How does a Desiccant Dehumidifier Work?

A desiccant dehumidifier does not work the same way a compressor dehumidifier works.

Below you’ll find out how a desiccant dehumidifier works and who it’s for.

Let’s get started.

How a Desiccant Dehumidifier Works

Step 1.

Desiccant dehumidifiers use desiccant material like Zeolite to absorb moisture from the air.

They use a wheel that rotates in one direction while process air (or the air that is to be dried) is sent through the wheel in one air stream.

Step 2.

Heated air is sent in the opposite direction through the wheel in the opposite direction.

This is called “reactivation air“. While the wheel rotates, moisture is being removed from the process air reducing the humidity.

Step 3.

The removed moisture is drawn out of the desiccant material by the hot air that is passing through the desiccant material. This moist air is ducted to the outdoors.

Step 4.

Both the reactivation and process air streams move in different directions, moving away any debris that may have made its way into the wheel.

The dry, dehumidified air is now released back into the room.

Who Should Get a Desiccant Dehumidifier?

Desiccant dehumidifiers are capable of working at below 15°C which makes them great for cold residential homes or commercial applications.

Desiccant dehumidifiers also excel at removing large amounts of moisture from the air. This is perfect for industrial environments where the humidity must be controlled, even in colder environments.

For residential applications, desiccant dehumidifiers will cost much more to run than typical compressor dehumidifiers.

Most people who need to dehumidify their home will be better off with a compressor dehumidifier unless their home gets below 15°C, which would make the desiccant dehumidifier a better choice.

Are Desiccant Dehumidifiers Better?

Desiccant dehumidifiers are not necessarily better than compressor dehumidifiers.

They cost more energy to run but are capable of removing more moisture from the air in less time.

They’re also smaller and easier to carry around as well as quieter.

With the added benefit of working at low temperatures without freezing over, desiccant dehumidifiers are better than compressor dehumidifiers in unique ways.

How long does a desiccant dehumidifier last?

The good thing about the desiccant inside a dehumidifier is that it can be replaced.

You should replace the internal desiccant every 10 to 15 years as the efficiency of the desiccants wear out over time.

One benefit of desiccant dehumidifiers is they don’t rely on a compressor which is likely to fail on a dehumidifier after many years of use.

No refrigerant gas is used either, which means that it’s less likely to be a failure point.

Do desiccant dehumidifiers wear out?

Portable, smaller desiccant dehumidifiers wear out after about 4-6 weeks before needing to be recharged. Larger units can last up to 10-15 years.

Final Thoughts

The way desiccant dehumidifiers work is slightly different from traditional compressor dehumidifiers.

They don’t use compressors or refrigeration which makes them great at low-temperature dehumidification.

You likely won’t need a desiccant dehumidifier, but if you do, you can find them for affordable prices.

They’re quieter and capable of removing more moisture at once, but they are less energy efficient.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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