Willis Carrier: A Look Into the Origins of Dehumidifiers

By: Evan Scoboria, Last updated: June 28, 2023

From musty basements to damp offices, dehumidifiers have become an essential appliance in many spaces, providing a more comfortable and healthy environment. But have you ever wondered who invented the dehumidifier and how it has evolved over time? This article will dive into the history of dehumidifiers, exploring their origins, key innovations, and the impact they've had on various industries.


Dehumidifier Origins and Evolution

Birth of the Dehumidifier

The invention of the dehumidifier is often attributed to Willis Carrier, an American engineer who is also credited with inventing modern air conditioning. In 1902, Carrier designed a system that could regulate humidity levels in a printing plant, thus improving the quality and efficiency of the printing process. His invention laid the foundation for the development of modern dehumidifiers.

Key Innovations and Milestones

As the demand for humidity control grew, so did the innovations and milestones in the dehumidifier industry. Let's take a closer look at some of the key advancements.

The Refrigeration Revolution

The refrigeration-based dehumidifier, also known as the electric dehumidifier, emerged in the 1950s. This type of dehumidifier uses a refrigeration system to cool air and condense moisture, which is then collected in a reservoir. This technology has become the most common type of dehumidifier found in homes and offices worldwide.

Desiccant Dehumidification Advancements

Desiccant dehumidifiers use a moisture-absorbing material, such as silica gel, to remove humidity from the air. While desiccant dehumidifiers have been in use since the 1940s, their popularity increased in the 1960s and 1970s when advancements in materials and manufacturing techniques made them more efficient and effective.

Munters: A Pioneering Company in Dehumidification

Munters, a Swedish company founded by Carl Munters in 1955, has played a significant role in the history of dehumidifiers. The company has a long track record of innovation, developing desiccant and refrigeration-based dehumidification technologies. Munters has also been a key player in advancing energy-efficient dehumidification systems, which have become increasingly important in recent years.

Applications and Industry Impact

Residential Dehumidifier Uses

Dehumidifiers have become a staple in many homes, especially in areas with high humidity. By reducing excess moisture in the air, dehumidifiers can help prevent mold and mildew growth, reduce allergens, and protect belongings from moisture-related damage. Additionally, they can make living spaces more comfortable by maintaining optimal humidity levels for both health and comfort.

Dehumidifiers in Industrial Processes

Beyond residential applications, dehumidifiers play a critical role in various industrial processes. They are used in manufacturing facilities, warehouses, and data centers to maintain ideal humidity levels, ensuring that sensitive equipment and products are protected from moisture-related issues. Dehumidifiers are also used in the construction industry to accelerate drying times for concrete, paint, and other materials.


The history of the dehumidifier is a fascinating tale of innovation and adaptation to meet the ever-growing demands for effective humidity control. From their humble beginnings in a printing plant to their widespread use in homes and industries, dehumidifiers have become essential appliances for maintaining comfortable and healthy environments. As technology advances and our understanding of the importance of proper humidity control grows, we can expect even more innovative and efficient dehumidification solutions to emerge. Whether in our homes, offices, or industrial settings, the dehumidifier has impacted our lives, and its story is far from over.