Even if you don’t have an aquarium, chances are at some time of the year you’ll experience the effects of condensation. In a house without adequate ventilation, cooking, drying clothes and even breathing all contributes to stagnant air, laden with moisture. Add to that an aquarium, particularly a reef system that may be open-topped and rely on evaporative cooling to maintain a stable temperature, and you could soon find you’ve got a serious mould problem.
That’s exactly the situation we were in, late in 2012. After a series of very cold nights we were alarmed to discover the inside of certain windows and doors literally dripping with water. Furthermore black patches of mould had started to appear in certain places around the house. It didn’t take much to work out that our recently installed upgrade was behind the problem, indeed the 30 litres or so that the tank goes through a week in top-ups had to be going somewhere! But what to do? Well, a bit of research revealed a few different ways to deal with the problem without any significant outlay, but in our situation (and pretty much all other hobbyists we can think of) none of them proved to be practical. Put it bluntly, you’re not going to want to leave a window open when the temperature outside is sub-zero! So the only real option remaining to us was to go ahead and try a dehumidifier.
Rated for up to a typical 4 bedroom house (around 180m2, 360m3), the Ebac 2650e looked ideal for our needs. Fabricated from ABS polymer this unit is strong yet relatively robust and arrived with us evidently having stood up to the shipping process well. At 54 x 34 x 25cm it’s a compact and attractive looking unit. Weighing 13kg it isn’t too heavy to move around but for those who may struggle, take note that a castor kit is available for an extra charge if you want to be able to wheel it around. On to features, and this unit is capable of removing up to 18 litres in a 24hr period theoretically. In practice, we found the unit initially drew out about 3 litres per 24hr period, and this fell to about a litre a few weeks later (we assume as the unit got moisture levels under control). Getting the unit to do this is extremely simple by the way, as the 2650e has patented Smart ControlTM technology which learns about your lifestyle, your home and even the weather outside. This system tells the dehumidifier when to turn on and off without you touching it, thus lowering running cost and saving money (incidentally, consuming about 350watts when operating, the 2650e costs just a few pence per hour to run). As well as being able to manually adjust the Humidistat via the digital display, there is also an intelligent defrost system to allow better performance and an 8 hour boost option should you require it which this is ideal for drying laundry indoors. With a no-spill front access water container and a capacity of 3.5 litres, the 2650e will also automatically cut off when the reservoir is full.
Available for around £200 this isn’t the cheapest unit but based on what we’ve noted, we’d suggest that smaller units may actually not be up to the task in the average home. Whatever the case, additional components such as the already mentioned castor kit, drainage kit, and Bactiguard and Carbon filters are also available and overall we think this is a great value package. Take note that ‘Which?’ magazine also think so, having given it a ‘Best Buy’ award in October 2012.
So how did it do anyway? Well, a month after installation we are pleased to report that our condensation problem appears to be completely resolved. Furthermore, the occasional ‘fusty’ smell that we’ve encountered with our various tanks over the years hasn’t been noticed once since the unit was installed. So basically it’s looking really positive. Operationally, this unit is a dream to use – we just set it to auto and literally forgot about it. Aside from emptying it every few days there’s really very little intervention needed. In terms of noise, the unit is slightly audible but frankly, for the benefits it has given us, we’d be happy if it was twice as loud. Running-costs do concern us slightly given ever-increasing energy bills but when you think about the discomfort and damage condensation can cause, we think that the cost is more than justified. So to conclude, this really is one of the best ‘peripheral’ items of equipment we’ve invested in for both our reef, and our home, and we really wish we’d got one much sooner as it may have avoided us needing to scrub and even repaint certain patches of ceiling! If you are in the market for such a solution to excessive condensation, consider the Ebac 2650e (or 2850e if you have a larger application in mind) and visit their website for more information!