In this guide, you’ll find information outlining dehumidifiers, what they are, the different types available, their energy-efficiency, benefits and costs. A home HVAC dehumidifier works by using its refrigerant to pull moisture from the air with a fan compressor or by using moisture absorption. If you notice that your home has too much humidity, it becomes a breeding ground for mildew and mold. Using a hygrometer accurately determines your home’s humidity level. If it’s too high, consider adding a dehumidifier to your home.

What is a home dehumidifier?

A home dehumidifier is a unit that draws in moist air and expels drier air. Because air conditioners can’t control indoor humidity, a dehumidifier helps eliminate the moisture build-up while keeping your home cool. In southern states, many homeowners use dehumidifiers alongside their air conditioners to maintain or reduce their home’s humidity levels.

If you see mold spots on your walls, that can mean you’re living in an area with high humidity. Home dehumidifiers can remove between 25 and 75 pints of water in 24 hours. If you choose an Energy Star model, that could save you up to $220 on your utility bills. People also add dehumidifiers to their homes to eliminate musty odors, reduce skin irritation and cut down on dust.

Dehumidifiers aren’t only for hot weather. If you notice mold growing during winter months, consider using a dehumidifier. You can also use these units in combination with your heater to maintain your home’s warmth.

Types of home dehumidifiers

There are five different types of home dehumidifiers: refrigerator-style, desiccant, heat pump dehumidifiers, portable and whole-house units.  They’re also available in several sizes, as well, ranging in capacities between 24 and 39 pints, 40 and 59 pints and 60 pints or greater.

Refrigerator-style dehumidifiers work by cooling excess moisture before removing it from the air. Desiccant units use materials like silica gel to absorb moisture and remove vapors. Heat pump dehumidifiers are whole-house units that work similarly to a refrigerator-style unit. Portable unitsare the most common for a single room. Whole-house dehumidifiers are installed in a centralized location to remove moisture in the entire home.

Dehumidifier energy efficiency

The energy efficiency ratings on dehumidifiers come from their capacity and energy efficiency metric. The capacity is defined by how much water the dehumidifier removes in 24 hours. Its energy efficiency metric defines how many liters of water the unit removes per kilowatt-hour of energy it consumes. That metric is the unit’s Integrated Energy Factor (IEF). That factor indicates the unit’s efficiency when it’s on, as well as when it’s cycling off. For example, you’ll see that dehumidifiers with a capacity of 25 or less have a minimum IEF of 1.30. Dehumidifiers with capacities between 25.01 and 50.01 or higher must have minimum IEFs of 1.60 to 2.80.

Benefits of a dehumidifier

In addition to being energy efficient and lowering bills, dehumidifiers have several other benefits. By reducing humidity levels they also cut down on allergins, including dust mites, mildew and mold. Additional benefits include reducing skin irritation, as well as odors from mildew and mold.

Home dehumidifier costs

Dehumidifier costs vary according to several factors, including capacity, the type of dehumidifier and whether you install it yourself or hire a professional. A whole-house dehumidifier with a 50- to 90-pint capacity ranges between $1,000 and $1,600. A whole-house unit that’s between 120 and 155 pints costs between $1,700 and $3,500. Installation fees are typically between $550 and $700.

Dehumidifiers with removal capacities between 24 and 39 pints daily cost between $150 and $250. Those with 39- and 59-pint capacities are priced between $160 and $180. Units operating with less than a 24-pint capacity can range in price between $50 and $240. For dehumidifiers with a 59-pint capacity or higher, you’ll pay between $200 and $300.

How much you pay annually to operate a dehumidifier depends on your state’s electricity rates. On average, homeowners spend 13.19 cents per kWh (kilowatt-hour). A kilowatt-hour means that you’re using 1,000 watts for one hour. If you’re operating a 280-watt dehumidifier at 13.19 per kilowatt-hour, that means you’re paying $.47 per day. Multiply that times 365 days, and you’re paying $172 annually to run that dehumidifier.

FAQs

How big of a dehumidifier do I need for my house?

To determine the right size dehumidifier, measure the square footage of the room or space where you need to remove moisture. Then, look at the level of moisture in that space. For example, if you’re looking at an area that’s less than 2,000 square feet and it’s moderately damp, you’ll need a unit that removes at least 25 pints.

Where is the best place to put a dehumidifier in a house?

The best way to determine placement for a dehumidifier is to think about your home’s moisture levels. For example, a portable unit isn’t sufficient if you’re experiencing humidity throughout your home. Think about where you feel or see moisture, like in basements and crawl spaces, and determine if those are the best places for installing a dehumidifier. If you’re experiencing light humidity in your bathroom or laundry room, a portable dehumidifier is an excellent solution.

How much does it cost to install a whole-house dehumidifier?

The average price for a whole-home dehumidifier, including installation, is between $550 and $700. For example, if you want a unit with a capacity between 50 and 90 pints, installation costs will be towards the lower end of the range. For a dehumidifier between 120 and 155 pints, you’ll see a larger cost for installation.

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