Why to dehumidify air

Dehumidify air is to remove moisture from the air. This process is often called Dehumidification, which the moisture or water vapor or the humidity is removed from the air to achieve low relative humidity




Why do we need dehumidification?

Malaysia weather is a tropical rainforest climate, which is typically hot and wet throughout the year and rainfall is both heavy and frequent. Which show that our weather is humid throughout the years and with relative humidity level is ranging from 60 – 80%RH, and sometimes may goes as high as 95%. Dehumidification is needed to remove the excess moisture in the air which would cause problems such as:


  • Mold and fungus attack
  • Growing of mold mites on the wall
  • Humid air is favorable for microbial growth
  • Damage to metal product (corrosion occur quicker in high humidity area)
  • Metal surfaces become unpaintable
  • Electronic equipment malfunctioning
  • Damage to sensitive medical equipment
  • Corrosion attacks
  • Moisture damage on goods, building, leather furniture, etc.
  • Discomfort and cause of heat rash during humid weather
  • High humidity tends to affect rheumatoid arthritis


Maintaining an ideal relative humidity is important for health and comfort. ASHRAE Standards 62.1-2016 (The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) recommends indoor relative humidity below 65% to reduce microbial growth. EPA 2012 (United States Environmental Protection Agency) also recommends indoor relative humidity between 30 and 60% to reduce mold growth.




Method of dehumidification

There are two common ways to remove the moisture from the air: by cooling it to condense the water vapor, and by passing the air over a desiccant, which pulls moisture from the air through differences in vapor pressures.


  1. Cooling-Based Dehumidification / Refrigerant Type Dehumidifier



Most people are familiar with the principle of condensation. When air is cooled down below its dewpoint temperature, moisture will condensate on the surface and air is dehumidified by the process of cooling and condensation. After the air is cooled and dehumidified, the air will be pre-heated before it is returned to the treated room. Most of the refrigerant type dehumidifiers such as residential dehumidifier, portable dehumidifier, commercial dehumidifier, industrial dehumidifier, ducted / mounted dehumidifier and wall mounted dehumidifier use this configuration. 


This system is efficient if the treated room air is both warm and very moist. Typically, refrigerant dehumidifier is recommended for treated room temperature at 22 – 30 deg. C and to achieve humidity level at 40% – 60%RH.



The table show below is the recommendation of refrigerant dehumidifier based on area size.


Room Size

(with height at 10ft)

RH Required Room Temperature Propose Capacity Application
100 – 200 sq ft 45 – 60% 23 – 30°C 20 -35L/day Light Usage
200 – 400 sq ft 45 – 60% 23 – 30°C 35 -55L/day Light to Medium
400 – 600 sq ft 45 – 60% 23 – 30°C 55 – 75L/day Light to Medium
600 – 800 sq ft 45 – 60% 23 – 30°C 110 – 160L/day Medium to Heavy
800 – 1000 sq ft 45 – 60% 23 – 30°C 160 -210L/day Medium to Heavy


Note: This table is only a general guideline. It would require more detail information to select the suitable dehumidifier.




  1. Desiccant Dehumidifiers



Desiccant dehumidifiers is different from cooling-based dehumidifiers. Instead of cooling the air to condense its moisture, desiccants dehumidifiers attract moisture from the air by creating an area of low vapor pressure at the surface of the desiccant wheel. The pressure exerted by the water in the air is higher, so the water molecules move from the air to the desiccant and the air is dehumidified.


Desiccant dehumidifiers make use of changing vapor pressure to dry the air continuously in a repeating cycle, which is also based on the adsorption principal. Treated air is simply passed through a porous wheel of solid desiccant and its moisture in the air is absorbed and the humidity level is lowered. After the desiccant wheel absorb the moisture, it will become saturates and to be used again it must be ‘recharged’ or also called as ‘regenerated’ by heating it up until the absorbed moisture is evaporated. The evaporated moisture will be driven off the desiccant wheel and goes right back to outdoor air or to surrounding ambient, which is not the treated room. The desiccant dehumidifier is designed so that the treated air is separated from the incoming air stream to dry the wheel, which will be exhausted to the outside.


The desiccant wheel is slowly rotating in the system to continuously absorb moisture to keep the treated air dry and regenerated using heater to help remove the absorb moisture from the desiccant. Roughly 3⁄4 of the time the desiccant will be absorbing moisture out of the treated room air, and the remaining 1⁄4 of the time it will recharge.


This system is efficient if the treated room air is both low in temperature and relative humidity. Typically, desiccant dehumidifier is recommended for treated room temperature at 22 deg. C and below, and to achieve humidity level at 5% – 40%RH.




Cooling-based dehumidifiers VS Desiccant dehumidifiers

Both cooling-based dehumidifiers / refrigerant dehumidifier and desiccant dehumidifier can remove moisture from air. So the question arises which type of dehumidifier to be used to achieve good result? There are no simple answers to this question, but there are some general guidelines that have emerged in the industry.


  • Cooling-based dehumidifiers / Refrigerant dehumidifiers

This type of dehumidifiers is more economical and more energy efficient than desiccants dehumidifier when the treated air temperature and moisture levels is high. It is typically applied in conditions of 22 – 30 deg. C, and to achieve relative humidity at 40% – 60%RH. They are very seldom use in room conditions that are 20 deg. C and below, because condensate might freeze on the coil, thus reducing moisture removal capacity.


  • Desiccant dehumidifiers

Desiccant have useful advantages when treating ventilation air for building HVAC systems, and dehumidifying the fresh air with the desiccant system decrease the installed cost of the centralized cooling system, and eliminates thick coils with high air and liquid-side pressure drops. This help saves considerable fan and pump energy.

Desiccants are especially efficient when drying air to create low relative humidity at low temperature conditions. Typically, it is recommended for applications with room temperature below 20 deg. C, and to achieve relative humidity at 5% – 40%RH.




Applications for dehumidifiers


  1. Corrosion prevention
  • Marine drilling rig layup
  • Industrial plant layup
  • Galvanized steel storage
  • Protecting box beams in bridges
  • Ball bearing storage
  • SCR motor control centers
  • Generator rotor storage
  • Sodium iodide crystal finishing
  • Oil tanker layup
  • Automotive stampings protection
  • Military aircraft avionics protection
  • Civil aircraft corrosion protection
  • Calcium metal fabrication
  • Metal hydride machining
  • Computer storage
  • Chemical plant pipe galleries
  • Yacht protection
  • Canal lock mechanism protection
  • Pumping station
  • Boiler protection
  • Military tanks
  • Helicopter storage
  • Nuclear waste storage
  • Precision tooling storage
  • Ammunition storage
  • Tire creel rooms & wire storage
  • Razor blade manufacturing
  • Tritium containment


  1. Condensation prevention
  • Optical polishing
  • Refrigerated display cases
  • Environmental simulation
  • Large gear cases
  • High vacuum sputtering
  • Gumball forming rolls
  • Chilled rollers for film casting
  • Refrigerated warehouse floors
  • Altitude simulation cooling
  • Cold product receiving rooms
  • Typewriter ribbon film coating
  • Fruit & vegetable storage
  • Rock cave storage


  1. Mold and fungus prevention
  • Grain storage
  • Tulip bulb storage
  • Food plant sanitation
  • Rope fiber storage
  • Historic building protection
  • Photographic film storage
  • Wooden sculpture preservation
  • Fur storage
  • Cocoa bean storage
  • Dried fish storage
  • Mummy preservation
  • Wine cellars
  • Underground food storage
  • Milk powder storage
  • Malt storage
  • Museum storage
  • Summer cottage winter protection
  • Winter cottage summer protection
  •  Fabric & textile storage


  1. Moisture regain prevention
  • Biomedical dry rooms
  • Fertilizer packaging & storage
  • Pharmaceutical tableting
  • Foundry core storage
  • Powdered drink mix packaging
  • Plastic resin storage
  • Instant coffee processing
  • Sealed lead-acid battery filling
  • Paper storage
  • Flour, plastic and powder air eying
  • Sugar storage & packaging
  • Epoxy powder manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical packaging
  • Vitamin tableting & packaging
  • Circuit board storage & machining
  • Photolithography operations
  • Precision color printing
  • Cork storage
  • Candy tableting & packaging
  • Dried vegetable storage
  • Propellant mixing & casting
  • Missile motor storage
  • Contact lens machining
  • Filament winding
  • Lens coating
  • Veneer storage
  • Power cable jointing
  • Insulation for cold tanks
  • Fruit powder handling
  • Chewing gum ripening rooms


  1. Product drying
  • Uncured honey drying
  • Photographic film manufacturing
  • High voltage transformers
  • Diagnostic reagent powders
  • Whey powder
  • Instant coffee creamer
  • Pharmaceutical powders
  • Yeast
  • Sorbitol
  • Sugar substitutes
  • Chromatography materials
  • Low-moisture welding rods
  • Emergency oxygen “candles”
  • PET plastic resin
  • Nylon resin
  • Expandable bead polystyrene
  • Glass powder
  • Paint pigment
  • Tomato powder
  • Cork
  • Prosciutto ham
  • Hard sausage
  • Potato flakes
  • Grated cheese
  • Pasta
  • Cigars
  • Wax coated cheeses
  • Seeds
  • Tea
  • Gelatin
  • Katha cake
  • Matches
  • Onions & garlic
  • Milk & whey powders
  • Jelly beans
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Gelatin capsules


  1. Dry cooling
  • Public buildings & auditoriums
  • Nursing homes
  • Health clubs
  • Retail stores
  • Hotels & motels
  • Office building retrofits
  • Supermarkets
  • Medical office buildings
  • Hospitals
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