How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier? Experts explain – and share tips for reducing running costs

They are invaluable for dealing with dampness and condensation, but how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier? Here is the cost breakdown, plus tips on how you can save

a dehumidifier in a living space, with two people sitting on a sofa behind it – to illustrate how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier?
(Image credit: Getty Images/Future)

A dehumidifier is an essential household appliance at this time of year for anyone looking to combat excess moisture in their home. But how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier, and are they an energy-efficient option?

The cold weather can, surprisingly, be the most humid, and the contrast between the freezing outside and the warmer inside can result in damp air in our homes. “This damp air is captured inside and it is noticeable in the form of a damp smell, condensation on windows, and the spread of mold," explains Chris Michael, Managing Director of air treatment specialists Meaco. 

Unlike the best air purifiers, dehumidifiers work by taking moisture out of the air and circulating warmer air back into your home – which can help to dry your clothes indoors faster, reduce mold and dust, and can even help with allergy symptoms. 

But soaring energy costs mean that it’s normal to feel wary right now about switching on yet another appliance to eat into your electricity bill – even one so essential. So we speak to energy and dehumidifier experts in order to find out the true cost of running a dehumidifier – and if it's money worth spending. 

How much does it cost to run a dehumidifier?

If you’re wondering, do dehumidifiers use a lot of electricity, and how expensive is it to run a dehumidifier? You’re not alone. These are questions that many people are asking due to rising costs. 

According to experts, running a dehumidifier all day will likely cost you in the range of about £15-£20 a week – that is, if you run it constantly. Energy saving expert at Quotezone (opens in new tab) Jack Ferguson estimates that: “the average cost of a 300-watt dehumidifier could be over £17 a week if you need to run it 24 hours a day.” That's the top benchmark for costs because it's unlikely you'll use it for that length of time.

However, if you want a more accurate, less general picture of the running costs – or you plan on running yours a lot less – it is possible to work out how much running a specific dehumidifier in your home should set you back.

In order to do this, you’ll need to look at the wattage of the model you are looking to use, and how much you pay for electricity per kWh (kilowatt hour). In the UK, due to the current energy price cap, your electricity should generally cost no more than 0.34p/kWh. In the US, numbers vary significantly, but 15 cents per kWh is a fair average, for the purposes of working out running costs.

A Meaco dehumidifier on a wooden floor in a living space

(Image credit: Meaco)

When it comes to working out your running costs, Meaco's (opens in new tab) Chris Michael explains, “Most energy-hungry white goods will either have energy labels, where usage is outlined in kWh figures, or will list wattages in the product specification or on a sticker on the product."

"Appliances that use this measurement will be outlining the amount of energy that the appliance uses for one hour’s worth of usage. Every 100 watts costs 3.4p/hour to run (based on UK electricity cost of 0.34p/kWh). So as an example, a 500-watt dehumidifier will cost 17p/hour to run in the UK. If you use your dehumidifier for eight hours in a day, then that is 27.2p/day, and £8.16 per month.”

To put that number into context, it is estimated to cost around 30-80p to run your dishwasher for one cycle per day, and around 50p for one 10-minute hot shower per day. 

At a cost of 15 cents per kWh, In the US, with a 500-watt dehumidifier, it's likely to cost you around 7.5 cents an hour to run your dehumidifier.

While most dehumidifiers don’t need to run constantly to be effective, Chris said, “realistically you will use your dehumidifier for longer than eight hours across the winter." As such, he advises against buying a cheap dehumidifier that has a high wattage as he explains, “that will soon become a false economy.”

a dehumidifier on a black tiled floor

(Image credit: Gett Images)

So in answer to the question, how much does it cost to run a dehumidifier, the reality is that the answer heavily depends on the wattage of the machine you are using, and how long you intend to use it for each day. As advised by Chris, you will probably be running yours for at least a couple of hours in the depths of winter, which should give you some idea of the costs involved.

In general, dehumidifiers are one of the more affordable household appliances to run (in comparison to tumble dryers for example, which can guzzle electricity) – and if you feel comfortable with the cost, they can have real benefits in your home during winter. Plus, their benefits can be two-fold, as many dehumidifiers will recycle warm and dry air back into your home, giving you an extra blast of heating when you arguably need it the most.

Are some dehumidifiers cheaper to run than others?

The running costs between dehumidifiers don't tend to vary too significantly. But it is worth noting that there are two different types of dehumidifiers, a compressor dehumidifier, and a desiccant dehumidifier. It is important to choose the right one based on where you intend to use it – or it may cost you more unnecessarily.

  • A compressor dehumidifier, which collects the excess moisture in a tank “is the cheapest type to run in typical household conditions (with a temperature of 20°C and 60% relative humidity),” Chris explains.
  • “But in colder environments under 10°C (typically an unheated conservatory, basement or garage) a desiccant dehumidifier (soaks up the moisture in the air) is more energy efficient due to the different technology it uses to dehumidify the air" Chris advises.

So, it's wise to first decide where you're going to use your dehumidifier – be it in the main space of your home, or in colder rooms only.

Chris also advised that dehumidifiers with a laundry mode also tend to be cheaper to run too, because of how they work. “They will run at full power for a set period before conserving energy by switching itself off,” Chris explains.

And if you really want to lower costs, it’s also worth choosing a low-wattage dehumidifier, as these are mostly the cheapest and most energy efficient. Jack explains, “For the most part, the bigger the wattage, the higher the energy use.”

dehumidifier in a living room, with a brown sofa behind

(Image credit: Getty Images)

How to reduce costs when using your dehumidifier

While choosing the right dehumidifier for your home or space is vital, there are some things you can do to reduce running costs, whichever type you use. 

1. Choose a model with a humidistat

A humidistat is not dissimilar to a thermostat, in that it detects the moisture levels in the air, and will adjust the power of your humidifier depending on what it reads. This will help to cut costs by ensuring that your dehumidifier isn’t needlessly running on full power all the time, wasting electricity. Instead, a humidistat will help your model to run more efficiently, by powering up when your home needs it, and powering down when it doesn’t.

2. Try to limit humidity in your home generally

While your dehumidifier will work hard for you, it always helps to ensure you’re practicing a few good behaviors to keep your home as moisture-free as possible, so the machine isn't using up much energy unnecessarily. 

For example, energy expert Paul Newman from Housetastic (opens in new tab) suggests, "To get the most out of your dehumidifier, make sure your extractor fans are working properly (cleaning them regularly as part of your kitchen cleaning routine will help). Open your windows after bathing or showering, and always put lids on saucepans, such as your best induction pans, when cooking."

3. Maintain the machine properly

You can be doing all of the above, but if you aren’t properly maintaining your dehumidifier on a regular basis, it’ll likely be fruitless.

“To keep your running costs low, it is important to make sure your dehumidifier works as efficiently as possible,” Chris advises. “In order to do this, you should check certain components. Does your air filter need cleaning? Are the air vents clear? Are you emptying the tank regularly enough? Is there a build-up of ice on its coils? Have a look at instruction manuals for help on looking after your dehumidifier.”

And, be sure to position your dehumidifier properly too, in order to allow it to work as efficiently as possible. Chris explained, “Make sure that you keep your dehumidifier on a flat surface 15-30 cm away from furniture or other objects (unless you have an Arete dehumidifier which does not require extra space around it) and keep it on a flat surface.”

4. Only run your dehumidifier when needed

As mentioned, you shouldn't need to run a dehumidifier all the time. “Only use it when you need to," advises Jack. "if there is no condensation on the windows then you probably don’t need to run it. And, if the humidity levels are within the acceptable range of 30-60%, then you don’t need to run it for very long, if at all.”

To find out the humidity levels in your home, you can buy a thermo-hygrometer which, Jack explains, “will check the air moisture level of your home. For around $10/£10, it will let you know the relative humidity of the air –30% to 60% is reasonable. If it is higher than that for prolonged periods, then it’s worth further investigation.”

It's also important to bear in mind that if you have serious and recurrent damp issues, a dehumidifier likely won't cut it. "Remember, dehumidifiers can't work miracles," says Jack. "If you continue to find moisture problems in the home, it is worth consulting an expert to help you resolve any issues.”

Amy Hunt

Amy Hunt is an experienced digital journalist specialising in homes, interiors and hobbies. She began her career working as the features assistant at woman&home magazine, before moving over to the digital side of the brand where she eventually became the Lifestyle Editor up until January 2022. Amy won the Digital Journalist of the Year award at the AOP Awards in 2019 for her work on womanandhome.com.