A homeowner sitting on her couch, smiling as she looks at and rests her feet on a dehumidifier

If you’ve used a dehumidifier, you know it can take some time to dehumidify a room completely. Because dehumidifiers take in air, remove moisture, and redistribute it into the room, new dehumidified air is constantly intermixed with the high-humidity air. 

This article will go over the factors involved in dehumidifying a room, what to watch out for, and how long you can expect it to take to remove the moisture based on room size. 

So let’s get started!

How Long Does It Typically Take To Dehumidify a Room?

Dehumidifiers usually take between a few days and a week to completely clear the room of excess moisture. However, the exact timeframe depends on your room size, dehumidifier size and type, and how often you run it. 

Factors Involved in Dehumidifying a Room

As mentioned, a few factors are involved in how quickly a room gets wholly dehumidified. 

Dehumidifiers come in two different types—refrigerator coil and desiccant

Refrigerator coil dehumidifiers are the most common. They work by using cold copper coils to turn the moisture in the air into liquid. 

Desiccant dehumidifiers use silica gel or another absorbent substance to trap moisture as the air continually passes through the device. 

Illustration demonstrating how a desiccant dehumidifier functions
Courtesy of Appidi Technology

Dehumidifiers also come in a wide range of sizes to adjust to any room size. There are dehumidifiers for every sized space, from small portable ones to industrial sizes. 

These factors (and a few others) impact how fast a dehumidifier works. It’s also essential to keep in mind that these variables are interconnected. For example, a small room will dehumidify faster with a large whole-house unit than a room of the same size with a small, portable model.

Let’s dive deeper into the factors involved in dehumidifying a room. 

Room Size

When it comes to how long it will take to completely dehumidify a room, there is hardly a more important factor than the size. Small rooms are quicker and easier to clean and navigate and, of course, faster to dehumidify. 

Many homes today have an open floor plan with multiple interconnected rooms. This layout makes for a lot of extra work on a dehumidifier, which can best do its job when contained in a single space. 

Even if you’re not working to dehumidify a considerable area, removing moisture from even a decently-sized room will take significantly more time than a smaller room. But, of course, you can’t expect the device to do a smaller space in just a few hours, either.

No matter what size room you’re working with, you should expect it to take at least a few days. However, you should notice an improvement in the air quality within a day of continuously running it. 

How Often You Are Running the Dehumidifier

Speaking of continuously running it, let’s review how often you need to have your dehumidifier turned on. 

While many models are relatively quiet in the background nowadays, that’s not always the case. Trying to sleep with even the slightest bit of noise makes it near impossible for some people. So how long can you leave your dehumidifier on?

The answer is relative and depends on the person. Indeed, you’ll get quicker results if you leave the dehumidifier on full time for a few days to a week, but if you cannot work with that, expect it to take upwards of two weeks to dehumidify the space completely. 

Each time you shut off the device, moisture is recollecting inside the air, and it has to work extra hard to keep removing it. So, the more your run your dehumidifier, the faster it can remove the moisture from the air.

Dehumidifier Size

The size of the room may be the most critical factor, but the size of the unit also plays a considerable role. As mentioned, dehumidifiers come in a range of sizes. Portable models are made to remove moisture from one room, and you will often need one in each room to completely dehumidify a house.

The living room of a home with a dehumidifier on the floor and homeowner resting up against the couch with her cat in front

There are also industrial-size units, most often used in cases where water damage has occurred because of a bad leak, hurricane, or another natural disaster. Water damage will cause mold and other hazards when left untreated, so these giant dehumidifiers are meant to stand up to the job. 

Unfortunately, these dehumidifiers are very loud and expensive. It’s best to leave these for extreme situations.

There’s also the option of a whole-house dehumidifier. While these must be installed professionally and can become very pricey quickly, their usefulness is worth the trouble. 

Dehumidifying with a whole-house model takes significantly less time, and the humidity levels stay consistent no matter where you are in the house. So it’s a win-win situation. 

Dehumidifier Type

As mentioned, you can choose between desiccant dehumidifiers and refrigerant coil dehumidifiers. 

In general, desiccant dehumidifiers take more time than coil dehumidifiers because they don’t pull quite as much moisture out of the air with each cycle through. 

However, desiccant dehumidifiers involve less maintenance since you aren’t dealing with a drip tank or draining hose. So, you’ll need to consider what you value more – speed or lower maintenance – before deciding which option is right for you.

The Type of Climate You Live In

The final major factor determining how long it will take to dehumidify a room is your climate. If you live in a highly-humid area, your house will take on that high amount of humidity. 

In places such as South Florida, it may take a few weeks to completely dehumidify your house, even if you are continually running it. 

Photo of our first net-zero house in Florida
Our first Net-Zero house in Florida

It probably won’t take long to get your house feeling comfortable if you happen to live in an averagely humid climate (or in any environment where it’s not above 90% humidity daily). If you live in a drier climate, clearing the space shouldn’t take longer than a few days.

Things To Consider When Buying a Dehumidifier

Now that you know the basics about how long it takes to dehumidify a room let’s talk about some things you’ll want to consider in the buying process. Some of these factors may be things we’ve already covered, but it’s worth reiterating.

  • Choose a dehumidifier with humidity controls – this type of unit is a lifesaver. It allows you to control the humidity level in your home so that you stay at maximum comfort. If you have multiple devices, you can also make one room a little more humid or less humid than another. 
  • Look at the size of the reservoir tank – no one wants to dump the reservoir tank every hour, and when you have high humidity, the tanks fill up quickly. The best thing you can do is get a dehumidifier that drains into the sink or bath, or even a five-gallon bucket, so you don’t have to dump it very often. More extensive reservoirs are better.
A homeowner opens the water collection chamber of a dehumidifier to empty it so it can continue dehumidifying
  • Pay attention to the defrost features – some models come with an auto shut-off if the coils start to freeze up, which is a common problem in these devices. Having one that automatically shuts off the cooling process until the system thaws can be enormously valuable. 

Final Thoughts

Getting a dehumidifier is often one of the best decisions you can make for your overall health and comfort, but there are things you need to be aware of. 

Dehumidification takes different amounts of time to remove the moisture from each room, depending on various factors. However, in most cases, they should be done dehumidifying a room within a few days—and it’s definitely worth the wait.


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