NovelAire ComfortPlus 300
Whole House Dehumidifier Review


The NovelAire ComfortPlus 300 Whole House Dehumidifier is an advanced solution to residential and light commercial humidity control.


In common with other NovelAire dehumidifiers it uses desiccant technology to remove moisture from the air but combines this with a refrigerant process to achieve outstanding energy efficiency. This "hybrid" design is unusual in a dehumidifier designed for use in the home and involves a two stage process to achieve greater water extraction at lower cost.


Air is dried initially by an evaporator coil and then passes through the "Comfort Wheel". The Comfort Wheel consists largely of a desiccant (water absorbing) material that binds with the water molecules thus removing them from the air.


The slowly revolving Comfort Wheel becomes saturated but during a single rotation a portion of the wheel passes through a stream of warm air which "regenerates" the wheel, in layman's terms, dries it.


The source of the dry air is waste heat from the condenser coil which is a major contributor to this unit's energy efficiency.



 novelaire comfortplus 300 whole house dehumidifier


The combination of a refrigerant process, which pre-dries the air, and a desiccant wheel, which can continue to remove moisture from the air at lower humidity levels than a refrigerant process, enables this unit to remove more water in a single cycle than a refrigerant unit and at cost in energy which is dramatically lower. The energy factor of the ComfortPlus 300 is an extraordinary 4.6 litres of water per kilowatt hour.




Features


The NovelAire ComfortPlus 300 is a powerful dehumidifier capable of removing 200 pints of water per day from the air at 80°F (27°C) and 60% relative humidity, the AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) standard testing conditions. The rate of water removal will vary according to the prevailing conditions of temperature and relative humidity but the AHAM figure provides a basis for fair comparison with competing products. The high capacity of the unit will allow it to control the humidity in a home of 3000 sq ft.


The use of desiccant technology provides particular benefits. Desiccant dehumidifiers can reduce relative humidity to lower levels than pure refrigerant models which enables the ComfortPlus 300 to provide more precise humidity control in the range of 45% to 55% which is typically selected for comfort, protection from mold and mildew growth and to deter dust mites. If required the ComfortPlus 300 can maintain RH at a lower level, down to 30%, than a traditional refrigerant unit.

The level of relative humidity required can be selected from a remote, wall-mounted humidistat and the dehumidifier will maintain the selected level automatically. The NovelAire ComfortPlus 300 requires permanent ducted installation which is frequently achieved by integrating the unit into an existing HVAC system.


The dehumidifier operates through the shared ducting, but independently of the air-conditioning, ensuring reliable humidity control even at those times when the air-con is not required. The unit can also be installed with dedicated ducting if integration with an existing air handling system is impossible or undesirable.


Unlike the majority of dehumidifiers the NovelAire ComfortPlus 300 does not raise the temperature of the air it dehumidifies. Indeed, by removing moisture from the air it reduces the perceived heat of that air and enables the user to raise the temperature at which the air-con operates two or three degrees without loss of comfort. This provides an indirect energy saving which offsets some of the cost of operating the dehumidifier.


Naturally there are some disadvantages with a hybrid design of this type. The ComfortPlus 300 incorporates the essential parts of both a desiccant and a refrigerant dehumidifier. This makes the unit heavier, although this is not a serious issue as the unit is permanently installed.


The first disadvantage of combining the two technologies is that the inherently greater reliability of a pure desiccant unit is compromised by the inclusion of a refrigeration system which, experience shows, is less reliable. There is no doubt that NovelAire have incorporated components of the highest quality but it may be significant that while the desiccant wheel is covered by a five year warranty the remainder of the unit has a warranty of only one year.


A second disadvantage is that the inclusion of a refrigeration system compromises the low temperature operating capability of this unit. It is, therefore, more suited to use in areas with typically higher ambient temperatures and high relative humidity.


The third disadvantage is that the NovelAire ComfortPlus 300 will, because it uses a refrigerant process, create condensate. The unit is configured for continuous drainage and this should not usually present any problems if integrated with an existing HVAC system. A condensate pump is not included but can be provided, at additional cost, if required.


Despite these caveats the NovelAire ComfortPlus 300 is a technological "Tour de Force". It should always be borne in mind that the life-time cost of any dehumidifier will be greater than the initial purchase price and, in most cases, by more than 100%. Most of this additional cost is energy and the exceptional energy efficiency of this unit will make it very attractive to residential and commercial users in warmer, more humid areas.


PRODUCT DETAILS

Brand NovelAire
Model NovelAire ComfortPlus 300 Dehumidifier
Application(s) Whole House
Suitable for Areas up to 3000 sq ft
Portable No
Carrying handles No
Wheels/casters No
Weight (lb) 220
Dimensions, inches (WxDxH) 22 x 40 x 30
Dehumidification process Hybrid - Desiccant/Refrigerant
Water extraction (80°F 60%RH) 200 pints per 24 hrs
Water container capacity (pints) N/A
Container full indicator N/A
Auto-power cut off when full N/A
Continuous drainage option Yes
Operating temperature Range 60°F to 110°F
Blower 300 CFM
Anti-frost No
Electronic controls Yes
Humidistat Yes
Variable fan speed settings Yes
Noise level Not Rated
Power input 1.5KW/208/230v




Advantages

Outstanding energy efficiency

Reduces cost of air-conditioning

High water extraction rate

Precise humidity control

Capable of maintaining very low levels of relative humidity





Disadvantages

Potentially less reliable than a "pure" desiccant dehumidifier

Less suitable for colder climates

Produces condensate

Initial purchase cost



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