Compressor Vs Desiccant Dehumidification – Full Greenhouse Humidity Control Guide

When it comes to horticulture, such as greenhouses and indoor grow rooms, dehumidifiers are a necessary humidity control tool. They remove excess moisture from the air in a highly effective and efficient manner. This creates ideal growing conditions, prevents diseases, and even saves energy in most cases.

Compressor based and desiccant based are two different types of greenhouse dehumidifiers. While they’re both high capacity dehumidifiers, they differ in their technology, the way they operate and their requirements.

The type of dehumidifier you choose for your growing facility makes a big difference. It affects infrastructure and operational requirements and can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

How Does Compressor Based Dehumidification Work?

Compressor dehumidifiers reduce humidity by condensing water inside the unit. They take in humid air and cool it down using refrigeration. This causes moisture in the air to condense inside the unit. The air is then heated back up and released back to the growing space at a much lower relative humidity level.

Compressor based dehumidifiers are simple in concept and design. In fact, simple compressor dehumidifiers can even be found in hardware stores, like Home Depot.

In essence, these systems work like an air conditioner, which also creates condensation as a side effect. However, unlike air conditioning, these dehumidifiers are optimized for humidity control and are much more efficient. They extract more water per kW than air conditioners or HVAC systems.

Compressor Dehumidifiers Collect Reusable Water

One of the advantages this type of technology holds is the ability to collect and reuse a large amount of water. Compression based dehumidification effectively creates distilled water out of the moisture in the air. You can easily collect this water using a drainage pipe or even a floor drain.

The water you collect can be used for various purposes. One popular use is to mix with irrigation water, in order to optimize nutrient concentrations.

Simple, Electricity Only, Zero Waste Dehumidification

This type of dehumidifier only requires electricity in order to operate, making its infrastructure requirements very low. Once it’s connected to an electricity socket it can immediately begin extracting water from the air.

Compressor dehumidifiers are also light on maintenance. They don’t create waste and don’t require any added materials in order to work.

How Does Desiccant Based Dehumidification Work?

A desiccant dehumidifier is nothing like its compressor based counterpart. Rather than condensing water, it uses a desiccant material to absorb moisture. The desiccant material sucks up the water vapor from the humid air, leaving it much drier.

Desiccant Based Dehumidifiers Require a Heat Source

Unlike other dehumidifiers, which only require electricity to operate, desiccant material needs to be hot in order to work. That means growers need to provide a heat source for the dehumidifier, often in the form of hot water.

This makes desiccant dehumidification more complex in terms of infrastructure needs. It also takes longer for these systems to reach peak effectivity, as heating the desiccant material can take time.

Dessicant Dehumidifiers Create Waste Rather Than Reusable Water

Due to the nature of these systems, the water they extract from the air can’t be collected. Rather, they create waste. The absorbent material in these dehumidification systems has a limited capacity to hold water. So once the material is spent, it needs to be replaced and disposed of.

Needless to say, replacing the desiccant material also means more maintenance and higher operational requirements and costs.

Higher Effectivity in Low Temperatures and Humidity Levels

Desiccant based dehumidifiers do hold one significant advantage though. They can retain effectivity and efficiency in a wider range of conditions, including low temperatures and low moisture levels.

Compressor dehumidifiers are much less efficient when air temperature drops below 10°C, as well as in low relative humidity. However, these conditions are very uncommon in horticulture settings.

Compressor Vs Desiccant Dehumidification – What’s Best for Horticulture?

Both compressor and desiccant dehumidifiers can extract massive amounts of moisture, reaching hundreds of pints of water per day. Different growing facilities may have different needs, requirements, and infrastructure. So, some growers may opt for a desiccant based dehumidifier.

However, in almost all cases, greenhouses and grow rooms require temperatures close to room temperature. In this range, compressor dehumidifiers are much more efficient than their desiccant based counterparts.

Overall, compressor based dehumdifiers are the best dehumidification solution for horticulture use. This is due to the ease of use, low infrastructure and operational requirements, water collection, zero waste, and high efficiency.

For more information or inquiries, please feel free to contact our team.