How to Use a Dehumidifier

How to Use a Dehumidifier: Your Easy Manual Instructions

Last Updated on January 10, 2023

It’s time to improve moisture in your home with a dehumidifier. These appliances can improve air circulation, combat humidity problems, reduce mould and mildew, and improve your health with minimal maintenance and easy operation.

Let’s take a look at how to use a dehumidifier if you’re a newbie or own one and are searching for more advice to get the best results.

How to Make the Most Of Your Dehumidifier

For the best advice, we highly recommend reading the manual you received when you bought your dehumidifier as some units operate differently. Let’s take a look at how to use a dehumidifier in all rooms.

Adjust the Humidistat Based on Your Surroundings

Firstly, you’ll need to set the humidistat on the unit according to your surroundings. The ideal relative humidity level is between 30–50 percent and setting it too low means that the device will have to work harder to extract moisture from the air. The problem with this is that it can increase energy bills and reduce the unit’s lifespan. As a general rule of thumb, we suggest setting the machine to a maximum of 45 percent.

Clean the Water Tank Often

You have to clean the dehumidifier’s water tank often to prevent mould and germs from developing. A water tank is prone to developing mildew since there’s a constant humid condition. If you notice contaminants forming in the tank, use a disinfectant to scrub off the mouldy patches and wipe clean with a damp cloth. Doing so will prevent harmful bacteria from forming, which would then potentially distribute into the air.

Wash the Air Filter Every Few Weeks

Likewise, the unit’s filter needs caring for, too. Since you can’t reuse permanent filters, we recommend vacuuming the filter using the brush attachment to remove any trapped particles. You may also want to clean the ventilation grill with a cloth to remove any dust build-up. The fewer particles on the air filter, the better the air can move around, to create a cleaner surrounding in your house. Ensure that you unplug the dehumidifier each time you clean it every few weeks.

Don’t Use the Machine Below the Recommended Temperature

a woman and her cat

Most dehumidifiers come with a low-temperature operation and an auto-defrost feature that means they can operate below 65 degrees. When the unit’s coils become too cold, the compressor will automatically shut down, leaving only the fan running to melt the ice. Therefore, it’s a must to inspect the condenser for a build-up of frost or ice. If you notice frost on the coils during your maintenance check, some parts might need replacing.

Close the Windows and Doors

Before using a dehumidifier, you must close all windows and doors to prevent air from flowing in and out of the room. It means that the device won’t have to work as hard and can focus primarily on removing moisture in that specific room in your house.

Where to Place Your Dehumidifier

Now you know how to use a dehumidifier, you must know where to place it in your house for the best results. You can put these machines in a variety of rooms. Ideally, you want the device in the centre of the room, but this isn’t always possible (due to safety implications and access to a socket).

However, you want to avoid placing the dehumidifier right up against the wall or following to furniture. Instead, leave 6 inches of space (or more) around all sides of the unit to allow air to circulate genuinely and efficiently. Placing it away from objects can improve safety. And in most circumstances, it’s best practice to place the dehumidifier as close as possible to the source of humidity. So if the high humidity levels are coming from the kitchen, ensure that you keep the machine in that room.

Where to Place in a Bathroom

Placing a dehumidifier in a bathroom is the best idea for helping with humidity levels without massively increase your energy bills. Be aware of positioning it close to the bath or an open water source as doing so could pose a safety hazard. Consider placing the dehumidifier in the doorway where it’s out of the way of the sink and shower. Once you’ve finished in the bathroom, you can then place the unit in another room to help with a high humidity level.

Where to Place in a Kitchen

Using a dehumidifier is a good idea for helping with condensation and humidity that can build up in a cooking environment. Many kitchens come with an extractor fan or kitchen hood filter to keep the reality humidity level down. However, a dehumidifier placed in the middle of the kitchen can reduce the build-up of mould and condensation even when you’re not cooking.

Where to Place in a Basement

Basements can often see a build-up of humidity, and as there are no windows to help with moisture levels, you may need a dehumidifier to help improve the air quality. Place the dehumidifier near furniture or objects in the basement, as this is where you might encounter dust particles, mould, water building up on walls, and more.

When Should You Use a Dehumidifier?

You can use a dehumidifier at any time when you think that there are high levels of humidity in your home. These appliances can be used at any point, although you’ll probably want to avoid using them in winter. The summer months typically bring a high level of humidity, which can develop mould, bacteria, and mildew in your house.

Should You Leave the Dehumidifier Running All the Time?

No. Doing so will increase your bills. Instead, you’ll only want to use the dehumidifier when humidity is above 50 percent.

Is It Safe to Sleep With the Dehumidifier Running?

Yes, it’s perfectly safe to sleep with the dehumidifier in operation. Many high-end dehumidifiers come with an auto shut-off setting once it reaches a particular humidity setting. But you may also be able to set a timer on the appliance.

Furthermore, dehumidifiers can help you to sleep better because they improve your breathing and comfort levels. We recommend using a dehumidifier between 10 pm and 7 am (while you sleep) since this is typically when energy prices cost less, helping to keep down your outgoings. However, if you need to opt for a low-energy dehumidifier, ensure to check that the appliance you’re interested in comes with a timer function.

Should You Be Using Dehumidifiers All Year Round?

checking the humidity of the room

The answer to this question depends primarily on temperature, humidity, heat, and climate. In particular, dehumidifiers don’t function well in a low-temperature environment. And when the room temperature drops too low, there’s a risk of freezing in the coil.

On the other hand, if your basement isn’t heated, you may wish to use your machine throughout the year.

When Will the Dehumidifier Get to Work?

You want the benefits of using a dehumidifier, and most units typically have a positive effect on your home environment within 12 hours of the first use. Its effectiveness typically depends on the model that you’ve chosen and its effects.

Key Features to Consider

With so many options and models of dehumidifiers, you might be feeling overwhelmed with many choices. Below, we’ve provided helpful information on choosing the best unit for your needs.


Some dehumidifiers come with wheels and a handle so you can carry them around from room to room. This portability is great for transferring the unit between different zones, although it’ll typically come with a smaller tank. Therefore, you’ll need to engage in more regular maintenance.

Noise Level

Most dehumidifiers are quiet during operation—specifically the high-end dehumidifiers. These have different dehumidifier settings, so you can choose a quieter mode when you’re sleeping. Ensure that you check what noise level the dehumidifier runs at and if this will disturb your daily routine.

Auto Reset

In the event of a power shortage, dehumidifiers come with an auto rest function that remembers the settings which were last programmed in it and automatically begin running again. These might not be an essential function for every person, but it’s great for homes that often encounter electricity difficulties.

Auto Shutoff

In addition to an auto-reset function, many dehumidifiers come with an auto-shutoff programme, too. This setting constantly monitors the ideal humidity to ensure that it’s been reached and will switch off the unit when this is the case. As a result, you don’t have to monitor the moisture in the air via the app or built-in screen on the machine.

Adjustable Humidistat

Since you need to be able to set the appropriate humidity level for your home, check that the unit has a built-in hygrometer to detect the humidity automatically.

Problems With Using a Dehumidifier

Not all dehumidifiers are problem-free, and you might encounter some issues when you want to use a dehumidifier. Below are some common faults people can find as well as resolutions to fixing these things.

No Air Comes Out During Operation

If you notice that there’s no air coming out of the unit, the fan motor might have burned out. In which case, you’ll need to purchase a replacement as this means that the fan can’t extract any of the air from the room.

There’s Frost on the Coils

On the back of the dehumidifier, coils maintain a cold temperature while the machine is in use. The air from the room is drawn across these coils, thanks to the fan’s assistance, which allows the humidity in the air to condense. However, if the temperature becomes too cold, the condensation might freeze, indicating that the room is cold. In this situation, you’ll need to switch off the machine, unplug it safely and clean out the coils. If it is applicable, you may purchase replacements.

It Keeps Stopping

Dehumidifiers are great inventions, but they can experience technical difficulties. If your dehumidifier stops running, your first course of action should be to check the water level in the tank. There’s typically a switch on the dehumidifier that indicates that the water filled up. If it’s not, readjust the tank to help resolve this issue.

There’s No Water Level

If your dehumidifier is running unusually, you may need to switch the humidistat control to a drier setting or if you notice that the unit runs without you needing to empty the tank, there might be an issue with the refrigeration system. In this situation, a regular fixture can be cleaning the filter and unit. But if this doesn’t help, you might need to take the dehumidifier to a repair shop or purchase an entirely new appliance.

Is It Normal For a Dehumidifier to Smell On Its First Use?

It isn’t a particularly positive thing, but it’s certainly common and typical. For the first few times you use a dehumidifier, you might experience a burning smell. Its because the materials will absorb smells from the room, such as cosmetic products, perfume, and even cigarettes and cooking. As the desiccant material heats up, it causes these smells to become released back into the room. But don’t worry, because these smells will typically only last for a couple of uses for the first time.

Enjoy Your Dehumidifier

Knowing exactly how to use a dehumidifier will ensure your machine offers years of durability and longevity. We hope that this guide will be helpful to you.

Do you have experience with a dehumidifier? And do you have any more tips that we haven’t mentioned above? If so, share your thoughts and feedback in the comments.

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