Do You Need A Dehumidifier In The Winter?[Solved!]

Liz Yang

While it is common to run a dehumidifier in the summer, many people are not sure if they need a dehumidifier in the winter. 

Most of us don’t need to run a dehumidifier in the winter since the air is dry and cold. However, using it is necessary for those who live in humid areas. 

This is just a simple answer to the question. I will walk you through more information about “dehumidifier in winter” in this article so that you can understand when and how to use a dehumidifier during the winter months. 

How to decide if you should use a dehumidifier in the winter?

As I mentioned in the beginning, running a dehumidifier in the winter is not a good idea for everyone. There are two factors that will affect your decision. 

Temperature 

Running a dehumidifier is not applicable if you live in an extremely cold region. That is to say, a dehumidifier can’t work properly at the low indoor temperature. 

This is due to the fact that the dehumidifier will freeze up when the cold air pass through the evaporator coil, shortening its lifespan. If you have a refrigerant model, it is advisable to run it above 60°F. 

Things can get a lot better for those who have a desiccant model. Even at 0° F, it can continue to remove excess moisture. However, the majority of models on the market are refrigerant models.

If you insist on using a dehumidifier in cold days, turning on the heater can help.

Indoor humidity level 

how to decide if you need a dehumidifier in the winter

Albeit the air in the winter tends to be drier than it is in the summer, it may not be dry enough to prevent mold growth.

When the humidity level rises above 55%, condensation forms, mold and dust mites begin to grow, and it is time to turn on your dehumidifier.

You can use a hygrometer to monitor the level of humidity. If it is not available,  you can observe if there is any sign of high humidity

When the air is humid, the condensation shows up on the window, or you may feel the air is clammy. It can also cause allergic reactions in some cases.

How to use a dehumidifier in the winter?

Once you decide you need to use a dehumidifier in the winter months, there are some things to keep in mind. 

Monitor the humidity level constantly 

Although high humidity can affect indoor air quality, low humidity can wreak havoc too. Therefore, you should turn off the dehumidifier when the air is dry. 

Since the humidity level will fluctuate, a hygrometer is required to monitor humidity levels. Some dehumidifiers have a built-in humidistat that turns on and off automatically based on the moisture level.

What should the dehumidifier be set at in winter? Setting the humidity level at 45% to 55% is great since setting it too low will waste a lot of electricity. 

Turn on the heater 

To avoid icing up in the dehumidifier, you can turn on the heater or other heating appliances when using a dehumidifier in the winter. 

Dry clothes 

A dehumidifier can blow warm air when running. You can make use of it to dry clothes. 

Instead of a dryer, using a dehumidifier to dry clothes can save electricity and protect your clothes from damage. 

Remove mold before turning on the dehumidifier 

A dehumidifier can control mold growth but can’t kill the mold on the surfaces. 

As a result, to completely remove mold, wipe it away with white vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, or bleach before or while running a dehumidifier.

How long to run your dehumidifier in winter?

A dehumidifier’s runtime can be affected by a variety of factors. Because humidity is lower in the winter than in the summer, you can expect to run it for a shorter time. 

Depending on how humid your room is, you may need to run it on average for 8 to 12 hours per day.

In which rooms does a dehumidifier need to be used in the winter?

While the entire house can be humid in winter, some spaces suffer the most. 

Attic 

The attic often has moisture problems as warm and humid air will naturally move up and the roof is cold and susceptible to leaks.

You can run a dehumidifier in the attic to absorb the water vapor in the warm air coming from downstairs.

Crawl space and basement 

The moisture in the ground can easily enter the crawl space and basement, making these areas more humid than others. Furthermore, many homeowners install a plumbing system that is prone to leakage.

Check the correct dehumidifier setting for the basement here

Bathroom 

Every time you take a shower can produce a large amount of moisture. If this water vapor remains in the room, condensation and mold growth will occur. Using a bathroom dehumidifier to remove excess moisture in the bathroom is a good idea.

Other ways to reduce moisture in the winter

 If you don’t want to use a dehumidifier in the winter to combat moisture issues, there are other approaches you can try. 

Open windows and doors

Leaving the windows and doors open can help to increase airflow and remove moisture from the air.

Use an exhaust fan

Instead of using a dehumidifier, run an exhaust fan after each shower. It can remove moisture quickly while using less electricity.

Learn the difference between dehumidifiers and exhaust fans here.

Turn on the heater

You may use a heater in winter anyway. The heater can’t absorb moisture. However, improving the room temperature can lower the relative humidity level as warm air can hold more water vapor. 

Fix leaks 

The root cause of the moisture issue in your house may be the broken pipes, which constantly leak water into the room. By fixing the leaks, you may find the moisture problem disappears completely. 

Wrapping up 

Using a dehumidifier is beneficial if your house or room is humid in the winter. However, the device can’t work properly if the room temperature is too low. Therefore, you should make sure the room temperature is above a certain level. 

When running it, keep an eye on the humidity level. Moreover, finding the root cause of the moisture problem is the only way to eliminate excess moisture in winter. 

Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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