A dehumidifier is an invaluable investment for both residential and commercial spaces. Its longevity depends on multiple factors, but a good estimate would be around five years. With proper care and maintenance, a high quality model can stay with you for up to ten years.
The main purpose of a dehumidifier is to remove moisture in the air and lower indoor humidity levels. In most cases, you won’t need to run your dehumidifier for 24 hours all year round, but this may be necessary for some industrial areas and climates with high relative humidity. With heavier usage, you become more likely to encounter issues in your dehumidifier.
Factors that affect the lifespan of a dehumidifier
It isn’t so hard to believe that the main factors which affect the lifespan of a dehumidifier are the frequency and duration of usage. Using a dehumidifier all day every single day is likely to cause more wear and tear, as opposed to only using it during particular months or seasons.
For commercial purposes, it’s important to use the right type of dehumidifier you need. Jobs in water restoration, for example, often require rugged portable dehumidifiers that can stand up to harsh environments and quickly dehumidify extremely damp areas. If you use a small and flimsy unit for this type of job, you’re bound to notice damages sooner.
Temperature and Relative Humidity
The temperature also influences the performance and lifespan of a dehumidifier. Most units operate best in temperatures above 65F. Frequent use in extremely low temperatures, especially without the appropriate maintenance, can damage the compressor.
Dehumidifiers in general remove moisture more effectively in 70% to 80% RH. Most residential dehumidifiers can lower humidity down to the ideal range of 30% to 50%. Anything below this can be considered harmful for the average person.
If your commercial space is frequently populated by people, you would want to maintain a comfortable level for everyone. But if you don’t need it to run in a room with people, some commercial dehumidifiers can go as low as 0% RH. If you have particular needs, use only a dehumidifier that meets all of your requirements.
The size is the dehumidifier’s capacity for moisture removal, often measured in pints per day or PPD. Finding the right size for your space makes for a highly effective and efficient dehumidifier. If you use a dehumidifier with a smaller capacity than you need, it has to work really hard to pull moisture from the air. Because it’s overworked, it gets worn out fast. And it probably won’t even accomplish the task as well.
To find the right size, consider the area of the room you need to dehumidify. Also take note of the humidity levels or the degree of dampness before you run the dehumidifier. If you notice visible signs of excessive moisture in the room like condensation, mold growth, or rust, you may want to look for higher capacity units. It’s always a good idea to get the next bigger size than you initially need so that the dehumidifier won’t have to work at the highest settings all the time.
The brand sometimes determines the quality of your dehumidifier. Although it’s not as important, the make and design can influence a dehumidifier’s performance and longevity. Cheap brands typically use low-class materials for reduced costs. This isn’t to say that the most expensive dehumidifier is the best, but higher rated models do tend to come in higher prices.
You can rely on user satisfaction ratings to tell you which brands are most reputable in terms of build quality and design. These brands pay more attention to their products and usually have a more reliable warranty and service. Brands that have been around for a longer period also have more experience in providing for consumers.
Benefits of Using a Dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes and with different features for all types of applications. Using a dehumidifier for residential or commercial areas will benefit the entire house or commercial space and everyone involved.
A dehumidifier removes moisture and contributes to better air quality. It also eliminates mold spores, dust mites, and other common allergens in the air. This reduces the risk of allergies, asthma attacks, and other respiratory issues.
Dry air lowers the chances of mold and mildew growth. This preserves the structural integrity of your property. Drywalls and floors are especially susceptible to moisture and high humidity. Maintaining ideal humidity levels helps prevent rapid destruction caused by condensation, rust, corrosion, or pest infestation.
Adding a whole-house dehumidifier to your HVAC system gives you more control over the humidity level and temperature. High humidity can cause discomfort or a muggy and sticky feeling. Instead of turning up your air conditioner, you can use a dehumidifier to maintain a comfortable humidity level, thereby saving more energy.
Types of Commercial Dehumidifier
The basic purpose of a dehumidifier is to reduce humidity. This can be done through different methods. The two main types of dehumidifiers are classified by the process in which they remove moisture.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers are what most people are familiar with. This type primarily uses condensation to decrease the humidity level. A fan draws humid air and passes it over the refrigerant coils. As the temperature decreases, the moisture condenses and drips into a water tank or flows out through a drain hose. Once the moisture is extracted, the dryer air is then reheated before it is exhausted back into the room.
Because of its dehumidification process, a refrigerant dehumidifier is most ideal to use in warm and humid climates. It works more effectively and efficiently in temperatures above 65°F with 60–80% relative humidity on average.
Since this type of dehumidifier works with cold coils, the air must be warmer than the coils or the moisture will not condense. Because of this, most refrigerant units can only dehumidify in temperatures as low as 41°F, while their efficiency starts to decrease at 55°F.
Additionally, condensate may start freezing inside the machine when temperatures drop to 65°F/18°C or below. To avoid this, most refrigerant dehumidifiers feature an auto defrost function which automatically pauses operation to melt any ice that has built up on the coils.
The second type of dehumidifier is called a desiccant. There are also different types of desiccant dehumidifiers depending on the capacity, area of coverage, and renewability.
A full-size desiccant dehumidifier is about the same in appearance as refrigerant models but lighter and quieter since the desiccants do not use compressors. Instead they feature a rotating wheel that is filled with a hygroscopic chemical such as silica gel.
Commercial dehumidifiers feature a larger desiccant wheel and work with two separate air streams. Humid air from the room is drawn into the dehumidifier and runs through the process zone of the desiccant wheel. Moisture clings to the surface of the desiccant material, thereby separating from the air molecules. The now dryer and warmer process air then exits the dehumidifier.
A heater warms the second air stream before it passes through the remaining part of the rotor in the opposite direction of the process air. Moisture is then transferred to the regeneration air. This reactivates the desiccant so it can remove moisture again. The warm and humid regeneration air is exhausted outside the room. These two processes occur continuously and simultaneously and the cycle repeats.
A desiccant dehumidifier is the ideal choice in low temperatures and relative humidity. Because these dehumidifiers don’t work through condensation, they don’t need to cool the air further in order to remove the moisture. As opposed to refrigerant models, there is almost no risk of frost buildup since there is no condensate formed and the heater constantly warms the inside of the machine.
Tips on Maintaining a Dehumidifier
To get a dehumidifier to work longer and more efficiently, observe the following maintenance tips.
1. Find the best location for your dehumidifier.
Place your dehumidifier where it can target the main source of humidity. In residential areas, this is usually the basement or crawl space. Keep all the doors, windows, and vents closed while operating in order for the dehumidifier to work only on the specified area. Ideally, you want a central location to maximize coverage, but you can also place the unit in one corner or side for convenience.
Wherever you choose to place the dehumidifier, make sure that the air isn’t blocked on its way in and out of the unit. It is recommended to maintain at least 6-8 inches distance from walls or furniture to allow the unit to “breathe.” If you can’t get a good location inside the room, you can set up the unit elsewhere and use ducting to direct the air. Power supply and drainage are some other considerations to make when picking a location for your dehumidifier.
2. Put in the right settings.
Most commercial dehumidifiers feature a humidistat to automatically adjust the humidity to your desired level. The unit starts working when current level rises and shuts off once it reaches the target.
It’s important that you pick just the right settings, or the unit becomes overworked. The ideal range is around 30-50%. Depending on the business you’re running, you may need to operate in a different setting. In any case, only keep your dehumidifier running continuously when it’s absolutely needed. This way you’re causing less wear and tear on the device, and saving energy at the same time.
3. Keep your dehumidifier clean.
Frequent cleaning helps maintain proper functioning and prolong the life of any appliance. Dehumidifiers typically require very little maintenance, but you must still check up on it from time to time. It extracts moisture as well as dust, mold, and bacteria. These will collect inside the unit and circulate with the air. To ensure your health and comfort and help your dehumidifier last long, clean the unit at least every few weeks. Use a damp cloth to wipe the exterior and vacuum the inside to remove all the remaining dust and debris.
4. Replace the filter.
Commercial dehumidifiers come with at least one filter to purify the air as it enters the unit. Dirt and bacteria accumulate in the filter and eventually get in the air. This can also cause the device to malfunction. Most filters are easily washable and each model has a recommended period in which you need to change out the filters. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on filter cleaning and replacement to be sure.
5. Never turn on the unit immediately after turning it off.
When you turn off the unit, wait for at least ten minutes to turn it on again. This time gap allows the machine to equalize the pressure manufactured during operation. Short cycling can cause the unit to overheat and eventually damage the compressor.
6. Inspect the condenser coils for frost or ice buildup.
If you operate in cool temperatures, condensate may freeze on the condenser coils. Frost buildup can damage the machine completely. Most commercial dehumidifiers have the auto defrost function that shuts off the unit to allow the ice to melt. Even with this feature, you must regularly inspect the coils to prevent any problem. If you really need to operate in cold conditions, use a dehumidifier specifically designed for this purpose.
How many hours does it take for a dehumidifier to work?
It depends on the size of the space and the level of humidity. On average, it may take up to 12 hours of continuous operation to get to your target level.
Should a dehumidifier run all day?
In most cases, it is not necessary for a dehumidifier to run for 24 hours every day. Commercial spaces may have different needs.
How much does a commercial dehumidifier cost?
Costs vary greatly depending on the type, capacity, and brand of dehumidifier. The smallest and cheapest models start at $600, and larger ones go up to $2,000 and beyond.
Ultimately, the longevity of your appliance depends on how well you maintain it. As long as you use the right kind and size of dehumidifier for your space, it should last you a good five to ten years before the wear and tear become noticeable.