Does your car deserve a dehumidifier this winter?

A dehumidifier for use in a garage

As summer ends, many motorists will consider putting their car into hibernation for the winter. Which is where a dehumidifier comes in.

Used correctly, a dehumidifier will minimise the effects of rust, stop mildew growing on seats and prevent carpets and cardboard boxes from going soggy.

If you’re storing a car, motorcycle, machinery or tools in a garage, you probably need a dehumidifier. But how do you choose the right one?

For unheated garages, a desiccant system is preferable to a compressor unit as they operate at lower temperatures. They also tend to be lighter, which could be a factor if you intend to move the dehumidifier.

Crucially, from a classic car perspective, desiccant dehumidifiers have the ability to reduce the relative humidity to 40 percent or lower – below the rusting point of metal.

A basic compressor unit will be ineffective at temperatures below 15ºC. 

DehumidifiersUK recommends buying a unit with auto restart, which means the dehumidifier will restart after a power cut, rather than going into standby mode. Meanwhile, a unit with continuous drain-off means you have the option to feed a hose into a sink, drain point or separate holding tank.

How to get the best from a dehumidifier

Using a dehumidifier

Manufacturer Meaco has the following advice for motorists storing a car in a garage:

  • Place the dehumidifier on a level surface
  • Drain the water using a hose, preferably into a sink, to avoid the unit going into standby mode when the tank is full
  • Use as little hose as possible as too much will create a negative air pressure
  • Don’t use a plug-in timer, as desiccant dehumidifiers have a cool-down facility to prolong the life of the unit
  • Seal the garage the best you can
  • Leave the doors of the vehicle open so that damp air can migrate to the dehumidifier
  • Cleaning the filter will increase the lifespan of the dehumidifier and maintain efficiency

A quick look on the Meaco website reveals desiccant units are available from £170. Cheaper than repairing a rusty vehicle or replacing damp carpets in the spring.