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4 Different Types of Dehumidifiers and How They Work

by Henrietta Hanna 28 Nov 2022 0 Comments

Dehumidifiers can be a gamechanger for both homes and commercial properties. They have several different benefits. Furthermore, there are different kinds of dehumidifiers on the market. This article will help outline the different types of dehumidifiers. We will discuss how each type works. 

This article will help you identify the ideal air dehumidifier for your needs. We will outline heat pumps, dehumidifying ventilators, chemical absorbents, and ionic membrane dehumidifiers. Each has their own mechanisms and benefits. 

Dehumidifier Guide

Before discussing the different types of dehumidifiers, we will outline the benefits of dehumidifiers. We will end by providing insight on how to choose the best dehumidifier for your needs. 

What Is a Dehumidifier

Moisture is a good thing. However, too much can cause problems in both homes and businesses. An excess of moisture can lead to mold and mildew. This can result in a musty, unpleasant smell. Mold and mildew can also spread rampantly. It can have harmful effects on health, such as headaches, nasal congestion, rash, watery eyes, and more. This can be detrimental to occupants of a business or home. A dehumidifier can also help reduce dust in a space. It will remove dust from the air. Dust is another harmful contaminant. It can trigger allergies in many people. 

There are many differences between an air purifier and a dehumidifier. Air purifiers sanitize the air and remove irritants. Dehumidifiers will remove moisture from the air. If you're deciding between a dehumidifier vs air purifier, it'll depend on the needs of your space.

Benefits of Dehumidifiers 

There are many benefits of dehumidifiers. Some of these benefits include:

  • Limit the chances of irritants, such as mold and mildew, from developing on surfaces due to an overrun of moisture or humidity 
  • Reduce dust in the area
  • Help HVAC systems run more efficiently 
  • Lower energy costs 
  • Remove musty smells and make the space have a cleaner scent 
  • Reduce condensation from appearing on windows 
  • Reduce allergy symptoms
  • Dry clothes quicker
  • Protect upholstery and household items from water damage 
  • Improve breathing
  • Assist in flood cleanup 

Types of Dehumidifiers

There are four types of dehumidifiers. We will discuss each type and outline how they work. 

1. Heat Pump 

New Technology High Temperature Dehumidifier Heat Pump Dryer, Manufacturer

Heat pump dehumidifiers, or condensate  dehumidifiers,  are largely used in industrial outlets. They can help safely store goods and materials. They also can protect building fabric. These dehumidifiers come in a variety of designs and efficiencies. They are carefully tested to ensure that they can provide enough power to remove the moisture out of a space. These dehumidifiers require a heat pump, exchange coils, and a fan. 

Heat pump dehumidifiers use a refrigeration system. They remove the air from the space and circulate it through the evaporator. The coolness of the refrigeration system lowers the temperature of the air. In turn, this causes condensation of the water vapor. The condensation will build up in a bucket and can be easily drained. 

These refrigeration systems release heat. Energy efficient systems will use this heat in other productive manners. One common use of this heat is to heat water for a business. Heat pump dehumidifiers can cost anywhere from $150 to $1500. This can vary largely depending on whether the usage is for industrial, commercial,  or residential properties. 

Though heat pump dehumidifiers can be pricey, they can reduce energy costs over time. By choosing an efficient system that heats water, you will improve power and gas bills. 

2. Dehumidifying Ventilator 

Dehumidifier-1850 Built in Digital Control

A ventilator is an entirely different concept from a dehumidifier. Mechanical ventilation is essential in newer homes. This is due to more recent builds being air-tight. Due to this, it is difficult for outdoor and indoor air to exchange. This can cause the air inside of the home to become humid (from breathing) and toxic. Having a safe exchange of air keeps the space safe for occupants. 

A mechanical ventilator is extremely useful for homes and businesses. However, it can also cause too much humidity in the house. For example, if the outside air is too humid, moisture can come inside. Installing a ventilator that doubles as a dehumidifier will ensure good air quality without too much humidity. 

These units use an exhaust fan. The fan will move the inside air outside. There will also be a sensor that determines when the system turns on. These are most commonly found in basements and attics. 

3. Chemical Absorbent Dehumidifier 

These dehumidifiers are also referred to as desiccant dehumidifiers. These use substances to remove moisture. The most commonly used substance is silica gel. A desiccant dehumidifier has a unique mechanism that pulls the air into the machine. It then will move the air around the substance, or chemical, that will absorb the humidity. As the moisture is removed, the air will then be re-released. 

Desiccant dehumidifiers are most frequently used in cold climates. We recommend them in areas that do not have high humidity levels. They can be used in freezing temperatures. The most significant benefit to these dehumidifiers is that they will not condense. They are also much quieter than other dehumidifiers. They are also smaller and lighter than larger compressor units. 

Some units will also use single-use cartridges. This may be a gel or powder. To identify the maintenance costs, it's important to look up how much replacement of these substances will be. 

4. Ionic Membrane Dehumidifiers

Another type of dehumidifier is the ionic membrane dehumidifier. These work at a molecular level. They help to regulate humidity. These units are beneficial in areas with hard-to-reach places. If maintenance cannot quickly occur or access is difficult, an ionic membrane dehumidifier may be used. 

For these units, an ionic membrane is used. Solid polymer electrolytes, or SPEs, and molecules, are used. Moisture is removed due to the process of electrolysis. This means that an electric current containing ions is passed through the air. This causes a chemical change. They cannot dehydrate the air as much as other dehumidifiers can. This means that they are best used in places that do not require powerful dehumidification. However, they are enjoyable because not much energy is used to run. This cuts back on energy bills.

How to Choose a Dehumidifier 

How To Choose A Dehumidifier

If you are in the market for a dehumidifier, there are some things to consider. We will outline four things that can help you identify the best type of dehumidifier for your industrial, commercial, or residential property. 

1. Test for Moisture Levels

One of the most important things to consider is your moisture levels. If you have a lot of moisture in your space or climate, you will need a  strong dehumidifier. This will suggest that a heat pump dehumidifier may be best for your usage. 

There are many signs that will help you determine that your humidity is too high. Not every building needs a dehumidifier. In fact, you need some humidity in your home or business to ensure that the floors and drywall are maintained. However, there are some warning signs that there is too much humidity. These include: 

  • Fogging up of doors and windows 
  • Condensation buildup on doors and windows 
  • Water dripping down the walls 
  • Wet spots on the ceilings 
  • Clammy or moist air 
  • Smell of mildew 
  • Black spots growing on walls, furniture, or ceiling 
  • Wood is beginning to rot 
  • Allergies intensifying

If you suspect moisture levels are too high, you can test the humidity. To do this, you will purchase a hygrometer. This is a humidity gauge. You can also hire a professional. 

Humidity in a home can usually be between 30 to 50 percent. If your humidity levels are higher, we recommend a dehumidifier. 

2. Determine the Size Required 

    The issue may not be throughout the entire home or building. Moisture can often be confined to a basement. If your entire home or building requires a dehumidifier, you'll have to purchase a whole-house dehumidifier that ties into the HVAC system or an industrial dehumidifier. However, if the scope of the issue is smaller, you can buy a smaller unit. 

    A smaller unit will be more affordable. You can consider getting a portable dehumidifier. This will plug into the wall. Remember to empty the water regularly to avoid malfunction. 

    3. Number of Occupants 

      One thing that adds humidity to your home: people breathing! If you have several occupants, you can assume the humidity levels will be higher. If you have fewer occupants, you can assume your humidity levels will be lower. You may not need such a powerful dehumidifier. 

      4. Energy Efficiency 

        Energy efficiency ratings will mean your overall power and gas won't be as costly. In fact, Energy-Star dehumidifiers often require about 15% less energy than other dehumidifiers on the market. Though these units may cost more upfront, the savings over their lifespan are usually worth it. 

        Energy-efficient units also limit your carbon footprint. This means that you can feel good about minimizing your greenhouse gas emissions. 


        If you’re looking for an ideal air dehumidifier, this article should help. There are different kinds of dehumidifiers to shop from. Each has its own benefits and limitations. To find the best option for you, consider what your space needs are, the unit's certifications, and the size of the machine you need. Knowing the different types of dehumidifiers and what to look for can help simplify your shopping journey. 

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