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Dampness and mould (“D&M”)Two things that go hand in hand and plague both old and new properties and no matter what you do there appears to be no way to eradicate them for good. It is a constant battle and the only thing you can do is to minimise their effects.
The winter is the worst time of the year for D&M and after struggling last year I decided enough was enough and decided to get a new weapon in the form of a dehumidifier. With loads on the market to choose from and no idea what to do my other half took full responsibility and ended up deciding on the Delonghi Dem10.
In the box
In the box is the dehumidifier itself, a power supply, user guide and a metre of hose. The user guide is excellent and very useful, and what’s more you actually get a hard paper copy as opposed to a quick user guide and a link to a website for detailed information.
The side of the box states that the unit should not be laid on its side or upside down. I am assuming there is some kind of liquid in the internals that needs to be settled (like in fridges and freezers) hence meaning the unit should be stood upright. Unfortunately for me I only discovered this once I got it out of the car where I had to lay it on its side to get it in the boot to get it home. Despite my stupid oversight the unit seems to be working fine.
Dimensions, Looks and durability
Measuring 42cm high by 35cm wide by 33cm deep this unit is considered to be fully portable, and has an integrated folding handle for this purpose.
Constructed in white plastic and having a dome shaped top the unit is not pleasing to the eye. It doesn’t look modern or up to date, which is a bit of a shame. I appreciate this unit serves a purpose and that functionality should go above looks, but Delonghi could have made this unit a bit more pleasing to the eye. Especially when there are better looking dehumidifiers out there, like the DD122F-w or the Delonghi AriaDry, both of which actually look really cool.
The unit appears to be very well made out of good quality materials. It is definitely robust and more than adequate for the job and despite several knocks mine is still operating as sweet as it did when I first bought it although it does have a few battle scars.
Considering the price this unit is loaded with features including anti-frost, an auto turn off switch when the reservoir is full, continuous drainage (that’s what the supplied metre of hose is for) and a visible water level on the water reservoir.
I can confirm that I have had no problems with the auto switch off and my unit hasn’t frozen, even when it was left in my cold conservatory for a few days during the arctic conditions the country has recently had to endure. Unfortunately, I am unable to comment on the continuous drainage as the hose is just too short to be placed outside when the unit is in my property.
The unit does not have a timer, but since it is suitable for night time use and can be left on for 24 hours a day there really is no need for this feature.
Dem10 is a 1.9KW electrical unit. Looking at many websites it appears that running a dehumidifier costs around 2p per hour. So, if the unit is left on 24 hours a day for 365 days a year it would cost approximately £175.
Based on my experience there is no way the unit will be working flat out all year, even in the dampest of properties. Our unit was working 24 hours a day for the first 3 weeks, whilst it was getting all the moisture out of the air, but thereafter it would only come on for a couple of hours a day if it came on at all.
In reality, a dehumidifier is not that expensive to run and running costs should never be used as an excuse not to use one if your property requires it. After all, think about how much damp damage is going to cost you in the long term. When we moved in the vertical blinds in my lounge were wrecked by mould (as a result of damp) and the replacements were just over £150. The walls needed redecorating, the window frames needed replacing etc. etc. This was a cost that we had to bear but considering how much refurbishment cost and comparing that to the cost of buying and running a dehumidifier it is clearly obvious that not having one would cost us in the long run.
Using the unit
Before the unit can be used it must be stood for 24 hours. I found this quite annoying since I just wanted to get it home, turn it on and get the moisture sucked out of the air, but I guess another day wouldn’t make that much difference.
Once the 24 hour period is over you simply place the unit, obviously ensuring it is upright, in its chosen home, plug it in and turn it on and hey presto. It is absolutely fool proof. I should note there is a warning in the user guide stating not to plug the unit in to any plug adaptors or extension leads so you need to ensure it is sufficiently close to a plug socket for operation. Not being an electrician I never know if this advice should be followed or not, after all most manufacturers put excessive warnings on all products (just look at food products – there is a nut warning even when the product doesn’t contain nuts!) so I never know whether these are an overkill or not. But like the normal “consumer sheep” I decided to place mine near a socket.
Even though the unit is fully portable it still needs to be stood for 24 hours prior to use every time it is moved, which kind of defeats the objective in my opinion.
When you first start using a dehumidifier you will find that it will need to be left on most of the time to extract all the existing moisture out of the air. Needing the unit on for 24 hours a day for a few weeks is a common initial period. After the initial period you will find that the amount of time the unit needs to be on will reduce dramatically and thereafter it will only be required for an hour or two a day if at all.
The Dem10 is suitable for a 3 bed-roomed house making it ideal for my requirements. Even to this day I struggle to see how such a small unit can deal with such a large space although I have been assured that there is no need to go and buy any additional units. The science behind it is that moisture is instantly attracted to dry air, therefore if you leave all the doors in the property open the moisture in those rooms will be drawn to the room where the dehumidifier is located as it dries out the air in that particular room. I must admit that it does work.
According to the box, this unit is capable of sucking 10 litres (18 pints) of moisture from the air in a 24 hour period, which is mighty impressive. If these claims are true I can only assume this is achievable in exceptionally damp rooms (a commercial bathroom/shower room/wet room perhaps?) as my unit gets nowhere near that, and we have it in quite a damp room. The most times I have had to empty the 2 litre tank in a 24 hour period has been four, which equates to 8 litres, although I must point out the tank wasn’t full to the brim on any occasion and the fourth time the tank was less than half empty (it was a precautionary empty out before bed). I would say 6 litres is a more accurate figure.
Even though my unit doesn’t appear to extract 10 litres in 24 hours I must say that I am very impressed with the rate of extraction and I am always surprised by the amount of water collected.
Emptying the unit
Emptying the unit is an absolute doodle and simply involves directly facing the unit, grabbing hold of each side of the plastic reservoir and pulling it towards you in a slightly upwards motion. The reservoir will simply pop out for emptying.
Emptying the reservoir is also a clean affair. Reservoirs of many products can get “too full” of water before they need emptying. I find this often leads to spillages, especially if you are a bit too forceful in separating the reservoir from the main unit or are a bit clumsy, however there are no such issues with this. The reservoir of this unit can clearly hold more than 2 litres so there is loads of extra room for the water to “slosh” around in meaning it doesn’t go all over the floor during the emptying process.
Cleaning the unit
Since this unit simply stands in the corner, or wherever, doing its thing it requires minimal cleaning and attention and a wipe over every now and again should suffice to keep it looking pretty, well as pretty as it was in the first place.
That said, you do need to ensure the dust filter, cooling fins and plastic grate are kept fee of dust and debris as this will not only affect the performance with regards to the moisture extraction but it may lead to overheating which is likely to create long term damage to the unit itself.
In order to ensure maximum performance I give the unit a daily dust over and a weekly wipe down with a damp cloth. In addition, the weekly routine involves washing out the dust filter which is fully removable. Keeping the unit clean takes little more than a couple of minutes so it is not an arduous task.
During operation the unit obviously makes noise. After all it is an electrical device and to think moisture extraction would be a silent operation would be very naive. The Dem10 is not that noisy and whilst I noticed a lot more when I first started using the unit it is became bearable very quickly. In reality it is no more than a slight hum in the background which is easily sorted out by turning up the TV or radio slightly. I find my Dem10 is far quieter than my friend’s Goldstar unit.
In normal day to day living I don’t find the noise intrusive, however I find it too loud if I am wanting a bit of silent reading time. This problem is easily solved by either turning off the unit for a while or going to a different room.
Price and availability
The price of this unit varies greatly and at the time of writing, and looking at Amazon co dot UK only, this unit can be bought for as little as £118.63 (with free postage and packing) and as much as £181.93 (with a stonking great postage and packing charge of £12.00 on top of that). With such a great price differential it definitely pays to shop around.
I bought my Dem 10 from a local Comet for £119.99, but due to availability issues not helped by the fact that I wanted one then and there (and I had already been round numerous electrical shops trying to get one) I had to settle for the ex-display model and didn’t even get a discount. However, I still paid the lower end of the range and even if I had paid more I would have still been more than satisfied.
As stated above when I purchased my Dem10 availability was a big issue and all of the large local electrical retailers had sold out. I tried loads of different places including Currys, Hughes, Bennetts, Tesco and Asda to name but a few but all were out and despite being in the Norwich stores I was prepared to go to their other outlets dotted around Norfolk for a Dem10, but they were out too.
Even at the time of writing stock levels still appear to be low with Tesco Electrical, Asda Electrical, Sainsbury’s Electrical and Comet having no stock. It appears that winter is a popular time to get dehumidifiers and based on this you may availability a bit of an issue.
Living with a dehumidifier
What with the constant noise, the constant emptying of the reservoir, the need to clean the unit and washing out the dust filter I thought living with a dehumidifier would be a chore. However, it just adds a couple of additional tasks to daily life. Besides the benefits far outweighs any additional burden.
One thing I have noticed is my skin and lips are much drier and the need to moisturise has increased. My other half has noticed this too. I already suffer from dry skin and this unit makes it worse. I am unsure how people with severe skin conditions would cope with this unit, or any dehumidifier, so this needs to be considered prior to buying one. One way around this would be to rent one for a few weeks.
The Delonghi Dem10 is an excellent product and one that I can’t recommend highly enough. I had no input in to buying this model, other than supplying the credit card and PIN that is, and it was my other half that did all the research and decided this was the dehumidifier to go for.
I must stress that she has done an excellent job as it is a fantastic unit all round. It definitely isn’t the prettiest or most modern dehumidifiers available but it is strong and sturdy, the moisture extraction rate is great, you can leave it on for 24 hours a day safe in the knowledge it will switch off when the reservoir is full, it is easy to clean (with no spillages) and it is very reliable and represents excellent value for money. It is not the cheapest dehumidifier around but then it certainly isn’t the most expensive and being a middle of the road unit makes it more than adequate for my needs.