Guide to Dehumidifier Placement For Optimal Performance

Josh Mitchell

Written By

Josh Mitchell

Expert Reviewed By

Holly Curell

Last Updated On

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I have dehumidifiers in my basement, garage, living room, and bedroom, and they all manage the humidity perfectly.

This isn’t just because I’ve bought the right models, it’s because they are set up in just the right place.

The right dehumidifier placement will help you bring down the relative humidity to a comfortable level quickly, but the wrong placement could leave your dehumidifier useless.

In this guide, I’ll explain why dehumidifier placement matters, what factors you need to consider, and where to place a dehumidifier to get the best results. 

Key Takeaways

  • A dehumidifier should be placed close to the source of moisture. This can differ depending upon what room you choose to place it in e.g. laundry room, bathroom or basement
  • It should be placed in a central location preferably and also where there is ample air flow for it to catch the moisture out from the air (not near an open window though).
  • Choosing the right location is very important otherwise the performance of your unit will get impeded.

Why Is Dehumidifier Placement Important?

how does a dehumidifier work

A dehumidifier is a powerful appliance, but if you don’t use it correctly then it can’t remove excess humidity or excess moisture. 

I’ve been called out to lots of locations where the dehumidifier is working just fine, but it’s set up in the completely wrong place so it can’t function properly.

Just like you wouldn’t use a heater in a hot room, or an AC unit in a cold room, you also need to make sure you’re using your dehumidifier in the right place.

If you have it in the wrong part of your home then it might not have any humidity to deal with.

Or, if you have it in the right room but set it up in the wrong way then there may not be adequate ventilation to draw in the damp air, and it won’t work be able to dry it out.

Basically, if you don’t place your dehumidifier correctly then it won’t work. This can leave you with high levels of water vapor in your home which can lead to mold growth, damp conditions, and even damage to your home and belongings.

TL;DR: An improper dehumidifier placement will hinder its performance and sometimes render it completely useless.


Where Should You Place Your Dehumidifiers?

where to place dehumidifier

Your dehumidifier should be placed as close to the source of moisture as possible. If you have a multi-level home you should place your dehumidifier on the floor with the coldest air where it will have the most impact – this is usually the basement.

I have several dehumidifiers in my home, but I always focus on the basement. 

ACLAB Note

A basement dehumidifier can also help humidity from spreading to your entire house upstairs too.

Your dehumidifier should be placed centrally in the room wherever possible so that it can have the most impact. 

You should also leave at least a few feet of clearance around the dehumidifier so air can freely flow in and out of it.

I keep mine near the center of the room and away from any furniture, or other items that may get in the way.

TL;DR: As a rule of thumb, dehumidifiers should be placed as close to source of moisture as possible.

Placing Refrigerant Dehumidifiers Vs. Desiccant Dehumidifiers

Generally, you should place desiccant dehumidifiers in the same way as refrigerant dehumidifiers.

They both need to be fairly central and you shouldn’t place the dehumidifier close to a wall. You should also make sure there’s adequate ventilation around the appliance.

The key difference is that refrigerant dehumidifiers use cold coils which can potentially freeze, whereas desiccant dehumidifiers don’t.

This makes them better to be placed in cold conditions and can make them more effective as a basement humidifier.

TL;DR: Both should be placed in a central location and away from walls or in places where the airflow can get restricted.

Types of dehumidifiers

Factors Which Impact Where You Place Your Dehumidifier

Room Size

The room size places an important role in how your dehumidifier works.

You need to make sure that the dehumidifier can pull air in from all areas of the room in order to work most effectively and lower the room humidity. 

The larger the space, the more central your dehumidifier needs to be.

If you are placing a dehumidifier in a large room, like living rooms or family rooms, then I would recommend placing it away from the wall and corners, towards the middle of the large room. 

However, if you are placing the dehumidifier in a small room such as a bedroom, then you can place it in a corner or near a wall and it will still reduce the humidity level.

TL;DR: In larger rooms, try to place as central a location as possible.

Source Of Humidity

You need to consider where the humidity is coming from in your home.

The most common sources of moist air in the home are inadequate ventilation and high humidity from damp conditions or warm weather [1], but it can be different for everyone.

You need to place your dehumidifier near the source of humidity in your home

If it is an external source then I would recommend placing it near a window or near the middle of the room facing your door to remove excess moisture. 

ACLAB Note

It is not recommended to leave the windows open with the dehumidifier working. An open window will keep bringing in new moisture making the dehumidifier work overtime.

If it is an internal source then you should place it near the source to remove moisture – often this is a shower or heater.

TL;DR: Consider the source of humidity. Basement, bathroom and external ventilation are all common sources of humidity.

Restrictions To Airflow

Dehumidifiers should be placed where there is adequate air flow.

This allows the portable dehumidifier to effectively pull in the damp air through the air filter with the internal fan.

I would recommend clearing all furniture and other objects so there are at least two feet of space around the dehumidifier.

This isn’t always an option, particularly if you only have a single electrical outlet, but it’s important to remove whatever blockers that you can.

TL;DR: Keep the dehumidifier away from objects or walls. Make sure the airflow around the dehumidifier is not restricted.


Placing Dehumidifiers In Different Rooms

In A Basement

Basement dehumidifiers generally have to deal with a lot of moisture.

will a dehumidifier in the basement help the whole house

You should make sure it’s placed centrally so it can handle the humidity, but make sure it isn’t placed in an area that’s too wet or it could impact the electrics. 

This could lead to an electric shock or could blow the electricity in your entire house.

If you do have damp floors or moist carpet, place a small table or another piece of furniture in the room and put the dehumidifier on top of it.

You can also place the dehumidifier upstairs pointing down towards the basement.

What To Look For In A Basement Dehumidifier:

  • Large size/capacity with a big water reservoir
  • Energy efficiency

In A Crawl Space

Place your dehumidifier in the middle of the crawl space to reduce the humidity.

There isn’t always a lot of airflow in a crawl space (depending on whether it’s between separated wood floors or under your whole house), and if you put the unit next to the wall then it won’t be able to eliminate the moisture as effectively.

Make sure that you do not have furniture or other items in the crawl space that block airflow to the dehumidifier.

What To Look For In A Crawl Space Dehumidifier:

  • Compact, portable model
  • High capacity (if the space is humid)
  • Specialist crawl space model
crawl space humidity levels

In A Grow Room

Place your dehumidifier in the moistest area of the grow room.

I’ve found that it works well to hang your dehumidifier in the center of the room near the lights to reduce humidity most effectively. 

If you have a water mister or other moisture-creating devices, keep the dehumidifier on that side of the room to help counteract humidity levels as you add water to your plants.

What To Look For In A Grow Room Dehumidifier:

  • High-capacity
  • Auto restart function (so it keeps running)
  • Drain line so it can be plumbed in

In A Bathroom

Place your bathroom dehumidifier away from any other electric devices (such as electric shavers, blow dryers, and curling irons).

How to dehumidify bathroom
The water from the dehumidifier could interact with these and be hazardous. 

You may be limited by the number of outlets in your bathroom, but try to place the dehumidifier near to your shower as this will be the leading source of humidity.

What To Look For In A Bathroom Dehumidifier:

  • Portable model as it may not be needed all the time
  • Quiet running if your bathroom is near your bedroom
ProBreeze with Whisper Technology

In A Bedroom

Place your dehumidifier as close to the middle of your bedroom as you can.

I’m a light sleeper, so the intake and exhaust fan can be irritating when I’m trying to sleep. 

I always look for a quiet model and place it on the opposite side of the room to my bed. 

Try to keep it away from the walls and curtains too so it doesn’t blow them all night.

What To Look For In A Bedroom Dehumidifier:

  • Low decibels so it doesn’t disturb your sleep
  • Built-in humidistat so it doesn’t dry out the air while you’re sleeping

In A Laundry Room

Place your laundry room dehumidifier as close to the dampness/wet clothes as possible but without restricting airflow.

It’s often a good idea to wall mount your dehumidifier in a laundry room so it can capture the moisture from your clothes.

What To Look For In A Laundry Room Dehumidifier:

  • Laundry room function so it dries the air more quickly
  • Anti-dust/anti-bacteria functionality to stop dust mites from reaching your clothes
  • Humidistat function so it turns off once the clothes are dry

In A Whole House

Whole house dehumidifiers work by drawing in air from multiple rooms at once. I would recommend placing them in a central room, facing toward the middle of the room.

This allows it to draw in the greatest amount of air to help lower humidity levels throughout the entire apartment.

You may need multiple dehumidifiers to cover the apartment, depending on the square footage of your place.

What To Look For In A Whole House Dehumidifier:

  • Large size and high capacity
  • A fixed/plumbed-in model for constant drainage
Humidifier Beside a Bicycle

TL;DR: Depending upon the room, the dehumidifier placement can slightly differ but it often follows the general rule: central location and away from objects.


Where Should You NOT Place Your Dehumidifier?

  • Near Dust, Lint, and Air Particles Sources
    If you have an area of your home that experiences a lot of dust, lint, or other air particles, then you should keep your dehumidifier away from that area. The dehumidifier is not designed to deal with airborne particles and your dehumidifier placement should reflect that.
  • Near Electric Source
    Your dehumidifier holds water in its tank. This water should not be near an electric source or electrical outlet because if you accidentally spill water on the electric source, you can damage both appliances and hurt yourself. Place a dehumidifier at least six feet away from any electronic sources if possible and use an extension cord if necessary.
  • Near A Water Heater Or Furnace
    A water heater or furnace will have a lot of hot air coming out of it, and this can be problematic for your dehumidifier. Try to place a dehumidifier in a different space if possible.
  • In A Damp Floor Or Moist Carpet
    Do not place a dehumidifier on a damp floor or wet carpet because it will not be able to help the area if it is on top of it and placing a dehumidifier on a damp surface can damage the appliance. If you place a dehumidifier in the room, it can help draw moisture out, so try an elevated dehumidifier placement above it (I place it on a small table), away from the damp floor/carpet. 
  • Near A Large Piece Of Furniture
    Do not place a dehumidifier near a large piece of furniture. This will restrict airflow and lower the effectiveness of your unit.
  • Near Boxes And Storage Units
    Do not place a dehumidifier near boxes or storage units because the airflow will be restricted. This will prevent the excess moisture and excess humidity from being drawn in and stop your dehumidifier from functioning properly.
  • Against A Wall
    If you place a dehumidifier directly against a wall you can block the intake and exhaust fan. This will the HVAC system from drawing in moisture and leave you with high humidity.
  • Near An Open Door Or Window
    If you place your dehumidifier too close to an open window or an open door, then you may find that it takes a long time to reach the desired relative humidity level. This is because the dehumidifier is not only pulling air inside your home into its filter/coils, but it is also pulling in outdoor air with excess humidity. Only place the dehumidifier next to a door or window if it is closed.

TL;DR: There are some dehumidifier placements that should be entirely avoided such. You must keep it away from dust sources, furnaces, heaters, large furniture, walls or an open window for best performance.


FAQs

Should A Dehumidifier Be Placed High Or Low?

A dehumidifier can be placed high or low, but it should always be in areas of high humidity with good airflow.

Do I Need A Dehumidifier In Every Room?

Most homeowners don’t need a dehumidifier in every room, but it depends on what size dehumidifier you’re using and how big your home is.

If possible, we recommend placing a dehumidifier on each level of your home and making sure that the square feet or square footage capacity of the dehumidifier(s) exceeds your home’s square footage.

Will A Dehumidifier Regulate The Whole House?

A whole-house dehumidifier system will regulate the entire home, but most dehumidifiers are capable of working within an area of specific square feet.

You may need to buy several small dehumidifiers to place in various rooms around the house if you want to lower relative humidity in each room.

Do You Leave Windows Open When Using A Dehumidifier?

No, you should not leave windows open when using a dehumidifier. This can impact your dehumidifier performance and prevent it from lowering the humidity level.

Wrapping Up the Optimal Dehumidifier Placement

I have used all kinds of dehumidifiers over the years, but no matter how good the model is it won’t work properly if it’s not placed correctly.

It took me a while to get the best dehumidifier placement in my home, but now they give me complete control of my indoor humidity.

Hopefully, this guide will help you do the same and has shown you where to place your dehumidifier in your home to reach the optimal 30-50% relative humidity, quickly [2].

References: 

  1. https://www.oxford.gov.uk/info/20271/guidance_for_private_tenants/1129/preventing_damp_and_mould
  2. https://www.nationalasthma.org.au/news/2016/indoor-humidity
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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.

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Midea U Shaped Window Air Conditioner

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