Are Dehumidifiers Safe? [Health and Fire Risks]

Whether you’re wondering if a dehumidifier is a fire risk or if it can cause health issues, it’s normal to be concerned.

As long as you take proper care of your dehumidifier with regular cleanings and maintenance as well as giving it proper airflow, you shouldn’t have any issues with your dehumidifier.

Only a very few specific people will be at risk when using a dehumidifier.

If you don’t have any pre-existing conditions, then keeping the recommended humidity level from 30-50% will keep you from having any health issues.

Below you can find a deep dive into how to keep up with your dehumidifier and which people should avoid using it.

Let’s get started.

Are Dehumidifiers a Fire Risk?

In the past, dehumidifiers have been recalled en masse due to overheating.

There is a possibility like with any appliance that it may catch fire. You’re only at risk if there was a manufacturer fire risk or from improper use.

If you use your dehumidifier according to your manufacturer’s recommendations, you should have no problem with safe usage.

Beware that you need to give your dehumidifier room to breathe, or it may malfunction.

If you notice your dehumidifier icing up, then you must turn it off. Normally dehumidifiers have an auto defrost feature that will defrost the coils.

If you don’t have auto defrost and continue using your dehumidifier when it freezes up, it can overheat.

Ensure you give your dehumidifier regular maintenance like regular cleanings, cleaning out or even replacing the filter, cleaning the coils and fan, and even getting it serviced.

If you suspect that your dehumidifier is giving off excessive heat, then do not use it any further.

If you smell a fishy smell coming from your dehumidifier, STOP using it immediately.

A fishy smell is a signal that the internals are burning and you shouldn’t put yourself or your home at risk.

Only a technician should inspect your dehumidifier to ensure that it’s safe to run.

Should a Dehumidifier Run All the Time?

A dehumidifier should not run all the time.

A dehumidifier with intelligent sensors will automatically turn the dehumidifier on and off when it reaches the humidity level that you set.

If there is excess moisture in the air, your dehumidifier running constantly can be normal.

If you don’t have a dehumidifier with intelligent sensors, you should turn off your dehumidifier when you reach 30-50% humidity levels.

You can measure the humidity with a hygrometer or even some DIY methods.

Should You Run a Dehumidifier while Sleeping?

Running a dehumidifier while you sleep is safe.

As long as your dehumidifier has safety features like overheat protection, overfilling shut off, and is properly maintained, you should have no issue running a dehumidifier all night.

It’s vital that your dehumidifier can turn itself off, otherwise it may bring the humidity level below 30% which can be a risk to your health.

If your dehumidifier isn’t capable of shutting itself off, then measure the humidity level when you wake up.

If it’s below 30%, then you should stop using your dehumidifier.

If the humidity level is between 30-50%, then you should have no issues using your dehumidifier while you sleep.

Are Dehumidifiers Safe for Health?

Dehumidifiers are safe to use as long as they are used properly.

For best health, you want to keep the relative humidity levels around 30-50%. Dry air can be as bad for your health as excess humidity.

If you use your dehumidifier for extended periods and it brings the humidity level under 30%, you may suffer from dry skin, nose bleeds, dry hair, and dry eyes and it can even cause conditions like pneumonia to get worse if the air is too dry.

If you have eczema, it can also make you more prone to flare-ups from the dry air.

As long as you control your desired humidity level to the recommended 30-50%, you shouldn’t have any issues using a dehumidifier.

If you’re wondering if a dehumidifier can dehydrate you, then the answer is no. Even if you keep running your dehumidifier all day, it can’t dehydrate you.

Should You Leave a Dehumidifier on During Vacation?

Consider that to use a dehumidifier, the water tank must be drained.

Even if you set up a continuous drain, it could end up flooding the area if you aren’t around to monitor the water tank.

While the dehumidifier can help keep your home dry from floods or a damp environment, you shouldn’t need to keep a dehumidifier running 24/7.

You can consider leaving it on your air conditioner instead as it’s capable of dehumidifying the air.

If you must keep a dehumidifier on during vacation, then you want to consider having someone check on your home to ensure that everything is running smoothly.

Can dehumidifiers cause health problems?

People with a dry cough, stuffy nose, or eczema may want to consider if using a dehumidifier is right for them.

A dehumidifier can cause the air to become too dry and cause your cough, nose, or skin to become too dry and cause health problems.

Water that’s left in the water tank can lead to mold growth. If you don’t keep up with maintenance with your dehumidifier, it can become a hazard rather than a great way to curb high humidity.

Final Thoughts

Just like any home appliance, the risk of a fire is more than 0% but with proper maintenance, your dehumidifier should be safe to leave on.

For health issues, keep the desired humidity level between 30-50%.

It’s recommended to invest in a dehumidifier with auto shutoff, so the room doesn’t get below 30% humidity.

If you have a stuffy nose, dry cough, or eczema, you should speak with a doctor before using a dehumidifier to see if it’s safe for you.

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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