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Don’t Know How Does a Dehumidifier Work? Read on!

Source: Acworthservices

Knowledge on how a dehumidifier works is very essential as it will go a long way to assisting you maintain your unit in the right way so it can serve you for longer. So, how does a dehumidifier work? Well, the answer to that can be very complex for a layman to comprehend if we decide to go deep into the technical jabber. You just need the very basic knowledge that is relevant to you so you can make informed decisions during purchase and use.

The market is flooded with several hundreds of dehumidifiers you can choose from. Some of them are the best while some are not just good. The difference between them lies in their energy consumption, size and other features but they all work in the same way with similar principles. Here’s a breakdown on some of the important topics on how does a dehumidifier work.

Humidity and condensation

On a hot summer, most people can’t cope with heat that keeps you dehydrated. Take note though that it is not just the high temperatures that cause discomfort but relative humidity has its part to play as well. Basically hot air results to lower atmospheric pressure which increases the capacity of the air to hold moisture. As the air cools, its capacity to retain the moisture reduces as air pressure increases.  The water vapor in the air condenses through condensation.

To give you a better picture of it, think of an instance where you grabbed a bottle of cold drink on a hot day. You must have noticed some wetness on your hand. This was as a result of the cold surface coming into contact with a hot one. This is the exact same principle that dehumidifiers use. There’s more to that but it involves a bit of technical explanations.

Dehumidifier parts

Among the most common types of dehumidifiers is the refrigerant model. This type of dehumidifier can be divided into 4 essential parts, namely fan, cooling coils, compressor and water tank.

The purpose of the fan is to create a region of high pressure which forces the air in the space to drift into the unit. As the fan propels, a pressure imbalance occurs where the dehumidifier has a high pressure region while the surrounding space has a relatively lower pressure. Hence air moves from the low pressure zone to the high pressure zone.

The compressor on the other hand as its name suggests expands and compresses the refrigerant which moves through the coils of the dehumidifier hence cooling them. The water tank holds the last bit of the dehumidifier parts puzzle.

As the fun propels and air is sucked into the unit, it is passed through the coils. This is where again the example of a holding a cold drink bottle on a hot weather comes into play. The air and the coils come into contact, it begins to cool down and the water retention capacity of the air begins to decrease. Condensation that comes into action and water drips down to the reservoir below.

Now since the air has no moisture, it has a lower temperature hence it is reheated before being taken back into the space. This explains the reason why most dehumidifier units are equipped with heaters.  After air has been reheated, it is released into the room. Since this is a machine, this process occurs faster hence within a few hours you may begin to feel the difference in the air in the room.

Doing away with the excess water

There are several options when to discarding of the water collected by the unit. There’s the option of emptying the tank by yourself once it gets full with water. This mostly apply to the cheaper variants of dehumidifiers. Most dehumidifiers however have the option of automatically shutting down when the tank is signaled to be full. As for larger units that tend to be expensive, the unit can be hooked to a drain that discards the water continuously. You can either let gravity take its course or get a unit that has a condensate pump that pumps the water out continuously.


All dehumidifiers do not necessarily have a humidistat, but it’s worth knowing what it does and how it does it. A humidistat has basically two parts a relay amplify and a sensor. The sensing element is basically comprised of two metallic conductors. A change in humidity will cause electrical resistance to build up between the two conductors. The relay amplifier then picks up the resistance which then decides whether the compressor should be signaled to switch off.

Desiccant dehumidifiers

You might have thought of how does a dehumidifier work when you actually had a desiccant dehumidifier in mind. Well, this type of dehumidifier works in different ways from the refrigerant types. They are basically equipped with a desiccant material or at times a silica gel that captures water vapor from the air. They don’t have a tank, compressor or a heater hence the air is not reheated before being released. They are very effective in smaller rooms, such as bathrooms, closets and kitchens.

So, How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

The type of dehumidifier to go for is basically up to you to decide since you know your needs.  The good thing is that you already know how does a dehumidifier work which is just a part of the entire puzzle of obtaining and using them in your space.


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    Ashraf, O says:

    “Hence air moves from the low pressure zone to the high pressure zone.” The opposite is true. Motion of air can only take place during the existence of a pressure gradient (difference in pressure), and the direction of motion would be from a high pressure zone to a low pressure zone. Example: syringe piston pushing (high pressure) the air inside the tube to the external (low pressure) environment.

    In the case of a humidifier, the fan creates negative pressure (suction) which makes the outside zone the high pressure one, and its surroundings at a lower pressure thereby forcing the air into the apparatus.

    Thank you for the clear explanation and I hope I am contributing to the clarity.

    Kind regards.

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