How to Use a Dehumidifier?

Before you go ahead and purchase a dehumidifier, it’s a good idea to learn which type of dehumidifier is best, how to place, and how to make the best usage of your dehumidifier.

Below we’ll get into everything you need to know about using a dehumidifier.

When Should You Use a Dehumidifier?

As a confessed HVAC enthusiast, I’m always eager to discuss the merits of utilizing a dehumidifier. Understanding when to use a dehumidifier revolves around monitoring your environment for tell-tale signs of excess humidity.

High humidity levels in your living spaces can lead to issues such as mold growth, dust mites, and a musty odor. Using a dehumidifier helps maintain a comfortable environment by reducing the level of humidity and improving indoor air quality.

Excess moisture in the air can also lead to structural damage, from peeling paint from walls to condensation on windows and even water damage in extreme cases. If you notice water droplets on your windows, a musty smell, or black mold in the corners of walls, it might be time to switch on your dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers are also beneficial in humid climates and during the summer months when humidity tends to be high. They can also be helpful during the winter months in a colder climate if you have a well-insulated home that tends to retain moisture.

How to Choose the Right Type of Dehumidifier?

There are a few different types of dehumidifiers to choose from, including compressor dehumidifiers, desiccant dehumidifiers, and modern dehumidifiers with smart control features.

Compressor or refrigerated coil dehumidifiers work by cooling air to remove moisture, making them great for warm, humid environments.

Desiccant dehumidifiers, on the other hand, use a drying material to absorb moisture from the air and are a better fit for colder, less humid environments.

More recently, modern dehumidifiers come with smart control features that allow you to monitor and adjust the humidity level of your living spaces conveniently.

These often come as portable units, but there are also larger units or whole-home units available. Your choice would depend on the severity of your humidity issues, your living conditions, and your personal preferences.

How to Use a Dehumidifier?

Firstly, you would want to determine the optimal humidity level for your space, usually between 30-50%. Most dehumidifiers come with built-in hygrometers that show the current humidity level and allow you to adjust the desired level accordingly.

Next, ensure that the water reservoir or tank is empty before starting your dehumidifier. The dehumidifier collects moisture from the air and turns it into water, which gets stored in this tank.

When the tank is full, the dehumidifier will shut off automatically. Some models also have indicator lights to alert you when the tank needs emptying.

Finally, select your desired settings. Many dehumidifiers allow you to choose between different fan speeds which can impact the noise level and rate of moisture removal.

How to Place the Dehumidifier?

To ensure your dehumidifier operates effectively, it’s important to position it correctly. Place your dehumidifier in the area where you’ve noticed the most signs of excessive moisture, such as mold growth or a musty smell.

This could be a basement, laundry room, bathroom, or any other moisture source in your home.

The dehumidifier should be placed away from walls, furniture, and curtains with at least a few inches of space on all sides for air circulation. Make sure the dehumidifier isn’t blocking any exit vents in the room.

How to Operate the Dehumidifier

Operating a dehumidifier is quite straightforward. After you’ve positioned it correctly, ensure the water tank is properly inserted, and then plug in the unit. Set your desired humidity level and fan speed.

The dehumidifier will begin drawing in air, cooling it to condense the moisture, which drips into the water tank while the dry air is expelled back into the room.

The dehumidifier will automatically shut off when the tank is full, but you should check it periodically and empty the tank when needed.

Some models also come with a drainage option that allows you to bypass the tank and drain the water continuously, which is handy if you’re dealing with high moisture levels.

How to Choose the Right Size Dehumidifier?

Choosing the right size dehumidifier is essential for effective moisture removal. The capacity of a dehumidifier is usually defined by the amount of moisture it can remove in 24 hours. This is measured in pints.

For instance, if you have a damp room of 500 square feet, you might need a 12-pint dehumidifier. For a larger, wetter space, you might need a capacity unit of 50 pints or more.

Remember, it’s better to go for a dehumidifier with a slightly higher capacity than you need – a larger unit will dehumidify the air faster, and it will need to run less often, potentially saving on energy costs.

How to Use the Dehumidifier Draining Options?

The dehumidifier’s water tank needs to be emptied when full. If you’re not keen on doing this manually, you can use a dehumidifier with a continuous drain option.

This will require a hose (usually included with the dehumidifier) to be connected to the unit and directed to a drain, so the collected water exits the dehumidifier immediately. This is particularly useful in very humid environments where the tank would fill up quickly.

Should You Leave a Dehumidifier on All the Time?

Whether or not you should leave a dehumidifier on all the time depends on the level of humidity in your home. If you live in a very damp climate, it might be necessary to leave it running for extended periods. However, most people will find that they can run a dehumidifier for a few hours a day to maintain a comfortable humidity level.

Remember, it’s essential to balance humidity levels: excessively dry air can also be problematic, causing dry skin and irritation.

What is the Most Efficient Way to Use a Dehumidifier?

The most efficient way to use a dehumidifier is to use it wisely. Run it when humidity levels are high, and turn it off when levels are comfortable. Use the lowest fan setting that effectively dehumidifies the room to save energy.

Also, remember to maintain your dehumidifier properly. Regularly clean the air filter and the water tank to ensure the unit functions optimally.

Should I Close the Door When Using a Dehumidifier?

It is often recommended to close the door (and windows) when using a dehumidifier to maximize its effectiveness. This is because the dehumidifier works by processing the air in the room, and open doors or windows can introduce more humid air into the room, making the dehumidifier work harder.

How to Use a Dehumidifier to Dry Damp Walls?

Dehumidifiers can be used to dry damp walls by placing the unit near the damp area and running it until the moisture level drops. This is particularly effective if the dampness is due to excessive humidity rather than a water leak.


In conclusion, dehumidifiers can be a powerful tool to improve your indoor air quality and protect your home from damage caused by excess moisture. By understanding when and how to use these handy appliances, you can create a healthier and more comfortable environment in your home.

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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