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While a compressor dehumidifier has a compressor and a cold surface that it utilizes to yank the moisture from the damp air, the desiccant dehumidifier works more like a sponge or silica gel, simply absorbing the moisture from the humid air via a desiccant wheel. The wheel is regenerated by an inbuilt internal heater that allows the process to go on and on.
The desiccant dehumidifiers are generally quieter and more compact in design and are thus preferred by many customers. Below are some of the pros and cons of using a desiccant dehumidifier.
ADVANTAGES OF DESICCANT DEHUMIDIFIERS
They work well in both cold and warm climates: Unlike the compressor dehumidifiers that are really built for a warm ambient temperature, the moisture absorber boxes will maintain a superior standard of performance in both warm and cold ambient temperatures. This is because while the compressor dehumidifiers work on a condensation principle that requires a temperature gradient between the atmosphere and a condensation surface, the desiccant dehumidifiers utilize an adsorption principle where the water molecules adhere onto a surface to form a thin film of moisture on the dehumidifier material. This makes them highly effective as dehumidifiers in spaces with high humidity at low temperatures. As a result, with the moisture absorber refill, you do not have to grapple with the 15°C cut-off room temperature for optimal performance that is required for the compressor dehumidifiers.
Little packets of silica gel are found in all sorts of products because silica gel is a desiccant -- it adsorbs and holds water vapor. In leather products and foods like pepperoni, the lack of moisture can limit the growth of mold and reduce spoilage. In electronics, it prevents condensation, which might damage the electronics. If a bottle of vitamins contained any moisture vapor and were cooled rapidly, the condensing moisture would ruin the pills. You will find little silica gel packets in anything that would be affected by excess moisture or condensation.
Silica gel desiccant canister is nearly harmless, which is why you find it in food products. Silica, or silicon dioxide (SiO2), is the same material found in quartz. The gel form contains millions of tiny pores that can adsorb and hold moisture. Silica gel is essentially porous sand.