Got yourself a dehumidifier and set it up at home? That’s great! But you’re only halfway there. The key to getting the most from your dehumidifier and protecting your home is about setting it to the right level. Over the years I’ve used a wide range of dehumidifiers in lots of different places and I know the settings can vary depending on what you’re trying to achieve.
In this guide, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about humidity levels, explain what the relative humidity you want is, and show you how to set your dehumidifier up to achieve it.
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Understanding Humidity Levels
The humidity around you is the amount of moisture in the air. Ever felt hot and sticky in warm weather? That’s probably down to the humidity. Ever been down by the sea and felt the air get heavy? You might think that this is just about the relative temperature, but it’s not, it’s about the humidity.
Humidity is measured as the % of moisture in the air. This is sometimes described as relative humidity. The higher the %, the more moisture is in the air and the higher the humidity in your home.
Why Does Relative Humidity Matter?
When the air is heavy with water vapor and high humidity it can impact our skin, hampering breathability, and even making it hard to sweat. In fact, prolonged exposure to high humidity can have a really negative impact on our bodies .
Higher humidity from damp air can make your home and belongings damp. This humidity in your home can damage your belongings and even lead to mold growth.
Low humidity and dry air can prevent mold from developing, but it can cause issues too. It can dry your skin, irritate your skin, and generally make you feel really uncomfortable. 
Below is a rough guide to help you understand the optimal humidity in your home:
- 0-30% humidity is uncomfortably dry
- 30-50% humidity is considered the optimal comfort range
- 60-100% is uncomfortably humid
Dehumidifiers are used to help you reach and maintain the desired humidity in your home. They regulate the relative humidity in your home by sucking in the fresh air, removing the moisture, and releasing it back into the room. The dehumidifier humidity settings will determine exactly how much moisture it removes from the air.
Dehumidifier Setting Options
Everyone will need to use a dehumidifier slightly differently and modern dehumidifiers allow you to change your settings. This means you can program the dehumidifier to run until the room reaches a certain level of humidity. Usually, there’s a display screen and buttons on the outside to program the appliance.
How does the dehumidifier know when the humidity level has reached the desired level? Well, most dehumidifiers have a built-in humidistat. This measures the humidity levels periodically and it will turn on and off depending on the humidity setting which you’ve programmed.
What Impacts The Optimal Dehumifidier Humidity Setting?
Even the best dehumidifiers need the correct dehumidifier setting to work properly. The exact humidity setting you choose to use will depend on the following factors:
- Humidity Levels
The higher the relative humidity, the more damp air your dehumidifier has to deal with. You may need to adjust your dehumidifier humidity settings down to compensate.
- Weather and Climate
You may need to change your dehumidifier settings throughout the year to adapt to the climate. If you have humid summers where it feels wet outside then you’ll need to adjust your settings to extract more moisture.
Ventilation usually reduces indoor moisture levels and relative humidity . Here is a rundown of how the most common settings fare in areas that lack ventilation:
- 30%: Unnecessarily minimal, a waste of energy
- 40%: Ideal setting
- 50%: Unsafe for areas with less ventilation; can promote mold growth in hard-to-reach spots
- 60%: Unnecessarily high, will lead to eventual pest infection or mold-growth
What Should I Set My Dehumidifier To?
Your optimal dehumidifier humidity setting is almost always 30-50%. To an extent, the dryness setting comes down to personal preference, but keeping it around this level will prevent mold growth and leave you feeling most comfortable.
Where you install your dehumidifier will have an impact on the dryness setting you use. It’s about finding the right balance, and here’s a breakdown of the preferred dehumidifier settings for different situations/places:
The Best Dehumidifier Setting For Basement
The optimal humidity setting for a basement is 40-45%. Basements generally have little ventilation and higher levels of humidity than other parts of your home. This makes them more susceptible to mold growth which can damage your home and spread into the foundations.
Your basement generally isn’t a space that you’ll spend a lot of time in, so comfort isn’t as much of an issue, but to keep the mold in check you should ensure that the humidity doesn’t get above 60%. If you have a crawl space you should set it to roughly the same humidity level too.
Ideal Dehumidifier Setting For Living Spaces
The best dehumidifier humidity setting for living spaces is 40-50%. Living rooms are more likely to have ventilation which will help to regular the humidity level to an extent, but if you let the air become too full with water vapor then it can lead to dust mites. By keeping the humidity level under 50% you’ll suffocate the dust mites (and some other micro-organisms), preventing damage to your sofas or cushions.
Just remember that the humidity level in living areas will have an impact on your personal comfort, so you may choose to experiment with different humidity settings to see which works best for you.
Perfect Bedroom Dehumidifier Settings
Studies have shown that you should keep the humidity level under 60% for a great night’s sleep . If the humidity rises above that point then the excess moisture can become uncomfortable. If the humidity drops below 30-40% then it can make irritate your skin and throat.
There is a debate over whether your bedroom dehumidifier should be set to 30-50% or 40-60%, but keep it between 30-60% and you should be fine.
Optimal Laundry Room Dehumidifier Settings
Laundry room dehumidifiers operate to help dry out your clothes and they should be set to 30-40%. This will dry the air and keep dust mites and other pollutants out of the air around your clothes.
Most modern dehumidifiers have a specific laundry room setting that will extract humidity more quickly, but also set the fan to go more quickly. This acts as air conditioning for your clothes and will allow them to dry more quickly. Consult the owner’s manual or control panel to find out more about the laundry function.
Dehumidifier Setting To Tackle Mold
Keep your dehumidifier at 30-50% to deal with mold. This will kill the mold from forming and improve the overall air quality so it can’t return. Hot and damp climates suffer more from mold, so you may need to adjust the settings depending on the environment around you.
Ideal Dehumidifier Setting For Winter
Cold air doesn’t contain as much moisture as warm air, so you can set your dehumidifier to 50-60% over winter. This will keep the moisture from gathering on surfaces in your home and damaging your belongings, but won’t dry out the air around you. It should also prevent any mold from developing.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers are susceptible to freezing over winter, so make sure you’re cleaning and maintaining them properly, especially if they’re placed in a cold basement.
Dehumidifier Settings Chart
To provide clarity to the ideal dehumidifying conditions in these scenarios; here is a brief yet insightful rundown:
|Type of Location/Purpose||Ideal humidity (%)||Indications|
|Basement||40%||Less ventilation keeps the air stagnant. 40% humidity emulates natural conditions|
|Living Spaces||45%||Even favorable airflow can cause dust mites. Keeping humidity levels a bit higher can avoid that.|
|Mold Prevention||35%||The more moisture in the air, the more mold will grow, especially in a tropical or wet region. Hence, humidity levels should be kept very low.|
|Winter Season||50%||Winters are already dry; however, to prevent dust mites and avoid mold, a higher level may be required.|
How to Set the Dehumidifier Correctly?
Once you have decided to get a humidifier, you need to make sure you install it properly. Here is a step-by-step process of how you can achieve that:
- 1: Choose The Right Location – Dehumidifiers need to be placed somewhere with a lot of airflow. Air should be able to enter and also leave seamlessly. Remember, a dehumidifier’s water tank and electrical appliances don’t mix, so don’t place them together or you could end up getting an electric shock!
- 2: Set Up The Draining System – Your dehumidifier can either have an internal reservoir that needs emptying or a water drainage system facilitated with pipes and a dryer duct. Whichever one you have – portable or fixed – set it up so that it doesn’t impede the room’s functionality.
- 3: Set Your Ideal Level – Once all is set up, you need to tinker with the dehumidifier to see what humidity level fits you best. Check the owner’s manual if the control panel isn’t clear.
- 4: Keep Track Of How It’s Working – A dehumidifier requires you to keep an eye on it. For example, if it has a removable reservoir, it needs to be emptied, or else the dehumidifier will stop working. Remember, if you’re using your dehumidifier a lot to remove excess moisture it’s worth investing in one with a good energy star rating so it doesn’t cost a fortune to run.
Best Setting For Different Dehumidifier Brands
Arctic King Dehumidifier Setting
Arctic King offers fixed dehumidifiers that provide continuous functionality when set to a drainage hose. Hence, even if they are set to function at a 40% humidity level for the entire day, they will thrive.
And if you want to program them to shut off at a pre-decided time, they come with an efficient 24-hour timer.
Hisense Dehumidifier Setting
Most Hisense units come with an ‘Auto Dry’ setting. This mode lets the dehumidifier decide the desired fan speed according to the room while setting the humidity level at 50%.
Customize the level according to our guide, and you’re good to go!
Haier Dehumidifier Setting
Haier units boast an efficient ‘Smart Dry’ mode that automatically detects the current humidity level in the room and calibrates the settings accordingly.
This mode works efficiently; however, the humidity level will mainly fluctuate between 35-60%. Hence, you can customize the level according to your requirements.
Trane Dehumidifier Setting
Most brands – including Haier – limit fan speeds to 2 options (high and low); conversely, Trane units run at multiple speeds.
This allows them to function longer and enables the air to eject more water into the coil. Therefore, running it at a standard of 40% humidity level can do the job.
People Also Ask (FAQ)
Should you leave a dehumidifier on all the time?
No, dehumidifiers generally don’t need to be left on all the time. A dehumidifier should be left on for 12-15 hours to function properly, but it only needs to be on for as long as it reaches the required levels of humidity. Once it does that, it can be turned off.
When should you turn off your dehumidifier?
You should turn the dehumidifier off when it reaches the desired level. Most dehumidifiers come with a built-in humidistat which will tell you the humidity, but you can also buy a separate device to measure the humidity if needed.
Should I run my dehumidifier on low, medium, or high?
If you’re dealing with a lot of humidity then you should use a medium or high setting. If the relative humidity is low then you should use a low setting. Always align the usage to the task at hand, but keep in mind that some brands only offer two speeds.
What is the best temperature for a dehumidifier?
The ideal operating temperature for a dehumidifier is around 70-90 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it also depends on the external and internal conditions of the house.
Dehumidifiers are powerful tools, but only if you use them correctly. If you program the device in the right way you can make your home more comfortable and keep mold and mites at bay. This will lead to a happier, healthier life!
Hopefully, this guide has shown you exactly what your dehumidifier should be set to, and you’ll be able to get the most from your appliance.
Last Updated on January 23, 2023
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My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.
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What number should my dehumidifier be set at? ›
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.
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 should I set my dehumidifier at 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 should a basement dehumidifier be set at? ›
A basement dehumidifier helps maintain an ideal indoor relative humidity (RH) level in the space. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests that the indoor relative humidity be kept between 30-60% to help prevent mold growth.What do the numbers mean on a dehumidifier? ›
Below are our results for all of the dehumidifiers we tested. The heading “90-40%” refers to the time taken (in number of seconds) for the dehumidifier to dehumidify our 50 sq ft test space from 90% relative humidity down to 40% relative humidity.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.Is 60 humidity too high for a basement? ›
That air can make its way into your basement, increasing your humidity levels to around 60 percent. Because of this, homeowners must work to adjust those levels back to the ideal humidity level between 30 and 50 percent or risk mold, mildew and bacteria buildup.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.How long should a dehumidifier run per day? ›
How Long To Run Your Dehumidifier? So to recap, run your dehumidifier unit for at least 12 hours a day. This is a good rule of thumb. Again, it's okay if you don't stick to this schedule every day, but be aware that the more your family runs your dehumidifier unit the fresher and cleaner it will be all year long.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.
What humidity level will cause mold? ›
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.
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 should basement humidity be to prevent mold? ›
Dehumidify your basement
Mold and mildew flourish when the relative humidity level is above 80%; therefore all basements—finished or unfinished—should be kept at or below 50% relative humidity. In order to maintain that humidity level, May suggests using a dehumidifier and measure the humidity level often.
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.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.Why is my dehumidifier not lowering the humidity? ›
Check to make sure that all windows and doors are closed. Make sure the unit has proper air flow and that no curtains, blinds, or furniture is blocking the front or back of the dehumidifier. If used in a laundry area, install the dehumidifier away from the moisture laden air generated by the dryer.Should you run a dehumidifier in the basement all the time? ›
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.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.Is 58% high humidity for a house? ›
What is healthy humidity? It is recommended to keep indoor relative humidity between 30 and 50 per cent, if possible. People typically find a relative humidity between 30 to 60 per cent most comfortable.What is perfect humidity for home? ›
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.
How do I know when to stop using a dehumidifier? ›
When the temperature in the space where you run your dehumidifier starts getting down around 65° F, it's time to think of unplugging your unit and stowing it away for the winter. The lifetime of dehumidifiers usually ranges from five to 10 years.Where is the best place to put dehumidifier? ›
'For the best results, the dehumidifier should always be placed at least 20 centimetres away from every wall,' says Chloe King, Duux (opens in new tab) brand manager. 'In addition, we advise to place the device away from drafts from doors, windows, and air vents for optimal efficiency.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.How long does it take for a dehumidifier to dry out a room? ›
Dehumidifiers usually take between a few days and a week to completely clear the room of excess moisture. However, the exact timeframe depends on your room size, dehumidifier size and type, and how often you run it.How much water should a dehumidifier remove in a day? ›
Attention should be given to the placement of your unit. It should be positioned in proximity to a sump pump or drain and the hose should be placed outside of walkways to avoid a tripping hazard. Most dehumidifiers will remove between 30 and 70 pints of water per day.What is a good humidity for sleeping? ›
Best Humidity for Sleeping
The best relative humidity for sleeping and other indoor activities has been debated. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the best indoor relative humidity falls between 30% and 50%, and it should never exceed 60%.
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.What temperature keep mold down? ›
The ideal temperature is between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit. During the summer months, temperatures are often higher than normal inside the home. Make an effort to keep temperatures inside the home lower during the summer months. Setting the thermostat to the low 70s makes it more difficult for mold to grow.Will dehumidifier get rid of musty smell? ›
There's a musty smell in your home
When you walk into your home, you want it to smell clean and fresh. Moisture in the air tends to hold and trap odor, Bautista says. A dehumidifier will dry out the air and take away this moldy scent.
Does a dehumidifier take moisture out of walls? ›
Dehumidifiers work by removing moisture from the air. This can help to reduce condensation on walls and prevent mould and mildew growth. However, dehumidifiers will not necessarily dry out damp walls. If your walls are damp, you may need to use a combination of a dehumidifier and a fan to help dry them out.Does a dehumidifier help with congestion? ›
*Health: both a humidifier and a dehumidifier work to reduce chest congestion and asthma. If your asthma is triggered by humid air, a dehumidifier would complement by pulling humidity from the space.What is the best humidity number? ›
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 numbers mean high humidity? ›
less than or equal to 55: dry and comfortable. between 55 and 65: becoming "sticky" with muggy evenings. greater than or equal to 65: lots of moisture in the air, becoming oppressive.