Reducing Dehumidifier Energy Usage (5 Tips For Homeowners)

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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Understanding and managing the energy consumption in my home is a priority for me. It lets me stay in control of my electricity bills and keep my carbon footprint as low as possible.

That’s why I know exactly how much electricity my dehumidifiers use.

I rely on dehumidifiers to manage the high humidity in my home and over the years, I’ve used a wide variety of different models.

The energy costs can vary massively, but by understanding the exact electricity consumption of different dehumidifiers, I can predict the electricity cost and budget accurately.

Key Takeaways

  • Dehumidifiers have power consumption ranging between 300-900 Watts with average dehumidifiers consuming 400 Watts.
  • High wattage dehumidifiers are used for larger rooms, hence it is important to choose a right size humidifier for your coverage area. 
  • The running cost depends upon the electrical unit price in your area. At 13 cents per unit, a typical room size 300W dehumidifier can cost 39 cents to run (assuming 10 hour runtime).
  • You Can Choose to get Energy Efficient models to lower the bills. 

Do Household Dehumidifiers Use A Lot Electricity?

do dehumidifier use a lot of electricity

Dehumidifiers do not take up too much power, and on average, it’s 300-900 watts of electricity.

However, dehumidifiers generally have to be left on for a long time to be effective, so they can end up using a lot of electricity for homeowners.

The dehumidifier I have set up in my garage takes 400 watts of electricity to run.

To put this into perspective, it’s about the same as a laptop and less than your toaster, iron, or portable air conditioner.

The only difference is that I keep the dehumidifier running for longer.

ACLAB Note:

Dehumidifiers work by drawing air in, removing moisture, and releasing dry air back into the room. Your dehumidifier needs energy to operate the fans, power the cooling elements, and light the display or controls on the outside.

The energy consumption/energy usage of a dehumidifier is measured in watts, which is the measure of how much power is running through your device.

Some dehumidifiers talk about electricity in terms of kilowatts per hour (or kilowatt hour).

This is an indication of how much electricity and how much energy will be used by the dehumidifier every hour.

TL;DR: Dehumidifier run for a long time and thus can end up consuming a lot of electricity even if their wattage rating is low. The amount of electricity used by a dehumidifier will vary depending on your device’s make, model, energy star, and size.


How Much Electricity Do Typical Dehumidifier Use?

Dehumidifiers generally use between 300 Watts and 900 Watts. The smaller the dehumidifier, the less electricity it will use and the lower your energy costs will be.

High-wattage dehumidifiers are generally used for larger areas and will increase your energy bill.

Whole-home dehumidifiers will therefore increase your electric bill more than portable dehumidifiers.

In my home, I have dehumidifiers in my basement, garage, and bedroom. My basement dehumidifier covers the largest area and uses 500 Watts.

In comparison, my bedroom dehumidifier is the smallest and only uses 300 Watts.

All dehumidifiers clearly advertise the wattage in the specifications and on the box so you can see the exact electricity rate there.

If you can’t find it on the packaging, I would recommend contacting the seller or manufacturer.

The fewer watts or kilowatts per hour being used then the more energy efficient your device will be, so when you’re looking for a new model, it’s a key factor to look out for.

ACLAB Note:

How many watts your particular dehumidifier uses can vary depending on the dehumidifier’s energy efficiency rating and energy star rating [1].

Just remember, it’s not just about the electricity cost or usage, it’s about getting the right size dehumidifier for the room.

You can find a full guide for choosing the right size dehumidifier here.

The below table provides a rough breakdown of the average electricity used for the different-sized dehumidifiers, but remember this only gives an indication, and different models may have other specifications:

Electricity

Dehumidifier

300 Watts

30-pint (small dehumidifier)

500 Watts

50-pint (medium dehumidifier)

700 Watts

70-pint (large dehumidifier)

900 Watts Plus

90-pints or more (very large dehumidifier)

what size dehumidifier do you need

What About Energy Efficient Dehumidifiers?

Energy-efficient dehumidifiers can remove more excess moisture from the air with less energy usage, lowering your overall dehumidifier energy consumption.

By purchasing a high-energy efficiency model you can reduce your electricity bills and offset the cost of the device.

I always look for an energy-efficient dehumidifier. This lets me use less electricity and I’ve been able to save hundreds of dollars each year because there’s a lower running cost.

TL;DR: Energy efficient models are expensive to procure but have a lower running cost.


How To Calculate The Energy Efficiency Of Your Dehumidifier

To calculate the energy factor and energy efficiency of your dehumidifier you need to know the Energy Efficiency Value (EEV) or Integrated Energy Factor (IEF).

The EEV or IEF should be clearly advertised on the packaging and in the specifications of your dehumidifier.

The higher the EEV number, the more energy efficient your dehumidifier is.

This EEV or IEF is expressed in liters per kilowatt hour (L/kWH) and represents how many liters of water the dehumidifier can remove from the air in a kilowatt hour.

Generally, I would recommend looking for energy-efficient models or an HVAC system with an EEV rating of at least 1.5.

If you have a 75-pint dehumidifier or higher, it will be required to have an energy rating of 1.9 or higher.

If it’s between 75- and 185-pints capacity, then it needs to have an energy rating of 2.8 or higher.

Dehumidifiers are energy star certified depending on how much energy they use and as a way of promoting energy efficiency.

I would always recommend looking for energy star-certified dehumidifiers and I would never buy a model without one.

The energy star rating should be clearly displayed on the packaging.

TL;DR: The higher the EEV rating the higher the volume of water the dehumidifier can extract per kWh of energy. Always high EEV/IEF and Energy Star certified models.


How Much Do Electric Dehumidifiers Cost To Run?

Knowing the rough running costs is useful, but I like to budget as accurately as possible.

running cost of dehumidifier

To calculate your potential dehumidifier energy costs you need to use a simple equation using the following information:

  • Electric dehumidifier wattage (on the packaging)
  • Average cost per kilowatt (you can look at a recent electricity bill from your power company for this)

For this example, let’s assume it’s 13 cents per hour, with a 300-watt dehumidifier running for 10 hours a day:

Average kilowatt charge x watts / 1000 = Running cost per hour

13 x 300 / 1000 = 3.9 cents an hour

3.9 x 10 = 39 cents a day to run (the daily cost is calculated assuming it’s running for 10 hours)

The higher the EEV, the less power it will take to remove 1 liter of moisture from the air.

This means you won’t need to run it for as long, so your electricity usage decreases (along with your electric bills).

TL;DR: Dehumidifiers can cost anywhere between $30 - $300 per year depending upon their size and the ambient humidity levels.


5 Tips To Make Your Dehumidifier More Efficient

I know that optimal energy efficiency with a dehumidifier isn’t always possible, but from my experience, I have found that there are steps you can take to improve the overall efficiency of your dehumidifier.

Do dehumidifier use a lot of electricityv

These have lowered your electricity bills and, over the course of several years, saved me a lot of money.

Here are the 5 top tips I would recommend doing:

1. Place Your Dehumidifier Correctly

Your dehumidifier needs to be in the right place to operate correctly and efficiently.

There are many causes of high humidity in the home [3], but I would recommend having it situated near the source of the moisture if possible so it can operate more effectively and increase energy efficiency.

This will help to limit the amount of electricity it draws on.

You’ll normally want to use dehumidifiers in basements, cellars, or laundry rooms, but it totally depends on your home.

TL;DR: Proper placement is the key to using a dehumidifier. Improper placement will result in minimal impact on moisture while the energy costs will keep accruing.

2. Limit Airflow

Dehumidifiers work best in an enclosed space. Limiting air flow allows your dehumidifier to focus on one area and means it can work more efficiently.

This will also help to reduce cold air and keep the device at an ambient temperature.

This can reduce the dehumidifier’s energy cost and your electricity bill.

TL;DR: Make sure that you use a dehumidifier in an enclosed space away from outside air in particular.

3. Choose An Energy-Efficient Model

Overall energy efficiency is usually determined by the model you choose.

Choosing an energy-efficient model is the easiest way to limit how many watts are needed and get more for less.

Always look for the EEV energy factor of the unit and the energy star rating to lower your dehumidifier electricity cost.

TL;DR: Make sure that you use a dehumidifier in an enclosed space away from outside air in particular.

4. Clean It Regularly

Even the most energy-efficient dehumidifier, air conditioner, or HVAC system needs to be properly maintained.

You should clean and empty the water tray after each dehumidifier use, and look to keep it in good condition so it doesn’t have to work harder than it needs to.

TL;DR: Regular maintenance can not only prolong your dehumidifier but also improve its effectiveness which can in turn reduce its running cost.

5. Set The Right Humidity Level

You should be able to set your dehumidifier so that it only turns on when your humidity reaches a certain level.

The optimal humidity in your home is 30-40% and I generally keep my living areas at about 35%.

I would recommend limiting dehumidifier use to when the humidity goes above that point so it’s only running when it’s needed.

ACLAB Note:

Over dehumidification is also an issue. You do not want to turn the air completely dry as that can also adversely affect your health and belongings. 

Many modern dehumidifiers have a smart humidistat that will sense the humidity and turn the dehumidifier on and off.

By using your dehumidifier only as needed you can drastically reduce the amount of electricity you use.

TL;DR: It is wise to choose a dehumidifier that comes with humidity and fan speed control for automatically turning it off when desired levels are reached.


Does A Dehumidifier Use More Electricity Than An Air Conditioner?

Dehumidifiers use less electricity than air-conditioning units.

At peak consumption level an AC unit will use around 3000 – 4000 watts which is considerably more than a dehumidifier.

Here is the wattage of other household appliances to put your dehumidifiers electricity usage in perspective:

  • Water Heater – 12000 Watts
  • Washing Machine – 3000 Watts
  • Iron – 2000 Watts
  • Hair Dryer – 1875 Watts
  • Toaster – 1400 Watts
  • Kettle – 750 Watts
  • Computer – 750 Watts
  • Refrigerator / Refrigerator Coil – 194 Watts
  • TV – 180 Watts
  • Fan – 75 Watts
  • LED bulbs – 10 Watts

Large dehumidifiers tend to use more electricity, but as you can see from the list above they still have fewer expected Watts than more appliances [2].

TL;DR: A dehumidifiers uses far lower electricity in comparison to an AC.


FAQs

Are New Dehumidifiers More Energy Efficient Than Older Models?

Yes, new dehumidifiers are generally more efficient than older models because new technology has allowed dehumidifiers to do more with less.

This means they can operate with less electricity but still achieve the same results, saving you money on your energy bills.

How Long Should I Leave My Dehumidifier On?

Dehumidifiers should be left on for a minimum of 10-12 hours, depending on the amount of moisture in the air.

Many models can be left on 24/7, but increased dehumidifier use will increase your daily and monthly cost to run it.

Can I Leave The Dehumidifier Running at Night?

Yep! Dehumidifiers are perfectly safe to be left running at night to decrease moisture levels while you sleep.

However, unless you have a quiet dehumidifier such as these models, it could disturb your sleep if you have it running in the bedroom.

What is The Best Time of Year to Use a Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers are most useful in spring and summer when humidity levels rise, but they can also be useful in autumn and winter because of the wet weather.

The specific environmental conditions where you live will determine when dehumidifiers are most useful.

Final Words

Your average dehumidifier can cost anywhere from $30 to $300 a year to run.

I use several dehumidifiers in my home to improve the indoor air quality, but because I know the electricity consumption I don’t get any surprises when my monthly energy bill arrives.

Dehumidifiers don’t use a lot of electricity, but by choosing an energy-efficiency model and using the appliance correctly, you can lower the energy consumption even further.

Hopefully, this article has given you everything you need to better understand how much a dehumidifier costs to run and how you can make some savings.

References: 

  1. https://www.energystar.gov/products/dehumidifiers
  2. https://www.daftlogic.com/information-appliance-power-consumption.htm
  3. https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/image_maps/23-moisture-sources-in-our-homes
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Josh Mitchell

Founder

Josh Mitchell
My name is Josh and I am obsessed with home appliances. From portable AC units to heaters and air purifiers, I enjoy testing, learning and using these devices to improve the air quality inside my family home.

My Favorite Home Appliance?

Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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