Informational Guide

How Long Do Dehumidifiers Last?

Want to know the lifespan of a dehumidifier before purchasing? We explore how long dehumidifiers last so you know what to expect from your appliance.

by Josh M

Even the best dehumidifiers have an expiration date, no matter what type you use. But how long should a dehumidifier last? And is there any way to increase a dehumidifier lifespan?

I’ve used and tested a wide variety of dehumidifiers, from small portable dehumidifiers to large whole-house dehumidifiers – and I can tell you that the dehumidifier lifespan can vary massively.

However, in this guide, I’ll help explain how long dehumidifiers last on average, how long you should expect your specific type of dehumidifier to last, and what you can do to make it last longer.

Dehumidifier Next to White Couch

Why Do Some Dehumidifiers Last Longer Than Others?

Certain makes and models of dehumidifiers will just last longer than others, but the lifespan of your dehumidifier is impacted by 3 key factors:

How Frequently You Use Your Dehumidifier?

You can use your dehumidifier every day if you need to, but you should only ever use your dehumidifier to remove excess moisture. If the relative humidity in your home isn’t high then you’re using your dehumidifier unnecessarily, which can shorten its lifespan.

The most often you use it, the quicker the air filters and other parts will wear out. Most people benefit from a dehumidifier during the summer months when the relative humidity is higher, but it’s worthwhile investing in a hygrometer. This will help you understand the humidity levels in your room, and you can then determine when you need to run it to reach optimal levels [1].

How Long You Run Your Dehumidifier For?

You should run your dehumidifier for 12-15 hours in most rooms. This will give it enough time to reduce the humidity level and improve the indoor air quality, but won’t leave it on so long as to over-dry the air. You’ll also fill the water tank by this point unless you have a large dehumidifier.

If you run your dehumidifier for too short a time then it won’t be able to remove the excess moisture from the air effectively. If you run it for longer than this you may put a strain on the device, which can damage the air filter and other internal components.

Some dehumidifiers are designed for 24/7 use, but it’s worth investing in a humidifier with a built-in moisture meter (sometimes called a dehumidifier’s humidistat) so it can switch off when your air has reached the desired levels.

How Often Should You Clean Your Dehumidifier?

Your dehumidifier should be cleaned every 2-3 weeks to keep it in good condition. This should include checking the air filters, condenser coils, vents, and all other parts of the dehumidifier. The water tank should be emptied after every day it is used, or more frequently if there’s excess humidity.

The more you use the dehumidifier the more often you’ll need to clean it. Extreme conditions can put a strain on your dehumidifier [2], but by keeping it in good condition and checking the parts regularly you can reduce the strain and keep it functioning effectively for longer.

Dehumidifier Maintenance

How Long Do Dehumidifiers Last?

A dehumidifier will typically last 5 to 10 years, and this will be heavily influenced by the make, model, and how you look after it. After this point, your dehumidifier will start to work less effectively, and you may start noticing issues occurring.

Proper cleaning and maintenance will increase the lifespan of your dehumidifier. However, when you see the performance start to drop, you should start to consider replacing the device.

Signs That Your Dehumidifier Isn’t Working Properly

Typically, it’s either your compressor or capacity which breaks in your dehumidifier.

  • Compressor

The compressor is the pump that circulates the refrigerant and extracts moisture from the air.

If your compressor stops working then you’ll find the moisture levels in your room just aren’t decreasing, and the dehumidifier has stopped being effective. You might also notice the temperature in the room rising as the machine keeps working, but no humidity is removed.

  • Capacitor

The capacitor is the circuit board that allows the motor to run.

When your capacitor is damaged, the machine may struggle to turn on and will trip more regularly. Your dehumidifier is a lot less effective if it doesn’t run for at least 8-10 hours, so when it starts to trip it becomes pretty useless.

Other signs that your dehumidifier isn’t working effectively can be that the tank isn’t filling with water or that it’s filling too often. Or it could be that it’s starting to leak. All of these are signs that there’s a serious issue.

How Dehumidifier Works_Wide

The Lifespan Of Different Types Of Dehumidifiers

There are two main types of dehumidifiers available, and each of them has a slightly different lifespan. Here’s a quick breakdown:

Refrigerant Dehumidifiers

Refrigerant dehumidifiers work in the same way as fridges to cool the air. Air is drawn into the device,  then cooling coils cause the temperature to drop, and air condenses within the dehumidifier. Dry air is then released back into the room.

A good quality refrigerant dehumidifier will last 5 years or longer, but some cheap models will only give you 1 good year. This is all because refrigerant dehumidifiers are reliant on the coils within the unit, and if these stop working, it’s very ineffective. If you notice your dehumidifier becoming less effective, then you should check the dehumidifier’s coils first.

Refrigerant Dehumidifier Parts

Desiccant Dehumidifiers

Desiccant dehumidifiers work using absorbent materials within the device. Air is drawn in and passed through a chamber with these absorbent materials where the moisture is literally drawn from the air. Typically, silica gel is used to absorb the water, and then the dry air is released back into your home.

A desiccant dehumidifier should last well over 5 years. This is because desiccant dehumidifiers have very few moving parts so they’ll last longer, but they aren’t normally as effective as refrigerant dehumidifiers.

Munters Dessicant Rotor Principle

Portable Dehumidifiers Vs. Whole House Dehumidifiers

Most portable dehumidifiers should last 3 to 5 years. The compact size of a portable dehumidifier makes them easier to maintain than a whole-house dehumidifier so you can maximize their lifespan.

However, a portable dehumidifier is only designed to deal with humid air in a small space and won’t last as long as larger, more expensive dehumidifiers. A portable dehumidifier is an effective air conditioning system to reduce the relative humidity level and mold growth in a small room, but the portable dehumidifier’s lifespan will be reduced if there’s more moisture than it can handle.

Once your portable dehumidifier stops working properly you usually can’t repair them so you’ll have to replace it.

Whole house dehumidifiers should last 8 to 10 years. Larger, whole-house dehumidifiers can deal with extreme humidity levels, but they are more difficult to maintain. You may need to pay a professional to clean the air filter, condenser coils, vents, and other parts to keep it working properly for longer.

Unlike portable units, this large type of dehumidifier operates across your whole home and is usually installed as an HVAC system. They’re the best dehumidifier for houses with a lot of warm air and water vapor to deal with as they can get it down to a very low moisture level. This will protect you, your belongings, and your home.

6 Tips To Make Your Dehumidifier Last Longer

Here’s what you can do to get your dehumidifier to last longer:

1. Choose The Right Brand
Poor quality dehumidifiers fail more often so it’s important to choose a reputable brand. These will typically have a higher build quality and last longer. Remember, you don’t need necessarily need to spend more money, you can still get good value for money with well-known brands.

2. Install The Dehumidifier Correctly
Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely and install it correctly. A portable dehumidifier shouldn’t need much installation, but a fixed unit will. If you don’t feel comfortable then you should hire a professional to help you.

3. Don’t Overwork It
Don’t run your dehumidifier too often or for too long. Your home probably doesn’t have humidity levels that require it, and it puts a lot of strain on the mechanisms within the device. It can also create a dry and uncomfortable environment in your home. By only using it when you need to, you can help protect it for longer and extend its life by a few years.

4. Perform Maintenance Regularly
Clean your dehumidifier every 2-3 weeks and remove the water so no contaminants can build up in the tank. Your filters will need to be cleaned regularly because they can cause dirt, bacteria, mold spores, and dust mites to build up in the device and spread into the air in your home. You may need to invest in additional air purifiers if this is an issue.

5. Protect Against Surges
Your dehumidifier will be on for a long time so you should install an anti-surge device that will help protect the circuits within the device from any unexpected damage. This also lowers the risk of any fires in your home.

6. Understand The Warranty
The best way to protect your investment is to understand the warranty and make the most of it. Most manufacturers will give a guarantee for at least a few years, which will mean you get a replacement device if it breaks unexpectedly. The warranty may be less for a portable dehumidifier, but it’s worth checking.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Are there any dehumidifiers that last a lifetime?

Some dehumidifiers are designed to last a lifetime, and a few brands, like Goldenrod, offer a lifetime guarantee on their products. However, most dehumidifiers will last 5 to 10 years.

What are some of the longest-lasting dehumidifier brands?

The best dehumidifier brands are Danby, Arctic King, and Perfect Aire. They all offer well-made dehumidifiers which last a reasonably long time. They all have warranties too to protect the investment.

Should a dehumidifier run constantly?

Your dehumidifier shouldn’t need to run constantly. Some are designed to run 24/7 but it isn’t usually necessary and it can put a strain on the device and make your air too dry, so running your dehumidifier for 12-15 hours per day is best.

Conclusion

How long should a dehumidifier last? Typically, around 5 to 10 years and regular upkeep is the key to making your dehumidifier last longer.

Dehumidifiers are a great way to help regulate the moisture in your home and protect everything in it so it’s worth putting the time in to maintain it properly. This will help you to protect your investment and keep it working effectively for longer.

References:

1 – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/room-relative-humidity

2- https://www.osti.gov/biblio/1164163

Last Updated on January 25, 2023

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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