A desiccant dehumidifier is a device that employs a desiccant material to produce a dehumidification effect. Desiccant materials have a high affinity for water vapor. Typically their moisture content is a function of the relative humidity of the surrounding air. Exposed to low relative humidities desiccant materials come to equilibrium at low moisture contents and exposure to high relative humidities results in equilibrium at high moisture contents. The process involves exposing the desiccant material to a high relative humidity air stream, allowing it to attract and retain some of the water vapor and then exposing the same desiccants to a lower relative humidity air stream which has the affect of drawing the retained moisture from the desiccant. The first air stream is the air that is being dehumidified while the second air stream is used only to regenerate the desiccant material so that it is ready to begin another cycle. Note that the first air streams water vapor content is reduced while the second air stream's water vapor content is increased. Typically the low relative humidity air stream is air taken from any available source and heated to reduce its relative humidity. Hence desiccant dehumidifiers consume heat energy to produce a dehumidifying affect.
In general a desiccant dehumidifier is comprised of four major components. The component that holds the desiccant of which there are several types, a fan to move the air to be dehumidified (process air) through the desiccant holder, a fan to move the low humidity air for drying the desiccant through the desiccant holder and a heater to heat the air that will be used to dry the desiccant (regeneration air).