How Effective Are Dehumidifiers?

It’s June here in Kansas and the heat is on. Today is going to be ninety-five degrees and when I woke up this morning the humidity read ninety percent. This weather can be quite miserable for those of us who do not have air conditioning. Even if you do have an AC your home can still be uncomfortable during these hot days due to all of the humidity in the air.

This is where dehumidifiers come into play. Humidity is a measurement of how much water vapor is in the air, the higher the number the more moisture. Typically most homeowners are comfortable with humidity levels between thirty to fifty percent. If your home is above these levels then you may feel like the air is thick, or even damp. You may notice water forming condensation on the inside of your windows, or in some cases you may even begin to see mold beginning to grow on your walls or curtains. All of these are signs that the humidity in your home is too high.

Running a dehumidifier in your home will work to shrink that humidity down to a more reasonable level. But, how effective are these dehumidifiers? Should you bother purchasing one? Will you notice a difference? In this article we are going to take a look at just how effective dehumidifiers will be. If you are interested in the benefits, then check out our earlier article on benefits of dehumidifiers.

Dehumidifier Effectiveness

There isn’t a simple answer here folks. Unfortunately, there are a lot of variables that can affect your dehumidifiers. First, let’s take a look at the appliance itself.

What pint capacity does it have? For those of you that do not know, the pint capacity on a dehumidifier is a measurement of how much water the appliance can remove in a twenty-four hour period. The higher the pint capacity the more effective it will be. You can purchase dehumidifiers with pint sizes ranging from twenty all the way to seventy-five. It is typically recommended to purchase the dehumidifier with the highest pint capacity. This helps you cover your bases and gets you the higher performing appliance for your home. Read our sizing guide first if you want to know more about this.

The other factor when choosing a dehumidifier is the overall quality of the product. There are numerous makes and models out there today and it can be difficult to tell which ones are good and which ones just don’t hold up. My recommendation here is to stick with the brand names that you recognize. For example, the brand name Frigidaire we all know about. Chances are you have a Frigidaire appliance in your home today. They make quality products. They also make dehumidifiers (check out one of our reviews).

Ok, so now that we’ve discussed the physical product let’s look at the environmental impacts to dehumidifier effectiveness. This may be a given, but the hotter it is outside the harder your dehumidifier will have to work. You have to remember that a dehumidifier is essentially a little air conditioner. While it doesn’t provide cold air into your home it does extract the humidity just like an air conditioner does. Have you ever noticed that your air conditioners have a drainage pipe in your basement? That water that is draining is the removed humidity. Just like with your air conditioner, the hotter it is outside the harder your dehumidifier will have to work.

Along with a hotter day putting more strain on your dehumidifier you will also see increased load on your appliance based off of how humid it is outside. I’ve mentioned this before, but I live in Kansas where the humidity can be quite high. In the mornings it is around ninety percent and in the afternoon it’s around sixty. These high numbers are going to affect the dehumidifier’s performance.

It’s not just outside temperatures though that can affect the dehumidifier. If you keep the climate in your home too cold then your dehumidifier will struggle to perform. The most common practice is to keep temperatures inside your home at or above sixty-five degrees. This will give you optimal performance on your dehumidifier.

The room that you place your dehumidifier in can also make a substantial difference. You will see more results with your appliance if you place it in the basement rather than your upstairs bedrooms. This is for a few reasons. The first is that the more wide open a space is the harder your dehumidifier will have to work. Secondly, the more air flow that passes through a room the harder it will have to work. Thirdly, we all know that heat rises. If you put your dehumidifier in your top floor bedroom then you are not going to be as effective due to the extra heat it experiences as well as the increased air flow.


As you can tell folks, there are a ton of variables that have to be taken into consideration here. I’d love to give you a simple yes and no answer, but nothing is ever that easy… is it?

Before I close this article I did want to mention that you may end up needing to purchase more than one dehumidifier or even a centrally installed dehumidifier if you have a large home and are experiencing problems throughout the home.

This decision will be a matter of expense. Yes, the expense can be quite higher if you opt for a centrally installed system, but you get peace of mind that your home has humidity control. On the inverse, with the portable systems you can purchase just one and see how it performs. If it suits your needs then you can be done and move on, otherwise you can purchase another one to place strategically in your home.

If you are interested in purchasing a dehumidifier then I recommend you explore our dehumidifier purchase guide first. The guide goes over every possible question and consideration that should be made before purchasing a dehumidifier.