How Should I Set My Dehumidifier In the Summer?


In the summer, humidity can cause major problems inside homes, but luckily you can help solve those if you have a dehumidifier.

But at what relative humidity setting should you set your dehumidifier? You should set the relative humidity (RH) level of the dehumidifier between 30 to 50%. Many people reported 45% as an ideal relative humidity level. This percentage can be increased or decreased depending on your comfort level and your home’s needs.


How A Dehumidifier Helps

The right relative humidity level of the dehumidifier can help improve air quality and can even be a powerful tool to combat mold.

Some benefits of using a dehumidifier are:

  • It allows you to feel comfortable. Moist air tends to feel more “sticky” even if it’s the same temperature as dry air.
  • It reduces the risk of moisture destroying furniture and structural components of a home.
  • It helps your HVAC system work less by drawing moisture out of the air.

How you set your dehumidifier will depend a lot on where it’s located as some areas of your home tend to retain more moisture than others.


Locations In Your Home with High Humidity

Basements are notorious for being damp, so this is typically an area where most homeowners will set their relative humidity as low as possible and their dehumidifier will still be working virtually non-stop during the summer until the humidity level is under control.

Other common areas are the kitchen, bath, and mudrooms, as obviously those are areas of high moisture. Shaded parts of the home where there is less sunlight also tend to retain more moisture.

Windows that are not well-sealed and have condensation can also introduce humidity into a home.


Choosing the Right Dehumidifier Setting

In basements, you should set the relative humidity of the dehumidifier to 35% to 45% if you’re unable to keep humidity low and are starting to develop a mold issue. But be prepared to foot the electricity bill for at least several months until the humidity is brought under control.

If you’re just maintaining a basement’s humidity levels, then a relative humidity in the 45% to 50% should be fine.

All these settings assume that you’re getting the right size dehumidifier. Be careful not to get a dehumidifier that doesn’t have the right capacity. Basements typically require dehumidifiers with a capacity of 70, 90, and sometimes even over 100 pints, depending on the square footage and how damp the basement is to begin with.

As far as the rest of the home, it’s typically easier to maintain the humidity there.

In these areas of the home, a 50-60% relative humidity setting is the norm.

Generally, anything below 35% relative humidity will dry your lungs out, and anything over 60% relative humidity will allow for faster mold growth. Use this range in context – the lower the setting, the more aggressively you’ll be fighting moisture, but you’ll also be paying more on your electricity bill.


How to Achieve the Best Result From a Dehumidifier In the Summer

It isn’t just about buying a dehumidifier and forgetting about it. You should take some additional measures as well so that your dehumidifier can effectively fight moisture levels.

Here are some things (among many others) to also take into consideration.


Close and seal external sources of air: If the windows and doors of the home are not sealed, Dehumidifier takes more time and energy to control the humidity. For its efficient functioning, enclosing all external sources of air is important. Here’s a post with some simple methods to help you detect and seal air leaks around your home.

Clean your home first: A good cleaning of a home can help a dehumidifier out. If there’s mold forming, a simple weekend of cleaning with bleach can take care of some potential mold growth. So can dusting and vacuuming, as it can eliminate some of the larger pollutants that would have to be filtered out by your dehumidifier and HVAC system.

Put some thought into choosing the right location:  Most dehumidifiers release air from the top and sides, so you should place it in an area where there is space around it, and air can flow freely in and out of the dehumidifier. If yours has a hose drainage, also consider whether your drain will be going through a window or hole in the wall.


Related Questions

How does a dehumidifier remove moisture?

A dehumidifier extracts water by feeding moist air through a powerful fan, then running that air through heated coils to separate the moisture and air. It then reheats the air and expels it back into the room as dryer air with less moisture.


What are some things to consider with a dehumidifier?

Mostly, it’s that dehumidifiers are difficult to operate during the winter but will virtually be on almost constantly in the summer. Also, keep the external sources of air closed, keep it away from furniture and make sure the tank is emptied regularly if your dehumidifier isn’t extracting water through a hose. and filter of the dehumidifier regularly.

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