How Does a Whole Home Dehumidifier Work?

In the realm of indoor climate control, balancing the level of humidity is often overlooked in favor of controlling air temperatures. I can assure you that maintaining a comfortable humidity level is paramount for both health reasons and the well-being of your home.

Whole-house dehumidifiers offer an effective solution for keeping excess moisture in check throughout your entire house.

This article will answer commonly asked questions about these devices, discussing everything from the ideal humidity levels to the pros and cons of a whole-house dehumidifier, and how they compare to portable units.

How Does a Whole House Dehumidifier Work?

A whole-house dehumidifier operates much like a central air conditioner, but with a primary focus on moisture control. These dehumidifiers are typically installed into your home’s return ductwork.

The device extracts water vapor from the air by drawing it over an evaporator coil which condenses the humidity into water droplets, then expels the drier air back into your home. The liquid form of the water is then drained off into a nearby drain or a reservoir tank.

What Humidity Level is Ideal for a Home?

Ideally, indoor humidity levels should be maintained between 30% to 50%. Too much or too little humidity can result in health issues, damage to wooden structures from mold growth or wood rot, and a general discomfort.

5 Reasons You Need a Whole House Dehumidifier

  1. Enhanced Comfort: By controlling the level of humidity, your home becomes less sticky and more comfortable.
  2. Improved Air Quality: A dehumidifier can reduce the prevalence of allergens like mold spores and dust mites.
  3. Prevents Structural Damage: High humidity can lead to moisture damage, causing structural issues like wood rot and mold growth.
  4. Energy Efficiency: A dehumidifier can ease the load on your air conditioner, reducing energy costs.
  5. Elimination of Musty Odor: Excess humidity can lead to a musty smell in your home, which a dehumidifier can eliminate.

Pros and Cons of a Whole House Dehumidifier:

Pros include coverage of a large area (up to thousands of square feet), minimal maintenance, effective moisture control, and potential energy savings. Cons include initial cost, the need for professional installation, and the dependency on your HVAC’s ductwork.

Whole House Dehumidifier VS Portable Dehumidifier: Which is Better?

While portable dehumidifiers are adequate for smaller spaces or localized humidity issues, a whole-house dehumidifier is a more practical solution for a comprehensive approach to indoor humidity control.

Whole-house units have a larger capacity, operate more efficiently, and are usually quieter than portable units.

Should a Whole House Dehumidifier Run all the Time?

The need for continuous operation depends on the indoor humidity levels and the outside weather conditions. During more humid seasons, the unit might need to run more frequently to maintain a comfortable humidity level.

Does a Whole House Dehumidifier Only Work When the AC is On?

Yes, a whole-house dehumidifier is dependent on your air conditioning unit. Unfortunately, you’ll need to use your AC system while using your whole home dehumidifier.

How Long Does it Take to Dry a House with a Whole House Dehumidifier?

The duration depends on factors such as the size of the house, the level of humidity, and the dehumidifier’s capacity. However, noticeable results should be apparent within a few hours of operation.

How Does a Whole House Dehumidifier Drain?

Typically, a whole-house dehumidifier drains directly into your home’s existing plumbing. Some models might use a reservoir tank that needs to be manually emptied.

How do You Install a Whole House Dehumidifier?

Professional installation is recommended for whole-house dehumidifiers. The unit is usually installed into the return ductwork of your HVAC system. A professional will ensure proper integration with your existing HVAC system and establish an effective drainage system.


A whole-house dehumidifier is a substantial investment in maintaining your home’s comfort and preventing issues related to excess humidity, such as structural damage and degraded air quality.

While the initial cost and installation process might seem daunting, the long-term benefits significantly outweigh these concerns. If you’re wrestling with high humidity levels in your home, a whole-house dehumidifier could be the solution you need.

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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