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Best Dehumidifiers For Australia - The Ultimate Guide
Looking for the best dehumidifier for Australian conditions? In this guide we are going to run you through EVERYTHING you need to know to get the best dehumidifier for you and your home or office. We’ll look at the history, different types of dehumidifiers, how they work and how to choose the best one for you, plus lots more.
In 1902 a Brooklyn printing company was experiencing high levels of humidity which was causing issues with their printing process. American engineer and inventor Willis Carrier was commissioned to create a machine that can draw out the excess moisture from the air. Creating the very first mechanical dehumidifier.
Carrier with one of his air treatment inventions
In the 1950’s the US Army were researching and developing different methods of cooling and during this time came up with an absorption chiller. This technology drew moisture from the air and later evolved into the technology of modern day desiccant dehumidifiers. We’ll touch base on these a bit further on.
Over the next several decades more manufacturers entered the space, designing more space saving and portable machines.
Today dehumidifiers have become commonplace in both homes and businesses around the world.
What is a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier is a machine that removes excess moisture from indoor air. They have internal storage tanks that hold the water removed from the air. Most models even have a drainage hose that can be connected to a drain to bypass the water tank for continual drainage.
What is Relative Humidity
Relative Humidity (RH) is a measurement used by many manufacturers and is a handy thing to understand. Simply put, relative humidity tells us how much water vapor is in the air compared to how much it could hold at a particular temperature. Manufacturers will show RH as a percentage.
As an example, a relative humidity of 50% tells us that the air is holding half or 50% of all the water vapor it can hold. The maximum Relative humidity internal air can have is 100%
When humidity rises inside it can not only be very uncomfortable but can be damaging to your health as well as your home and belongings. The ideal Relative Humidity levels for indoors is between 45%-55% which can easily be achieved with a quality dehumidifier. When you allow RH to go over this threshold you create an environment that allows mould, dust mites, viruses and bacteria to thrive.
When do you need a dehumidifier
There are definitely indicators that can tell you if you need a dehumidifier. Some of these include:
Condensation on your windows. This happens when warmer air touches a colder, impermeable object such as your windows, part of the water vapour attaches itself to the windows. This continues to build up until your window reaches a similar temperature to the air inside your room.
Peeling or blistering paint or wallpaper. Moisture can make its way through your paint or wallpaper and get between that and the actual wall leading to lifting and peeling.
Jamming doors, cupboards and draws. In humid conditions, timber will expand. This can make doors get stuck or hard to close and cause draws to jam or make them difficult to open or close.
Mould growth on walls or ceilings. Mould love dampness. If you have excess dampness in parts of your home it can give mould as well as bacteria the perfect environment to grow.
Damp spots or stains on your walls or ceilings. While these could be caused from a leaking roof, in many cases these can occur when there is too much humidity in your home. This can lead to not only health issues but also long term structural issues if left unattended for too long.
Musty, damp odours in your carpet, curtains and furnishings. This can be caused by mould growth, bacteria, as well as dust mites. You can easily eliminate these issues by drying out your room with a dehumidifier.
Increased allergies due to dust mites. As dust mites thrive in damp conditions, if your relative humidity is too high you are giving them the perfect conditions to breed. If you are sensitive to dust mites and you notice your allergies flaring up it could be due to excess moisture in your air allowing mites to breed.
Visible mould on your shoes and clothes. Cupboards are a great trap for excess moisture as clothes can act like a wicking agent. If you see mould on your clothes or shoes it is a sure sign that you have excess moisture in your air that needs to be removed.
Dampness on hard surfaces and furnishings. This is seen in extreme conditions but if you feel your bench tops, lounge/ sofa or any surface is damp then your RH is way too high.
If you experience any or all of the above then it’s a sure sign that it is time to get yourself a quality dehumidifier built for Australian conditions.
Types of Dehumidifiers
There are two main types of dehumidifiers commonly used in the home or office. They are Compressor and Desiccant dehumidifiers. First we will look at Compressor dehumidifiers.
Also known as refrigerant dehumidifiers, these are the most commonly used units in homes and offices. They are very similar in principle to the way a fridge works. They have a compressor inside them that compresses a refrigerant gas that cools internal coils. An internal fan draws air into the unit and passes the air over the cooling coils. As the coils cool the air, moisture is extracted in the form of condensation which is collected in the unit's waste water tank. Then the dried air is heated to room temperature and circulated back into your room. The cycle is repeated over and over until the desired humidity level is achieved.
Compressor dehumidifiers have an average operating temperature range between 5C to 30C and their optimal performance temperature is 20C. They work extremely well in warm climates and can extract large volumes of water from the air. They also do equally well in cooler climates so long as the internal temperature of the room is close to the 20C mark. So if used in your home in winter and your home is heated then it will work very well.
Standard compressor dehumidifiers’ cooling coils frost up when used in cold temperatures, so if you are using it to dry a basement, celler, shed, boat etc and that space isn’t heated then the cooling coils might ice over. This is counteracted by in-built auto defrost systems but it can slow down the time it takes to dry your space.
Some manufacturers have solved this issue by utilising a small built in heater that keeps the coils from icing over or quickly defrost them if they. Models such as the Ausclimate All Seasons 35L Dehumidifier and The Ausclimate All Seasons 50L Dehumidifier uses this technology and are perfect for warm and cold climates where heating is always available.
Advantages of Compressor Dehumidifiers
- They are the best dehumidifier for removing large amounts of moisture
- Excellent performance in warm or humid conditions
- Work well in winter in heated spaces
Disadvantages of Compressor Dehumidifiers
- Do not work well in cold, un heated environments
- While not noisy they are louder than a desiccant dehumidifier
Desiccant dehumidifiers work in a different way to compressor units. They use a ‘Desiccant” to extract moisture. A desiccant is a material that can absorb water when air is passed over it but can then release it when heated.
Desiccant dehumidifiers draw in the wet air from your room and blow it over a rotating wheel that is covered in the desiccant. The desiccant removes any moisture from the air blown over it, releasing the dry air back into the room. The desiccant wheel continually spins past a small heater which releases the trapped moisture into the waste water tank where it is collected.
Desiccant dehumidifiers are generally much smaller, lighter and sometimes quieter than a compressor type. They do not have as large a capacity to remove as much water but they work extremely well in cold temperatures and can effectively remove moisture at temperatures down to 1C.
Advantages Desiccant Dehumidifiers
- The best dehumidifier for cold, un-heated conditions
- Quiet operation
- Small and compact
Disadvantages Desiccant Dehumidifiers
- Smaller moisture removal capacity.
- Can add up to 5C to your room temperature which may not be ideal for those living in warmer climates.
Where can I use a dehumidifier?
Dehumidifiers are very versatile and easily moved so they can be used in numerous spots. Around the home and office are the most common places but they can also be handy for drying other places too. They can be used to dry cellars and basements, sheds and garages, and many boat owners use them to dry hulls of their boats. Hobby gardeners with greenhouses often use them to maintain a consistent RH for their plants to thrive.
Should I get a Compressor or a Desiccant Dehumidifier?
If you live in warmer climates then using a compressor dehumidifier is the way to go. If you are in a cooler climate but have constant heating in the colder months then you should also consider using a compressor unit.
If you live in a colder climate and your internal temperature regularly drops below 15 C then a desiccant dehumidifier is for you. If you want to dry a boat, garage, basement cellar etc in colder weather then a desiccant unit is also the best way to go.
How to size your Dehumidifier?
Whenever possible it is always better to get a system that is rated larger than the area you intend to dry. At minimum you will want to at least match the system to the room size. . All of our models have the room rating displayed in m² in their product specifications.
To size a unit you need to know the size of your room in m². To get this figure simply measure the length and width and multiply them together. Eg, length is 3m x width 2m = 6m². It is important to know that our ratings are for an average roof height of 2.5m. If your ceilings are higher you will need to take this into consideration and go with a larger rated unit. We are always available to help you if you get stuck.
Once you know your room size then you can compare our models for the appropriate size.
If you are looking at drying multiple rooms at once you can either choose 2 separate units or if the rooms are adjoining add the measurements together and choose a suitably sized machine.
For an open planned home it is best to measure each area and add them together to be able to size up the best machine/s for the space.
Do Dehumidifiers require maintenance?
There is very little maintenance required for a dehumidifier. The only regular thing that needs to be done is cleaning the pre filter which collects hair, dust and large airborne particles. If you are using your dehumidifier regularly then we recommend checking your filter every few weeks to ensure it is clean. This will help keep your machine running at its optimal level.
Are Dehumidifiers noisy?
Any electrical device that uses fans will have some factor of ambient sound produced. Dehumidifiers are no exception. However they are certainly not very noisy at all. Depending on the size and type, they can range from 37dBA which is similar to a pedestal fan. Up to 55dBA for an extra large unit whis is comparable to the sound an air conditioner makes.
How much does a Dehumidifier cost to run?
Our range of dehumidifiers are very energy efficient. Depending on the model and size they can be compared to running a tv, fridge or a small Air Conditioner.
Unlike an air purifier, dehumidifiers are not designed to run 24/7. Once your space has been deep dried you can keep your machine running in a maintenance mode to keep a constant RH. In maintenance mode your unit will automatically turn off when the desired RH has been reached and only turn back on if the RH increases.
To work out any of our dehumidifiers running costs per hour simply divide the rate of electricity per unit by kWh (1000 watts per hour) and multiply that by the model's rated power input which can be found in the products description/specifications.
In the below example we are using the Ausclimate NWT Compact 12L.
It’s power input is 195w. The average cost of electricity at the time of writing is 34 Cents per unit. This is how the formula looks. 34Cents/1000 (1kWh) x 195w = 6.63 Cents per hour.
Does a Dehumidifier heat my room?
The short answer is yes. A compressor dehumidifier doesn't heat the air a great deal so a noticeable increase is minimal. A desiccant dehumidifier can add up to 5C to your room temperature. This can be very welcomed in winter but may be something to consider if using in summer.
Can I run my Dehumidifier while running my Air Conditioner?
Running both a Dehumidifier and and A/C unit at the same time can actually be very advantages. If you are using a Refrigerated Air conditioner, it can almost double the coverage are of the Dehumidifer.
If using an evaporative system a dehumidifier can help it run much more effectively. On overcast or rainy days evaporative A/C systems can dramatically increase the relative humidity inside your home. By removing that extra humidity your system A/C will cool your home down a lot quicker as dry air is much easier to cool than wet air..