How to use dehumidifier

Our expert tips on how to use a dehumidifier effectively.

 Dehumidifiers. They are one of the best inventions of technology and science to maintain indoor health. A dehumidifier comes with different purposes and uses. When you use a dehumidifier in your home it will benefit you and your house in several ways because you will get; control over the relative humidity levels, improvement in air quality, extraction of water vapour from the air, prevention of mold and mildew, filtering out dust particles, and more.

If you are a homeowner, the benefits of these devices might not be new to you. However, there are certain ways in which one can pay attention when it comes to how one uses a dehumidifier. When you make a dehumidifier work the right way it is magic, humidity control becomes easy and the machine becomes your best friend.

What is the best way to use a dehumidifier?

Maintaining relative humidity levels within a home and across every room, needs a good amount of planning. It is essential that every owner or person residing in a home that is prone to excess moisture in the environment invest in a good dehumidifier.

There are different areas to focus on when it comes to purchasing the right dehumidifier. There are plentiful buying guides and owner’s manual that emphasize picking the right dehumidifier for a home solely based on its needs, the climate in the environment, and purpose. Apart from making the right choice, it is also important that you remember to use a dehumidifier correctly.

Putting the machine to use in the right way will ensure that moisture in the air is controlled, every room in the house has better air quality, and your comfort level within the home is increased.

Here are some proven methods that will help your device deliver the best performance in bringing down the moisture levels in any room that it is placed in.

1. The right spot

Different areas in a home will require attention based on their needs. For these to be met, it is also important to place the machine in the right spot in the room. Irrespective of the model, the machine will be in want of some space to permit air to flow in and out of it. To extract moisture from the air, the warm humid air must pass over the cool condenser coil. Having free space all around the dehumidifier will facilitate this process.

Some models release air from the top while few others have vents on their sides as an outlet for air. Go through your owner’s manual to understand how your dehumidifier works and what has been recommended as far as placement is concerned for your room size. It is also advised to refrain from plugging an extension cord into your dehumidifier’s cord.

2. Closed doors and windows

As much as air circulation within the home is appreciated after you set your dehumidifier close all the doors and windows in the space. Be it your basement, kitchen, living room, laundry rooms, or bathroom. It has been noticed that a dehumidifier works better in a closed space.

Hygrometer

3. Humidity level settings

Remember to set your dehumidifier with the required humidity level in the control panel before you run it. The ideal relative humidity level according to Energy Star is 30% to 50% and 30% to 40% when the temperature in the atmosphere drops low and gets colder.

Anything above 50% is considered humid and the excess moisture content in the environment brings in discomfort, unease, and promotes the growth of mold and mildew. When you use a dehumidifier this is an important step that you cannot afford to ignore.

4. Empty water reservoir

Based on the capacity of the unit within, every dehumidifier will absorb moisture content from the air, turn it into water droplets, and collect them in the water reservoir that comes with the device. This water tank must be emptied regularly. Almost all compressor dehumidifiers in the market has the tank full indicator in their dehumidifier settings in the control panel.

When you see that the indicator light is on, empty the water bucket at once. This feature is helpful to prevent the water bucket from overflowing when the dehumidifier has been set to run automatically. If you cannot be around to empty the bucket, you can also use the drain hose to empty the collected water.

Some dehumidifier settings or models have the feature that will pump the water from the bucket horizontally and vertically via a drain hose into a sink or to an outlet that you prefer. Check your buying guides if this option is available so that you can set your dehumidifier to automatically empty the water via pump and hose.

5. Filter

A clean air filter equals clean air within the home. There are many people who use a dehumidifier for the sole purpose of purifying air, rather than maintaining relative humidity. Although the source of air pollution can never be controlled fully, you can ensure that you make the best use out of dehumidifiers by always keeping the air filter clean.

Different brands of dehumidifiers may have different types of air filters, but, cleaning them is a no-fuss job. Some soap and water are sufficient for their maintenance. Consistent cleaning of air filters will ensure they are free from clogging of dust particles, mildew, dust mites, mold, and other allergens. A clogged filter can also lead to unit repair and poor performance of your dehumidifier. Cleaning the filter regularly is an important aspect of the overall maintenance of the unit.

What is the best time of day to use a dehumidifier?

humid weather

The answer to this question depends on your need. If you are looking to use a dehumidifier for air moisture level maintenance in your home, then it only makes sense to run your dehumidifier when the relative humidity level is at its highest and the air is laden with moisture. Using the dehumidifier continually is certainly a great way to keep every room in your home breathable.

Reduced humidity improves the effects of using HVAC system and air conditioner. You can set your dehumidifier to run continually if heat and excess moisture is a huge cause of concern in every area of your home. But, if you use a dehumidifier to simply maintain the air quality or comfort level, you can run it from early morning to late evening.

If the electricity bill from running a dehumidifier is a reason to worry about, then it is recommended to use your device from 10 pm to 7am, when energy consumption is lowest by others in and around the area.

How to set your dehumidifier?

Once your device has been moved to the right spot, ready to run with the windows closed, it is then time to pay attention to the control panel. There could be few differences in the details or UI across models based on the brands and unit, but, the idea is the same.

Common dehumidifier buttons

Dehumidifier settings

Humidity Level: This button on the electronic control panel will set unit to maintain the humidity level at what you choose. Set the unit at 45% for a comfortable environment.

Auto-Restart: Some homes and climates might be in need of continual dehumidification. Such places will have the dehumidifiers running continually and without constant monitoring. The Auto-Restart button that most brands have comes in during continual operation. The unit can restart to function with the settings that had been saved previously even after a power outage or shutdown.

Auto-Defrost: Frost formation on condenser coils is common when the unit is operated at extremely low temperatures for a long time. This is a problem that every air conditioner runs into once in a while. Almost all brands of dehumidifiers that are available in the market now have auto-defrost feature in them. A quick auto-defrost cycle or service will settle the problem.

When the unit is operated under 54°F for long hours, a layer of frost will form on the condensor coils. This frost settlement will reduce the efficiency and performance of dehumidifiers. When the machine detects this, it will initiate an auto-defrost cycle to get rid of the frost accumulation. The unit will turn off the compressor and continue to run the fan. When the heat and warm air from the room is circulated within the unit, the thawing process is hastened and effective.

Timer: Just like your air conditioner, your dehumidifier can also be programmed to run at a particular time of the day. This will help you to conserve energy and cost. If the area that you need your dehumidifier to function in requires continuous dehumidification, you can set the timer and also ensure auto-restart is enabled.

Water Full Indicator: Almost all dehumidifiers come with a water tank full indicator light. This is usually a float switch that turns on when the water level in the container goes over a limit. This feature is extremely helpful to prevent overflows. When the light is on you just have to empty the bucket and start again.

Fan Speed: The fan runs dehumdifiers to draw in as much air as possible. This button is useful to adjust the speed at which the fan runs, for both efficiency and to reduce the noise level. If you want to hasten the process and remove as much moisture as possible, for example in the basement area where the humidity is more, then you can increase the fan’s speed. If the humidity is maintained at a comfortable level and you prefer less noise in the area, then you can reduce the speed.

Child Lock: Yes, dehumidifiers also have the child lock feature. Turning on this button will lock the other control panel buttons from being used. You can long-press the Child Lock button to release it and resume use. Check the buying guides that come along with the purchase of the dehumidifier to know more about this feature for the particular model.

How to use a dehumidifier after a flood?

You can use a water damage restoration dehumidifier to dry out flood-affected areas. How long the unit needs to be run to dry out space completely depends on the model, source of flooding, the severity of damage to space and property. It might take anywhere from just a couple of days to several weeks for the porous surfaces to dry out thoroughly.

How to use a dehumidifier for drying clothes?

If the dehumidifier model that you won has a ‘Laundry’ mode in it you can use that to dry the clothes. You can simply have the clothes folded and put away in the racks or you can have the dehumidifier running in the room where the clothes are drying. You can also make use of desiccant dehumidifiers (either store-bought or homemade) to dry laundry with ease.

How to use dehumidifiers to eliminate mold?

Dehumidifiers remove the water content from the air within the room. Heat and lack of moisture make conditions unfavourable for mold and mildew. When dehumidifiers can actively keep reducing the humidity level that exists in the room, it makes the space fresh and devoid of any allergens that promote fungal growth. Remember, mold spores might continue to remain in dormant state. It is therefore essential to maintain the relative humidity level at all times.

How to use a dehumidifier to cool a room?

Technically, dehumidifiers cannot cool a room. When they remove the water vapor-laden air from the environment, it feels cooler because the cause of discomfort has been reduced. If you intend to use a dehumidifier to increase the comfort level and make the air in the room breathable and light, and cooler this would work for you. A dehumidifier can never cool a room like an air conditioner, hence it is not a replacement for an AC.

How to use a dehumidifier in winter?

Colder climates will make the air drier and therefore removing the need for a dehumidifier. However, you can still use a dehumidifier for more comfort in the room. You can set the unit to 60% or below when the weather drops low. 45% to 50% will also give you the ideal comfort.

FAQ Section

1. What is the continuous mode on a dehumidifier?

The ‘Continuous Mode’ in dehumidifiers will run the unit continually, regardless of what the humidity level is. The dehumidifier will not turn on and off or work according to the humidity level, but rather will run continually.

2. Are you supposed to put water in a dehumidifier?

Frigidaire dehumidifiers are known for their performance and efficiency. Each model might have some differences in function, however, the initial steps to set up the unit are the same.

1. Find the right spot to place the dehumidifier in the room.
2. Plug the appliance into a grounded 115-volt AC power outlet. 
3. Switch On the dehumidifier and allow it to run on the default factory continuous mode settings for 3 to 4 days.
4. Use the ‘Humidity Up’ or ‘Humidity Down’ buttons to adjust the humidity level you want the dehumidifier to be maintained at.
5. Adjust the Fan settings to suit the room and your requirement.
6. Set the ‘Timer’ if required.
7. When you notice the ‘Bucket Full’ indicator on, empty the water tank and start the process again.

3. How to use GE dehumidifier?

GE dehumidifiers are another famous brand that makes durable dehumidifiers. The steps to set up and use the GE dehumidifier are no different.

1. Place the appliance in the right area in the room in need of dehumidification.
2. Plug the dehumidifier into a grounded outlet.
3. Turn on the dehumidifier and let it run for a couple of days in the default factory settings (in the Continuous Mode with the High Fan Speed).
4. When the unit is ready for regular use, adjust the required humidity level, fan settings, and timer.
5. Keep a track of the Bucket Full indicator. Use can also connect the drain hose for continual water removal from the unit.

Wrapping Up

Hope you found the different ways you can use a dehumidifier helpful. There are many brands that have the latest features and additions to make the use of a dehumidifier simple and efficient. Make sure you thoroughly read the buying guides available before you make an investment into a dehumidifier model.

Let us know how you use dehumidifiers in your home and which model works best for you.

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About The Author

Olivia — a self-confessed air quality addict — is a home climate enthusiast, fresh air advocate, and someone with deep personal experience and knowledge about mold extermination. Her work was mentioned in countless notable humidity publications. Previously she was an editor at Mold Remediation.