Is a Dehumidifier Expensive to Run? (Exploring Running Cost)

Josh Mitchell

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Josh Mitchell

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Holly Curell

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My energy bills have almost doubled in the past few years, but one of the ways I keep my electricity bill low is by selecting the right appliances in my home.

I’ve used lots of different dehumidifiers and there can be a big difference in how much energy they use.

By understanding the running costs, and choosing the right dehumidifier I’ve been able to save hundreds of dollars over the years and kept the pressure off my monthly budget.

Key Takeaways

  • It can cost as low as 3 cents all the way to 16 cents per hours to run a dehumidifier depending upon how large and powerful it is.
  • The longer you run your dehumidifier, the most bill it will accrue. It is best to run it while also monitoring the humidity levels. When optimal humidity is reached, the dehumidifier can be turned off.
  • In terms of power rating, dehumidifiers range from 300 Watts (30 pints) to 900 Watts (70 Pints)

Average Dehumidifier Costs Explained For Homeowners

It will cost between $0.03 and $0.16 per hour on average to run a dehumidifier.

This means it could cost between $0.72 and $3.84 a day if you left it running 24/7.
running cost of dehumidifier

I run my dehumidifier constantly in my basement to manage the high humidity and it costs around $1 a day, but every dehumidifier is different.

The exact cost will vary depending on the make, model, size, whether they’re fixed or portable dehumidifiers, and how much damp air you’re dealing with.

To know the true energy cost for your dehumidifier you’ll have to work out how much electricity it’s using.

Keep reading to find out how your specific dehumidifier will impact your electricity bills.

TL;DR: The cost of running depends upon the model you have, how powerful it is, and the energy cost in your state.


Breaking Down The Cost Of Running A Dehumidifier

Ready to apply this equation to see how much it will actually cost to run a dehumidifier in your home?

Good, well then let me show you how to work out the cost per hour, per day, and per month.

Here’s a quick breakdown for each with worked examples:

Per Hour

To calculate the electricity cost per hour, you need to know the average cost of a kilowatt of energy and the number of kilowatts used by a dehumidifier:

Charge per kilowatt x number of kilowatts used = hourly cost

Worked Example: Let’s say the average cost of a kilowatt of energy is 13 cents (or $0.13), and the dehumidifier is a 30-pint model using 300 watts.

0.13 x (300/1000) = $0.039

Therefore your 300-watt dehumidifier would cost you 3.9 cents per hour.

Per Day

To understand the cost per day of the dehumidifier, you need all of the above and the average number of hours it will run for. Then the equation is:

(Charge per kilowatt x number of kilowatts used) x hours run = daily cost

Worked Example: Let’s say the average cost of a kilowatt of energy is 13 cents ($0.13) again, the dehumidifier is a 50-pint model using 500 watts, and it runs for 10 hours a day.

(0.13 x 0.5) x 10 = $0.65

Therefore, your 500-watt dehumidifier would cost you 65 cents a day to run.

Per Month

Finally, to work out the monthly cost of a dehumidifier, you need all of the above, and then you need to multiply it by 30. The equation is;

((Charge per kilowatt x number of kilowatts used) x hours run)) x 30 = monthly cost

Worked Example: Let’s say the average cost of a kilowatt of energy is 13 cents ($0.13) again, the dehumidifier is a 70-pint model using 900 watts, and it runs for 10 hours a day, 30 days a month.

((0.13 x 0.9) x 10)) x 30 = $35.10

Therefore, your 900-watt dehumidifier would cost you $35.10 a month to run.


Calculating How Much Your Dehumidifier Costs You A Year

So, how much does it cost to run your dehumidifier for a year? Well, Once you have your monthly figure, you can multiply that by 12 to work out the annual cost.

We’ve given two worked examples below so you can see the differences between dehumidifiers and how much you could potentially save each year:

Dehumidifier 1 is a 50-pint, 500-watt machine, and the average cost of running an hour is 13 cents ($0.13). It runs for 12 hours a day, 30 days a month.

(((0.13 x 0.5) x 10)) x 30))) x 12 = $234 a year

Dehumidifier 2 is an energy-efficient 50-pint machine that only uses 300 watts. The average kilowatt per hour cost of running is 13 cents ($0.13), and it runs for 12 hours a day, 30 days a month.

(((0.13 x 0.3) x 10)) x 30))) x 12 = $140.4 a year

As you can see from the calculations above, the energy-efficient dehumidifier saves you $93.60 a year because it uses less energy.

Over several years this translates into a huge saving, even if you spent more on the energy-efficient model in the first place.

It’s definitely worth asking yourself ‘how much does it cost me to run this dehumidifier?’ before you choose one.


How Much Electricity Does A Dehumidifier Use?

A dehumidifier needs electricity to function, and given the fact you’ll have to run it for several hours a day, it pays to understand how much it uses.

do dehumidifier use a lot of electricity

There are rough guides available online, but I would recommend taking some time to work out the exact costs so you can budget properly.

To understand the power consumption you should look for the following information on the box and in the product specifications:

  • The watts or wattage, or the kilowatts per hour. This is the amount of electricity your dehumidifier uses.
  • The integrated energy factor of your dehumidifier. This is the amount of water it can remove from the air per kilowatt hour.

The exact amount of electricity a dehumidifier uses depends on the make, model, energy efficiency or energy star, and size.

With most dehumidifiers, the bigger they are, the more electricity will be needed.
what size dehumidifier do you need

A 30-pint dehumidifier may only use 300 watts, but a high-capacity dehumidifier, like a 70-pint dehumidifier, will use about 900 watts.

You can find a full guide explaining how much electricity a dehumidifier uses here.

TL;DR: A typical residential dehumidifier can use anywhere between 300 to 900 watts (for 30-pints and 70-pints size respectively). 

Calculating The Electricity Cost Of Your Dehumidifier

To calculate the cost to run your dehumidifier you need:

  • The electricity usage of your dehumidifier
  • The average cost of a kilowatt of energy in your area [1]

Once you have these figures, then use the equation below:

Charge per kilowatt x number of kilowatts used by dehumidifier = electricity cost per hour

You can find the average cost of a kilowatt of energy by looking at a recent utility bill or online.

In my electricity bill, they publish it at the top right-hand corner of the page, but you can also contact your energy provider and ask them.

The power your dehumidifier uses should be shown clearly on the packaging and in the specifications.

Usually, this is in watts, but if it’s in volts and amps, then you’ll need to multiply them together to get the wattage.

You then need to divide it by 1000 to get the kilowatt figure.

It’s important to get these as accurately to work out the amount of power your dehumidifier draws, the average costs, and what this will mean for your electric bills.

ACLAB note:

Watts is the instantaneous power the appliance needs to draw from the wall to operate. 1000 watts = 1 kW.

kWh is a measurement of how many kilowatts of power an appliances uses in an hour. A 300W dehumidifier running for an hour straight would consume 0.3 kWh of energy. The same running for half an hour would have consumed 0.15 kWh.

Electricity bills do costing based on kWh.


4 Factors That Can Impact Dehumidifier’s Running Cost

The above equation will give you a reasonable estimate of the cost to run a dehumidifier, but there are some other factors that may cause the device to draw more energy and increase the electricity costs.

Here are a few of the top factors that can have an impact when running a dehumidifier:

Extreme Humidity Levels Means Dehumidifier Will Run Longer

Your dehumidifier will need to work harder and probably longer to deal with the excess moisture.

This could impact the running costs because it is active for longer, or just because it has more moisture to deal with.
how long does it take for a dehumidifier to work

Either way, this can lead to a rise in your energy bills even if it has a good energy star rating.

I typically use my dehumidifiers more in the summer months rather than in winter because that’s when the humidity levels spike.

I would recommend checking the room’s air circulation and keeping air vents clear to lower your dehumidifiers cost.

You should also empty the tank regularly.

TL;DR: The higher the ambient humidity, the more it will cost to run your dehumidifier.

Larger the Room, The More Work Dehumidifier Has To Do

The bigger the room, the more work the dehumidifier has to do to regulate the moisture in the air.

It may have to run for longer to reduce the humidity and when you run a dehumidifier for longer then it means more electricity is used.

This will lead to a spike in your electricity bill.

Therefore, it’s important you pick a dehumidifier that matches the size of your room so it can work effectively.

In my large, humid basement I have a big dehumidifier set up to manage the moisture.

Unfortunately, larger dehumidifiers cost more than a small dehumidifier but that’s the tool I need to do the job properly.

TL;DR: Larger rooms require larger more powerful dehumidifier which naturally consume more electricity. 

Initial Room Temperature

The temperature of the room can have an impact on how hard the dehumidifier needs to work.

A hot room will increase the amount of moisture in the air and make it more difficult for the dehumidifier to cool it down and condense the moisture from it.

This can lead to a slight spike in the unit’s electricity consumption and give you a higher electricity bill.

TL;DR: Hotter rooms carry more humidity and thus dehumidifier will naturally take longer to remove moisture from them. This in turn would increase your bills.

Local Energy Provider Rates

Rates for electricity vary considerably from town to town and state to state [2].

The cost of your dehumidifier will be directly impacted by these rates, and you’ll need to understand the average electricity cost in your area to predict the cost accurately.

I would recommend keeping an eye on these rates so you are aware of any changes as this might impact how and when you use different devices.

TL;DR: In the end, the most direct impact on your bill comes from your local energy rate.


The Cheapest Types Of Dehumidifiers To Run

Certain dehumidifiers cost more to run than others. This is usually because they use less energy so it’s worth looking for energy-efficient dehumidifiers.

ACLAB note:

Not all dehumidifiers are Energy-Star rated. 

According to Energy Star "Only whole-home dehumidifiers with product capacities less than or equal to 155 U.S. pints/day are eligible for ENERGY STAR." - Energy Star

There are two types of dehumidifiers:

  1. Desiccant Dehumidifiers – a desiccant dehumidifier works by drawing in air and passing it over a material that soaks up the moisture. An internal heater is then used to dry out the material so it can be used again.
  2. Compressor or Refrigerant Dehumidifiers – these work by creating a cold surface which causes the moisture in damp air to condense. It can then be removed and dry air recirculated in your home.

I always use compressor dehumidifiers because they are more efficient and cheaper to run.

I would recommend looking out for a refrigerant model if you want to lower your costs.
do dehumidifiers have freon

It’s also worth checking the energy star rating of whichever dehumidifier you choose.

TL;DR: There are different types of dehumidifiers but I personally recommend compressor / refrigerant dehumidifiers for keeping your bills low.


Energy-Saving Features To Look For

Dehumidifier energy efficiency is key for lowering your running costs. I always look for energy-efficient models with these features:

Advanced Humidistats

A humidistat is used to measure the relative humidity in the room so they can determine if the device needs to start working.

Advanced humidistats improve dehumidifier efficiency by only checking the relative humidity periodically.

This allows your dehumidifier to switch off when not in use and lowers the overall electricity usage and cost of running the device.

Adjustable Speeds

Modern, energy-efficient dehumidifiers allow you to customize the speed (just like you can with ceiling fans or air conditioning).

This means you can have it on a low setting and save money when the air is less damp.

It can also help to protect the air filter and exhaust fan in the dehumidifier as they won’t be used as much.

Laundry Function

Some modern, energy-efficient dehumidifiers have a function that will test the fresh air to see how much moisture there is and only turn on when there is excess moisture.

This lowers the overall dehumidifier use, and the cost to run a dehumidifier.

This is a particularly useful feature if you only run a dehumidifier at specific times (like when you’re drying clothes).

TL;DR: Advanced humidistats, adjustable speeds, and smart features can further provide you with more nuanced control of the device which can prevent it from running needlessly.


FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Dehumidifier 24/7?

It costs anywhere from $1 to $5 a day to run a dehumidifier 24/7 but this depends on the energy star rating, how many watts it uses, and how energy efficient it is.

Most modern dehumidifiers are designed to be used 24/7 but running a dehumidifier for longer will cost more.

How Energy-Efficient Are Dehumidifiers Compared to AC Units?

A dehumidifier is much more energy-efficient than an AC unit and will be at least 3 times cheaper to run.

AC units and dehumidifiers are very different, and one can’t replace the other, but you can get some combination units that are more energy efficient.

Should You Leave A Dehumidifier On All The Time?

Dehumidifiers should be left on for at least 10-12 hours a day. You can leave them on all the time, but it depends on how much moisture you have in your home you may not need to.

It’s worth considering the electricity costs and power consumption because If you are running your dehumidifier all the time, the energy bill will be higher.

Can One Dehumidifier Do A Whole House?

Yes, higher-capacity dehumidifiers can work for a whole home. You need to look for specialize whole-house dehumidifiers that can regulate the moisture in the air for your whole home.

These tend to have a higher dehumidifier wattage and a higher cost to run.

So, How Much Does It Cost To Run A Dehumidifier?

Well, it depends on a lot of factors, but even though dehumidifiers are relatively low-cost to run, there can be a big difference between models.

I rely on dehumidifiers to stop dampness and humidity from causing damage in my home, but by understanding the costs and choosing a good, energy-efficient dehumidifier, I’m able to save hundreds of dollars a year.

Hopefully, this article has given you all the information so you can do the same and you will be able to spend less to dehumidify your home.

References: 

  1. https://www.bls.gov/regions/midwest/data/averageenergyprices_selectedareas_table.htm
  2. https://www.electricchoice.com/electricity-prices-by-state/
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Josh Mitchell

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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.

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Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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