Typical Parts of a Dehumidifier, Its Features, and How They Work

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Excessive humidity can cause a host of issues in indoor spaces—discomfort, musty odors, mold, mildew, you name it. Thankfully, dehumidifiers offer a practical solution by effectively removing moisture from the air.

Dehumidifiers come in various types. Each with its own unique mechanism for absorbing or extracting moisture. The typical part of a dehumidifier consists of the compressor, fan, cooling coil, reheater, and water tank.

That said, not everyone fully understands the role each park plays and just how dehumidifiers work in general. So, we’re here to help you take a look at the crucial parts of this handy device. We’ll also explore the different features of dehumidifiers.

What Is a Dehumidifier?

When there is a high humidity level in a space, there is an excess amount of moisture in the air. This can make you and everyone in that room uncomfortable. It will cause sweating and give you that sticky feeling on your skin as there’s very little evaporation.

A damp environment also creates a perfect breeding ground for roaches, mites, mold, and mildew, which can lead to sickness. The unsightly condensation on surfaces is also another issue that can cause water damage to your walls and couches.

A dehumidifier is a device you can rely on to regulate the relative humidity in indoor spaces. It extracts more moisture from the air, providing you with a more pleasant environment.

The ideal indoor humidity range for humans is around 30 to 60%. Anything beyond this range can cause discomfort and issues mentioned above.

How Does a Typical Dehumidifier Work?

Most dehumidifiers work using a refrigeration cycle. They work by pulling moisture out of the air through a cooling coil. As the hot air passes over the coil, it cools down, causing the moisture to condense and form water droplets. These droplets are collected in the dehumidifier’s built-in water tank.

It’s worth noting though that while most dehumidifiers have coolants, they do not cool the air in the same way air conditioners (ACs) do. An air conditioner will both cool and dehumidify air. A dehumidifier removes the moisture from the air without cooling the air in the room permanently.

So, are ACs better than dehumidifiers?

Not necessarily. If your main goal is to achieve the ideal relative humidity indoors, a dehumidifier should work just fine.

Dehumidifiers have an advantage when it comes to eliminating excess humidity since they typically have a built-in humidistat, which is something that air conditioning units don’t have. Plus, a dehumidifier consumes considerably less energy compared to an air conditioner.

When Do You Need a Dehumidifier?

There can be several reasons why you may need to run a dehumidifier. When it’s time to turn your device on, you’ll know it. One of the many signs is condensation on your windows and mirrors, chipping paint, mildew, and mold growth. If you have wooden surfaces, you may notice some swelling, rotting, and sticking.

It can even get worse. High water vapor in the air can cause the screws and nails to come loose, which ultimately weakens your home. Aside from these visible indicators of excessive humidity, you’ll start feeling uncomfortable.

High humidity levels can also trigger your allergies when mold, mildew, and dust invade your home. It aggravates asthma and allergy symptoms because it promotes the spread of allergens such as dust mites and mold spores.

And you know, those pesky creatures can be hard to get rid of. Mold, in particular, can thrive in the slightest dampness and can spread its spores throughout your home.

If you worry about these potential problems, then it’s time you run or invest in a dehumidifier. The handy device can also help keep roaches, spiders, and centipedes away. Plus, you’ll get the benefits of being able to breathe easier and have a restful sleep.

Advantages of Dehumidifiers

Besides providing you with a more pleasant indoor environment, here are other advantages of dehumidifiers:


Many dehumidifiers are designed to be easy to move around. Portable dehumidifiers allow you to dehumidify certain parts of your home, even the areas where your home’s central air conditioning system can’t reach. You can place one in your living room, bedroom, kitchen, garage, or shed.

Low Power Consumption

We mentioned this earlier. Dehumidifiers consume less energy compared to AC units. Many dehumidifiers have auto-shutoff and programmable timers. These features allow you to set specific cycles. You can also have the device automatically turn off when your room reaches a comfortable humidity level.

These energy-saving functions can effectively reduce your monthly utility bills.

Typical Parts of a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier consists of key parts that work together to extract excess moisture out of the air. These parts include:


This part of a dehumidifier compresses and circulates the refrigerant gas to cool the coils. It increases the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant, which facilitates the cooling process.


The fan is an integral part of a dehumidifier. It pulls air from the air around it and sends it over the cooling coils and heating elements. This component ensures that the unit properly cools the air and extracts moisture from the air.

Once the air is dehumidified and reheated, the fan circulates it evenly across the room. The fan guarantees more consistent temperature and humidity levels.


When there isn’t an adequate amount of moisture in the air, it means that the humidity level in a room or space is low and it can be uncomfortable. The reheater solves this problem by warming the dehumidified and cooled air. It helps in bringing fresh air back into the area to a more comfortable temperature.

Cooling Coils

The cooling coil is an integral part of a dehumidifier. It’s usually filled with refrigerant gas, where the warm air gets cooled. The compressor cooling coils cool the humid air below the dew point of the air stream, and eliminate the moisture level that’s relative to the temperature of the refrigerant gas.

Water Reservoir

Dehumidifiers typically have a removable tank or bucket into which water droplets from condensation fall. Most of these tanks include a drain hose connection that allows the water to be discharged directly into the drain. This way, you won’t have to empty the tank every time it becomes full.

Types of Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers come in three types. And while they share the same role, each type works differently.


This is the most commonly used type of dehumidifier. The way it works is it passes the moist air over the cooling coil, and causes it to condense. The condensed form (water) will drip onto the removable water tank or bucket.

Again, some models have a floor drain that automatically expels the water once it gets full so you won’t have to empty the tank every time.


This type of dehumidifier typically has a chamber with spray nozzles, a tank that holds the water, and a water pump. As the name suggests, it works by spraying the ambient air with a thin mist of cold water. The water droplets that come from the mist bind with the moisture in the air, making it heavier and causing it to fall to the ground.

Spray dehumidifiers are also effective in “scrubbing” the air of particulates, impurities, and odors.


Desiccant dehumidifiers are an absorption type that relies on desiccant materials such as silica or zeolite. The desiccant absorbs and holds moisture. And they are generally more effective in spaces with low-temperature. This type of dehumidifier is used in industrial applications.

What Features Should a Dehumidifier Have?

Before you buy a new dehumidifier, there are a few features that you may want to look for including:

Anti-Frost Feature

Did you know that dehumidifiers can freeze up?

The anti-frost feature in dehumidifiers prevents frost or ice formation on the cooling coils of the device. When the dehumidifier senses frost or ice on the coils, it automates a defrost cycle. The device will then stop cooling air shortly during this cycle as the coils are heated.

One of the most common issues that users encounter with their dehumidifier is that it does not collect water. In this case, the anti-frost feature comes in handy since ice buildup in the coils can actually keep the device from working properly.

This feature clears away any frost or ice buildup, allowing the dehumidifier to get back to its normal operation.

Built-In Hygrostat/Humidistat

Here’s a crucial feature since it allows you to set your desired humidity level. The humidistat has humidity sensors. So, when it detects that your room’s humidity exceeds the ideal relative humidity, your device will automatically turn on.

This feature gives you complete control over the humidity in your indoor space. It also helps you accurately monitor the humidity levels in your room, making sure that your device isn’t extracting too much moisture out of the air.

When your room reaches the ideal humidity or falls below the desired range, it will automatically turn off. Being able to adjust the humidity level in your space gives you more control over how humid you would want your indoor environment to be.

Auto Shut-Off and Auto Restart

Here’s a feature that comes in handy during power outages. Once the built-in water tank is full, an auto-shutoff mechanism switches off the unit. This helps to keep water from overflowing. As soon as the power is restored, the auto-restart resumes with the previous settings.


This is usually measured in either pints or liters per day. It’s usually a good idea to pick a unit with a capacity suited to the size of your room or space. And of course, larger spaces will require higher capacities.

Final Thoughts

Dehumidifiers come in different types, each of which uses a different approach to absorb moisture. Understanding how they work can provide you with valuable insights into their performance and help you make you decide which one to get. And we hope you’ve found our post helpful.

If you have any more questions about our favorite handy device, feel free to reach out and we’ll be happy to help. Thanks for reading and good luck!

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