Despite EcoAir listing the DD322fw as a ‘simple’ model it still boasts an impressive functionality list that would put most of its closest competitors to shame. But how does it function and is there anything you need to know before buying? Read on to find out more…
DD322fw – Overview
Featuring a compact case of only 41cm wide by 55cm high by 18cm deep the DD322 is quite small for a unit which can suck in, up to an impressive, 10 litres of water each day and that also has a 3.5 litre water collection tank. It weights just 8.5kg and is portable enough for most people to move between rooms as needed without much difficulty. Our only gripe here is that the unit would have benefited from a collapsible carry handle. Instead it only has a handle grips on the top left and right sides of the unit – which some people might find a little difficult to hold.
It employs desiccant technology which is far more efficient and quieter than units which use compressors to help remove moisture from the air. The only minor drawback to this kind of water removal technology is that, particularly when the machine is new, it can produce a faint odor. Some people describe this as a sour smell or that it smells like plastic. Rest assured it is completely harmless and soon passes. To me it resembles the smell that the old style computer monitors use to emit when new and is nothing offensive.
Being an EcoAir machine this one features an anti-tilt mechanism that shuts the unit off if it is knocked over and is a great safety feature. Particularly if you have little ones or pets running around your home.
Using The DD322FW – Controls
Just like virtually every EcoAir dehumidifier the DD322FW features an intuitive, easy to use and comprehensive control panel mounted on the top of the device. It allows you to easily configure the machine for all common uses in seconds.
The main control on the panel is a large dial that, with a single turn, can switch the machine on and set the drying mode. As you turn the dial clockwise you increase the power of the machine; and to help you know just what relative humidity (RH) the machine will reach there are a few handy markers along the way. You can set the machine to dehumidify from 80% RH down to 35% RH before it switches to continuous mode. That’s quite a range and is more than adequate to deal with the UK climate and also the common uses most people want from a dehumidifier.
In between the minimum and maximum settings EcoAir included a series of water droplets that provide at a quick glance roughly how much drying power the machine will provide. Setting the dial at the first, single water droplet you would configure the machine to operate at its lowest power and it will attempt to achieve a consistent RH of around 60 – 80%. This is ideal for keeping condensation off your walls and windows and, in most cases, is enough to prevent the growth of mould. Although if it is colder outside (less than 5°C) you will need to turn the power up to keep condensation at bay.
Moving around the dial the next major setting is denoted with two water drops and will set the dehumidifier to maintain a RH of between 45-60% RH. This is fine for most day to day uses and also for dealing with any minor to moderate damp problems.
The last of the water droplet settings is the most powerful of the 3 and will achieve between 45 – 35% RH and is the setting you will most likely need in the winter to keep condensation and mould at bay and for dealing with more severe damp problems.
For each of the 3 settings listed above the unit will automatically switches the dehumidifier off when the desired humidity level has been reached. It periodically tests the air to make sure the humidity levels do not rise too much. If the RH rises above the desired setting the machine will activate itself again until the humidity has been lowered. This is an incredibly handy features and makes this kind of unit relatively hands off. You can leave it running while you are not home without worrying about it running up a huge electricity bill because it will only work whilst it is needed.
The final setting on the dial is the one I know most people (myself included) make the most use of: Laundry mode. It is the most powerful of all settings and will continuously dry the air to help rapidly lower the humidity levels. As the name suggests this mode is used to help quickly dry washing but it is also perfect for rapidly drying you bathroom after showering or to quickly deal with major damp problems. EcoAir have provided the obligatory warning notice with this setting which is common to all manufacturers: don’t use this setting for prolonged periods!
Why? Well, it apparently puts excessive strain on the unit which will obviously cause it to wear out much faster. Ideally it should be used for no more than 2-3 days at time before switching to a lower setting. Whilst I do not recommend it, this is the setting we personally use the most often and have yet to have any problems – but do so at your own risk!
To the right of the main control dial is a slide switch that sets the power of the machine. You can choose between ‘Normal’ and ‘Quick’. There are a few things you need to know about these two settings:
- These adjust the speed of the fan which obviously have an impact on the noise it produces.
- It also adjusts the power of the dehumidifiers heating unit which will have an impact on its running costs.
‘Normal’ is the most cost effective and quiet of the two power modes. You would really only want to use ‘Quick’ sparingly to help reach you desired RH level even faster than simply using a more powerful setting on the dial. As with most dehumidifiers a higher setting will actually help warm small rooms a little. I can say from personal experience that often having dehumidifier running in my small office is enough to keep it toasty warm on all but the harshest of winter days and is much cheaper than using a heater!
Like most well designed machines the DD122FW does provide a level of feedback so you can quickly see if there is a problem with the machine. This is provided by two lights on the panel. The first light is the power on indicator, it is really only worth mentioning here because it will only come on if the dehumidifier is running and, in most settings, that will only happen if the RH rises above the selected threshold. So, if you do turn it on and it does not come on straight away it is only because the humidity is already below your set threshold.
The second light is another one common to every dehumidifier and that is the tank full/inserted incorrectly light. It also acts as a general fault light too. So, if you’ve emptied the tank and the unit does not restart it can often mean something simple like the filter needs cleaning.
Because the DD322fw is a desiccant dehumidifier it can operate in almost any reasonable temperature conditions from 1°C to 35°C allowing to be used not just in the home but also can be placed to deal with damp in garages and most other outbuildings quite comfortably.
EcoAir states this dehumidifier can collect up to 10 litres of water per day at 20°C and 60% RH. Now, if you take a look at some other dehumidifiers this might sound like a small amount – because some claim to collect up to 20 litres of water per day. But don’t be fooled! EcoAir manufacture dehumidifiers made specifically for UK temperatures and humidity conditions. So you can be sure this is a realistic figure you can depend upon and not based on conditions that are rarely, if ever, found in the UK.
The water collection tank is housed in the front of the unit and cold hold a very roomy 3.5 litres of water, which is definitely on the larger end of the tank sizes you will find in most machines. But why is this important? Quite simply because it means you will need to empty the tank less often! You can also find a handy water level window mounted on the front of the tank so you can see in a glance how the unit is performing. You’ll will also certainly see the tank filling up quickly when you start dealing with a damp problem. But, after a few days when the humidity has leveled out, you will only need to empty every few days depending on its use.
Like all good EcoAir machines the tank features an easy to grip folding carry handle and lid so you’re sure not to splash any water on your way to empty it. The lid can be popped off for fast emptying and then is replaced before the tank can be slid back into the machine – easy! And, for those of you who want to allow it operate completely automatically you can fit a small hose to the back of the machine and allow it to continuously drain water safely down your sink, for example, without every having to worry about emptying the tank.
Desiccant dehumidifiers are generally much quieter type of unit and the DD322fw comes in at about 36dBA. This makes is fairly quiet and when operating should only produce a moderate hum on its lowest setting. The truth is you are never going to get a whisper quiet dehumidifier (that is actually any good) and this unit is definitely one of the quieter models available.
What We Think About The EcoAir DD322fw:
In our opinion the DD32fw is another hit from EcoAir.
It features a barrage of useful features in a simple control panel and can be set to automatically keep its running costs low. And whilst it doesn’t have as many features as some of its bigger brothers such as the DC202 or the DD122fw it was never designed to, and has a price to match. It is a perfect example of a mid range dehumidifier and should be more than adequate to deal with damp in any average sized home.
Next Review: EcoAir DD128