Given that Ecoair typically specialize in desiccant dehumidifiers we thought the refrigerant 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 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.
EcoAir DC202 – Key Product Specifications
DC202 Basic Features & Overview
As with many dehumidifiers the top of the unit is home to the DC202’s impressive control panel. It provides a fast access to key settings and displays operation basic information, making it simple to setup the DC202 in only a few button presses. Even though this panel might initially appear complex it is very easy to use.
So what can you find on the panel?
Well, the first thing of note is the basic humidistat indicators that 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 see when this process is taking place.
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 soft 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 from creating a rapid airflow to dry washing or rapidly remove moisture from problem rooms. Through to simply working as an air purification device (see more on the ‘filter’ below) or operating for it’s intended purpose – as 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 opened) or drying your clothes when they cannot be hung outside. It is this level 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 set how far you’d like the louver to swing. Doing this allows you to focus the airflow into one spot or across a wide area.
You can choose from swinging the louvre 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).
You can also disable this setting and manually adjust the louvre to point at the 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 the cost of our energy bills ever higher.
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. If, for example, you have a room which gets particularly damp in winter and using the dehumidifier 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 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 come across before it needs emptying.
This 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.
Emptying the DC202
So what about emptying the tank? Well, this is also very simple. The tank is located at the bottom of the unit and is ‘slid’ out using a recessed grip 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, because there is no lid on this tank you need to be careful of potential spillages when emptying it.
But, on the up-side a tank lid can sometimes make the emptying process tricky since they often need removing before you are able to empty the tank itself.
If you don’t want to empty the machine too often there’s also a handy 1 metre hose attachment included.
If you place the DC202 near a sink you can leave it to work unattended. 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 and the DC202 will bypass the water tank.
Water Extraction Rate
Over the course of a day, this device has the ability to suck up an impressive 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 not reach the temperature and humidity levels required to extract the full 20L every day within the UK.
When looking at a refrigerant dehumidifier it is important to consider how quietly it operates. Especially since these type of dehumdifiiers are traditionally noisy.
Here the DC202 does not disappoint either and is one of the quietest of its type – and creates just 45dB of sound when operating. But despite this accolade, this is still fairly noisy. This is due to dehumidification method used. If you need something quieter the Meaco ABC or desiccant DD122 Simple would be a better choice. But, their quieter operation comes with the caveat of a reduction in power.
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 reinserting.
Whilst the fragrance doesn’t serve any functional purpose regarding the removal of moisture. It could be helpful in the early stages of using the dehumidifier and removing the associated odours damp brings. Especially, If the damp has persisted for a while. But, it will only by mask the odour 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 the potential for airborne spores and bacteria – none of which are good for your health.
To combat this problem Ecoair have included a 3-in-1 and Silver Nano filters in the DC202. Not only will these eliminate as many of these airborne nasties as possible, it also allows the DC202 to operate as an air purifier.
The 3-in-1 filter contains 2 charcoal filters wrapped in an anti-allergy fabric.
The fabric layers act in a similar fashion to a net and are used to ‘catch’ allergens such as 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. Charcoal filters are so effective at absorption and filtering they are often used in various types of gas mask.
Silver Nano Filter
The silver nano filter utilizes a principle used in modern plasters because of its effectiveness in killing bacteria.
The filter has silver ions attached to its surface that are released to kill bacteria in the air and actively controls the growth of virus, spores, fungus and bacteria. This is useful because with increased humidity comes an increase in airborne bacteria/allergens.
By actively reducing humidity in addition to utilizing a silver ion filter this device effectively reduces contaminants in the air. It will reduce the respiratory problems damp and mould can induce in children or for those suffering 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.
EcoAir DC202 Pros and Cons
What We Think About The DC202
The EcoAir DC202 is a dehumidifier packed with useful features and is one of the most powerful we’ve seen. It should be effective in anything from small flats and homes to 5-bed houses. But because it is a refrigerant dehumidifier it won’t be suitable for use in colder garages or caravans. In which case a desiccant such as the Zambezi or DD122fw would be a better choice.
And, whilst it does come with a slightly high price tag 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 smartly whilst being able to deal with even the most severe of damp problems.