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The recent rainfall across the country has increased the likelihood of damp in your home. If you're waking up to condensation on windows, have noticed a musty smell, or mould, then a dehumidifier or moisture absorber could help solve some of these problems.
Should I get a dehumidifier or a moisture absorber?
Moisture absorbers are cheap, and can be bought easily online or in hardware shops. They often come in plastic tubs or cloth bags, and contain crystals, which, once exposed to air, absorb moisture and dissolve. They need to be refilled or replaced once the crystals are dissolved. They're often worth trying before investing in a dehumidifier, as they can solve mild damp problems.
Dehumidifiers are machines that remove moisture from the air. They draw air in, filter and cool it to condense moisture. This is then reheated before warmer and dryer air is released. Dehumidifiers are a good option if you have ongoing damp or humidity problems, or you can't improve airflow in a room.
Damp Rid Hanging Moisture Absorber Bags, $9.95 are great for hanging in your wardrobe to prevent mould, mildew and musty odours. They last for 60 days, and are specifically designed to hang in wardrobes and small enclosed spaces. Damp Rid also make a Refillable Moisture Absorber, $6.60 which is ideal for bathrooms, laundry rooms and bedrooms. Once the crystals in the top basket have gone, simply flush the basket out and dry, then refill.
The Cli-Mate SunSack Dehumidifier, $15.95, contains salt crystals that absorb moisture. The small bags are great for popping in drawers, confined spaces, under beds and behind soft furnishings. When the colour of the pattern on the bag changes, simply put it in the microwave for five minutes to dry it out. It can be reused hundreds of times.
The $3.29 Damp Free moisture absorber unit uses a bag of crystals inside of a small container to draw moisture out of the air.
“These are fantastic, work great on window sills in the winter,” one woman wrote on a popular Facebook group about the item.
“They work like a dream!” another said, “I think I had them in our cupboards for around 6 months.”
If you're looking to buy a dehumidifier, there are a few things to consider. If you need it to sit in a room that's generally less than 20°C, it's best to opt for a 'desiccant dehumidifier.'
These perform well in cooler environments. They use a slowly rotating disc that absorbs moisture from the air, then dries off, evaporating the water and collecting it in a tank. They tend to have higher running costs but are often compact.
Refrigerant humidifiers use the same technology as a fridge. They draw in air, cool it to condense the water it contains, then warm it and blow it back out. They work best in warmer climates, and can be more energy efficient - but often noisier than desiccant dehumidifiers.
The Ausclimate NWT Large 35L, $599, is a refrigerant dehumidifier that is CHOICE recommended. It's also approved by the National Asthma Council Australia. It has a big 6L water tank, an easy to use LCD display, isn't too noisy, and comes with a 2-year warranty. It also works well as an economical clothes drying solution. One negative point - it has a cord which can make it harder to move it around the room.
Breville's Smart Dry Dehumidifier, $379, is a compact machine, that works well for spaces of 30m2 or smaller. It's a desiccant machine, so is good for those living in cooler climates. "This has been a saviour for both our home and our own health," says one review. "It took litres of water out of our master bedroom on the first use, eradicated mould, cleaned the air and left the room feeling noticeably different (more comfortable) to be in. Couldn't recommend it more."
This 700ml Hysure Dehumidifier has lots of positive reviews on Amazon Australia with shoppers saying it’s very effective when used in small spaces, with one reviewer saying they had the same experience as the woman on Facebook.
“The wife is always using up those disposable dehumidifiers all the time [and] I got sick of them not working properly if they're nearly full. If you don’t constantly check them out then no dehumidifying action,” he wrote.
“I use this bad boy in the walk-in wardrobe since it’s next to the bathroom in the master bedroom. Works well. Slick. Not loud.”
Someone else said, “For such a small unit, I think it did well. I bought two and put one each in two similarly-sized rooms hoping to reduce condensation on the windows which were weeping with moisture.
“Worked well on the room with one window where I was able to aim the flow of air from the machine straight at the window. Not as directly effective in the room with two larger windows as I could not aim the airflow to cover both windows, but still collected a lot of moisture regardless.”
While many of the reviewers say it’s great for a small space like a walk-in wardrobe or home office, they warn that a bigger model would be needed to tackle a larger room like a basement or bedroom.
The Dimplex GDDE50E, $600, is a refrigeration dehumidifier, that has wheels and handles so you can move it around easily. It's great if you need to remove large amounts of moisture. It has a 24-hour timer, adjustable humidity levels, continuous drainage and a removable, washable filter.
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