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19 May 2020

Ventilation systems vs dehumidifiers: What’s the difference?

When we think of a comfortable home, we imagine a nice, warm, dry house free of mould and mildew caused by moist, condensed air. The exact opposite is iconic in horror movies – dark, abandoned homes with peeling wallpaper and creaky floorboards, infested by unknown bugs galore in dark corners. Most homes can avoid this dreary fate with proper maintenance, sufficient daylighting, and of course, good ventilation. A great ventilation system brings fresh, dry air into your home and pushes out damp, foul air efficiently and quietly, creating a healthy home environment for Kiwi families.

However, some people may think that simply using a dehumidifier to “dehumidify” the air and reduce moisture is enough. More often than not, this is not the case. Ventilation systems and dehumidifiers may have overlapping benefits, but they work very differently. Generally, dehumidifiers don’t provide the desired air impact that people expect.

If your house is suffering from problematic dampness, it’s time to find a better solution. As the experts in home ventilation, here at Unovent we answer the age-old question: which one is better – a ventilation system or a dehumidifier? We compare the two in more detail below.


A dehumidifier absorbs excess moisture in the air with a fan. It takes the moist air, condenses it into water, and drips the condensed water into a collection bucket. Dehumidifiers come in a variety of sizes and models, extracting up to 30 litres per day. This container limit means you have to empty out the bucket once it becomes full. Additionally, typical dehumidifiers only treat small, contained areas, and aren’t powerful enough to make that much of a difference to your home.

A ventilation system, however, is designed for whole home ventilation, especially systems like Unovent’s Xgen, Xtra or Xchange. These systems are specifically designed to reduce the level of moisture in your home and allows fresh, drier air to be introduced. This means your entire home is getting ventilated with fresh, warm, dry air, making it especially great to have in the winter. Plus, there’s no bucket to empty every so often.


The costs to dehumidify your home can vary according to its power usage. Depending on its size, the dehumidifier’s power requirements, and frequency of use, costs can quickly rack up every month. You’ll need to ensure your dehumidifier is only turned on at the most crucial parts of the day to maximise its benefits. Allowing it to run during cold winter nights does get rid of more humid air, but it’s not exactly the cheapest way to keep your home dry.

Ventilation systems work more cost-efficiently than the average dehumidifier, for example Unovent’s Xgen costs as little as $1 a month to run.

Overall effectiveness

Dry air is cheaper to heat than moist air, and both a dehumidifier and ventilation system work to achieve this. However, a dehumidifier has a much more limited range and scope, allowing damp air to continue to circulate elsewhere in your home, and doesn’t replace this air with any fresh air either. If there are specific problem areas that you want to treat, a dehumidifier might be a good solution to remove moisture only for that area temporarily. But if you want a system that displaces excess dampness and moisture while providing fresh air in an energy-and cost-efficient way all year around, then a ventilation system is the best choice.

Here at Unovent we are always committed to helping Kiwis create healthier living environments for their families. If you want a dry house free of mould and mildew, contact us today for a no obligation quote..

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