Dehumidifiers help make homes more comfortable, especially on a hot, humid day. However, we don’t often ask how much it costs to use a dehumidifier.
Are they energy-efficient appliances, or do they waste a ton of energy?
If you use a dehumidifier for an extended period, you’ll want to know how to maximize your energy savings. By reading this article, you’ll see that an energy-efficient appliance will significantly reduce your bills and energy consumption.
Are Dehumidifiers an Energy-Efficient Appliance?
Dehumidifiers have an average energy consumption of 0.427 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). Energy-efficient home dehumidifiers save up to 15% of electricity costs. The actual energy savings depend on several factors, such as integrated energy factor (IEF) rating, capacity, and other features.
Energy Expenses of Energy-Efficient Dehumidifiers
Most new modern appliances are designed to be as energy-efficient as possible. Dehumidifiers are no exception. This characteristic helps consumers save on electricity bills and reduce their environmental burden.
But how significant is the difference between such energy-efficient dehumidifiers versus standard models?
A study by Eco Cost Savings highlights the energy-saving benefits of using energy-efficient units. It compared more than 500 dehumidifiers to determine their energy expenses.
Electricity Consumption (per Kilowatt-Hour)
They found that the average electricity consumption of dehumidifiers is 0.427 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). However, energy-efficient models can use as little electricity as 0.23 kWh.
This difference is better highlighted when we translate these into electric bill costs. For example, let’s say you use your device 10 hours daily.
Let’s calculate based on that scenario:
|Average Electricity Consumption Per Day||Electricity Cost (US$)|
|Energy-Efficient Dehumidifier||2.3 kWh||31.556 cents|
|Average Dehumidifier||4.27 kWh||58.584 cents|
We calculated these numbers based on the Average Retail Electricity Price (US$), which is 13.72 cents/kWh.
Based on the figures above, you can save around 27.03 cents per day with an energy-efficient dehumidifier. That equates to 46.13% energy savings, which can mean a lot when you frequently use your device.
With these numbers, running an energy-efficient model daily for an entire year can save you up to $98.65.
These estimates are backed up by another study from Learn Metrics, which calculated that you could save around $90-$100 per year using energy-efficient dehumidifiers.
You should note that the scenario above is only applicable if you get a unit that consumes meager amounts of electricity. The highest electricity consumption of an energy-efficient dehumidifier was 0.548 kWh.
While above the average, that rate was still much lower than the highest recorded electricity usage, which was 0.983 kWh. Such high electricity consumption rates are usually attributed to outdated models.
As you can see, dehumidifiers continue to become more and more energy-efficient, so replacing your appliance every few years can be a good idea, even if the old one still works.
The Eco Cost Savings study also covered the wattage range of the dehumidifiers. Most energy-efficient models belong to the low and medium wattage range.
These ranges indicate that energy-efficient models need 214W to 540W of power, whereas old models can use up to 970W.
That means that energy-efficient models use much less power to function. This finding is consistent with the observations based on electricity consumption.
However, wattage is a pretty unreliable figure to go by. Not all energy-efficient models are low wattage because they need more power due to their higher capacity and additional features.
For instance, whole-house and industrial dehumidifiers tend to have a larger wattage than portable or stand-alone units. However, that does not mean that they can’t be energy-efficient.
Energy-efficient smaller units may still be considered efficient because they use much less electricity than average or older models of the same capacity.
How To Increase Energy Savings
You can save a lot by choosing a suitable energy-efficient dehumidifier. However, it’s not as easy as simply buying the first model you see with an Energy Star sticker. It would be best if you considered several factors to maximize your energy savings from your unit.
Here’s what to keep in mind when purchasing an energy-efficient unit:
Integrated Energy Factor
An important metric to refer to when choosing energy-efficient dehumidifiers is the integrated energy factor (IEF). It measures the amount of moisture the device can remove per kilowatt-hour. Thus, its units are L/kWh.
When choosing a model, select one that has a high IEF. A high rating means the appliance can remove much moisture without using too much electricity or energy. Thus, you can save a lot on electricity costs.
Another crucial factor you need to consider is capacity. To be energy-efficient, choose a dehumidifier according to your needs.
It is very inefficient to choose a unit with a much higher capacity than you would need. Even if it has a high IEF, you are using more energy and electricity than you should in the first place. Thus, you’ll be spending more than you need to.
However, you must also avoid getting a dehumidifier with a lower capacity than your needs. Although they take less energy to function, they will work longer than necessary. In addition, they will consume electricity for those excess hours, thus increasing your costs.
To choose the optimal capacity, you need to decide based on these factors:
- Space – determine the size of the space where the dehumidifier would function. You will need large capacity units for larger rooms.
- Dampness – determine how damp or humid the room typically is without a device. You can also base this on relative humidity. You will need higher capacity if it’s too damp.
Although Energy Star advises to oversize rather than undersize, consider your factors carefully. For instance, if you’re only dehumidifying a relatively small and not too damp room, do not choose models with twice or thrice the capacity you need.
Whole-House vs. Portable and Stand-Alone Dehumidifiers
There are two kinds of home dehumidifiers: whole house and portable. A portable unit is suitable for dehumidifying only one room at a time. A whole-house system can dehumidify multiple rooms at a time.
A whole-home unit may be more efficient if you need to dehumidify several rooms. You won’t have to buy, install, and maintain several dehumidifiers.
However, if you intend to use your dehumidifier for one room only, do not purchase a whole-house unit—they use a lot of electricity, so it’s not worth it if you just need to dehumidify a single room.
Removed moisture from the air has to go somewhere. Dehumidifier models vary based on water disposal.
Some units come with a removable bucket, especially portable ones. You’ll have to empty the bucket yourself now and then to get rid of the water it sucked from the air.
Some models can dispose of the water automatically, especially new and whole house units. They may have hoses or drains that will take the air from your house straight into the sewage system.
If you choose a dehumidifier with a bucket, ensure it has an automatic shutoff system. This will avoid overflowing the container and overworking the dehumidifier.
Where you will install your unit affects how much energy you can save.
Some helpful dehumidifier installation tips include:
- Keep your dehumidifier away from walls and furniture if it does not have a top-mounted discharge, as these may block the air from the dehumidifier.
- Ensure that your doors and windows close well, with little to no gaps. The dehumidified air can escape, and the outside air can make it harder for the device to function.
- Keep your dehumidifier away from dirt and dust to avoid clogging. This consideration generally means installing it indoors and out from windows or doors.
- If your unit has hoses or drains, ensure these are in a safe location and won’t cause tripping. Keep these water outlets away from outlets and other electronic devices for everyone’s safety.
Although you do not have to get the latest dehumidifier every time it is released, you must trade your old units for a modern one. Old models are enormous consumers of electricity.
Modern units are fitted with better refrigeration systems, coils, compressors, and fans, saving around 15% of energy.
Energy-efficient dehumidifiers have built-in humidistats. This allows them to monitor relative humidity levels and automatically shut off when those are achieved.
Without a built-in humidistat, you will have to monitor the humidity levels using another device. You will then have to turn off the dehumidifier manually when they are reached.
That setup is relatively inefficient. You may not be able to monitor your device often. Thus, you may not notice that humidity levels have been exceeded and it’s working longer than it should be, thereby consuming more electricity.
This feature often sets newer dehumidifiers apart from older models. If you live in cold areas, frost can form over the components, such as coils, leading to inefficiency and higher electricity bills.
Thus, consider getting a model with an anti-frost sensor that will automatically turn off the device once temperatures are too low.
However, you can also get a unit that’s designed to operate in low temperatures. For example, Energy Star states that some of its certified products can perform at conditions as low as 42ºF (~5.56ºC).
The Most Energy-Efficient Dehumidifiers
Energy Star compiles a list of the most energy-efficient models annually on its website. While it caters mainly to the US and Canada, you can use the list as a reference and search for the devices in other local or online stores.
These are some of the most energy-efficient units based on Energy Star’s 2022 list:
All whole-home dehumidifiers on Energy Star’s list have a high IEF rating of 2.35. They mainly vary in capacity.
- Aprilaire E130 – this device can remove 105-130 pints (49.7 to 61.5 liters) of water every day. It also has a sensor and humidistat that allows it to turn off automatically when preferred humidity levels are reached. Removed water is also disposed of through a drain.
- Healthy Climate HCWHD4-100 – this unit can remove around 85 pints (40.22 liters) of water. It’s smaller than the Aprilaire – E130 while having the same IEF, making it better suited for smaller spaces.
- Carrier Corporation DEHXXCDA1080-A04 – this Carrier dehumidifier has a lower capacity than the other models here. It can remove up to 65 pints (30.76 liters) daily and takes as much space as the Healthy Climate.
The best portable units have an IEF rating of 1.95.
A few of them include:
- TCL DEM 50EA(A2B) – this unit can remove nearly 50 pints (23.66 liters) of water. The most similar model on Amazon.com is the TCL Portable Dehumidifier, which comes with a pump, hose, auto restart, bucket full indicator, and auto defrost. Thus, although you can manually empty the bucket, you can also use the hose and pump for automatic water disposal.
- Midea MC50MSKBA3RCM – a similar model available on Amazon.com is the Midea Energy Star-certified Dehumidifier which can remove up to 50 pints (23.66 liters) of water. It also allows automatic water disposal through a built-in pump. The unit promises quiet operation, thereby avoiding disturbances.
- DuraComfort DH50PWM – the DuraComfort Dehumidifier for Basements is the most similar on Amazon.com. It can remove up to 50 pints (23.66 liters) of water. Not only does it come with a hose and pump, but it also has smart controls. Thus, you can adjust humidity levels and other functions using your smartphone app.
Although dehumidifiers do not consume as much electricity as other devices, making them as energy-efficient as possible can significantly effect your monthly energy bills.
A comfortable home does not need to leave a dent in your wallet. Thus, choose your device wisely by making an informed decision based on capacity, IEF rating, installation, and other essential factors.
Best of luck!