Dehumidifier [Updated Apr-2019]


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As we have mentioned in some of our posts about living aboard a boat in cooler climates, we run a dehumidifier inside our boat during cooler weather when at the dock and sometimes while at anchor. [We can also fire up our air conditioners (we have 3 separately controlled units built-in.) They take care of excessive moisture quickly.]

In fall 2015, our not so old, heavy duty [and noisy!] workhorse name-brand compressor type dehumidifier quit working. The GFCI outlet it was plugged into was tripped. It immediately tripped upon reset, and did the same to any other GFCI circuit it was plugged into. Therefore it was no longer safe to use...

It also had other issues inherent to that technology. For instance, if the interior temperature of the boat got much below 40°F it would frost-up [This would happen if we were away from the boat traveling...] And the electronic controls had to be manually reset after a power outage because it wouldn't automatically start back up when the power was restored. And did I mention how noisy it was?...

Our search for a replacement revealed a new technology that doesn't rely on an air conditioning compressor. It uses a self-recharging desiccant technology. 
Note: We aren't talking about 12 volt thermoelectric cooler technology here. We tried a small thermoelectric dehumidifier in the past. It didn't remove much moisture at all [we had to empty the 8oz bucket every week or so...] and it frosted up quickly in cool weather... These are not worthwhile...
This new one is really efficient, very quiet, lightweight and compact [we can actually store this one onboard...] It has an optional drain hose [which we lead to a shower sump] which eliminates manually emptying the built-in tank when it is full. 
Apr-2019: We still couldn't be more pleased with this model. It just keeps on working... well... 
In fact, we now own two. [One is used off the boat on occasion, and two are handy in the dead of winter... we don't have to move one around to different areas of the boat. e.g., After we use the shower, we place one of these dehumidifiers in the stall and it is completely dried out within an hour or so...]
This new unit also puts out a small amount of heat, and has a high setting to facilitate clothes drying; all using far less power than the old compressor style dehumidifier. It also continues to operate normally down to 34°F [per the manufacturer- we haven't tested this yet...]

The normal setting is 330 watts, and clothes drying mode is 615 watts [120V AC] so we can easily run this from our inverter as needed.

It is rated to 15 pints/24 hours all the way down to 34°F. [Comparitively, a compressor type dehumidifier will start icing up around 40°F. 
But aren't compressors types rated to remove higher quanties of water? (e.g., 30-50+ pints/day) Yes, but a glance at their temperature efficiency curve will reveal those ratings are for high relative humidity [e.g., 90+%] in higher temperatures. [e.g., 86°F] At typical living temperatures [when living aboard in winter, we maintain 68°F in winter...] and lower relative humidity [e.g., 70%] the compressor unit efficiency falls off to sometimes less than this 15 pint unit. Go any cooler than 60°F and compressors are very inefficient.
Are there any shortcomings with this model?

There are always trade-offs...

As previously mentioned, it does emit a little heat on low [all dehumidifiers do- measure yours and see...] and quite a bit on the high cycle for drying clothes... This might be less desirable in warmer climates. [It isn't an issue for us though!]  

Sometimes it emits a weird odor when it first starts up after being off for some time, but only for a minute or two. To me it smells faintly like new plastic. It goes away quickly and according to the manual, is inert.

The manual also states the dessicant can absorb strong odors from the air [e.g., cooking odors] which will dissipate with continued running. We have not experienced this.

Warranty

Two years last we checked. 

We had one stop working towards the end of the warranty period. They shipped us a new unit at no cost to us [to our location at the time- a remote island in SE Alaska] and never asked for the malfunctioning unit to be returned. [I suspect the return shipping costs were a factor in that decision...]

Which model did we choose?

After extensive research we bought the model linked below with manual [vs. electronic] controls that allow the unit to resume operation [retains all settings...] after a power outage. 
Automatically resuming operation and retaining settings after a power outage is important if you leave it running while away from the boat (at the dock) for extended periods as we sometimes do...  
Digital controls may not  remember your settings after a power outage, or may not even run until you hit the power button... [Post 2015- There may now be digital models that do remember settings and resume operation. We haven't looked...]
Research carefully...
We couldn't be more pleased... [nor drier...] 

EcoSeb DD122EA-SIMPLE Desiccant Dehumidifier, 15-Pint, White, 120V
We have heard from dozens of fellow boaters who also chose this dehumidifier based upon our recomendation and everyone [so far...] reports being very happy with their choice.


6 comments:

  1. Hey guys!
    Just curious how the EcoSeb is going? We were thinking of replacing our refrigerator sized compressor type for this because of its size and capacity. Also thinking of the smaller Eva Dry 2200 but think it's small removal rate won't be able to keep up in southern hot humidity in our 47' mono. Just curious, hope all is well and you're starting to shake off the winter cold up there!

    Regards,
    Ronnie
    s/v Redemption

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    1. Hi Ronnie,

      We still love this little dehumidifier 18 months later...

      It kept the boat completely dry and 100% mold free for our 10 month absence while selling our house in Fairbanks last year. [We had 83" of rain during that period...]

      We installed the drain hose to a shower sump and it was flawless. [Draining the dehumidifier into the shower sump allows us to close sink and other through-hulls as it discharges above the waterline...]

      We bought this specific model with the analog controls so it would start up where it left off in the event of a power outage [and it does...] Last I researched, the digital control models reset to generic settings and don't automatically power up after an outage... (In case this is of interest...)

      Cheer! Bill

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    2. PS: One of the attributes we really like is hanging our laundry above it and turning it up to the clothes drying setting [high fan...] It takes care of drying everything overnight without any new moisture escaping into the boat... [e.g., windows stay fog free in the winter...]

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    3. PPS: Since you mentioned your southern, warmer climate, I wanted to remind you that this desiccant style of dehumidifier keeps the desiccant active by using heat. Therefore, it is discharging a bit of heat into the room instead of cold like the compressor types do...

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  2. Added to our Amazon list for when we get back to North America and can plug into the dock again. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Max

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    Replies
    1. Hi Max, These are real workhorses for us. I hope you will be as pleased as we are.

      Guests always comment about the lack of moisture on all our [single pane glass] windows, hatches, and ports in the middle of winter.

      Your comment reminded me I had an update for this page that hadn't been published yet. I added a few sections, one being shortcomings of this model. [This unit is still our first choice; likewise for dozens of other boaters who either experienced ours or— for some reason— believed us...]

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