When to Pull the Plug on Your Dehumidifier

September 28, 2016

Dehumidifiers are indispensable for removing unwanted moisture from your home, as anyone who’s weathered a muggy Massachusetts summer knows. They help alleviate allergies and respiratory problems by improving indoor air quality, and can avoid damage to your home by preventing mold build-up. However, running dehumidifiers takes energy, so it’s important to know when to unplug them and how to keep them operating efficiently. As you prepare to put away your dehumidifier for the year, we’ve put together some tips on how to get the most from your appliance.         

Mind the Seasons

Because humidity levels vary throughout the year, so does the need to run your dehumidifier. During cold winter months, the air in your home is usually dry, which means a dehumidifier is not necessary. In fact, dehumidifiers actually work most efficiently in warm temperatures and decrease in efficiency as the temperature cools. 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 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.

Maintain Your Appliance

The lifetime of dehumidifiers usually ranges from five to 10 years. To maximize the lifetime, it’s important to care for your dehumidifier. Be sure to regularly change the air filters, clean the condensing coils and exhaust grilles, and empty and clean the water bucket. These are good steps to take before packing your dehumidifier up for the winter so that it’s ready to go when you need it again in the spring.

If your dehumidifier does not pull water from the air when it runs, or if it stops running for no apparent reason, it is time to repair or upgrade your dehumidifier. If you are looking to dispose of an old dehumidifier, be sure to recycle. Dehumidifiers contain hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), a greenhouse gas that can also deplete the ozone layer. Both retailers and towns often accept old dehumidifiers for recycling. The Mass Save sponsors also support dehumidifier turn-in events, where you can drop your old dehumidifier off for no cost and ensure it is safely recycled. Check out our calendar to see if an event is scheduled near you. 

If you’re interested in purchasing a new dehumidifier, take advantage of the limited-time rebates on ENERGY STAR® certified dehumidifiers. ENERGY STAR certified models use 15 percent less energy than traditional ones, which means you can save more than $175 over the appliance’s lifetime. To learn more about the benefits of ENERGY STAR certified dehumidifiers and where to buy them, visit the Mass Save rebate page.

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