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Condensation on windows, stuffy rooms, mould and musty odours are all signs that your home might benefit from reducing the humidity. But how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier to get rid of these problem symptoms?
There’s a misconception that dehumidifiers are heavy, noisy, energy-guzzling appliances that are only used in homes with serious damp. Whereas in fact, most newer models are quiet, fairly light to move around and energy efficient. Type and size affect running costs, though, so knowing how much electricity a dehumidifier uses allows you to balance this with its benefits.
We’ve worked out how much you can expect to spend per hour to run a dehumidifier – as well as how to save energy at home with some cost-cutting tricks.
How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier?
According to the Energy Saving Trust the national average price (as of November 2021) per pence/kWh of electricity is 20.33p. We have rounded it to 20p for illustration purposes.
The best way to work out how much energy a dehumidifier uses 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 10p (9.6p).
- In comparison, an example dehumidifier that can extract up to 12 litres a day, with a wattage of 157w (0.157 kWh) would cost 3p 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.’
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, and costs 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 Michael. ‘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.’
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. Many of our best dehumidifiers will come with:
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.
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 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.
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