A dehumidifier is one of the most reliable appliances that lower the level of humidity indoors. The appropriate humidity levels in the house should be around 50% to 60% - for maximum comfort and better health conditions in the house.
Research has proven that mold, mildew, and dust mites thrive best at a relative humidity level of 65%. Mold, mildew, and dust mites have been proven to be direct causes of respiratory problems, asthma attacks, skin rash, eye irritation, and fatigue.
High humidity is also known to cause wood warping, which can cause damage to any wooden furniture and house wooden doors and windows. Once the high humidity makes the wood warp it cause the wooden door and windows to close easily unlike before. High humidity can cause wood used to build the home to decay which can greatly devalue the house, not to mention the repair cost you will incur when replacing the wood.
Today, most homeowners understand the value of a dehumidifier. You can either buy an automated dehumidifier or a conventional dehumidifier.
Conventional dehumidifiers – these are older version dehumidifiers, where owners have to manually turn the unit on and off physical, sets the settings on the unit, and empty the collection tray manually.
Automated dehumidifier – this is new generation dehumidifiers which are equipped with advanced features like:
- Auto humidistat – automatically turns on and off depending on the humidity level change in the house.
- Energy-saving technology. – consumes less power compared to conventional dehumidifiers thus cheap to operate.
- Defrosting and de-icing – this feature enables the new unit to clear any frost and ice that forms in the unit while it’s operational.
- Continuous drainage features – the new dehumidifiers are equipped with a drainage pipe and a water pump that pumps the extracted water of the unit out to the designated collection tank or poured out far from the house.
- Remote control – the new dehumidifiers allow the owner to adjust the unit setting from wherever they are comforting at.
Clearly, a dehumidifier is an important appliance to have in the house. It only clear disadvantage is that you can expect to pay more for power.
How safe are dehumidifiers?
Most people are always concerned about the safety conditions of a dehumidifier. In this post, we are going to address all concerns most homeowners have and we will clarify facts from fiction.
Dehumidifiers are just like any other home appliances like washing machines, dryers, fridges, and freezers. There will always be a minimal fire risk.
There are two main types of fire risks associated with dehumidifiers:
- End-user issues.
- Manufacturer issues.
End-user dehumidifier fire risk issues.
End-user risk arises from the user's operational set up of the dehumidifier. Most end-user issues fall under:
1. Improper dehumidifier use.
It is important for any new dehumidifier owner to learn how the unit operates to ensure the chances of any overheating problems are avoided.
Here are some of the conditions you need to understand to properly use your dehumidifier.
- Blocked fan vents. – You should never place any items on the air vents. Most people have tried to dry clothes on dehumidifiers – this is one of biggest fire risks, not only does this impede airflow in and out of the device but also if water from the wet clothes were to get into the unit that would increase the chances of a fire.
- Air circulation. - A dehumidifier requires enough space around the air around the unit to be circulated around the device. This improves airflow in and out of the dehumidifier and also allows the unit to cool off.
2. Poor maintenance – most maintenance needs of a dehumidifier are easy and take little time to complete.
However, for a dehumidifier to cause a fire due to poor maintenance – the risk remains highly minimal because a must dehumidifier is built with a fail in a switch that shuts down the unit when it overheats.
Manufacturer fire risk issues.
Most manufacturer issues arise from incorrect device wiring and other assembly issues. These issues have greatly reduced due to advancements in technology and improved testing procedures in most dehumidifier manufacturers.
Today, all dehumidifiers are properly tested before they leave the factory. This has greatly reduced the chance of fire arising from the dehumidifier.
For a better understanding of this maintenance and end-user fire risk issues, it is important to understand the full operations of a dehumidifier.
How does a dehumidifier operate?
It important to know that there are to major types of dehumidifier:
- Desiccant Dehumidifiers. – uses hydrophilic materials to extract excess moisture from the air.
- Refrigerant dehumidifiers. – uses refrigerated coils to condense the excess moisture out of the air.
- Compressor dehumidifiers. – use a compressor to suck in the air in the unit and pass it over condensing coils that extract the excess moisture.
Of all the three types of dehumidifiers in the market, the compressor dehumidifiers have the highest risk of fire.
What makes the compressor dehumidifier the highest fire risk factor.
On turning the compressor dehumidifier on, the internal fan will start to draw into the unit via the vents through the filters.
At the filter the air is cleaned off any particles, then the air is passed over a series of cold coils. Here, the excess moisture in the air is condensed.
The extracted water is then collected in the collection tray. Where is either manually emptied or drained out continuously using a hose?
The air is then passed over a series of hot coils, where is air warmed before it's released back into space.
This process repeated several times till the room humidity gets to the set condition levels in the dehumidifier.
The compressor's task is to cool the condensing coils thus the unit is referred to as a compressor dehumidifier.
If the compressor dehumidifier remains operational for many hours, then the compressor will overheat increasing the risk of a fire igniting.
Fire risk: since most compressor dehumidifiers use cold coils to extract moisture from the air. If the air in the room is at low temperatures ice form on the coils lending the dehumidifier ineffective. This makes the compressor work twice as hard to cool the coils further. This causes the compressor to overheat the unit to increase the fire risk.
Over the year’s engineers with the help of new technology designs, most of the new compressor dehumidifiers are equipped with a new feature – auto defrost.
The auto defrost feature automatically turns off the dehumidifier when the air temperature is too low.
Benefits of the auto defrost feature:
- Once the dehumidifier is shut down it allows the unit time to warm up the coils so as to be to extract the excess humidity.
- Prevents the compressor from overheating.
- Save on the energy consumption, because if the unit is not shut down it would continue operating while not extracting any excess moisture.
- Reduces the chance of a fire from an overheating compressor to zero.
- The auto defrost will also ensure the dehumidifier will remain operational for a long time
Dehumidifier maintenance requirements.
Like most appliances, dehumidifiers require some maintenance once in a while to ensure it able to remain fully operational for a long time. What does dehumidifier maintenance require?
- Clean the vacuum grills – clean out any dust particles on the grill to ensure the airflow in and out of the unit is as easy as possible.
- Replace or clean the filters – depending on how active your dehumidifier is, you might need to change the filter once a month for active dehumidifiers and once in three months for less active dehumidifiers.
- The cleaner the filter the more effective and efficient is the dehumidifier will be. If the filters have been in use for a while and have collected a lot of dust and other particles, this will greatly affect the unit’s airflow which could lead to overheating.
- All antibacterial filters should be vacuumed not washed, hence please check the type of filter installed in your device.
- If there are any signs of wear and tear on the filters, then make sure you replace the filter.
- Clean the fan blades and the coils. – Wipe off any dust on the fan blades to increase their efficiency. Use a soft brush to clean the coils. Be careful not to cause any damage to the coils.
- Get dehumidifier professional service – you can also contact any of your local service providers if you don’t feel comfortable doing any of the above maintenance tasks.
In conclusion, it is important to have well channels and connected electrical wiring in the house. This guarantees the fuse box is not strained by the addition of a dehumidifier to the power. A dehumidifier will protect you, items in the house, and house structure from destruction by effects of high humidity.
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