Watt, Why & How e-Newsletter

Is Your Dehumidifier Soaking You?

Money water

That little dehumidifier tucked away in your basement is great for pulling moisture out of the air and combating the growth of mold and mildew, but it uses more energy than you might think.

One study found that the average annual energy use of a typical dehumidifier is 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh)—about $125 a year at the current national average electricity rate. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to reduce humidity while saving energy.

Upgrade for energy efficiency

Purchase an ENERGY STAR qualified dehumidifier. ENERGY STAR models remove the same amount of moisture as standard units, but use 15 percent less energy. On average, an ENERGY STAR dehumidifier will save you $175 over the life of the unit.

When shopping for a new unit, keep the following in mind:

Capacity. Dehumidifier capacity is measured in pints per day. Most models range from 25 to 70 pints per day, although larger units are available. The capacity you need depends on the size of the space and its condition (damp, wet and so on).

Energy factor. The efficiency of a dehumidifier is measured by its energy factor, in liters of water removed per kWh of power used. ENERGY STAR models must have an energy factor of 1.85 or more. 

Placement. Many dehumidifier models have a top air discharge and can be placed against walls. If your unit discharges in the back, locate it away from walls or furniture. This will ensure the free flow of air and increase performance.  

Reduce humidity in your home

Eliminating sources of moisture can decrease the need for dehumidification. Here are some tips:

  • Use ventilation fans in your kitchen and bathrooms to remove humidity at the source.
  • Make sure your clothes dryer is properly vented outdoors.
  • Improve the drainage around the foundation of your home; this can decrease humidity in the basement.
  • Install a vent in the most humid part of your home (such as your basement) and take advantage of the dehumidifying capabilities of your central air conditioner.

Looking for more ways to reduce your energy bills? See Money-Saving Quick Tips and get energy-saving suggestions for appliances and other areas around your home. 

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