainage directly to a sink or drain. This is a great option for garages.