air purifier and dehumidifier

Can You Use A Dehumidifier And Air Purifier In The Same Room?

Dehumidifier and air purifiers in the same room

If you stay in a high humidity zone like the tropics or in a coastal area, a dehumidifier can be quite a handy tool. But what happens, when you are in a high humidity zone and your air is also quite polluted?

Can an air purifier be used together with a dehumidifier to deal with pollution and humidity at the same time? In short, an air purifier can be used together with a dehumidifier in the same room without any problem. The two devices complement each other and do not inhibit each other's performance in any way. They work together well to kill and prevent mold, mold spores and musty odors from spreading in a home. 

An air purifier will get rid of dust, bacteria and allergens in your room, while the dehumidifier pulls excess moisture out of the air making it harder for contaminants in your air to survive. So this is a very powerful combination for good air quality in your house.

That said, there are a couple of things you need to consider before you use a dehumidifier and air purifier together. I am going to explain these considerations and then in case you are still considering getting yourself these devices, I am also going to walk you through the options I found deliver the best results.

Considerations When Using an Air Purifier and Dehumidifier Together.

The first thing you need to know is that dehumidifiers are heavy power consumers. This means you will need a surge protector and separate power circuit from your air purifier to run it. Your dehumidifier manual may even state that you should not connect to an extension cord and rather run it straight from your socket on the wall. So to play it safe, I would suggest you take this approach to avoid blowing up anything.

Secondly, using the two devices together will only be effective to a certain extent if you are facing serious damp and moisture problems. If something is leaking, or there is water in your crawlspace, you will have to get to the root cause of your moisture. Then only when you find the root cause of the problem and fix it will your dehumidifier and air purifier effectively keep your air dry and clean.

Lastly, if there are no underlying issues apart from a humid climate causing moisture, mustiness and mold in your home, then this is the perfect situation to use these two devices together. For maximum performance, make sure to keep the windows and doors in your house closed while these devices operate.

Great Separate Devices  You Can Try

Dehumidifiers

If you go the separate device route, there are several types of dehumidifiers you can get and they are as follows:

1. Desiccant dehumidifiers 

This type of  dehumidifier works by exposing air to a special humidity-absorbing material called a desiccant. The material sucks water out of the air and once saturated it moves to a section of the device where it is heated to drive off the humidity and eventually the material is recharged to repeat the process.

The desiccant is moved around sections of the device using some form of conveyor belt or micro transport system.  Desiccant dehumidifiers are most suited for high humidity levels at low temperatures and will really help you if you want to deal with moisture and humidity in cold weather. These machines also operate more quietly than air conditioners and refrigeration dehumidifiers.

2. Ionic membrane dehumidifiers

Ionic dehumidifiers operate at a molecular level and are typically used to remove humidity in a sealed enclosure .  They take water out of an enclosure through some complicated scientific process called electrolysis which I will not even bother to explain in detail. The process uses minimal electricity and unlike all the other dehumidifiers requires very little maintenance.

Because there are no mechanical parts involved, it is a silent process. This dehumidifier is used to protect delicate stuff like electrical components, medical equipment, or even museum specimens from humid environments. You would probably go for one of these if you have small antiques or items you can put in a sealed enclosure to protect them from humidity.

3. Air conditioners (cool and remove water and act as dehumidifiers).

A conventional air conditioner reduces humidity levels in a room as it cools the air. It works by passing air over cold evaporator coils and releasing this air directly into your room. Unlike  in refrigeration dehumidifiers, which I describe later, the air is not re-heated and released into the room by passing over a condenser coil. Instead, hot air produced during dehumidification is passed to a condenser located outside the room, and the heat is then released to the outside air.

The cold evaporator coils in the air conditioner turn the moisture in your indoor air into water. Then depending on the type of air conditioner you have, this water is then allowed to either drip outdoors or is released into outside air as water vapor.  This is the water you see dripping out of the your typical air conditioner.

4. Thermoelectric dehumidifiers

Thermoelectric dehumidifiers cool a surface and condense water vapor from the air using a Peltier heat pump. They operate more quietly compared  to other dehumidifiers especially those with a mechanical compressor. However, you will find this type of dehumidifier is less efficient than others. Due to its low efficiency manufacturers mainly use this  technology for small dehumidifiers. Besides, thermoelectric  air dehumidifiers are known to have problems with ice build up. So I would stay away from thermoelectric dehumidifiers if you need some serious dehumidifying in your home.

5. Refrigeration dehumidifiers

This dehumidifier works by pulling humid air into the device using a fan and passing it through hot and cool coils which then condense this air, and it falls into a drainage system as water while the device releases dry air back into the atmosphere.  Refrigeration dehumidifiers work best at higher room temperatures above 20 °C (68 °F)  and their performance drops in cold climates. 

Refrigeration dehumidifiers differ from standard air conditioners in that their evaporator and condenser are in the same air path inside a room  while in an air conditioner the condenser coil is outside the room. Having a condenser coil outside the room allows the air conditioner to release heat energy outdoors and cool the indoor  air.

On the other hand the dehumidification process of a refrigeration dehumidifier does the exact opposite and releases heat indoors. It warms up your room just like a heater would while reducing  humidity levels by condensing and removing water in your rooms air.

Of these five types of  dehumidifiers, the most effective and most popular is the refrigeration dehumidifier. A great example of a refrigeration dehumidifier is the Dri-Eaz F203-A 1200 18-gallon Compact Portable Refrigerant Dehumidifier. If you are operating at lower temperatures than 20 °C (68 °F), then I would suggest going for a desiccant dehumidifier like this one by MEACO

Air Purifiers

You also have a variety of options with air purifiers. Among the best air purifying techniques to deal with odors and mold in a humid environment is a HEPA filter combined with a carbon activated filter or a photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) air purifier.

HEPA air purifiers work by sucking air into a device using a fan and trapping contaminants in this air on a cardboard like material that is porous enough to only let a few ultra-fine particles in that air through. On the other hand, PCO air purifier work by using highly concentrated UV light and titanium dioxide in an oxidative reaction to completely destroy pollutants, turning them in water and carbon dioxide.

Compared to HEPA air purifiers, PCO purifiers spare no contaminants and do not need to be combined with other purification technologies to get rid of pollutant gasses and odors. I think you can see why I prefer PCO air purifiers and a great option here is the Airocide air purifier. Nonetheless, if you go the HEPA route, the IQAir New Edition HealthPro will give you great performance.

Great Combo Dehumidifier Air Purifiers Devices

Alternatively, you can go the combined dehumidifier air purifier route. Unlike the separate devices, your options are more restricted when it comes to combo devices. Most devices are small and ineffective and only able to take less than 10 pints of water out of the air. The best 2 high capacity combo purifiers that I could find that can suck over 50 pints  (23 liters) of water from your air per day include the Philips Series 5000 2-in-1 Air dehumidifier and the Pure Dry HEPA70 dehumidifier by Aerus

Should You Get Separate Devices or a Combo Air Purifier Dehumidifier?

So now that you understand that air purifiers and dehumidifiers work together very well and also the factors to consider to make them work effectively and the different device options, the last thing to decide if you do not already own any of these devices is which will best serve your needs.

From my perspective, I would go with with the separate device option if I stayed in an area that is humid for most of the year. The thing is, unless of course you have multiple devices spread across your house, if you ever need to use your dehumidifier in one room and air purifier in another you are screwed if you own a combo air purifier.

On the other hand, buying a combo air purifier is cost-effective as they cost almost as much as a single separate device does. Also, in addition to your energy consumption remaining low, you don’t have to hustle too much about plugging in multiple heavy electrical devices on one electrical circuit.

So the choice here is between ease of use and flexibility and for me flexibility is the obvious choice. If you want flexibility go for the uncombined device option. I think I have said enough, so let me end here. I hope you found this information helpful and that I answered all your questions around running an air purifier concurrently with a dehumidifier.

If you have any comments or questions, please be sure to share your thoughts in the comments below.

About the Author

Jean-Baptiste

Jean is a research economist by profession and he runs Fresh Air Genie. He is enthusiastic about maintaining good air quality at home and on the go and he shares his knowledge about this here at Fresh Air Genie.

Comments

  1. Thank you for your detailed advice, Jean-Baptiste.

    I already own a Honeywell HPA200 for my bedroom (my wife has asthma). And it does a lot of good for her. But while the device removes germs that come with the flu season, it doesn’t remove the moisture.

    Since we have other purifiers in other rooms, we don’t need to move the one in the bedroom at all. So I guess buying an purifier-cum-dehumidifier should have been the best decision for us.

    As things stand, I’ll just have to buy a dehumidifier.

    1. Author

      Hi Peter,

      I am glad you found my advice useful. Since you already have air purifiers then definitely go for a separate dehumidifier. Let me know if you have further questions.

  2. Jean-Baptiste,

    Thank you for the article above and the work you do giving information about good air quality in the home.

    I recently had water leak from a drainage pipe underneath my kitchen sink. I think the leak was happening for a short time before I found it. I have cleaned out the space that was directly affected and then blew some air in the area for a few days following by using a box fan followed by an older Breeze AT by EcoQuest Model ATHF Air Purifier Sanitizer. This area still has a damp musty smell to it. I was thinking of using a dehumidifier in the small area for a few days and then go back to the air purifier. Does this seem to make sense to you? If so, what would be the best dehumidifier to use under this sink area?

    I am confident that the source of the water has been eliminated. Any other ideas that might help me eliminate the smell coming from this area would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks,

    Chuck LeBlanc

    1. Author

      Hi Charles. Before heading out and getting a dehumidifier did the area smell bad before the leak? If not you may not need a dehumidifier at all. Have you tried cleaning with hydrogen peroxide and vinegar? Just wipe all surfaces with hydrogen peroxide first and allow to dry and then try the same with vinegar if hydrogen peroxide does not work. If the smell is not gone then try the Pro Breeze Mini Dehumidifier. Not sure about the size of your sink area but this should fit under your sink nicely. Please let me know with more details and possibly pictures if you need any more guidance.

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