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Do Dehumidifiers Use A Lot Of Electricity?

You read online that getting a dehumidifier can help reduce the overall moisture inside your home, which might solve some of the other issues you’ve been having lately, such as dust mites.

Yet, how much electricity will a dehumidifier use?

The average amount of electricity a dehumidifier will use is 483.24 watts (W).

In this article, we’ll look in detail as to how dehumidifiers work, how much power they can use, how much they can cost to run, some helpful maintenance tips, and some dehumidifying alternatives.

How Dehumidifiers Work

The purpose a dehumidifier serves is reducing the humidity levels inside your home down to a comfortable level.

Doing so can also prevent mold, mildew, and other nasty things from growing on surfaces.

Most experts recommend that humidity levels should hover around 50%.

Many dehumidifiers operate using cold refrigeration coils.

The surrounding air (warmer) is drawn towards the machine, collected on the coils, and then drops into a collection unit.

Some others use what are called “desiccants,” materials that are very efficient at absorbing water, even from the ambient air.

ALSO READ: Will A Dehumidifier Help With Mold?

Dehumidifier Electricity Usage

The average amount of electricity a dehumidifier will use is 483.24 watts (W).

However, the most common dehumidifiers tend to use around 600W.

The amount of power any dehumidifier uses will vary.

Cheaper models may only use 214W, while more expensive ones go up to 970W.

There’s also a difference between whole-house dehumidifiers and portable ones.

Whole-house ones tend to use more electricity, but it also depends on how frequently you’ll use your machine, portable or not.

There’s also energy efficiency to consider.

Older models such as those that have refrigeration coils use more energy than newer ones that have desiccants in them.

One key factor to look out for when getting the best bang for your buck is the ENERGY STAR certificate.

Dehumidifiers certified under this label tend to use 230W to 548W of power.

However, even though that cheap dehumidifier has the ENERGY STAR, it may not mean less cost for you overall to run.

How To Calculate Dehumidifier Electricity Usage

To determine the overall monthly cost of running a dehumidifier, we’ll need to look at a couple of factors first.

A relatively simple one is converting wattage into kilowatts per hour (kWh).

To do this, simply take the wattage of any dehumidification device ( let’s use the most common one, 600W), and divide that number by 1000 to get 0.6 kWh.

The next factor is determining the average rate your energy company charges you per kilowatt hour, the most commonly used unit in determining electricity costs.

The rate greatly depends on the area you live in, so check your monthly statements for the actual number.

Let’s use 12 cents per kilowatt hour, or $0.12 kWh as an example.

To get a quick estimate of the cost per hour, simply multiply 0.6 kWh by $0.12 kWh to get $0.072 kWh.

Sounds cheap, right? Well, that estimate is only for a single hour of usage.

Chances are that you’ll need way more time than that to successfully dry out your home, especially if you have to do this for multiple rooms.

Let’s take the same wattage and rate per kilowatt hour and apply it to the third factor, the time you will use it per month.

If you were to run that same device in one room for 12 hours per day, every day of the week, the numbers change.

Take 0.6 kWh and multiply by 12 to get 7.2 kWh for a single day.

Take 7.2 kWh and multiply by 30 (or 31, depending on the month) and get 216 kWh or 223.2 kWh, the total amount of power this particular dehumidifier will use for a monthly period.

Now, take either of those numbers and multiply them by the rate mentioned earlier.

By multiplying 216 kWh by $0.12 kWh, you get $25.92. Adding an extra day of use, you’ll get $26.78.

Keep in mind, these estimates are only taking common portable dehumidifiers into account, and a 12 cent rate may not be present where you live.

The electrical costs might be higher than the ones we used here.

On average, most dehumidifiers in the US today use around 307.2 kWh.

So it’s not just the rate per kilowatt hour that could be higher, but overall energy usage could be greater as well.

Having an older dehumidifier run for too long can also hike up costs.

ALSO READ: How Long Do Dehumidifiers Last? (+ Dehumidifier Alternatives)

Dehumidifier Usage Tips For Lower Energy Costs

So the verdict here is that dehumidifiers will use a lot of electricity, and using one for less time might just be unfeasible for you.

However, keeping your machine well-maintained throughout the entire time for when it’s needed will help lower the dollar amount you can see on your next energy bill.

One simple action you can take is to check the water levels periodically.

Depending on how your dehumidifier collects water, it’s important to ensure the collection tray isn’t too full, and any with a drainage tube is draining properly.

Another tip that some might not consider is properly placing the machine.

This means don’t stick the humidifier too close to any walls or objects that could obstruct its air-intake.

Without the necessary space to do its job, any dehumidifier can overheat when trying to compensate.

A big one to consider is getting a hygrometer.

These handy devices will measure the overall humidity of the room you’re in (assuming your dehumidifier doesn’t have one on it already).

When it reaches that golden 50% moisture mark, you’ll know it’s time to turn it off, and thus reduce the amount of electricity you need to use.

It’s also helpful to know if you choose to skip out on larger humidifiers, and need to run your portable one for longer periods.  

Dehumidifier Alternatives

If getting a dehumidifier doesn’t sound right for you, fear not, for there are several options you can try.

Such examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Rock salt (big plastic tubs of them)
  • Placing any houseplants you have outside
  • Opening up windows (multiple ones to ensure good ventilation)
  • Take colder or shorter showers
  • Using fans

image: HS You, Flickr, CC 2.0

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