How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

While many people are concerned with the smell of their home and the overall aesthetics, we should actually be much more concerned with the quality of it. A huge problem for many people that live in exotic climates is humidity

How Does a Dehumidifier Work

Humid air is not only a concern for our health, but it’s also a big concern for our homes, as it can leave traces in all rooms. Let’s talk about humid air and dehumidifiers, the little machines that can help you with this problem. 

Why should humid air concern me?

Humid air is often met in many exotic climates. It’s nothing you can really control and it’s up to the environment. The typical amount/percentage of moisture you want in your air is anywhere between 40 and 50. 

If your air is too humid, meaning the percentage is bigger, you will notice it easily, especially with those people in the house that have a compromised immune system. If you or any of your housemates suffer from asthma, allergies or any other lung problems, you will notice harder breathing, more coughing, and possible runny noses.

People who have chronic illnesses, especially when it comes to your bones and your heart, can have really big troubles from humid air. Long-term exposure is the worst thing when it comes to bad air quality.

You will notice mold, fungus and weird smell in your home as well. Most of these are just a result of bacteria that seem to love the warm and moist environment. Treating all of these problems all of the time can be both costly and annoying, and that’s why you should look into dehumidifiers.

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

There are many, many types of dehumidifiers, so don’t let that fool you: there are only 2 key processes that take away the air’s moisture. There may be a few things added before or after the main thing, but in the end, you’re really looking at the same key stuff.

1) The „refrigeration“

This is a pretty popular method because it can be changed a lot with some extra features, but we’ll talk about these in the end. 

The main idea of this method is: air goes in, becomes much colder, water gets condensed, air pushed out, and you eventually empty out the water tank. When the air enters the unit, there is a fan that pushes it over to the cool coils or something similar, usually metal. It will become cold and the water will get condensed. 

Some of the units actually fluctuate the air around to repeat the process, but this is more common with some of the more premium ones. 

Heat pumps do the same thing, but also make the air warm in the end, so you don’t suffer a temperature change in your home. You will have to empty out the tray with the water and you’ll also need to make sure that you set the desired humidity level right, but otherwise, there is really not much to care about when it comes to products that work this way.

2) Absorption or adsorption

Chemistry is a great thing and you don’t really need to be a professional to know that there are elements out there that „catch“ water onto themselves. This is the key feature in this method. 

The moist air is pulled into the machine and goes by a big wheel that’s made of that special material with the ability to absorb water. The dry air moves on and gets back into the room. Once again, like the previous method, you have some extra features like heating, repetition and more.

You set up a humidistat and check it out every once in a while to potentially switch up the settings. No additional care with this unit.

Which one should I get?

While there is obviously a big difference in the way these work, there is no logic in choosing your dehumidifier by the method they use. Why? Because inside of these very categories you have 1000 products that can be awesome, but also horrific. 

You should look into efficiency, what type of space can you use it in, power consumption, additional features, main technology, materials, and casing. Price points can vary a lot, but that shouldn’t be the main factor. 

Don’t forget to consider the installation of the unit, since it can be a problem for those complex products that supply the whole house or a big open space.


There are 2 main processes to keep in mind when you’re buying a dehumidifier: the refrigerating process and the adsorption/absorption process. These two are very different and can both have extra features to go along with it, but they should not be your primary concern when it comes to dehumidifier choice.

Always look into a product, not a category, as you may find that inside one are both good and bad products. Consult a mechanic if needed and make sure that it fits, but only if you’re going for a heavy-duty unit. 

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