Some dehumidifiers are claimed to extract up to 50L of water each day, but is that really possible in Kiwi homes?
When you’re browsing dehumidifiers, either online or in store, the number that sticks out is rated capacity.
Separate from tank size, rated capacity is the claimed maximum amount of water a dehumidifier can remove each day – usually ranging from 10L (a smaller model) up to 50L (a whopper).
Dehumidifier labelling typically shows only those maximums. But these extraction rates are achieved in conditions far removed from what you’d get over a Kiwi winter.
Realistic test conditions
Manufacturers test their dehumidifiers in optimal conditions – usually about 30°C at 80% relative humidity (RH). However, it’s unlikely you’ll find any flats in Otago with these balmy conditions in July!
That’s why we test dehumidifiers in conditions you’d expect in Kiwi homes over winter – ranging from 8°C and 90% RH to 16°C and 65% RH.
We got very different results.
In our testing, on average, the amount of water extracted after running the dehumidifiers for 24 hours (emptying tanks whenever they were full) was less than 40% of their claimed maximum capacities. The results were worse at the lower temperature test (8°C), even with humidity at 90%.
Only one model – the Dimplex GDDEKD9 (desiccant type) – managed to meet or exceed its stated extraction rate. Unfortunately, our reliability survey has found the Dimplex models to have terrible predicted reliability.
The dehumidifier with the highest extraction rate – the Ausclimate WDH-070EBP (refrigerant type) – extracted a daily average of 15.6L of water, being only 31% of its claimed 50L maximum. This model is one of the most expensive in our database, costing about $900.
While their maximum capacity claims can be overly optimistic, a dehumidifier taking several litres of moisture out of the air will certainly improve the health of your home. Some dehumidifiers also have HEPA air filters, which can improve the quality of the air in your home.
Water tank woes
Not only are manufacturers’ rated capacities a little optimistic, their stated tank sizes are usually slightly off the mark too.
We measure tank capacity as being up to the point the dehumidifier switches itself off after detecting it’s full – not just the tank’s total capacity. Usually, this difference is several hundred millilitres.
In addition, tank capacity is always much less than the amount of water a dehumidifier can extract each day. If one of the 30L models really did extract 30L of water per day, you’d be emptying the tank (5L on average) every four hours.
We’d like to see dehumidifier manufacturers be more realistic about their water extraction rates. The best outcome would be for them to measure the daily capacity of their dehumidifiers at several different temperatures and humidities, labelling them with their average capacities.