Given that Ecoair typically specializes in desiccant dehumidifiers we though the refrigerant/compressor based EcoAir DC202 was worth a look because of its impressive features and high end specification. The title of the DC202 adds a slight allure of interest to it – why is it called a hybrid dehumidifier? Its name comes from the fact it can act as as a nifty air purifier too!
But, before we look at the purification mode, lets start by looking at how it operates as a dehumidifier which is, of course, what really matters.
DC202 Basic Features & Overview
As with most dehumidifiers the top of the unit is home to the DC202’s impressive control panel. It offers a lot of useful settings and basic information making it simple to setup the DC202 with a few button presses. Don’t be intimidated by it’s initially complex appearance it is remarkably easy to use.
So what can you find on the panel? Well the first thing of note is the basic humidistat indicators which show the relative humidity in the room. It can indicate <50%, 50% – 60% and >60% relative humidity and whilst this does not provide a reading down to an individual percentage it does provide the basic humidity ranges for a UK home – with 50% – 60% humidity being the ‘ideal’ range. So in this respect it is very quick to read and see if you’re around this ‘ideal’ level or not.
Next on the panel you’ll find two indicator lights. The first of these indicates if the water collection tank is full. The second ties into a feature which monitors the temperature of the unit. A common issue with this type of unit (refrigerant dehumidifiers) is that they can sometimes freeze-up in lower temperatures which hampers the efficiency of the device. To counter this Ecoair have included a defrost feature that will automatically suspend the operation of the device to allow it to defrost. Whilst this is happening the defrost light will flash so you can tell exactly what it is doing.
Continuing along the panel we now move onto the operational controls. The first is a nice and large on/off button. When the unit is active it emits a wonderful blue glow from a decorative semi-circle located above the water tank – a nice indicator that it is working.
The ‘Function’ Button
The ‘Function’ button gives you control over how the unit operates. Allowing you to do anything creating a rapid airflow to dry washing or rapidly remove moisture from problem rooms, to simply working as an air purification device (see more on the ‘filter’ below) to simply operating as it’s intended purpose – a dehumidifier.
Whilst this seems a little over-kill, if you’ve owned a dehumidifier for any length of time you’ll realize just how useful these extra settings are. For example you could use these settings to dry your bathroom after bathing in winter (when your windows can’t be open} or drying your clothes when they cannot be hung outside. It is this type of control which can allow you to save money by only running the machine on high when needed and returning to a ‘normal’ operation as required.
The ‘Swing’ Button
The louver on the machine can be set to move whilst operating. By using the swing button you can essentially set how far you’d like the louver to swing and focus the air flow into one spot or across a wide area.
You can choose from swinging the louver upwards to about 80 degrees, swinging forward to about 60 degrees and swinging on a much wider range to about 140 degrees (ideal for drying your laundry). Although, you can disable this setting and manually adjust the louver to point at chosen spot – which is great if you want to train it on a damp patch on a wall/floor, for example.
The ‘Dry Mode’ Button
The dry-mode is a handy money saving device which you’re sure to appreciate – particularly as energy companies continue to drive ever higher the cost of our energy bills. It is fair to say that there would be no point in the dehumidifier operating when the humidity levels in your home have dropped to a level you’re comfortable with. This is exactly what the dry-mode will do for you. By setting it on Low, Med or High you can set the machine to stop dehumidifying as soon as a particular humidity range has been reached. The available ranges are 40-50%, 50-60% and 60-70% which correspond to High, Med and Low respectively.
The ‘Timer’ Button
Finally we reach the timer button. As the name suggests it corresponds to the allowed time the unit will run for before stopping.
We already have a ‘dry-mode’ setting which turns off the machine, so why would we need this too? Well, it’s for that slight extra control over how much the device will cost to operate – allowing you to use it in the most cost effective way possible. You can set the machine to automatically turn off after 12, 8, 4 and 2 hours.
One situation this could be ideal is whilst you are at work, say you have a room which gets particularly damp in winter but you’d need to dehumidifier running 24/7 to cure it! However, using the dehumdifier a little use each day helps keep most of the damp at bay – but you don’t want it running all day whilst you are at work because it would cost too much. All you need to do is set the timer and leave it work for a set amount of time. Safe in the knowledge it will help with the damp problem, but not cost a small fortune to use each day. Simple!
DC202 Efficiency and Operation
Sporting an impressive 4L collection tank this unit can hold on average twice as much as most other dehumidifier tanks we’ve came across, before it needs emptying. Which is especially handy if you have an excessive damp problem because it means you won’t need to empty the tank too often. When the tank is full the unit will stop operating and a ‘Full’ LED indicator on the top of the machine will illuminate (you can also keep a check on the water level using a water level indicator located on the side of the machine).
So what about emptying the tank? Well, this is also very simple. The tank is located at the bottom of the unit and is essentially ‘slid’ out using the a recessed grip handle located on the tank itself. At this point you should notice a recessed handle located on the top of the tank, simply pop this up for easy carrying and emptying. This does not seem as convenient as the jerry-can style tanks you find in some other dehumidifiers and as there is no lid on this tank you need to be careful of potential spillages when emptying it. But, on the up-side it also means there isn’t a flap on the machine (typically used to access the tank on some devices) which can be knocked open or broken, making the whole assembly very sturdy in this respect.
If you can’t be bothered to empty the machine too often there’s also a handy 1 metre hose attachment included. Meaning if you place the dehumidifier near a sink you can literally leave it to work unattended – easy! The hose is attached to the back of the unit into a small hole just beneath the filter. All you need to do is remove a small knockout in the hole and connect the hose.
Over the course of a day this device has the ability to suck up a whopping 20 litres of water. This is an incredible amount and a limit you’re very unlikely to max out, especially when you consider that a good number of dehumidifiers have a maximum collection of around 12 litres per day. Typically you would only reach this level in temperatures and humidity levels not often experienced in the UK.
When looking at a compressor/refrigerant type of device it is important to take a look at just how quietly it operates. Here the DC202 does not disappoint either and is one of the quietest of its type – creating a noise reaching just 45dBA. The actual maximum noise it creates will also vary depending on what setting the machine is operating at. With the higher settings obviously producing a bit more noise, but on a ‘normal’ setting it is very quiet.
A Fragranced Dehumidifier?
One of the features that caught our eye was the fragrance box. It works by removing a plastic insert and placing a few drops of your favourite essential oils onto a sponge before replacing the insert. Whilst the fragrance doesn’t serve any functional purpose as such, especially regarding the removal of moisture, it could be helpful in the early stages of of using the dehumidifier when, if the damp has persisted for a while, it could help alleviate some of the smells associated with the dampness but only by covering this up in a similar fashion to an air freshener.
It is nice thought but we’re not too sure how helpful people would actually find this.
With damp comes in the potential for airborne spores and bacteria – none of which are good for your health! So to help with this Ecoair have included a 3-in-1 and Silver Nano filters in the DC202 to eliminate as many of these nasties as possible along with the option to have the device operate as an air purifier.
The 3-in-1 filter contains 2 charcoal filters wrapped in a anti-allergy fabric. The fabric layers act in a similar fashion to a net and are used to ‘catch’ allergens such a dust particles, dust mites and pollen, with the double charcoal layer designed to help remove odours and any decompose any pollutants in the air. The advantage of charcoal filters are that they actively absorb smells, rather than masking them – to put this in perspective charcoal filters are so effective they are often used in various types of gas mask!
The silver nano filter utilizes a principle that is sometimes used in plasters now because of its effectiveness in killing bacteria. The filter has silver ions attached to its surface that is releases to kill bacteria in the air and actively controls the growth of virus, spores, fungus and bacteria. This is particularly helpful because with increased humidity comes an increase in air borne bacteria/allergens. So, by reducing the humidity as well as utilizing a silver ion filter this device can effectively reduce the contaminants in the air which is a positive for anyone but especially for those of you with children or for anyone who might suffer from breathing problems. The silver filter can also be easily cleaned to help retain it’s effectiveness be gently vacuuming it every few weeks or if you can see a dust build up on the back of the filter. One important thing to note here is that you should not wash the filter because it degrades its effectiveness.
The EcoAir DC202 is a dehumidifier loaded with useful features and is one of the best we’ve seen. And, whilst it does come with a slightly higher price tag than most this is only because it is a top-end machine for the home that really packs some power. We definitely give this our seal of approval and is worth checking out if your looking for a quality device that works effectively and can also save you some money too.
Next Review: EcoAir DC12