Can A Dehumidifier Be Plugged Into An Extension Cord?

Every year, approximately 2.4 million dehumidifiers are sold in the United States. They are one of the most popular additions to homes because of their ability to help make your home a more comfortable environment.

Dehumidifiers help to ensure that there’s not an excessive amount of moisture in your home, which could cause dangerous and destructive mold or mildew.

Dehumidifiers can be somewhat bulky, which may make it tempting to use an extension cord when you are placing it in your home. You may also want to use a dehumidifier where an electrical outlet may not be nearby.

It may be possible to use an extension cord for a dehumidifier as a temporary solution, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines, but an extension cord should not be used as a permanent solution. Many manufacturers state in the owner’s manuals for dehumidifiers that an extension cord must never be used.

We never use our dehumidifier with an extension cord in line with the manufacturers guidelines and always plug the appliance straight into an electrical outlet.

Dehumidifier Plugged In

We’ve discussed more about using a dehumidifier with an extension cable in more detail below, including the best way to connect your dehumidifier to a power source in your home.

Can You Use An Extension Cord For A Dehumidifier?

Depending on the situation, you may be able connect a dehumidifier to a power source through an extension cord.

However, this solution should only be temporary.

Dehumidifiers pull a lot of energy, which most extension cords are not engineered to support.

As a result, manufacturers of dehumidifier outline within the owner’s manuals that the use of an extension cord is not supported.

For example, the manufacturer for our dehumidifier explains in the manual:

Never connect the unit to an electrical outlet using an extension cord.’


The manufacturer also goes on to say:

If a power outlet is not available, one should be installed by a qualified electrician.’


We therefore always ensure that our dehumidifier is plugged straight into an electrical outlet and not an extension cord, even if it means that the dehumidifier won’t be in the exact location we wanted.

Dehumidifier Plugged In

If looking for an extension cord that will support your dehumidifier (if allowed by the manufacturer of a particular model of dehumidifier), you’ll need to make sure that it’s labeled heavy-duty.

Only a heavy-duty cord will offer stability and safety throughout its use.  Even when you have a rated heavy-duty cord, you should plan to use it as a temporary solution.

Types Of Extension Cords

There are different types of extension cords, with each type specifically made for a specific purpose. 

While it may be tempting to grab the first cord you see, it could be dangerous to do so. Each type of cord is labeled with a letter, S, W, J, and P.

S-rated cords are the most common cords you will find. These are best for general purpose uses in the home.  They are not rated for outdoor use, so you should only use them inside.

W-rated cords are a bit sturdier than general-purpose cords and are safe to use outdoors. They typically have a waterproof component which makes them safe for outdoor use.

J-rated cords have a thin layer of insulation, making them a bit safer to use items that require a heavy-duty cord.  Although this is a higher insulated cord, it is likely not strong enough for an appliance that requires as much amperage as a dehumidifier.

P-rated cords are wired in a way that allows them to be used with appliances in your home.  They would be classified as heavy-duty cords.

How Do You Know Which Cord Is Best?

Choosing the proper extension cord can be overwhelming, but it does not have to be.

When you go to the hardware store, you need to make sure you choose a heavy-duty cord. The best amperage for an extension cord is going to be 16 gauge.

Cord Ratings

When it comes to finding out the rating of specific extension cords, you need to understand the ratings you may see.

Typically, they are labeled with American Wire Gauge (AWG) ratings.  The key to understanding the AWG is to remember that the lower the number, the thicker the wire being used. The most common gauge rating on wires used for extension cords is between 10-18 AWG. 

Other Important Things To Consider With Cords

Extension cords are not meant to be difficult to purchase, but you need to know the answers to these questions when you head to the store.

What gauge cord does my Dehumidifier require? Dehumidifiers require a specific gauge of a cord.  The best way to determine this is to either look at your owner’s manual, contact the seller or manufacturer or ask a licensed electrician. The last thing you want to do is try to hook something up just because you think it may work.

How long should the cord be? To ensure your power supply’s safety, you want the cord to have the lowest drop length possible. The drop is the distance from the outlet to the appliance.  If you have a short cord, you can use a higher gauge wire.  However, if you choose to use a longer cord, you will want to go for a lower gauge wire, which means an increased size. 

Is the cord waterproof? Because a dehumidifier deals with water and moisture, you want to make sure you have a cord that can withstand damp conditions, just in case it comes in contact with moisture.

How Should You Connect A De-humidifier To A Power Source?

While an extension cord can be a great temporary fix, you need to be able to attach your Dehumidifier to a power source that is safe and reliable.

Here are the best ways to connect your Dehumidifier inside your home to ensure it’s safe.

  • Plug into a 3-prong outlet.
  • Do not use a power strip.
  • Do not use multi-outlet Adaptors.
Dehumidifier & Extension Cord
Don’t use an extension cord if the manufacturer recommends against it

3 Prong Outlet

It is important to use a three-prong outlet to connect your Dehumidifier.  The third prong on the outlet ensures your Dehumidifier is fully grounded.  Grounding is important to ensure it is safe to operate your Dehumidifier.

Will A Household Outlet Work?

Because dehumidifiers require excess energy to work, you may be wondering if a typical household outlet is equipped to handle the appliance.

You can plug it into a typical household outlet; however, you would be better protected by having it plugged into a GFCI outlet.

The key feature of a GFCI outlet is the ability to stop the power flow if anything abnormal is communicated through the cord to the outlet.  For example, if moisture is detected, the power source will instantly stop supplying power to the appliance.  The same is true if the outlet detects an excess amount of energy being pulled.

Power Strips

When connecting your Dehumidifier to a power source, you want to make sure you are not relying on a power strip.

Power strips are handy to have around the home and can provide you with much-needed outlet space. However, they are not equipped to handle the high-energy draw of a dehumidifier.

Multi-Outlet Adapters

These handy gadgets provide multiple outlets by utilizing the hard-wired outlet receptacle in your home. While they are useful for giving extra outlets, they are not safe to use with high-energy items such as a dehumidifier.

If you choose to use any of the above-listed items, you are putting both your Dehumidifier and home at serious risk of damage.

What Happens If The Cord Is Not Strong Enough?

Using an extension cord or power strip, which is a fancy extension cord, can be extremely hazardous. 

When a high voltage item is plugged into a power source that is not equipped to handle the high voltage draw, it can cause your appliance’s motor to burn out

Because of the high amount of electricity pulled through the cord, you will also likely notice an excessive amount of heat.  If the cord is not engineered to handle the task of high energy draws, there is a greater chance of a fire starting.

Can A Dehumidifier Be Plugged Into An Extension Cord?

Connecting a dehumidifier to a power source in your home is not a difficult thing to do. However, you need to make sure you’re doing it properly.

An extension cord may be possible as a temporary fix. However, it must be the correct gauge and length and in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines, if allowed.

It’s always recommended that you connect a dehumidifier directly into a standard home electrical outlet to ensure the safety of your machine as well as your home.

Further Reading

Can A Dehumidifier Act As An Air Purifier?

Can A Dehumidifier Also Be A Humidifier?

Can A Dehumidifier Eliminate Odor?