If you live in a humid climate, you know the feeling of dampness in the air. That clammy feeling can also be present in your home, making it feel stuffy and uncomfortable. Not only does humidity make it feel hotter than it is, but it can also cause damage to your garage and cars.
The solution to this problem is a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air, which helps reduce humidity levels and prevents mold and mildew from growing.
But what’s the best way to use a dehumidifier? What’s the best setting to use in different weather and temperature conditions? We’ve got the answers to all of your dehumidifier questions.
And we will also help you understand the settings on your dehumidifier so you can customize them as needed. Let’s begin with how to set up your dehumidifier after getting it first and explore the different options in detail afterward.
Table of Contents
- Steps to Set Up a New Dehumidfier
- HVAC Engineer’s Guide to Dehumidifier Settings
- What Do The Numbers On a Dehumidifier Mean?
- Dehumidifier Settings Chart
- Guideline of Which Dehumidifier Settings Will Feel The Most Comfortable
- Dehumidifier Settings To Safely Store Items
- Dehumidifier Setting for Summer
- Dehumidifier Settings for Winter
- Dehumidifier Setting to Prevent Mold
- Aprilaire Dehumidifier Setting Chart
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I run my dehumidifier on low, medium, or high?
- Why does the humidity never drop below 50%, which is my dehumidifier setting?
- What should I set my dehumidifier on in the crawl space?
- Bottom line
Steps to Set Up a New Dehumidfier
So you’ve just purchased your dehumidifier and wish to get started on the right foot? Let’s help you out. Following the proper instructions to set up and use your dehumidifier is essential.
The first thing to do is to read the instructions manual. It gives you a thorough understanding of the product usage guidelines provided by the device manufacturer itself.
Now let’s take a look at some steps you can follow.
- Before using your dehumidifier for the first time, wash the filter with warm, soapy water. Rinse the filter thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.
- Place the dehumidifier in the room you wish to use it.
- Plug the dehumidifier into the AC outlet.
- Press the power button to turn on the unit.
- Adjust the humidity level using the control knob. Set the knob to the desired level of humidity.
- Adjust the fan speed using the control knob. Set the knob to the desired fan speed.
- Depending on your humidity level, monitor if the humidity continues to decrease.
- Do not forget to observe the tank and clean it when needed.
Following these steps will get the job done and help you get started. However, it is still necessary to understand what settings would work best for you. The ideal settings depend on various factors, such as temperature and relative humidity levels. Let’s take a look at what the subject matter experts recommend.
HVAC Engineer’s Guide to Dehumidifier Settings
#1 The best setting for you is going to vary based on where you live and what the time of the year it is. Energy Star recommends your humidity settings be set somewhere between 30 to 50 percent. It would work for both the garage and your basement.
#2 Most HVAC engineers recommend 40% as your basement’s most appreciated humidity setting. You shouldn’t go below that level during summertime, especially if you live in a cold area.
#3 Generally, lower humidity settings are safer with no chance of mold, but lower settings require more power. Finding a setting that doesn’t lead to too much or too little humidity is crucial.
#4 You should constantly monitor the humidity levels to find the best setting for your space. Let’s explore how you can control the settings in detail.
What Do The Numbers On a Dehumidifier Mean?
Your dehumidifier RH setting has a range of 35%-85% on it.
The relative humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air compared to the amount the air can hold. As the temperature increases, the air’s moisture can also increase. At lower temperatures, the air is dryer due to the lower capacity to retain moisture.
So if you need drier air, you would press the down button to decrease the RH percentage. Relatively, you would press the up button for damper air to increase the RH value.
Please ensure you are on normal mode before toggling the percentage, as you cannot change it on other operating modes.
Let’s take a look at a settings chart to understand this further.
Dehumidifier Settings Chart
It is essential to consider the outdoor temperature while choosing the best setting for a dehumidifier. The humidity levels in the air change with temperature and weather conditions.
Here are the recommended humidity settings depending on the outdoor temperature.
|Dehumidifier Settings Chart|
|Outdoor Temperature||Indoor Humidity|
|-20°F Or Below||15-25%|
|-20°F To 0°F||20-35%|
|0°F to 25°F||30-40%|
|25°F To 50°F||40% or Below|
|50°F And Higher (Most Common)||50% or Below|
You can use the table above to adjust the dehumidifier RH setting based on the temperature of your area. You can then monitor the levels to figure out what will work best.
Guideline of Which Dehumidifier Settings Will Feel The Most Comfortable
The dehumidifier settings that will feel the most comfortable will depend on the relative humidity in the space, the outdoor temperature, and the amount of ventilation.
If the temperature is warm and the amount of ventilation is low, you should set the dehumidifier to a high setting. And if the temperature is cold and the amount of ventilation is high, you should set the dehumidifier to a low setting.
You can also refer to the following table to set the humidity level according to the temperature.
|Comfortable Setting of Dehumidifier|
|5°C to 20°C||60%|
|20°C to 27°C||55%|
Dehumidifier Settings To Safely Store Items
At this point, you must know how specific dehumidifier settings are required to have optimum performance. It doesn’t just have to do with outdoor temperature or ventilation but also the size of the space you are dehumidifying. Click the link to know more about Dehumidifier Size Chart: What size dehumidifier do you need?
It can be challenging to figure out what settings you need without a chart or guide that tells you. Fortunately, this chart will get you started on the right foot.
|Dehumidifier Settings To Store Items|
|50%||Tea, pictures, money, stamps.|
|50%-44%||Camera, lenses, guitar, violin, leather products.|
|<40%||You should maintain only Industrial models below 40%RH.|
|40%-35%||Metals (except iron), circuit board, semiconductors, IC card, tungsten wire, batteries.|
|35%-25%||Precise measures, optical apparatus, electronic detectors, lenses, and medical equipment.|
|25%-15%||Unique chemical materials, medical apparatus, medical samples, seeds, and pollen.|
The desired setting is 44% for lenses and camera body/electronics. For guitars and violins, you should set the dehumidifier at 45%.
You should maintain leather products like handbags within the 45-50% range. Be cautious as drier air can cause cracking in the leather. It is recommended to monitor your leather products regularly and apply moisturizer to maintain the best results.
Dehumidifier Setting for Summer
Regardless of the season, when relative humidity is above 60%, it gets necessary to run a dehumidifier. When relative humidity reaches the point where the air is saturated, water vapor begins to condense. When enough water vapor condenses, it creates a cloud of water droplets, which can lead to mold growth if the air is not constantly circulated.
If you’re using a dehumidifier in your home during summer, you’ll want to adjust the settings to accommodate the warmer, more humid air.
The ideal setting for a dehumidifier in the summer is between 50% and 60% relative humidity. It will help remove the excess moisture from the air without making it too dry.
During the summer months, you usually won’t have any problems running your dehumidifier because there is more moisture in the air.
Dehumidifier Settings for Winter
During the winter, you have to consider two things about how to use a dehumidifier to dry a room. First, your device attracts moisture, and if the water in the water tank freezes, it can damage the device.. And second, you may experience freezing winters and may want to consider dehumidifiers that rely on silica or charcoal desiccants.
During the heating season, is colder climate, the humidity levels should range from 30% to 40% RH. This will prevent window condensation. Higher humidity levels can cause water vapor in the air to condense outside the window and reduce visibility.
When purchasing a dehumidifier, you want to pay attention to the temperature of the space that needs to be dehumidified. If the space’s temperature typically falls below 65F, ensure your dehumidifier is specified for lower temperatures.
If the space’s temperature typically falls below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, make sure your dehumidifier is specified to be used for these conditions. This list must have what you need: Best Dehumidifier for Cold Weather
Dehumidifier Setting to Prevent Mold
If you live in a hot area with a damp environment, mold and mildew might be one of the most significant issues you face. Mold is a fungus that thrives in moist environments, and exposure to mold spores can cause various health problems, including respiratory issues, headaches, and skin irritation.
When the humidity in your home is above 50%, it creates the perfect environment for mold to grow. Dust mites also reproduce and thrive in these conditions. They prefer temperatures above 70°F and humidity at around 75 to 80 percent.
By setting your dehumidifier to 50%, you can create an inhospitable environment for mold and dust mites, preventing them from taking hold in your home.
Aprilaire Dehumidifier Setting Chart
A setting chart can be helpful when trying to determine the right setting for your particular needs. Let’s take a look at the recommended setting chart by AprilAire.
It has a range of humidity levels, from low to high, and corresponding dehumidifier settings. By finding the current humidity level of your home on the chart, you can select the corresponding setting on your dehumidifier. It is important to note, however, that the chart is only a guide and that you may need to adjust the setting up or down depending on the specific conditions in your home.
Outdoor Temperature Vs. Indoor Relative Humidity Recommendation
|Aprilaire Dehumidifier Setting Chart|
|Outside Temperature||Recommended RH|
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Frequently Asked Questions
Should I run my dehumidifier on low, medium, or high?
Your dehumidifier has three primary settings: low, medium, and high. Each set has its advantages and disadvantages:
Running on a low setting
It is best to run your dehumidifier on low if the overall humidity in your place is also down. Doing this will save money on energy bills, and your dehumidifier will last longer.
Running on a high setting
A higher setting is suitable for environments with high humidity and mold issues. It’s primarily applicable in warmer areas in the summertime. The high setting helps to bring down the humidity quicker. However, it can also decrease the overall life span of the dehumidifier.
Running at a medium setting
Most of the time, a medium setting can be just right, considering the drawbacks of low and high settings. It will efficiently reduce the humidity levels below 50%, resulting in fewer condensation and moisture problems and consuming a reasonable amount of electricity.
Here is the conclusion to sum it all up. If you’re satisfied with how fast the medium setting works, you should leave it on medium. But humidity levels are still above 50% even on medium; you should switch to high. Likewise, if you can reduce humidity levels below 50% fast, a low setting will do the job.
Why does the humidity never drop below 50%, which is my dehumidifier setting?
The size of the unit is also one of the more essential factors. What size you need ultimately depends on the size of the space that needs dehumidification and the humidity levels. Click here to know Dehumidifier size calculator: Sample Methods to Calculate Dehumidifier Size and Capacity
If the dehumidifier you use fails to bring the humidity levels to the desired setting below 50%, it could be because your dehumidifier is undersized. It doesn’t have enough capacity to store all the moisture.
What should I set my dehumidifier on in the crawl space?
Maintaining healthy humidity levels in your crawl space is essential because moisture can build up in the crawl space due to ductwork condensation, high humidity levels in the air, and ground moisture evaporation.
If you’re noticing musty odors from your crawl space, or rotten wood with sticky surfaces, it might be a sign that mold is growing. It can harm your house’s overall Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
In the summertime, when the humidity levels are usually higher due to high condensation in the air, you would need to set your dehumidifier to 45-50%. However, with the cold weather, humidity may drop, and placing your dehumidifier to 30-40% will do the job.
The best setting for the dehumidifier depends on the relative humidity of the space and the temperature outside. Experts usually recommend 40% RH, which balances performance and energy consumption.
However, you can use charts as a reference for a starting point and then monitor the levels to make necessary adjustments.
The humidity levels are usually higher in summer compared to winter. So running a dehumidifier in summer is more effortless. However, it would need more maintenance and caution during cold seasons.
One of the main objectives of dehumidifiers is to prevent mold from growing. You must also check the items usually stored in your dehumidifying room. The humidity levels need to be adjusted depending on which items will be held in the room.
In conclusion, you would need to check for the size of the unit, temperature outside, ventilation levels, items in the space, and relative humidity levels to figure out the best setting for your area.
What are the best settings for a dehumidifier? ›
Set the humidity level.
The optimal relative humidity level is between 30 and 50 percent, according to Energy Star (and 30 to 40 percent in colder areas during heating season). If the humidity is higher than that, it can breed dust mites, mildew, and mold, and trigger allergies.
Most HVAC engineers, however, agree that the most appropriate basement dehumidifier setting is 40%. It might be that 50% would be enough. However, at higher temperatures such as 80°F or 90°F, the likelihood of mold growth is significantly increased.What is the best setting for a dehumidifier in the winter? ›
While 30-40% is a good baseline for humidity levels in winter, you'll have to go through a period of adjusting temperatures and your humidifier to find your perfect setting. But once you do, there's no better feeling!What should I set my dehumidifier to prevent mold? ›
So, what is the best humidity setting for a dehumidifier? To prevent mold growth and keep your home's relative humidity at a comfortable level, we recommend aiming for 30%-50% humidity in your home.What is the most comfortable humidity setting? ›
The ideal relative humidity for health and comfort is somewhere between 30-50% humidity, according to the Mayo Clinic. This means that the air holds between 30-50% of the maximum amount of moisture it can contain.What should I set my dehumidifier to in the summer? ›
The ideal relative humidity level in a home is between 30 and 50 percent. However, in the hotter summer months (and if you live in a more humid climate) you will want to aim for the 50 percent range to maintain a manageable energy bill.Will mold grow at 55 humidity? ›
If there are no cold-condensing surfaces and the relative humidity (RH) is maintained below 60 percent indoors, there will not be enough water in those materials for mold to grow. However, if the RH stays above 70 percent indoors for extended periods of time, mold will almost certainly grow.
May said that, as a guide, it's best to use a dehumidifier when your basement feels humid or when you've spotted some of the signs outlined above. Running a dehumidifier for around 12 hours a day will enable you to manage indoor moisture while ensuring your energy costs aren't too high.Is 70 humidity in basement too high? ›
A relative humidity level of 70 percent or higher creates the perfect breeding ground for mold growth. Leaving basement mold unchecked could amount to unhealthy indoor air, causing sickness to your family and aggravated upper respiratory issues. Also, home-destroying mold could also cause costly foundation damage.Can you dehumidify too much? ›
Can you dehumidify too much? There is a chance of dehumidifying your home too much with a dehumidifier, especially if you are leaving your dehumidifier running for several hours on a timer unattended. Over-dehumidifying your home can lead to an increased chance of respiratory illnesses and dry and cracked skin.
Should a dehumidifier run constantly? ›
Should a Dehumidifier Run Constantly? No, your dehumidifier should not have to run constantly to regulate the air humidity. An optimal humidity level to shoot for is between 30 and 50 percent. Your dehumidifier should reach this in 8 to 12 hours.What temperature should I set my dehumidifier? ›
Ideal Dehumidifier Operating Temperatures. The ideal operating temperature for standard refrigerant dehumidifiers is between about 60 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit, and between 60% - 80% relative humidity.What humidity level kills mold? ›
To kill mold, you need to get the humidity below 50%, and around 35% is optimal. If it's a mold problem in your basement, having a contractor install vapor barriers around the outside of the foundation of the house is probably the best long-term option.Can mold grow even with a dehumidifier? ›
Many people ask – does a dehumidifier kill mold? The answer is no, dehumidifiers don't have the capacity to kill mold. Mold grows by reproducing spores into the air. Those spores land on surfaces and if there's moisture, food, and space, the mold spores will grow.What is the ideal humidity for a finished basement? ›
Normal Basement Humidity Levels
A comfortable basement should maintain a humidity level of 30 to 50 percent — however, those may differ depending on your climate.
The EPA recommends indoor humidity levels stay between 30%–50%. If you want to remain comfortable through the winter months, proper home humidity control is crucial.What should indoor humidity be set at in winter? ›
In the winter months, the humidity level should be a little less to avoid condensation—around 30-40%. Since cold air doesn't hold as much moisture as warm air, it's important to find ways to improve the comfort level inside.What is the best indoor humidity level in winter? ›
So, what is the ideal indoor humidity level in winter? According to the EPA, indoor relative humidity should be kept below 60% and ideally between 30% and 50%, this is also the ideal humidity level for a baby's room. This humidity range will ensure your home is not too dry and not too humid during winter.How long should it take a dehumidifier to lower humidity? ›
How long will it take to get the moisture under control? As long as the dehumidifier you choose is large enough for the area it is working in, and there are no specific damp problems, then a dehumidifier will normally reduce the humidity to the chosen level within a few days to a week.At what humidity should I use a dehumidifier? ›
The humidity in most homes is between 30% and 50%. If your home is above 50% humidity then a dehumidifier is needed. However, if humidity levels are below 30%, a humidifier is needed. To determine the humidity level in your home pick up a hygrometer for less than $20 at a home improvement store.
Should I run a dehumidifier all summer? ›
If you want your home to remain as comfortable as possible during the summer months, you should consider using a dehumidifier to reduce the amount of moisture in the air. Using a dehumidifier during the summer also improves the air quality inside your home and can eliminate potential allergens like mold and mildew.Does mold go dormant in low humidity? ›
Mold does not dry out and die but remains inactive for a while if moisture is not available. This means that it can still grow back and multiply when it is exposed to any sources of moisture. Professional mold remediation and moisture control help to keep mold at bay.Does mold stop growing when dry? ›
Moisture Control is the Key to Mold Control
If wet or damp materials or areas are dried 24-48 hours after a leak or spill happens, in most cases mold will not grow.
The World Health Organisation guidelines suggest 21 degrees in a living room and 18 degrees in the bedrooms, falling lower at night and when you are out.When should you not use a dehumidifier? ›
Most dehumidifiers should not be operated in temperatures below 60° F, since the moisture removed from the indoor air can freeze when it condenses on the cooling coils, which can damage the unit.When should I stop using a dehumidifier in my basement? ›
For now, we leave you with this simple one: use a dehumidifier during the spring, summer and early fall to keep moisture at bay, but unplug and stow it away during the winter to prevent damage to your unit.Is a little water in basement OK? ›
Allowing water to remain present in the basement can increase the level of humidity in the entire home, causing unpleasant conditions and making HVAC systems run longer. More importantly, water in the basement can be a catalyst for the growth of mold, which can create serious health problems for the home's residents.Is basement humidity worse in summer or winter? ›
Is basement humidity worse in summer or winter? Most commonly, summer weather can increase humidity and winter can decrease humidity. Warmer summertime air comes into your home bringing its excess humidity with it. This excess humidity in basements is often well above the recommended 30-50% relative humidity levels.Is 57% humidity too high in a house? ›
But what is high humidity? According to Energy Star, the ideal indoor relative humidity should be between 30 and 50 percent–anything higher than 50 percent is considered high. High humidity levels and excessive moisture can cause discomfort and health issues, and it can even wreak havoc on a home.Is 65 humidity too high in a house? ›
The Health and Safety Executive recommends that relative humidity indoors should be maintained at 40-70%, while other experts recommend that the range should be 30-60%. Most people find 30-60% most comfortable and this is the level that Airthings recommends.
How do you know if you're too humid? ›
How can you tell when the humidity is too high inside your home? There are a couple of telltale signs like clammy skin, foggy windows, and a heavy yet warm atmosphere. But you can also smell mildew or musty odors when your home is much too humid, which comes from moisture buildup.Can a dehumidifier make a room too dry? ›
It is unfortunately a common occurrence that a dehumidifier ends up drying out the air in a home so much that it creates a new set of problems, such as the easy spread of illnesses, cracked, dry skin, and problems with static electricity.Is it cheaper to run a dehumidifier or an air conditioner? ›
Dehumidifiers tend to be less expensive than air conditioning units, and also use less electricity. However, no matter how powerful a dehumidifier you buy, it is never going to really reduce the temperature of a hot room down to normal levels.Why is my dehumidifier filling up every day? ›
If your dehumidifier's water basin is filling up too quickly, you probably have extra water in the air due to an issue like a cracked pipe, water leak or open crawl space. If you're hardly getting any water in the basin, you may need to simply turn the control to a drier setting.Is it OK to leave a dehumidifier on overnight? ›
Can I leave the dehumidifier running at night? Yes, we recommend using a dehumidifier 24hrs, however, be aware that there will always be a noise generated from the machine when it is operating.What is ideal basement humidity in summer? ›
Summer's ideal basement humidity level is between 40% and 60%. Any lower air will feel dry and dusty, while any higher air will feel damp and muggy.Should I run my dehumidifier on low medium or high? ›
Running a dehumidifier at a low setting is generally more energy-efficient than running it on a high setting; the medium setting strikes a good balance between energy efficiency and dehumidification rate.Should you leave a dehumidifier on all the time? ›
Once temperatures drop to around 65 degrees, it's best to turn the dehumidifier off. Doing so will help prevent moisture from freezing on the dehumidifier's coils, which could damage your unit.Is it normal to empty a dehumidifier every day? ›
All portable dehumidifiers have a water collection container, often called a tank or a bucket, to collect the water extracted from the air. These buckets are quite small, to keep the overall size of the dehumidifier down, and need to be emptied at least once a day.What is ideal humidity for basement? ›
Normal Basement Humidity Levels
A comfortable basement should maintain a humidity level of 30 to 50 percent — however, those may differ depending on your climate.
Is it OK to leave dehumidifier on overnight? ›
Can I leave the dehumidifier running at night? Yes, we recommend using a dehumidifier 24hrs, however, be aware that there will always be a noise generated from the machine when it is operating.How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier 24 hours a day? ›
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 16p. In comparison, an example dehumidifier that can extract up to 12 litres a day, with a wattage of 157w (0.157 kWh) would cost just over 5p an hour.