How Much Electricity Does a Dehumidifier Use?

How Much Electricity Does a Dehumidifier Use?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Dehumidifiers are essential appliances for maintaining optimal indoor humidity levels. They help combat excessive moisture, leading to mold, mildew, and other issues. However, many people are concerned about the electricity usage of dehumidifiers and their impact on their energy bills. Our article will explore the factors influencing a dehumidifier's electricity consumption, methods to calculate its energy usage and tips for minimizing energy costs.

Let's get started!

What Is a Dehumidifier and How Does It Work

A dehumidifier is an electrical appliance designed to reduce and control the humidity level in the air of a given space, such as a room or a basement. The air dehumidifier helps to remove excess moisture from the air, which can be beneficial for various reasons, including improving indoor air quality, preventing mold and mildew growth, and creating a more comfortable environment.

Dehumidifiers work by employing a process called condensation. Here's a general overview of how they work:

  1. Air intake: The dehumidifier pulls humid air from the room through a vent or grille.
  2. Cooling coils: The incoming humid air passes over cooling coils, kept at a lower temperature than the room. As a result, the temperature of the air drops.
  3. Condensation: As the air cools, its ability to hold moisture decreases, causing the excess moisture to condense into water droplets. These droplets collect on the cooling coils or a condensation coil inside the dehumidifier.
  4. Drainage: The collected water drips or flows into a collection tank or tray within the dehumidifier. Some dehumidifiers have a built-in pump to pump the water out, while others require manual tank emptying.
  5. Air reheating: After the moisture is extracted, the dehumidifier reheats the air before releasing it into the room. This ensures that the air leaving the dehumidifier is warm and dry, thus preventing a drop in room temperature.
  6. Humidity control: Dehumidifiers typically have a humidity control setting that allows you to set the desired humidity level. Once the set humidity level is reached, the dehumidifier may turn off automatically or enter a standby mode until the humidity rises again.

Types of Dehumidifiers and Their Electricity Usage

Here is a general overview of the electricity usage for different types of dehumidifiers:

1. Refrigerative/Compressor Dehumidifiers

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These dehumidifiers use a compressor and a refrigeration cycle to remove moisture from the air. The compressor consumes significant electricity to compress the refrigerant and create the necessary temperature differential. The power consumption of refrigerative dehumidifiers can range from around 300 watts for smaller capacity units to over 1,000 watts for larger models.

2. Desiccant Dehumidifiers

Desiccant dehumidifiers use a desiccant material, often silica gel, to absorb moisture from the air. These dehumidifiers generally consume less electricity compared to compressor-based models. The power consumption of desiccant dehumidifiers typically ranges from 200 to 500 watts, depending on the capacity and operational settings.

Desiccant dehumidifiers are particularly efficient in colder environments, as they do not rely on refrigeration cycles. They can maintain their effectiveness even at low temperatures, making them suitable for basements, garages, or colder climates.

3. Ionic Membrane Dehumidifiers

Ionic membrane dehumidifiers utilize a specialized membrane that allows moisture molecules to pass through while blocking other gases. These dehumidifiers are known for their energy efficiency. Depending on the model and capacity, they typically consume relatively lower power, ranging from 30 to 100 watts.

Ionic membrane dehumidifiers are designed to operate silently and with minimal energy consumption. They are often used in smaller spaces or for personal use, where low power consumption is desirable.

4. Peltier Dehumidifiers

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Peltier dehumidifiers, also known as thermoelectric dehumidifiers, employ the Peltier effect to remove moisture from the air. These dehumidifiers are usually smaller and designed for specific applications, such as small rooms, closets, or RVs.

Peltier dehumidifiers typically have lower power requirements than other types, ranging from 20 to 100 watts. However, they may have limited moisture removal capacity, making them more suitable for smaller spaces or areas with lower humidity.

It's worth noting that the energy consumption mentioned above is approximate and can vary based on the specific make and model of the dehumidifier.

Calculating the Electricity Consumption of a Dehumidifier

Determining the electricity consumption of a dehumidifier involves a simple calculation based on its power rating and usage time. Here are the steps to estimate the energy consumption:

1. Identify the Power Rating:

The power rating of a dehumidifier indicates the amount of electrical power it consumes during operation. It is usually measured in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW). The power rating can typically be found on the dehumidifier or user manual.

For example, you have a dehumidifier with a power rating of 800 watts (0.8 kW). This means the dehumidifier consumes 800 watts of power per hour while operating.

2. Determine the Usage Time:

To calculate the energy consumption, determine the dehumidifier's average daily or monthly usage time. This depends on your area's climate, humidity, and personal preferences.

For instance, if you typically run the dehumidifier for 8 hours daily, that would be your usage time.

3. Calculate Energy Consumption:

To estimate the energy consumption of your dehumidifier, follow these steps:

a. Convert the power rating to kilowatts (kW):

If the power rating is given in watts (W), you need to convert it to kilowatts (kW) by dividing it by 1000. Using the example above, the power rating of 800 watts (0.8 kW) would remain the same since it is already in kilowatts.

b. Multiply the power rating (in kW) by the usage time (in hours):

Multiply the power rating (converted to kilowatts) by the average daily or monthly usage time in hours. Continuing with our example, if the dehumidifier has a power rating of 0.8 kW and is used for an average of 8 hours per day, the calculation would be 0.8 kW × 8 hours = 6.4 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per day.

c. Adjust for monthly usage:

To determine the monthly energy consumption, multiply the daily energy consumption by the number of days in a month. Assuming 30 days in the month, the calculation would be 6.4 kWh × 30 days = 192 kWh per month.

It's important to note that the above calculation provides an estimate of the energy consumption of your dehumidifier based on the provided power rating and usage time. Actual usage may vary depending on factors such as how energy efficient the device is, the humidity levels in your environment, and any additional features or settings you use.

Cost of Running a Dehumidifier

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To determine a dehumidifier energy cost, you need to consider the following factors:

  1. Consider power consumption and duration of operation, which we have already covered above.
  2. Electricity cost: Check your electricity bill for the electricity price area per kilowatt-hour (kWh). This cost can vary depending on your location and the specific electricity provider. If you can't find this information, you can use an average rate of around $0.12 per kWh in the United States.

Once you have these values, you can use the following formula to calculate the cost of running your dehumidifier:

Cost per day = (Power rating in kilowatts) × (Operating hours per day) × (Electricity cost per kWh)

Cost per month = Cost per day × 30 (assuming a 30-day month)

Here's an example calculation:

Assuming the dehumidifier has a power rating of 0.5 kW, runs for 8 hours a day, and the electricity cost is $0.12 per kWh:

Cost per day = 0.5 kW × 8 hours × $0.12/kWh = $0.48

Cost per month = $0.48 × 30 = $14.40

Therefore, the estimated cost of running the dehumidifier in this example would be approximately $14.40 monthly.

Remember that these calculations are approximate, as electricity rates may vary, and the actual power consumption of your dehumidifier may be slightly different from the rated power.

Factors Influencing How Much Electricity a Dehumidifier Uses

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Several factors can influence the amount of electricity a dehumidifier uses. Here are some of the key factors:

  1. Dehumidifier capacity: The capacity or size of the dehumidifier plays a significant role in its energy consumption. Larger dehumidifiers generally require more electricity than smaller ones because they need to extract moisture from a larger area.
  2. Moisture levels: The initial moisture level in the air and the desired humidity level affect the dehumidifier's runtime and energy consumption. If the air is excessively humid, energy-efficient models may need to run longer, using more electricity to achieve the desired humidity level.
  3. Room size: The size of the room or area being dehumidified can impact energy usage. A larger room typically requires a more powerful dehumidifier, which may consume more electricity.
  4. Energy efficiency rating: Look for higher energy efficiency rating dehumidifiers, usually expressed as an Energy Star certification. The most energy-efficient dehumidifier models with an integrated energy factor are designed to use less electricity while effectively removing air moisture.
  5. Humidity settings: The selected humidity level on the dehumidifier also affects energy consumption. Higher humidity settings require the dehumidifier to work harder and consume more electricity.
  6. Environmental conditions: Factors such as temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment can influence the dehumidifier's performance and energy usage. For example, operating a dehumidifier in a warmer and humid environment may require more energy to achieve the desired humidity level.
  7. Usage patterns: The frequency and duration of dehumidifier use can impact energy consumption. If the dehumidifier runs for longer or is frequently used, it will consume more electricity.
  8. Maintenance: Proper dehumidifier maintenance, such as regular cleaning of filters and coils, can ensure optimal performance and energy efficiency. A dirty or clogged small dehumidifier may need to work harder, increasing energy consumption.

Tips on Reducing How Much Energy a Dehumidifier Use

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Here are some tips to help reduce electricity usage when using a dehumidifier:

  1. Choose an energy-efficient dehumidifier: Look for Energy Star-certified dehumidifiers, as they are designed to consume less electricity while providing the same level of performance as standard models.
  2. Proper sizing: Select an appropriately sized dehumidifier for the area you want to dehumidify. An oversized unit will consume more energy than necessary, while an undersized unit may struggle to dehumidify the space effectively.
  3. Set the ideal humidity level: Most dehumidifiers allow you to set the desired humidity level. Set it to a level that is comfortable for you (usually between 40-50%). Avoid setting it too low, as it will increase the runtime and energy consumption.
  4. Location and ventilation: Place the dehumidifier in a central location within the room. Ensure that it has proper airflow and is not blocked by furniture or other objects. Keep the doors and windows closed while using the dehumidifier to prevent humid air from entering the space.
  5. Regular maintenance: Clean the air filter regularly according to the manufacturer's instructions. A clogged filter can restrict airflow and reduce the dehumidifier's efficiency, causing it to consume more electricity.
  6. Time and schedule usage: Use a timer or programmable settings to run the dehumidifier only when necessary. For example, you can set it to run at night when electricity rates are usually lower or during specific hours when humidity levels are higher.
  7. Supplement with natural methods: Consider using natural methods to reduce humidity alongside the dehumidifier. For example, using ventilation fans, opening windows during dry and cool periods, or using moisture-absorbing materials like silica gel packets in small spaces can help reduce the workload of the dehumidifier.
  8. Insulate the room: Proper insulation can help prevent excess moisture from entering the room, reducing the workload of the dehumidifier. Check for leaks, seal cracks, and ensure proper insulation in windows and doors.

Frequently Asked Questions on How Much Electricity Does a Dehumidifier Use

a) Which is cheaper to run a dehumidifier or air conditioner?

The electricity cost of running most energy-efficient dehumidifiers versus air conditioners depends on various factors, such as the energy efficiency of each device, the size of the space being cooled or dehumidified, the local climate, and the duration of the operation.

Air conditioners are generally designed to cool the air while reducing humidity levels. Therefore, if you need both cooling and dehumidification, an air conditioner can serve both purposes, making it more cost-effective to run a single device. However, a dehumidifier will be more energy-efficient and cost-effective if you only need to control humidity levels without cooling.

Dehumidifiers are typically smaller and consume less energy compared to air conditioners. They primarily focus on removing excess moisture from the air, which can help improve indoor air quality and prevent issues like mold growth and musty odors. Therefore, running the best bathroom dehumidifier is generally more economical if your primary concern is reducing humidity.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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