Do Dehumidifiers Use a Lot of Electricity?

High moisture content in your house can enable mold and germs to thrive. It would help if you ventilated, but it’s not always sufficient to remove excess moisture. Therefore, you may want to buy a dehumidifier, but does it use a lot of electricity? 

Dehumidifiers use a lot of electricity depending on model, size, and duration of use. Large models draw more power than small ones. Dehumidifiers have an average wattage of 483.24 W and hourly electricity use of 0.427 kWh. Although not substantial, this may be higher over long hours of usage. 

I will explain what dehumidifiers are and their power consumption, discuss how they work, and compare them with other household appliances. 

What Are Dehumidifiers?

The benefits of dehumidifiers can’t be overstated. They make the indoor environment much more comfortable and safer, especially during the hot summer months.

Excess moisture is harmful to your health. High humidity is typical during the summer and spring months when the air is warmer and holds more moisture. If you don’t have a dehumidifier, it’s time you consider having one. 

A dehumidifier is a device built to extract excess moisture from the air to improve indoor air quality. Safe indoor air is necessary for your health, and research recommends its ideal moisture content to be between 40-60%. 

Dehumidifiers come in three main types: 

  • Desiccant 
  • Whole-house 
  • Refrigerant 

Read: Why Dehumidifier Freezing Up?

How Do Dehumidifiers Work?

You need to understand that dehumidifiers are nothing more than HVAC devices that extract moisture from the air. To better understand how they work, you need to look at their make and model. You will often find this in the user manual.

Dehumidifiers work under two principles

  • Refrigeration-based 
  • Heater-Based 

Dehumidifiers work by extracting moisture out of air or heating dry air and fanning it back indoors. In the first principle, a dehumidifier extracts warm and moist air and runs it over a cold coil to condense the moisture. The latter runs cold and dry air over a hot coil and fans it indoors. 

Allow me to explain this further. Refrigeration-based dehumidifiers fan in moist air from your house and cool it over an evaporator (cold coil). The moisture condenses and drips out to a collection tray. The indoor air remains cold and dry. 

On the other hand, heater-based dehumidifiers do the opposite. They run cold but dry air over a condenser (heated coil) to heat it to the comfortable room temperature. They then fan the dry, hot air into the house. 

Warm and dry air has higher moisture carrying capacity, taking up the excess moisture. As a result, the moisture content per unit volume of indoor air (relative humidity) drops. 

Either heater-based or refrigeration-based dehumidifiers have the capacity to reduce indoor air relative humidity from 50-100% to between 30 and 50% 

Read: Mini Split In Dry Mode Vs. Dehumidifier: Which One Is More Efficient?

How Much Is a Dehumidifier’s Energy Cost?

The increasing technological advancement forces many people to exercise caution when adding new electrical devices that might increase the energy bill. And this could be the case for dehumidifiers. You might see it as an unnecessary addition to your energy bill, but how much will it cost you to operate one? 

A dehumidifier’s energy cost is about $0.12 hourly, $2.88 24/7, and $34.56 annually. However, the cost will depend on the model and prevailing weather conditions. Hourly and daily rates will be higher in the spring and summer months when you operate dehumidifiers continuously. 

How Dehumidifiers Compare With Other Household Devices in Terms of Power Consumption?

A comparison table of power consumption of a dehumidifier, heater and refrigerator. 

DeviceDaily consumption (kWh)Daily costMonthly cost
Dehumidifier (30-pint)10.24 $2.88$34.56
Refrigerator 7.68$0.92$27.60
Heater (1500W)12$1.60$48

Several factors come into play when comparing the power consumption of various household devices and deciding which one uses more power: 

  • Different devices have different power ratings. 
  • The same device comes in different sizes which consume electricity differently. 
  • Household appliances have different uses. 

Looking at the dehumidifier’s energy cost in the table above, you might instantly conclude it consumes more electricity and therefore is expensive. However, its monthly cost is lower than a heater’s. 

When you think of it, you use these two appliances differently, and you might use different energy-saving tips for each. Additionally, they might not be from the same manufacturer; therefore, they have different energy star ratings. And wait a moment, do they have the same power rating?

Read: What Size Dehumidifier Do I Need For My Crawl Space?

Verdict

You can’t conclusively say dehumidifiers use more electricity than other household appliances. Saying so would be vague. You don’t use your dehumidifier in the same way as your refrigerator. It even extends to personal behaviors; for example, if you like to stock up your refrigerator, its energy cost will likely be higher. 

A dehumidifier’s energy savings don’t apply to heaters and refrigerators and might be less or more effective. So it would be wrong to compare these appliances that way. 

A dehumidifier will at one time consume more and sometimes less electricity than other appliances. It’s more of a roller coaster. 

How To Cut the Cost of Operating Dehumidifiers?

With the correct energy-saving tips, you can always spend less on electricity. You can save the energy cost of operating a dehumidifier like other electrical appliances. The secret is to put it on when necessary and not let it run for long hours, especially when the relative humidity is ideal and comfortable. 

Here’s how to reduce the energy cost of operating a dehumidifier: 

  • Close your windows and doors leading outdoors when it’s on. You don’t need to dehumidify outdoor air. 
  • Lower your thermostat’s target temperature. Dehumidified air feels cold, and your heater might turn on immediately. You don’t have to spend more on heating costs. 
  • Clean the dehumidifier’s filter. Vacuuming the device’s filter will help keep it working efficiently. It would be best to do this as frequently as you use the dehumidifier. 
  • Avoid excess indoor air moisture. The bathroom and kitchen are the largest contributors to indoor humidity. Instead of dehumidifying too hard, why don’t you check your kitchen and bathroom moisture extractors to see if they’re working correctly? Why don’t you open the bathroom window after a shower? Or pop lids on saucepans while you’re cooking? Don’t work hard: work smart. 

What Drives Up Dehumidifiers’ Electricity Cost?

Several factors can drive up a dehumidifier’s electricity cost. For example, it will cost more to dehumidify a large room than a small one. Regular dehumidifiers will use more electricity than certified energy label ones. How close a dehumidifier is to the source determines how efficiently it works.

Read: 3 Simple Ways How To Keep Apartment Dry

Benefits of Using Dehumidifiers

Excess moisture in indoor air causes difficulties in breathing. That’s why dehumidifiers are important to alleviate allergic symptoms like: 

  • Sneezing 
  • Wheezing 
  • Eye irritation 

Common triggers of these symptoms are: 

  • Dust mites 
  • Pollen 
  • Mold 

Dust mites thrive in humidity of over 65%. Therefore, dehumidifying your indoor air will help control mold development and dust mites population. It will improve air quality and make it comfortable for asthma sufferers and healthy individuals alike. 

Cons of Using Dehumidifiers

There’s always something that doesn’t sit right. Despite their praises, dehumidifiers might not work best for everyone and have potential side effects. 

They are likely to make the air a bit dry. If you use a gas or electric heater in your house, you might not need a dehumidifier. 

Dry air might not go well with conditions like: 

  • Pneumonia 
  • Dry cough 
  • Atopic dermatitis 

It also might not be great for your skin and hair, but you need to determine humidity levels before turning on your dehumidifier. Why not buy a hygrometer? After all, what costs more than your health? 

This OXV Thermo-Hygrometer I found on Amazon.com is worth trying. It comes with the functions of a humidity reader and temperature reader. It also features data storage and a backlight. 

Read: What Causes Low Humidity In A House?

Conclusion

Humidity is water vapor in the air. Excess humidity can cause difficulties in breathing, mold development, and deterioration of indoor air quality. 

Dehumidifiers help remove this excess moisture, but your electricity bill is at stake. They tend to consume moderate to low electricity, but this depends on the model and how you use them. 

Maintaining your indoor environment within manageable humidity levels can help reduce dehumidifiers’ energy costs. And it doesn’t stop here. You need to take care of these appliances for them to serve you well.