What To Set Dehumidifier At In Basement? [In Winter & Summer]

Liz Yang

The basement is usually the place where a dehumidifier is most needed since it could be the most humid place in your house.

Once you get your dehumidifier for the basement, you may wonder what to set it at. After all, the incorrect setting can impede its performance.

In short, setting your dehumidifier at 40% to 50% should be good for dehumidifying the basement. To avoid condensation, the setting in winter should be lower than in summer.

I’ll go over everything you need to know about “dehumidifier settings for basement” so you can get the most out of your dehumidifier.

Why should you use a dehumidifier in your basement?

The basement usually sits underground, making the water seep through the cracks easier. Underground water and soil moisture can also quickly infiltrate it.

Furthermore, because basements naturally have lower temperatures than other rooms, their relative humidity level is higher. As you are probably aware, the lower the temperature, the easier it is for air to become saturated.

As a result, your basement is often the first place that will present symptoms of high humidity.

You will notice the mold, mildew, and dust mites start to thrive, and the water vapor converts to liquid on the window or other cold surfaces (also known as condensation). Aside from that, the water bubble on the wallpaper is also not something you want to see. 

Nowadays, basements are frequently used as workplaces. If you plan to spend a few hours a day in the basement, the high humidity can cause a variety of health problems, including allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and sleep disorders.

You see, a damp basement will affect both your health and the state of your home, causing using a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture a necessity. 

You may also need to use a humidifier in the basement occasionally, check this post to see when you should use a dehumidifier or humidifier in your basement.

What is a proper humidity level for a basement?

Even though you have already understood the importance of using a dehumidifier in the basement, you may be unsure about the best humidity level for a basement, which determines when you should turn on your dehumidifier. 

The ideal humidity level varies from source to source. According to EPA, the ideal indoor humidity level ranges from 30% to 50%, whereas other research suggests that 40% to 60% is a proper range. 

Thus, setting your basement between 40% to 50% should be fine no matter which source you are going to trust.

Is 60 percent humidity too high for a basement?

is 60 humidity too high for basement

Yes. Based on what we discussed above, it is too high for a basement. Molds will begin to grow when the humidity level exceeds 60%. When the humidity level rises to 70%, most molds and dust mites thrive.

What to set your dehumidifier at in the basement in summer?

Some sources indicate that we should control the indoor humidity according to the outdoor temperature. I have summarized the results in the dehumidifier setting chart for the basement below, assuming the indoor temperature is at 70˚F.

Outdoor TemperatureProper Indoor Humidity Level (At 70°F)
Over 50˚FNot Exceed 50%
Between 20˚F to 50˚FNot Exceed 40%
Between 10˚F to 20˚FNot Exceed 35%
Between 0˚F to 10˚FNot Exceed 30%
Between -10˚F to 0˚FNot Exceed 25%
Between -20˚F to -10˚FNot Exceed 20%
Below -20˚FNot Exceed 15%

You may have noticed that the recommended humidity level falls with the reduction of the outside temperature. This is because condensation on basement windows is more likely to form as the outside temperature drops. To avoid it, keep the indoor humidity level low.

When condensation happens, mold will start to thrive since most mold needs water to grow. 

As a result, you can set your humidifier at a relatively higher humidity level, depending on your local climate. In most areas, the summer temperature will be above 50˚F. Therefore, you can set it at 40% to 50%, which is not over the upper limit.

What to set your dehumidifier at in a basement in winter?

Based on the results of the dehumidifier setting chart, you can conclude that in most American regions, you should set your dehumidifier to around 30% to 40% in the winter months.

Note that it will consume a lot more electricity while lowering the humidity level from the upper limit to the lower limit, therefore, you can set it at 40% at the beginning to see if the condition has been improved. If not, you can set it at a lower percentage. 

Conclusion 

When discussing the best humidifier setting for a basement, this post has shown you a lot of numbers.

Usually, the ideal humidity level is between 30% to 50% or 40% to 60% based on different resources, so setting your dehumidifier at 40% to 50% for your basement is a safe choice for everyone. 

Because the outside temperature is higher in the summer than it is in the winter, you may need to adjust the setting accordingly. That is, in the summer, you should set the targeted moisture level higher. According to some sources, we should set the humidifier to 40% to 50% humidity in the summer and 30% to 40% humidity in the winter.

If you don’t want to mess with the settings, you can leave your basement dehumidifier at 40%, which should be appropriate for most climates.

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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