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13 Must-Know Answers Before Buying a Portable Small Dehumidifier

  • 01 Nov 2022
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Does your home always feel stuffy and your skin wet and sticky? Or perhaps you notice wet patches on walls and windows, and there is the evident sign of mould in several places. If this is you, then you are dealing with a humidity problem.

High humidity is a common problem in the UK, especially in summer and winter. Increasing moisture levels in the air not only makes you uncomfortable, but it can have dire consequences on your health and property. This is why it is important to get a small dehumidifier to combat high humidity in your home.

What is the right of a dehumidifier to buy? How portable are dehumidifiers and how much power do they consume to run efficiently? Stay with us as we answer all these questions and offer additional tips that will be helpful before purchasing your first mini electric dehumidifier.

First things first,

1. What exactly does a dehumidifier do?

A dehumidifier helps control relative humidity by removing excess moisture in the air to create an ideal and comfortable environment. Also, using a dehumidifier will help prevent dampness and mould from damaging property or causing any serious health issues. So, how does a small dehumidifier work to control relative humidity?

First, we look at the various components of a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier for damp prevention has four main components;

● Fan compressor

● Cooling Coils

● Reheater

● Water Tank


Like a vacuum cleaner, a dehumidifier draws moist air from the surrounding environment using the fan compressor. This air passes through the cooling coils, where moisture in the air condenses and drips down to the water tank below. The air gets reheated and then blown back into the environment.
What exactly does a small dehumidifier do
In the UK, where ideal humidity levels fall between 30% and 60%, relative humidity can be as high as 90%, which is higher than in most countries in Europe.  Besides the annoying sticky feeling on your skin, this high humidity does cause other major problems for the homeowner.

2. What size dehumidifier should I get?

To get the most out of your dehumidifier, it is important to get one that fits your room size. The size of a dehumidifier is determined by its power and capacity to filter moisture out of a given environment.

To know what size dehumidifier to get, first measure the size of the room you want to maintain optimal humidity in. This measurement is taken in square feet, and it determines where a room is large, medium, or small sized.

A room that is between 8
to 12is considered a standard small room, this is about the size of average bathrooms, crawl spaces, and bedrooms in the UK. A 12L small dehumidifier would be ideal for such a space, as it can effectively regulate humidity all day. The 12L water tank is enough to collect condensation for quite a while before you empty it.

Rooms between 10
and 20are medium-sized. This could be the size of a standard master bedroom, kitchen, or living room in a small apartment. Rooms this big can benefit from a 12L mini electric dehumidifier as well.

Any room in the home that is 15
to 25in size is considered large. This could be your standard living room, hobbyist room, garage, or large caravan. A 20L small dehumidifier would suffice for such spaces.

The size of the dehumidifier you get should match the standard size of the room you intend to dehumidify, in square meters.
Morris What size dehumidifier should I get?

3. What is a portable dehumidifier?

Portable dehumidifiers are different from whole-house dehumidifiers. Whole house dehumidifiers are the conventional units that are used to dehumidify a large area, typically an area of 1200 square meters or more. Whole house dehumidifiers are usually standalone units that are connected to your HVAC system or installed in your basement and connect to your duct system.

While home dehumidifiers are large, heavy-duty units that when once installed cannot be moved. Given their capacity and power, whole-house dehumidifiers can filter up to 40 litres of moisture in the air per day. They are complex to set up and require a professional to install them. Once installed, they control humidity throughout your entire home property.

Portable dehumidifiers are the complete opposite of whole-house dehumidifiers. They are lightweight and compact, which makes them easier to move around. Unlike a whole-house dehumidifier which regulates the humidity in your entire property, you can use a portable or small dehumidifier to remove excess moisture in specific rooms (moisture removal).

There are two kinds of small dehumidifiers;

 Refrigerant

 Desiccant


Refrigerant dehumidifiers or condensation dehumidifiers use the same mechanism as your refrigerator.  A metal plate that collects condensation from the air is cooled during the refrigeration process. The dehumidifier continuously sucks air from the surrounding space through it and over the cool metal plates, where additional moisture condenses and drips into the dehumidifier's water tank. When the relative humidity in the space/house returns to normal, the machine will automatically go into standby mode until the next dehumidification process.

Desiccant dehumidifiers use a solvent called a desiccant to regulate indoor humidity. The desiccant is similar to silica gel used in product packages that absorbs moisture and protects the product from damage. The desiccant is inside a wheel that gently spins through the incoming air stream while absorbing moisture. A part of the wheel passes through a stream of heated air during rotation, which "reactivates" the desiccant by removing moisture. Condensed water drips to a collection tank or is mechanically drained away using a drain hose.

Uses of a small dehumidifier

The compact lightweight size of a mini dehumidifier allows you to manage humidity in any room you wish. You can use a small dehumidifier in your;

 Bathroom

 Bedroom

 Hallway

 Loft

 Kitchen

 Garage

 Wardrobe

 Basement

 Conservatory

 Car

 Van

 Boat

 Drying clothes

Bathroom

Bathrooms are moisture-prone areas because it is where we shower, do laundry or hang our laundry from. A dehumidifier helps keep moisture at bay which prevents dampness and moulds from forming on your walls, ceiling, or tiles. Using a dehumidifier in the bathroom can help dry your laundry too.

Bedroom

High humidity will make your bedroom damp, stuffy, and impossible to sleep in. It is also difficult to breathe in a highly humid room unless you keep the increased moisture to a minimum using a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier in your bedroom will also keep your clothes dry and mould-free.
Morris Bedroom mini electric dehumidifier

Hallway

Hallways are some of the best places to place a dehumidifier and reduce high moisture in your home. Most hallways have minimal stuff, which gives you the freedom to place the dehumidifier anywhere you want, away from the walls. Also, the hallway is a nice place for a dehumidifier if you do not want to hear the unit hum while it’s working.

Loft

The loft is one of those closed spaces in the home that tend to accumulate moisture due to improper ventilation. When moisture is trapped in your loft, mould and dampness will form, which eventually leads to bad odours and damage to stored property.

Kitchen

Like the bathroom, the kitchen is another moisture-prone area due to the steam from food, vapour from boiling kettles, or moisture from the dishwasher. Using a dehumidifier in your kitchen will prevent condensation from forming on tiled surfaces, damp forming in your wooden cupboards, or mould from forming in corners and causing a musty smell.

Garage

Rain water and defrosting snow can increase humidity in your garage. Poor roof drainage leaks through walls or windows, and moisture from the exhaust of your running car all contribute to humidity increase in the garage. A small dehumidifier can keep moisture in your garage at bay, which will keep your tools, stored boxes, and even your prized car damage-free.

Wardrobe

Wardrobes are breeding grounds for mould, especially when they are not properly ventilated. A dehumidifier will help keep the relative humidity in your wardrobe below 50% which is the ideal condition to prevent mould from forming on your clothes. It also keeps the air inside your wardrobe fresh and clean.

Basement

Like your loft, the basement is also an area that is prone to condensation and mould. If you have precious items stored away in your basement, you would want to protect them from moisture and mould damage. If the ventilation in your HVAC unit does not cover your basement, you can dedicate a small dehumidifier in your basement to maintain ideal humid conditions.

Conservatory

It is important to use a dehumidifier for damp control in a conservatory that is unheated. Keeping relative humidity optimal will provide ideal growing conditions and will also keep your conservatory airy and mould-free.

Car

Cars do get condensation, especially when they are stored away in the garage. A small dehumidifier is compact enough to fit inside the car to prevent humidity from rising. Reducing moisture inside your car also prevents mould, mildew, and musty smells from forming. It not only protects your car interior’s fabric, but also prevent metallic components inside your car from rusting.

Van

Condensation is inevitable when living the van life. In winter, it gets cold outside, while the inside of our vans is kept warm using heaters. Add a mini electric dehumidifier into your van helps get rid of moisture that forms on the surface of your van. It in turns prevents dampness, mould, mildew, musky smell and potential health hazards.

Boat

Since boats are docked in damp environments, they are prone to develop damp and mould as they sit dormant, especially in winter. A small dehumidifier can stop mould and mildew from forming and ensure that your boat will be minty fresh as opposed to being musty the next time you want to use it.

Drying clothes

You can also use a dehumidifier for damp cloth drying. It is no secret that damp clothes do add increase indoor humidity as moisture evaporates from them. Placing a dehumidifier next to the wet clothes can speed up the drying process, which in turn reduces the rise of humidity in your home.
Morris Drying clothes mini dehumidifier

4. How much water should a dehumidifier collect in a day?

Small dehumidifiers have a capacity rating that indicates how much water they can collect in a day. For instance, in ideal conditions, a 12L dehumidifier will extract up to 12 litres of moisture from the air. The ideal conditions for efficient moisture extraction are about 30° C and 85% relative humidity. If humidity rises above this point, it may be wise to connect the dehumidifier to an outside draining hose. This will reduce the need to constantly empty the water tank to keep the dehumidifier running.

5. How much does a dehumidifier cost to run?

How much it will cost to run your small dehumidifier depends on its energy rating and how much electricity costs in the city you are in. For instance, if the average price of electricity in the UK is 19.9 p/kWh, then a portable 12L dehumidifier that consumes 0.185kWh will cost 3.68p to run in an hour. It will cost about £26 a month to run that dehumidifier.

Fortunately, you can reduce the cost to run your dehumidifier by reducing humidity naturally in your home and only operating the unit in highly humid seasons, like in winter. Also, getting a dehumidifier with the best Energy Star Ratings helps reduce operating costs. For more on how to save money and energy with a dehumidifier, read our comprehensive blog on 6 Secret Tips to reduce dehumidifier running costs.

6. How long can I keep my dehumidifier on?

How long you run your dehumidifier will depend on how humid your room is. It also depends on how effective your dehumidifier is in extracting moisture from the environment. Another thing to consider is how efficient is the dehumidifier in maintain optimal humidity.

The more humid a room is, the longer the dehumidifier needs to restore relative humidity to optimal levels. Take note that some rooms like the bathroom or kitchen will be more humid, hence you will have to run the dehumidifier for longer.  There are other factors that can raise relative humidity, like keeping potted plants or drying laundry inside the house. Your small dehumidifier will have to work longer in such conditions as well.

If you are running a dehumidifier for the first time, it will take longer to extract moisture from the environment to bring down humidity to comfortable levels. A small dehumidifier with a bigger water tank will get the job done faster than one with a smaller tank.

Finally, consider how long it takes for the mini dehumidifier to maintain optimal humidity in any room in which it is placed. Leaving your small dehumidifier running all day can lead to high energy consumption. To mitigate this, most of these mini dehumidifiers have inbuilt timers and moisture level detectors to determine when to turn on the extraction process and when to remain in standby mode. Such a feature allows you to leave the dehumidifier running while saving on electricity.

7. Why does a dehumidifier ice up?

A portable dehumidifier will ice up or freeze up depending on the indoor conditions it is operating in. As mentioned before, a dehumidifier draws warm moist air from the environment and passes it through cooling coils. This sudden shift in temperatures causes moisture to condense and collect in the dehumidifier’s water tank or is drained away using a hose.
Small dehumidifiers ice up

Freezing indoor temperature

If the air outside gets too cold, condensation will freeze on the cooling coils instead of draining away. This causes the cooling coils to ice up and reduces the efficiency of the dehumidifier.

Obstructed airflow

Another often overlooked cause of a dehumidifier icing up is when there is no adequate airflow through the unit. Airflow issues can happen when the dehumidifier is trying to draw in warm hair or blow out cool air after condensation happens.

Debris on coils

With time, dust and debris accumulate around the cooling coils. If left uncleared, the dust and debris will prevent condensed water from draining off the coils, affecting the functionality of the small dehumidifier.

How to stop your small dehumidifier from icing up

The first thing to check is the indoor temperature. If the room the dehumidifier is operating in is cold, try moving the appliance to a warmer area. You can also protect the dehumidifier from frost using a tubular heater.

Secondly, ensure your small dehumidifier has a clearance of at least one foot from all sides. Doing so ensures the dehumidifier has enough flow and also prevents your small dehumidifier from icing up due to obstructed airflow.

Thirdly, check the dehumidifier for dampness on the cooling coils caused by the accumulation of dust and debris. Turn off the dehumidifier and unplug it before cleaning its coils. Hire a professional to clean the coils if you are wary of damaging the dehumidifier.

Finally, always check the filters to ensure they are in good condition. Replace damaged filters that may be restricting airflow to keep your mini electric dehumidifier functioning optimally.

8. Will dehumidifier help with heat?

Dehumidifiers help regulate high humidity in any room, but can they be used for cooling too? The short answer is yes and no. Yes, dehumidifiers can reduce heat in a room because they take in warm air, filter out moisture, and pump cold air back into a room. A dehumidifier will make any room feel cool by reducing high humidity,  but it cannot be relied upon. Reducing high humidity will make a room ‘feel cooler’ but you still need to do something about the heat.

9. What are the advantages of a dehumidifier?

Get rid of condensation

Condensation can harm your home—did you realize that? Condensation or water droplets developing on the inside of your windows may indicate that your home has too much humidity. Your home may begin to deteriorate over time if extra moisture is stored there. This is so that wood doesn't rot or mould and doesn't soften and lose its strength. Wood may absorb water.

Having a dehumidifier can also assist with protecting the structural integrity of your home by controlling moisture and condensation.

Reduces the occurrence of mould and mildew

When there is too much moisture in the air, mould and mildew can readily spread. While mildew only grows on surfaces, mould does develop beneath the surfaces of your property. They can flourish on drywall and wallpaper as well as on windows, pipes, ceiling tiles, wood, paper, carpet, and upholstery.

Congestion, wheezing, irritability, and other health issues can be brought on by fungus growing in your home. It's crucial to stop the growth of mould and mildew by lowering the amount of moisture in the air. Dehumidifiers can accomplish this by stopping the development of mould and mildew and enhancing the quality of the air inside your home.

Eliminate musty smells

Does your laundry room or basement occasionally have a musty or offensive odour? High humidity or excess moisture in the air are the main contributors to this odour.  A must smell indicates the development of mould and mildew in your property, Fortunately, a small dehumidifier is an inexpensive way to reduce high humidity. With excess moisture gone, the musty smell gradually disappears as well.

Reduce allergic reactions

Dust mites, pollen, animal or pet dander, mould, and mildew all thrive in humid environments. Mould and mildew can produce a variety of allergy symptoms like sneezing, stuffy or runny noses, dryness, congestion, watery eyes, and itching in your eyes, nose, or throat.
Any dust or other allergy triggers in the air can be reduced by lowering humidity with a small dehumidifier. Your home will have wholesome indoor air as a result. So, the springtime allergies are over, stop sniffling and sneezing!

Lower your energy bills

A small dehumidifier will help you save energy at home. As the dehumidifier lowers moisture in the air, reducing the heat felt, you won’t be running your air conditioner as often. In addition, modern mini dehumidifiers consume as low as 185 watts to dehumidify a room. They also have automated settings to control when the unit comes on and off, as well as vary the fan speeds. These functions further drive energy consumption down, making the unit energy efficient.

Improve indoor air quality

High humidity in the home can create breathing challenges, especially for people with respiratory problems. Fortunately, a small dehumidifier not only reduces high humidity, but also filters out airborne allergens like mould, dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, therefore improving indoor air quality.
Morris small dehumidifier to improve indoor air quality

Protect your property

Dehumidifiers may also safeguard your priceless possessions, including books, furniture, memorabilia, expensive paintings and even your super car. A small dehumidifier will reduce moisture in the air and this prevents mildew, fungus, rot, and dust mites from invading your home. Getting an inexpensive mini dehumidifier protects your property from damage and, therefore, increases its shelf life.

Minimize pest infestation

Excess moisture or humidity is one of the main reasons for pest infestations. Pests such as termite rely on moisture in their surroundings to survive. This is because termites and other pests rely on the water in their surroundings to exist. By eating through damp wood, termites, insects, and other pests can quickly gain access to your home. A small dehumidifier will reduce excess moisture and foster a balanced environment in which termite and other pests cannot thrive in. So, get a dehumidifier and drive those annoying critters away!

Restore comfort in your home

Living in a humid atmosphere can be incredibly uncomfortable, especially when the heat becomes stifling and unpleasant. Fortunately, a mini dehumidifier can make your home's air cooler and cosier by lowering the excess humidity! Mini dehumidifiers are ideal for people living in tropical, humid, or swampy areas.

Dry your laundry quicker

Dehumidifiers have the unexpected benefit of helping to dry your laundry as well! A dehumidifier can hasten the drying process of your garments if you choose to air dry them or have items that need to be hand-washed. It quickens the drying process by removing additional water from the air and your clothes!

10. What are the disadvantages of a dehumidifier?

They can be noisy

Dehumidifiers can be noisy to run, especially at night when you are trying to get a good night's sleep. Fortunately, small dehumidifiers like the Morris dehumidifier range have a noise level of 36 dB, which is quiet enough for a sleeping baby. People with high sensitivity to noise may find a desiccant dehumidifier quieter, although these units are costly to run.
Check the dehumidifier's noise output before purchasing it. High-end models are worth the investment because they are energy efficient and make the least noise when running.

Dries the air

Running a dehumidifier in your home can make the air dryer than normal. This can pose a health risk for people with conditions like eczema and pneumonia. Also, dry air can cause your skin and hair to look and feel dull and dry. People who live in dry regions or high altitudes should not use dehumidifiers because it tends to make the dry climate worse. Side in a dry region, such as a desert or a place with a high altitude, it's also better to forgo using a dehumidifier.

May not work properly in low temperature

Refrigerant dehumidifiers are known not to function properly in low temperatures. When the temperature drops to as low as 15 °C (60 °F), your condenser dehumidifier may struggle to work properly due to ‘icing up’? Placing the refrigerant dehumidifier in a warm place helps mitigate this.

It only works better in closed environments

A mini dehumidifier works best in closed environments, and this means not allowing air to enter your home through ventilation if you want to quickly reduce the humidity there. This entails closing windows, doors, and other ventilation sources. Yet, clean air in your home is supported by adequate ventilation.

Requires maintenance

For a dehumidifier to function properly, routine maintenance is necessary. To keep eliminating water vapour from the air, a dehumidifier with a tank needs to be often emptied. Dehumidifiers with a hose and a pump are an exception. Dusting, cleaning and replacing filters, and inspecting the components for wear are other maintenance procedures.

Your dehumidifier's water tank needs to be cleaned regularly. The dehumidifier fills a tank with water vapour that must be drained for it to continue working. The only exception is if your dehumidifier disposes of its water using a pump and hose.

11. How do you know if your room needs a dehumidifier?

Are you constantly seeing condensation on your windows? Do you struggle to sleep at night because your bedroom feels stuffy? Have you noticed wet patches on your walls and mould growing on those wet surfaces? If your answer is yes to any of these questions, then it is about time you got a mini dehumidifier.

Window and door condensation

Do your glass windows look reflective like a mirror? This could be caused by condensation, which happens due to a temperature difference between the outside and inside of your home. If the interior is cooler, cooler air will enter through the window frames, which is where warm, humid air can become trapped and condense as condensation. Windowpane dampness is a warning of increased humidity in your home. Even though low humidity levels aren't often noticeable, they might nonetheless result in damage if ignored.
Morris Mini electric dehumidifiers to avoid condensation

Damp and mould

You have a high-moisture issue in the home if mould patches start to appear on your walls or ceiling corners. Excess moisture on surfaces creates a breeding ground for mould, mildew, bacteria and other allergens that can damage property or cause health problems.

Musty or stuffy odour

Does your home feel stuffy or have a musty odour? Excess moisture in the air can cause a musty smell from your closet, carpet, or any other surface that absorbs and retains moisture. Even if there are no visible signs of condensation in your home, a musty smell is usually a sign of high humidity issues that need addressing.

Door, window, or floor creaks

Wooden surfaces naturally make a creaking noise, but only when they're completely dry. If you notice any creaking from your door frames, windows, floorboards, or cabinets, chances are it is due to increased humidity. When wood absorbs excess moisture, it expands and makes a creaking noise. It is advisable to get rid of high humidity fast before it causes further damage to your property.

12. Can dehumidifier cool room?

The truth is, it does ‘get cooler’ when you leave your dehumidifier running. However, this does not mean that your small dehumidifier is working like an AC, although it does produce the same effect. As high humidity tends to make a room feel hotter than it actually is, a dehumidifier will reduce this excess moisture in the air and make the room feel cooler again.

To make your environment more conducive, you may have to run your dehumidifier in tandem with your air conditioner. Once moisture is extracted from the air, the small dehumidifier will reheat the air to make it lighter and easier to blow back into the environment. Although the room feels a bit cooler, ideal cool temperatures can be achieved by running an AC. The air conditioner will suck in the hot air and pump it back into the room as cold air.

13. Where can I get a small dehumidifier?

There are a couple of things to consider when shopping for a mini electric dehumidifier. First, ensure that the small dehumidifier you choose has the capacity and power to remove moisture from any room you intend to use it. Modern portable dehumidifiers also come with advanced features like a Wi-Fi connection. A Wi-Fi mini dehumidifier connects to a mobile app, which makes it easy to remotely control and monitor humidity in your home.

Ensure you’re buying mini-dehumidifiers from credible online suppliers that have positive reviews from previous customers. It also pays to buy from an online supplier who offers warranties on their products should you need to return or replace a faulty unit.

Additional information

Like all appliances, quality should be a priority when shopping for portable dehumidifiers. Dehumidifier manufacturers have to compete with increasing demand, which can lead to faulty units flooding the appliance market.  For instance, the following table shows a list of dehumidifier models from popular brands that were recalled because of their faulty performance, making them potential hazards in our home.


BrandModel NumberYear Recalled
Dehumidifier Homebase
10 Litre Dehumidifier 623182
2015
B&Q dehumidifier
Airforce 20 Litre/Day Dehumidifiers 03604434
2014
Dehumidifier Argos
10 Litre Dehumidifier 415/ 0114, 415/1319 (DHMD102)
2016
Dimplex dehumidifier
DXDH10N, DXDH16N, DXDH20N, FTE10, FTE16, FTE20
2015 and 2016
Dehumidifier Wickes
10 Litre Dehumidifier 156447
2009
Gree dehumidifier
GDN40AH-A4EBB1A, GDN45AH-A3EBB2A, GDN50AF-A3EBA8A, GDN50AF-A3EBA8B, GDN70AF-A3EBA8A
2014
Delonghi dehumidifier
DDSE30, DDSE40, DG50
2014


Remember, a faulty small portable dehumidifier will not only function incorrectly, but it can pose greater risks like causing electric shocks and fires. Only buy your dehumidifier from a trusted brand with proven quality products.


Conclusion

A small dehumidifier is the fastest way to get rid of excess moisture in any room in your house. By installing a mini dehumidifier, you not only keep dampness at bay but also prevent your property from developing mould and mildew which cause a bad odour. Effective humidity control also makes your home comfortable to live in and ensures the air you breath is pure.
Conservatory Wardrobe Basement Hallway Drying clothes Kitchen Loft Bedroom Bathroom

Caravan Garage Boat Basic knowledge Running cost


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