How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier after the new energy price cap?

We explain how much it costs to run a dehumidifier following the January energy price cap, and share ways to cut your bills

bedroom with white lamp and cushion
(Image credit: Meaco)
Recent updates

This article has been updated to show the new cost to run based on the January Energy Price Cap. It has also been fact-checked and any out-of-date information removed. 

Dehumidifiers are a winter essential in most homes, cutting laundry drying time in half and helping keep rooms mould and damp-free. But how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier to benefit from these perks?

Soaring energy costs have many of us looking into how to save energy at home and the energy that each appliance in the home is actually consuming.

There’s a misconception that dehumidifiers are heavy, noisy, energy-guzzling appliances. However, the best dehumidifiers and most newer models are quiet, fairly light to move around and energy efficient. The type and size of your dehumidifier will affect running costs.

We’ve worked out how much you can expect to spend per hour to run a dehumidifier, as well as ways you can cut the cost of using it further. That way you can enjoy the benefits of a dehumidifier without an unexpectedly hefty bill.

Russell Hobbs RHDH1061 Portable Dehumidifier

(Image credit: Russell Hobbs)

How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier?

To work out how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier, it is worth seeing if you can get a smart meter. These devices help you monitor energy usage in the home. Smart plugs also allow you to ensure devices are only on when needed, while energy monitoring plugs, available on Amazon, will let you see exactly how much energy each appliance is using.

However, to work out exactly what one appliance is using you'll first need to find out two things: what your pay for energy per pence/kWh of electricity and the wattage of your dehumidifier.

Over the last year, energy prices have fluctuated to say the least. In October 2022, the national average price per pence/kWh of electricity was 34p following the energy price cap increase. It was expected to rise as high as 52p earlier this year, but thankfully, the energy price freeze was brought in to place. After being capped at 30p per kWh in July 2023, prices lowered again in October 2023 to a cap of 27p per kWh. But the new January 2024 energy price cap is higher again at 29p per kWh.

We have used 29p for illustration purposes to highlight the highest amount it could cost to run a dehumidifier.

The best way to work out how much it cost to run a dehumidifier on its maximum setting is to look at its wattage. Mini models can use as little as 22 watts, while high-volume dehumidifiers go up to around 500 watts.

  • An example dehumidifier that can extract up to 20 litres a day, with a wattage of 480w would use 0.48 kWh, meaning that an hour’s usage would cost just under 14p.
  • In comparison, an example dehumidifier that can extract up to 12 litres a day, with a wattage of 157w (0.157 kWh) would cost under 5p an hour.

Dehumidifiers rarely run constantly, though, as they’re controlled via their humidistat that turn them on and off when needed.

‘Remember that you’re more likely to use your dehumidifier during the winter,’ says Chris Michael, Director at Meaco (UK). ‘The wattage that a dehumidifier uses is turned into heat, so you get a dual benefit – less condensation on the windows, less chill in the air and the space feels warmer.’

dark bedroom with wooden bedframe and dehumidifer by bedside table

(Image credit: Meaco)

Are some dehumidifiers cheaper to run than others?

There are two types of dehumidifier, and running costs will be similar provided they are used in the right conditions. But each different type of dehumidifier needs different conditions to run efficiently. Use the wrong model in the wrong conditions, the answer to how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier will increase.

  • Desiccant dehumidifiers draw in the air and pass it over material that soaks up moisture like a sponge. They’re ideal for colder areas that might drop below 15C, such as a conservatory or utility room. The desiccant is regenerated by an internal heater so the process can be repeated.
  • Compressor, or refrigerant, dehumidifiers work by creating a cold surface so that when warm, damp air comes into contact with it, condensation forms and the water can be collected in a tank. They’re more suitable for warm rooms such as living rooms or bedrooms as they’ll have to work harder in cold spaces to create condensation inside.

Both will be able to help get rid of damp, condensation and mould in your home. ‘The air coming out of the compressor dehumidifier will be about 2C warmer while the air coming out of a desiccant dehumidifier will be about 10-12C warmer,’ says Chris from Meaco. 

‘Compressor dehumidifiers are in general cheaper to run but you’ll mostly be using your dehumidifier in the winter months and the extra energy that a desiccant uses is released into the room as heat.’

white bedroom with wooden bedframe, radiator and dark window blind

(Image credit: Future PLC /Oliver Gordon)

What energy saving features should I look for when buying a dehumidifier?

Buy a dehumidifier with these clever functions to help make them as efficient as possible and lower the answer to how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier.

1. Advanced humidistats

A humidistat works much like a thermostat, detecting when humidity rises and falls. Advanced humidistats work more efficiently. For example, while some dehumidifiers keep running to check humidity, Meaco’s Control Logic feature on its low energy models checks for humidity every 30 minutes, going to sleep in-between to save energy.

2. Multiple speeds

Choosing a model with more than one speed means you can have it on low on days when you need it less. Alternatively, the latest dehumidifiers can select the right speed for you, taking the guesswork out of having it on too high or too low.

3. Laundry drying function

Instead of running flat out, an energy-saving Laundry mode will test the air and adjust the power usage based on the humidity – perfect for when you’re airing washing on an indoor drying rack. By reducing power consumption as required, you don’t have to worry about the dehumidifier continuing to run when the job is done.

White shelf with boxes and laundry rack

(Image credit: Future PLC / James French)

How can I cut the cost of running a dehumidifier?

1. Turn your thermostat down

Moisture in the air can make a house feel cold. Once a dehumidifier has removed the moisture from the air, you should be able to spend less on your heating utility bills.

2. Close the windows

There’s no need to dehumidify the air outside. When your dehumidifier is on, remember to shut the room’s windows and any outside doors.

3. Clean the filter

Keep your dehumidifier running efficiently by vacuuming the filter to clear dust and particles. If you’re using it regularly, you may need to do this every fortnight or so.

4. Limit the excess humidity

Don’t make your dehumidifier work harder than it has to. Make sure your kitchen and bathroom extractor fans are working well, open windows after a shower and while cooking, and remember to pop lids on saucepans.

Rachel Ogden

Rachel Ogden is a freelance journalist with more than 20 years’ experience of writing, editing and sub-editing. Since 2007, she's worked exclusively in interiors, writing about everything from extending your home to kitchen worktops, flooring, storage and more. She specialises in product reviews, having reviews hundreds of small and large appliances and homeware.