Can A Dehumidifier Run Constantly?

With rainy seasons and many people living in flood zones, more and more households are purchasing and depending on dehumidifiers to help keep moisture levels low in their homes.

Dehumidifiers are helpful in many ways, especially with preventing mold growth in humid homes. For the worst-case situations, is it okay to have them running constantly?

A dehumidifier can be run constantly but in most cases it shouldn’t need to be. Running a dehumidifier constantly can cause your home to become too dry, leading to health and other property problems. Dehumidifiers should be used as and when required.

Many dehumidifiers come with built-in hygrometers, known as humidistats, that measure the humidity levels, so your dehumidifier will typically turn off when it’s at the set humidity level, or remain on and keep it at that level.

Constantly running your dehumidifier has many drawbacks, and you should always try to maintain a healthy humidity in your home.

We only run our dehumidifier when it’s needed. We could run it constantly, but the energy usage would mount up and the air in our home would become far too and uncomfortably dry if not on the right setting.

Desiccant Dehumidifier
Our dehumidifier, which we don’t run all the time

Can A Dehumidifier Run 24 7?

It’s typically possible to run a dehumidifier 24 hours, 7 days a week. While dehumidifiers with water tanks would need emptying when full before being able to continue operating, many dehumidifiers also offer drain outlets for continuous drainage. Many dehumidifiers also offer modes for keeping humidity at a certain level.

We could run our own dehumidifier all day every day if we wanted to. Although it’s a portable model, it still offers the ability to operate 24 7 if we wanted.

Rather than leaving it on and the humidity getting to a level that’s too low, we can set it to ‘Smart’ mode where it will work hard to bring the relative humidity down to 50% as a target and keep it there.

Dehumidifier Mode Control
Our dehumidifier running on ‘Smart’ mode that means it can be on all the time and ensure that the air doesn’t get too dry

When the humidity has reached 50%, the fan speed and performance adjust according but will remain on constantly to keep the room at this specific humidity.

Why You Shouldn’t Run Your Dehumidifier Constantly

Even if it’s after a recent flood or the weather has been rainy for a few days, you shouldn’t keep your dehumidifier running constantly. It may seem like you need to but try to give your dehumidifier a break for a few hours during the day to balance out the humidity levels in your house.

Some reasons you shouldn’t run a dehumidifier constantly are:

  • Dangerously low humidity levels in your home
  • Cost and electricity consumption
  • Constant vigilance of the machine
  • More frequent replacement

Safe Humidity Levels

Humans and their homes need a safe, balanced level of humidity in their homes throughout the year.

It’s recommended to have between a 30 and 60% relatively humidity in your home.

Some things that can happen to your health if the humidity in your home is too low are:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Dry skin
  • Dry, scratchy throat
  • Itchy, watery eyes

There can also be some other damage occurrences to a home if the humidity is too low, including warped wooden furniture and floors, wallpaper chipping, and book pages becoming destroyed.

Cost and Electricity Consumption

Dehumidifiers have been getting an energy consumption revamp just as many other appliances have. That still doesn’t mean that they will run at optimal efficiency.

Running a dehumidifier constantly can use up to 200W per hour, depending on the size of your machine. Keeping a dehumidifier running for a long time will run up your electric bill and increase your carbon footprint.

Dehumidifier Plugged In
The cost of running a dehumidifier 24 7 can add up

Some will also argue that if you have a dehumidifier for health reasons, it may be more beneficial in the long run to keep the dehumidifier constantly running or for most of the day, even if it’s just a seasonal or temporary use.

If you’re concerned about the amount of energy you are using to run your dehumidifier, check the online ratings for your dehumidifier or any appliances through Energy Star.

All appliances also come with this information when you purchase them.

Constantly Emptying The Bucket

Dehumidifiers suck in the air from their environment and remove the water and push dry air out. All of that water then goes into a bucket. It is up to the person operating the dehumidifier to empty the bucket as it fills. Sometimes it can take all day to fill, other times a few hours.

Dehumidifiers will automatically turn off if the bucket reaches capacity.

Only is there’s an issue with the dehumidifier that it may cause the water tank to overflow.

If you’re not around to empty the bucket, it might be a good thing to help balance out the run time. If you keep water in the bucket for too long, mold can grow, which is counterintuitive to use the dehumidifier in the first place.

Dehumidifier Water Tank
A dehumidifier can’t run if the tank is full

If you plan to have your dehumidifier constantly running or for a long time, consider buying a dehumidifier with a draining hose, so you don’t have to empty the bucket continually.

More Frequent Dehumidifier Replacement

If you have a dehumidifier running constantly, it’s most likely going to need repairs or replacement sooner than one that is used sparingly or for a few hours each day.

If you continuously run your dehumidifier below fifty to sixty percent humidity, you run the risk of damaging the coils and some of the other components. Dehumidifiers tend to last about eight years before needing replacement.

What To Do If Your Dehumidifier Doesn’t Stop Running

Many dehumidifier users depend on the bucket filling or the humidistat telling the machine to turn off, but what happens if the dehumidifier doesn’t stop running?

Very rarely will there be a problem with the machine to cause a dehumidifier to run constantly.

Usually, you won’t have to do anything if your dehumidifier doesn’t stop running. You’re more likely to come across this if you just started using a dehumidifier or if you have a recent increase in the moisture in the air, such as a flood or a change in seasons.

Confirm The Humidistat Is Functioning Properly

To rule out the humidistat working properly, you should purchase a hygrometer so you can measure the humidity in the room

 If you have your dehumidifier set somewhere between 40-60% and your hygrometer has readings of at least 5% humidity below your settings on the dehumidifier. You should either bring your dehumidifier in for service or replace it.

If you’ve checked the humidity in your home and your dehumidifier still doesn’t stop running, then you most likely have too much humidity in your home, or your dehumidifier isn’t running efficiently enough to pull the moisture out of the air.

Your dehumidifier may also be too small for the room that you are trying to dehumidify. Check your room dimensions before purchasing a dehumidifier to make sure it works efficiently.

Larger sized dehumidifiers can be more efficient and as a result don’t need to be on for as long

When to Turn Your Dehumidifier Off

Whether you use your dehumidifier throughout the year, seasonally, or as needed, you still need to turn our dehumidifier off.

As mentioned earlier, some dehumidifiers will keep running if they aren’t being used efficiently.

However, most dehumidifiers will shut off automatically once the humidity reaches the settings on the machine.

If you’re using your dehumidifier, you should give it a break for a few hours each day. While your dehumidifier is off, be sure to check any areas in the room that’s flooded for signs of mold growth.

If you notice after several weeks that the moisture is still there, you may need to clean the mold or have it removed professionally as dehumidifiers can only prevent mold from growing and not kill it off.

Ensuring Efficiency

If you’re using a dehumidifier in your home, you want to make sure it works as efficiently as possible. Dehumidifiers have built-in humidistats and buckets to turn off automatically, but that doesn’t mean that your dehumidifier works at maximum efficiency.

Some things you can do to ensure maximum efficiency from your dehumidifier are:

  • Closing all the doors and windows to the room that has the dehumidifier.
  • Don’t place the dehumidifier against a wall or a piece of furniture. The air should be able to circulate throughout the room.
  • Only run the dehumidifier if the humidity is above 50%. Some dehumidifiers have a setting to turn on if the humidity gets above 50% and will shut off at 50%.
  • Clean and replace the filter(s) in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines. You should also clean the coils because they are susceptible to mold build-up.
  • Clean the water tank periodically to prevent mold and mildew.

Multipurpose Dehumidifiers

Since many households own dehumidifiers, manufacturers have started to create dehumidifiers with more than one purpose. Dehumidifiers are known to warm a room up by taking away the humidity naturally, but some dehumidifiers can do so much more.

Cooling Dehumidifiers

If you have humid summers, the last thing you want to do is have the room warming up while the dehumidifier is running. Many people also run their dehumidifiers with their air conditioners because they bring in so much extra humidity during the summer.

Cooling dehumidifiers are an excellent option for summer humidity in your home. Rather than blowing out warm air, a cooling humidifier will blow out cool, dry air to keep the climate in your home comfortable throughout the season.

Air Purifying Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers are also made to clean the air. If you’re concerned about the amount of pollution you’re breathing in while at home or work, you can purchase a dehumidifier that will clean out impurities from the air.

Air purifying dehumidifiers are essential for allergy sufferers in humid climates, especially those who are allergic to mold and mildew.

Our own dehumidifier can act as an air purifier and has a dedicated air purifying mode along with a range of other features.

Our dehumidifier in air purifier mode

See our other article on using a dehumidifier as an air purifier for more information.

Can A Dehumidifier Run Constantly?

While you can run a dehumidifier constantly, it’s not recommended because, depending on the size of the dehumidifier, it can run your electricity bill up.

Dehumidifiers that run constantly are also prone to a shorter lifespan than those used when the humidity goes above a certain point.

Further Reading

Does A Dehumidifier Need To Be On All The Time?

Does A Dehumidifier Make A Room Warmer Or Cooler?

Does A Dehumidifier Make Distilled Water?