Dehumidifiers

A Guide to How Long You Should Run a Dehumidifier Safely

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Learning to utilize anything you purchase or gain allows you to use it most and maintain how long your new and shiny toy lasts, but what about a dehumidifier? Can it run all night?

You can most certainly leave your dehumidifier on all night. It will not hurt you to do so. However, the main concerns you will have regarding a dehumidifier running during the night are noise and potentially dry skin if you live in a less humid area.

Bearing that in mind, what could happen if you were to run your dehumidifier all night? Would it be harmful to the household, costly, or generally damage the unit’s lifespan? 

Let’s find out in the following segments targeting your nightly routine and how the dehumidifier ties into that.

Some Dehumidifier Functions

Traditionally, there are a few quick tricks you can use to ensure your dehumidifier is on and running when you need it to. A few of these tips are how to do so safely and responsibly. 

Before we get into how you can do things that keep you and your family out of harm’s way, let’s briefly chat about how a dehumidifier functions. We want to understand better how long it should be running.

As an appliance, a dehumidifier sets itself apart from other more intricate parts of your day-to-day life. The reason is that it adds a certain level of quality to your entire day and night by association. 

Most modern units have unique odds and end to help you manage your power consumption and turn it off when not used optimally.

Should Dehumidifiers Run All Night?

Suppose we were working to understand that you’ll need to remove excess moisture in the air. In that case, you could have your unit functioning while asleep.

Doing so has a few circumstances you will want to reflect on, though. If any of them were to interrupt your flow, you might not be getting that beauty sleep you desire, or at the very least, you won’t wake up feeling as well-rested as you might like.

If you are a light sleeper or not the kind of person who likes regulating things before bedtime, having your dehumidifier on at night might not be your best investment. 

As such, you may want to set your schedule around morning to night setup to tailor the experience to something you find bearable. Consider the following:

1. Tank Capacity

Dehumidifiers, by default, constantly absorb moisture from the air, creating excess water that the water tank must store inside the unit. Over several days or weeks, depending on humidity levels, this tank will gradually fill up and need to be emptied.

The process isn’t much of an issue. Unless, of course, we consider you’ve forgotten to do so for a while. In that case, you will run the risk of the tank overflowing or causing the machine not to function anymore when you need it to. 

As such, it’s worth taking a few moments in the morning or before bed, depending on what works best for you, to empty the container so you avoid any potential risks involved. 

2. Noise Level

A vast majority of the dehumidifiers produced today are quiet, if not almost silent. However, if you are the kind of person who sleeps with one eye open, having a unit in your room or outside can be disastrous for getting a good night’s sleep.

3. Look for Good & Honest Reviews

Thankfully there are quite a few solutions to this issue. One such remedy is your ability to check for customer reviews on whether or not the unit is considered a tad loud for your traditional system. 

4. Check the Decibels

An alternative method would be checking how many decibels of sound is emitted by your unit when it is on. 

5. Keep it On While You’re Away

Suppose neither of the options above proved helpful to you. In that case, one final option is available, which would be only using your unit during the day or when you are gone. 

Having the device on while you’re not home allows you to reap the benefits of having a home free of excess humidity without the downside of the low hum generated by your humidifier.

6. The Auto Shut-off Button

One of the significant concerns raised above would be that you can run your dehumidifier for too long and potentially damage it or the air quality of your home.

Nevertheless, most modern dehumidifiers have something integrated into the unit to combat this issue precisely. 

That miracle solution comes in the form of the auto-off switch. This feature automatically triggers once the desired humidity level has been reached and immediately turns the unit off, saving you power, time, and money. 

It’s worth noting that a few other safety features in most dehumidifiers function similarly, preventing power failure, tank overflow, and tipping over.

How Long Should a Dehumidifier Run Daily?

The duration of time a dehumidifier should run will vary greatly depending on two factors:

  • How humid the location you are attempting to use it is
  • The area of the dehumidifier itself. 

Place the dehumidifier in the center of your home that grants it the maximum amount of airflow. You could have your home in a more comfortable humidity level within as little as eight hours.

On the other side, the fans are likely blocked if your unit is between any clutter. Worst case scenario, the dehumidifier is placed in the corner of your home. 

It will struggle to complete the process and take much longer to achieve the same result, assuming it cannot finish.

How Does High & Low Humidity Affect You?

High Humidity

In climates with higher humidity levels, you will sweat more profusely. More importantly, the sweat that does come from you won’t be able to evaporate as quickly. 

This problem is that sweating sticks to and causes a generally unpleasant feeling, making all mundane activities much more intolerable.

Low Humidity

However, low humidity is just as bad. It can sometimes be even worse than being too humid. 

Why can low humidity be dry? Because it leads to running the risk of getting skin that has dried out and began flaking, a dry throat that you cannot quench for very long, and irritated eyes. 

Suppose you find that your home often suffers from this set of problems. In that case, you may want to purchase the dehumidifier’s older brother, the humidifier. A humidifier increases the humidity in your home.

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Ways to Reduce the Humidity in Your Home

Now that we know some of the issues with high humidity levels let us discuss what can be done. You’ll want to know how to lower those humidity levels into something bearable and to keep your home in high spirits instead of muggy from discomfort.

1. Using a Dehumidifier

Buying a dehumidifier will combat the humidity and keep it in check so you can go about your daily life without putting much thought into it.

2. Keep the Airflow Steady

Placing the dehumidifier in a location that will allow the entire home’s air to circulate through it is essential to making the most out of your machine. 

To do this, you will want to put the dehumidifier in the center of your home, preferably in a hallway or something similar. Give the unit roughly six inches of space in all directions to effectively distribute the warmed air.

3. Check for Water Leaks

Water leaks from underneath a window, beneath a sink, or even the cracks of doors can significantly contribute to raising the humidity in your home. 

Still, your dehumidifier can also spring a leak itself. It is essential to keep a vigilant eye on your device and check for small pools of water on the floor under the unit. Doing this will ensure you aren’t experiencing an issue with your dehumidifier.

4. Keep Plants Outside

Believe it or not, plants generate a decent amount of humidity themselves, which is why greenhouses are as effective as they are. 

Still, more to the point, you would need a home almost bursting to the brim with plants to begin seeing humidity issues arise from your collection. 

One clear indicator that your plants are generating a healthy amount of humidity would see small layers of condensation on nearby windows. The atmosphere of the home is very thick and heavy.

Conclusion

Being diligent in prepping your home to make the most use of your dehumidifier will allow you to get the most out of it. It will enable you to have the unit function safely without worrying about breaking for the effort, or worse, costing you an arm and a leg in electricity. 

Hopefully, this guide has given you a glimpse at how to better care for your unit and keep your home from becoming the next tropical rainforest!

Author

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.