Can a Dehumidifier be too Big?

Dehumidifiers Lg 2

Dehumidifiers are excellent to have all around your home because they provide many benefits. However, can a dehumidifier be too larger for a specific space?

Dehumidifiers can indeed be too big for a space within your home. Having a bigger dehumidifier than the area requires means your electricity works harder than it should. Thus, getting the right size is essential.

A standard dehumidifier will remove any moisture from the environment in your home, but the size you require depends on the size of the space.

For instance, a smaller area will require a smaller capacity dehumidifier, while a more extensive space requires a bigger unit.

If the dehumidifier model is too small for your space, it hardly makes a dent in the moist air, while one too big may cause the air to become excessively dry. 

Here, we answer all your questions about the size of a dehumidifier. 

Can Your Dehumidifier be too Big for a Space?

Choosing perfect-sized dehumidifiers is crucial for efficient humidity removal to protect your home, family, and appliances. A less powerful unit will be insufficient to remove the right amount of moisture from the air. 

But what about a larger and bigger unit for the required space? Can a dehumidifier be too big? 

A unit that is too big for your space or room can help reduce noise and electricity consumption or be inconvenient and inefficient by leading to more noise, excessive dryness, and higher power usage. However, it depends on the automaticity of the dehumidifier, target humidity, and duration of the operation. 

Challenges of Dehumidifiers that are too Big for A Room

Most professionals recommend that you purchase a dehumidifier that is somehow bigger than the requirement. However, problems might arise if your dehumidifier is prominently larger than recommended or regular. 

If the dehumidifier is larger than the recommended size, it might increase efficiency, convenience, and effectiveness or reduce it. 

Below are variables that determine the impact of larger dehumidifiers:

  • The time duration of the dehumidifier operation
  • The mobility of your dehumidifier 
  • Extend of decrease in relative humidity that you require
  • The automaticity of your dehumidifier operation

1. Electricity Consumption

We expect that a dehumidifier having a larger capacity consumes more power than a normal-sized unit. However, this isn’t always the case. In fact, by employing a larger dehumidifier, you’ll reduce your device’s power consumption. 

You might wonder how is that possible? Dehumidifiers turn off after achieving the desired humidity in a space. If you have a too big unit, it’ll complete the dehumidification quickly, turn off earlier, and thus save more power. 

However, there is still a catch. You’ll encounter two scenarios in which the larger-than-usual dehumidifier consumes more power. 

  • It isn’t working properly if the dehumidifier isn’t automated, and you can only choose low, medium, or high levels. It means that the dehumidifier will function without turning off quickly. The unit will therefore consume more power than expected. 
  • A very low relative humidity value causes the dehumidifier to never turn off. It can also be due to a flooded basement or water damage. The power usage will therefore spike compared to normal-sized units.

2. Noise Produced by the Dehumidifier

Refrigerant dehumidifiers have two moving components: fan and compressor. When the unit operates, most of the sound emits from the fan. 

A fan operates at a lower capacity for larger dehumidifiers to effect the required humidification. It means that increased noise could potentially reduce the noise level for your dehumidifier.

A quicker operation also leads to the fan turning off quicker. The noise will last for a more limited time and with less intensity. 

If your unit doesn’t have an automated fan speed control and humidity control, it’ll produce louder noise and operate for the same duration as normal-sized units. 

You should adjust the fan speed manually, considering the oversizing of the unit compared to space. 

3. Excessive Dryness

Excessive dryness becomes a problem with manual constant operation units lacking automation and humidity control. Dehumidifiers will continue operating regardless of the required relative humidity and cause excessive dryness. 

4. Weight & Space Requirements

A larger dehumidifier covers a larger space and has more weight. It, therefore, presents a problem, especially for smaller rooms. 

Increased weight will also present some inconveniences in mobility. A larger unit will make movability difficult if you employ the same device for more than one location. 

Should You Avoid Larger-Sized Units?

As we mentioned earlier, you can comfortably use a larger dehumidifier than required since it’s even better. However, you must consider other factors when the unit’s size exceeds your space. 

Just stick to the correct dehumidifier size, and you won’t experience any challenges. 

How Big Should My Dehumidifier Be?

Excessive moisture in your house can spread mildew and mold or even contribute to water damage. By eliminating high humidity, dehumidifiers help to prevent homes from smelling musty and protect electronics, wallpaper, clothes, and other vital possessions. 

Rooms with varying dampness levels and sizes might require different-sized dehumidifiers to function effectively. Here, we help you understand how to select the best measure of dehumidifier for your home. 

How Dehumidifiers Function

Before we look at how you can select the right dehumidifier for your home, it would help to consider how the unit works. 

Dehumidifiers are devices used to regulate humidity and moisture levels by removing moisture from the air. A fan pulls moist air into the dehumidifier via cooling coils, which employ condensation to draw dampness from the air. 

The unit’s heat recovery system will then pass dryer, warmer air back into your home environment. Water will collect in a reservoir or removable drip pain or circulates out of the dehumidifier with some models. 

  • Most dehumidifiers are designed with a humidistat which sets and measures the relative humidity. During summer, relative humidity of 50% is recommended. In winter, you can use a relative humidity as low as 30%. 
  • You might need to employ a whole-house dehumidifier if high humidity is a challenge throughout your home. Some dehumidifiers are portable appliances. However, others are built into and can run as part of the HVAC system. 
  • There are desiccant dehumidifiers that remove moisture from the environment by using chemicals rather than condensation. They create lower humidity levels and happen to be quieter than other units. However, they are less economical, have a noticeable aroma, and have a more limited capacity than dehumidifiers. 

Check Your Room’s Moisture Level

A room with a constantly musty odor or damp surface may need a dehumidifier, which will function more effectively in highly wet spaces than mildly damp ones.

You can employ a humidity meter to measure your room’s moisture. You can also assess it using the below approaches:

  • A room is very damp if it’s always musty and damp.
  • A room is damp if it has a musty aroma in humid weather or occasionally feels clammy or damp. 
  • A room is wet if you notice visible condensation on the walls or ceiling. 
  • A room is very wet if you notice standing water or visible condensation.

If there is excessive moisture in your room, reduce or eliminate its source by cleaning a dryer’s lint filter or repairing leaks. 

Measure Your Room’s Size

After determining that your room contains excessive humidity, you need to measure its dimensions to choose the perfect humidifier size you require. Here, you can employ a tape measure the room’s width and length and then multiply the two to determine the square footage. 

For instance, a 10- by 10-foot room will have the square footage of 100 feet. 

Compare Moisture Level vs. Room Size

The capacity of a unit rates by the moisture level removed in 24 hours. For instance, a 30-pint dehumidifier can remove 30 pints of moisture within 24 hours. 

Employ a 30-pint Dehumidifier Size (or Between 24-39 Pints):

Moisture Level in RoomsRoom Size
Damp rooms500-1500 square feet
Wet and extremely wet500 square feet
Very damp rooms500-1000 square feet

Employ a 50-pint Dehumidifier Size (or Between 40-59 Pints):

Moisture Level in Rooms Room Size
Wet1000-1500 square feet
Damp2000-2500 square feet
Very damp1500-2000 square feet
Extremely wet 1000 square feet

Employ a 70-pint unit (or Over 60-pint Capacity):

Moisture Level in RoomsRoom Size
Very wet1500-2500 square feet
Very damp2500 square feet
Wet 2000-2500 square feet

Other Factors While Selecting Dehumidifier Size

Other factors can influence your room’s humidity. It would therefore help to consider the following while sizing your dehumidifier:

  • If your house is in a humid climate, consider adding 10 pints to the recommended capacity.
  • If your room has multiple doors or windows, consider adding 5 pints.
  • If multiple people spend time or live in the room, you must add 5 pints.
  • If a washer/dryer is near or in your room, you should add 5 pints. 

In certain circumstances, a larger than average dehumidifier might present some advantages. You can operate it on lower settings, reduce electricity usage, and reduce energy bills.

If you use a dehumidifier on a lower setting, you’ll experience less noise.

High humidity leads to mold and mildew growth and even attracts cockroaches, spiders, or insects. Selecting the right size dehumidifier for your laundry room, the basement, and other interior spaces can put humidity under your control.

Can a Dehumidifier be Harmful?

Dehumidifiers don’t work the same for everyone. You might notice some side effects of using one in your house. 

The unit can make the air in your room drier. You don’t need a dehumidifier if you live in a dry climate like a high-altitude or desert area or use electricity or gas to heat your house. 

If the air in your home becomes too dry, conditions like pneumonia can worsen. There is also a high chance of your hair and skin being affected. Those with atopic dermatitis (eczema) are prone to flare-ups in dry conditions. 

When you employ a dehumidifier in your home, you should always be mindful of staying hydrated. 

For instance, operating a dehumidifier might present more harm than good if you have a stuffy nose or dry cough.

However, it doesn’t mean that dehumidifiers don’t have health benefits.

1. Dehumidifiers Reduce Allergy Symptoms

Environmental allergens are known for causing symptoms such as:

  • Eye irritation
  • Wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Chest pain
  • Itching

The leading causes of allergies include:

  • Dust mites
  • Animal dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Drying the air in your room will keep the above allergy triggers away. For instance, dust mites require a relative humidity of at least 65% to thrive and procreate. Dehumidifying your room also controls mold growth. 

2. Dehumidifier Controls Asthma

When the moisture is high in the environment, the air becomes heavier, making it difficult to breathe. For this reason, it becomes difficult for people with asthma to survive in high-humidity environments. 

Employing a dehumidifier in such environments makes it easier for you to breathe in and out. It makes mugginess disappear, and the air becomes more comfortable and colder. 

However, there is little or no evidence supporting the use of dehumidifiers for treating chronic asthma. There’s no evidence showing that using the device can present adverse effects. 

3. Dehumidifiers Create Healthier Environments

By removing dust and mold, you’re eliminating invaders such as cockroaches, spiders, and silverfish. Lower humidity levels are also advantageous to people with COPD. 

If you stay in a naturally humid area, a dehumidifier cools off your house and reduces the use of your air conditioner. 

Mistakes People Make While Using a Dehumidifier

Below are common mistakes that many people make while using dehumidifiers:

1. Going for the Wrong Capacity Unit

Dehumidifiers are made in different sizes depending on their ability to remove moisture and water from the environment. As we have seen, the dehumidifier’s capacity is measured by the moisture pints it can absorb within 24 hours. 

For most manufacturers, the rating facilitates areas having low moisture levels. It, therefore, means that a unit can claim to remove 20 pints, but it can only achieve that in low humidity levels. Employing such a unit in a very damp room won’t offer effective results. 

The solution is, therefore, to employ a large dehumidifier. Even though such a unit could be pricey, it’ll effectively remove all the environmental moisture. A low-level dehumidifier will be overloaded and use more energy. 

2. Employing Cheaper Models

People are very rational when spending and would only go for a cheaper dehumidifier. However, they don’t know that most more affordable options lack modern safety features such as auto shut-off and humidistat. 

Even though not all cheaper units are low-quality options, we recommend you go for an affordable rather than more inexpensive dehumidifier. 

3. Typing to Move Heavy & Immobile Dehumidifiers

It’s dangerous to move a robust unit from one room to another. It even presents more danger if the dehumidifier doesn’t have accessories such as carrying handles to facilitate more effortless movement. You could cause damage to the floor or hurt yourself. 

4. Keeping the Dehumidifier Dirty

The dehumidifier absorbs the air you breathe and emits drier air with less humidity. If you don’t clean the unit, it’ll build up mildew and mold.

It’ll mean that the dirty air will cause health risks. It’s therefore essential that you clean the unit from time to time. 

5. Using Noisy Dehumidifiers

Some models emit a lot of noise when in use. It is common, especially if you employ a small capacity unit to dehumidify a larger space. 

Overloading a dehumidifier will lead to it emitting a lot of noise. To prevent such from happening, you should invest in a high-capacity dehumidifier. 

6. Using Dehumidifiers Without Safety Measures

How safe is your dehumidifier? You must pay closer attention to some safety concerns. For instance, if your unit doesn’t have a humidistat, it won’t shut down even if the air has dried to the required capacity. 

It’ll therefore lead to higher electricity bills and at the same time cause environmental hazards. If your dehumidifier doesn’t have an in-built humidistat, purchase an independent hygrometer. 

7. Ignoring Water in the Pints Bucket

You need to check your pint bucket capacity at all times. Some models come with an ability that requires constant emptying after a few hours. Failing to empty your unit will have dire implications. 

We recommend that you purchase a unit that has an inbuilt drainage system. 

8. Not Paying Attention to Your Room’s Humidity Levels

The recommended humidity during summer is 50%, while it is 35-40% during winter. Employing a dehumidifier that takes moisture below the above levels is risky. 

Ensure that you buy the suitable model that removes the right amount of moisture from the air depending on the season. 

The Best Dehumidifiers

Since many dehumidifiers are on the market, finding a suitable unit isn’t easy. We have done the research and identified the top dehumidifier for your needs. 

Frigidaire Dehumidifier, Low Humidity 22 Pint Capacity with a Easy-to-Clean Washable Filter and Custom Humidity Control for maximized comfort, in White
$199.00 $179.44 ($179.44 / Count)
Buy Now on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
03/10/2024 12:29 pm GMT


As we have seen, going for any standard dehumidifier will guarantee moisture removal from your home. However, the exact size that you require will depend on your space. 

A smaller area will require a smaller capacity dehumidifier, while a more extensive size requires a bigger unit. However, a huge dehumidifier might leave your air excessively dry, thus presenting health challenges. 

You should therefore select any of the two dehumidifiers recommended above. However, ensure that installation is done by a professional. 


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.