Do Dehumidifiers Need Ventilation?

Dehumidifiers are great for those trying to keep the humidity levels of their home under control as high humidity can cause various problems that can only get worse over time.

Many homeowners and renters may be curious about dehumidifiers, including whether they need ventilation to work efficiently.

A dehumidifier doesn’t typically need ventilation. Keeping windows and doors to a room is more beneficial as it creates an enclosed environment where the moisture can be extracted more efficiently. Dehumidifiers need to be kept away from objects for improved air circulation.

If you’re interested in using a dehumidifier, it’s good to know whether it needs ventilation.

In a small number of cases, ventilation can make all the difference when it comes to the effectiveness and durability of a dehumidifier.

In line with the owner’s manual, we use our dehumidifier in enclosed areas with the windows and doors closed for maximum efficiency, but also ensure to keep it away from nearby objects to ensure that air circulation isn’t restricted.

Dehumidifier Drying Washing
Using our dehumidifier in a room with the windows and doors closed but with sufficient space around it for air circulation

Read on to learn more about which dehumidifiers need ventilation and which dehumidifiers do not require ventilation.

Do Dehumidifiers Need Ventilation?

Dehumidifiers are machines that help regulate the humidity levels inside of a building. These are primarily found in homes and some places of business.

In general, should you consider ventilation with a dehumidifier?

  • In most cases, ventilation for a dehumidifier isn’t typically required. Dehumidifiers regulate humidity by cycling the air to remove excess moisture and musty smells, so you do not want to vent the cycled air.
  • Dehumidifiers have a keen use in keeping humidity low, which ventilation could work against if done too often.
  • Dehumidifiers come in different shapes and sizes. Most portable dehumidifiers do not require ventilation while some larger models will.

Keep in mind, dehumidifiers are primarily responsible for regulating moisture in the air. Many dehumidifiers are small and portable, usually designed for one specific room.

Some dehumidifiers can be used for large-scale purposes, such as stocking areas and warehouses, for example.

Many portable dehumidifiers do not require ventilation. Some large-scale dehumidifiers might need ventilation, depending on its main use.

Some even tend to think dehumidifiers accomplish the same goals as ventilation. This is not necessarily true, however.

On the other hand, localized ventilation (in the immediate vicinity) is still important for dehumidifiers.

You’ll want to ensure that you’re keeping the dehumidifiers away from nearby walls and objects such as furniture for improved air circulation.

It’s important to provide space for ventilation around the dehumidifier itself, and not necessarily the room

The manual to our dehumidifier explains:

A badly position dehumidifier will have little effect. In positioning the dehumidifier please ensure circulation of the air is not restricted around the unit.’


Relationship Between Dehumidifiers And Ventilation

Dehumidifiers are supposed to remove humidity from the air which, in theory, should make your space feel cooler in temperature.

The issue here is that dehumidifiers work differently than ventilation.

  • Dehumidifiers cycle the air they dehumidify. Its purpose is simply to remove moisture from the air and cycle the dry air back into its designated space.
  • Ventilation is intended to push out the air in a room, rather than cycle the same air back into its space.

Dehumidifiers recycle the air it draws in, drying the air as it is cycled in and out.

Ventilation is for getting rid of air in a space altogether, such as to vent out dust, steam or smoke.

In short, ventilation pushes air out while dehumidifiers cycle air back in. Some dehumidifiers can utilize ventilation, though only in certain cases.

Using a dehumidifier with the windows closed is typically more efficient

Ventilation can be beneficial for large or overused dehumidifiers. However, in some cases, dehumidifiers do not require ventilation and can operate well without any ventilation.

When Does A Dehumidifier Need Ventilation?

Most dehumidifiers are portable, made for use in a particular room or small space.

Most portable dehumidifiers do not require ventilation, as ventilation would impede their use.

Remember, dehumidifiers are meant to cycle air back into a room rather than completely remove it.

There are times when ventilation can and should be used for dehumidifiers, such as the following:

  • Vents can be used to regulate room temperature when using a dehumidifier. Dehumidifying a space for too long will make the temperature in a room warmer.
  • Ventilation is important for large-scale dehumidifiers, such as in warehouses or business spaces. Certain products will require warehouse temperature not to go too high or it could damage them.
  • It is best to use vents for industrial sized dehumidifiers to ensure that the temperature in its space can be properly regulated. Ventilation can also be used for small dehumidifiers, generally for the same purpose.

In most cases, small dehumidifiers do not necessarily require ventilation. Ventilation can be used to help regulate room temperature, though should only be done sparingly with small dehumidifiers.

Large dehumidifiers, such as in warehouses, usually will require consistent ventilation.

In general, keep in mind the purpose of a dehumidifier here. In most cases, you do not want to push out the dehumidified air as you want that dry air to cycle back into the room.

Dehumidifiers will create warmer temperatures in a room overtime, however.

If you have products stored in a room with a large dehumidifier, make sure the high temperature will not damage them.

What Happens If A Dehumidifier Does Not Have Ventilation?

In most cases, nothing too drastic will occur if you do not use ventilation with a dehumidifier. It really depends on the specific circumstances.

It’s good to pay attention to the following when using a dehumidifier:

  • Dehumidifiers will dry out the air and create a warm temperature over time. Make sure it is not overused (or unventilated) in a room where excessive heat can damage products or goods.
  • Be wary of using central air conditioning in a space with a dehumidifier active, especially a large one. Cool air blowing in will come in contact with warm air cycled by the dehumidifier which will cancel out.
  • If a dehumidifier is used regularly in a space without ventilation, it will create warm temperatures. This is often the desired effect of a dehumidifier.
  • The central purpose of a dehumidifier is to create a dry and warm space. In most cases, ventilation should not be needed as long as the dehumidifier is not overused.

If there are circumstances where a dehumidifier is regularly used (as needed) then ventilation from time to time can be helpful.

This only depends on whether there are products or goods that can be affected by excessive warmth, perhaps even the building structures themselves.

Should You Ventilate A Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers are not always needed in most homes or businesses, yet they can be very useful. This is especially true for people who work and live in humid climates.

With ventilation, a dehumidifier can offer the following general benefits:

  • Cheaper than central air conditioning, though will have issues keeping parts of a building cool.
  • Helps fight against mold and mildew outbreaks, while ventilation helps regulate temperatures to keep the environment inhospitable for mold and mildew.
  • Reduces dust in the air, which can help with various allergies and conditions.
Opening windows to ventilate a room can help with dust that can build up on the filters to a dehumidifier

There is a drawback to dehumidifiers without ventilation. Dehumidifiers, if used regularly, have to be cleaned.

As dehumidifiers cycle air, it gathers dust and other particles from the air. Too much dust or other particle build up can hamper the function of a dehumidifier over time.

Increased dust can mean needing to change and clean filters more often

If used regularly, be sure to clean out your dehumidifier as much as possible. One way to prevent regular cleaning is ventilation to remove dust and other particles from the air.

Ventilation is a way of helping keep air clean for dehumidifiers.

This is especially true of large units. There are even ventilation systems that incorporate dehumidifiers within their function. This has shown to give an extra boost in keeping indoor climates warm and dry while also keeping itself clean.

How Home Ventilation Systems Can Help

There are systems available on the market known as “whole house” ventilation.

These systems help ventilate entire areas of homes and businesses. Many of these whole house systems also include dehumidifiers within their central framework.

  • Whole house systems can include dehumidifiers to help keep the indoor air dry while also providing ventilation when needed.
  • These systems do not need to be cleaned regularly, like standard dehumidifiers.
  • Uses less energy than standard humidifiers.

Utilizing a whole house ventilation system with a dehumidifier can provide optimal results. It can help reduce indoor humidity while also allowing for ventilation to cool certain areas down.


Dehumidifiers don’t need ventilation in every case. It’s wise to consider ventilation in certain respects, especially for large dehumidifiers.

Dehumidifiers keep indoor air dry and warm, so indoor temperatures will be affected.

In general, consider ventilation only if your dehumidifier is large or is overused. This is important to preserve the integrity of what rests in the dehumidified space, as well as the structures of the space in question.

It’s often more efficient to keep windows and doors closed when using a portable dehumidifier in a room.

Be sure to also keep dehumidifiers a sufficient distance away from nearby objects to help prevent poor air circulation and therefore poor performance.

Further Reading

Does A Dehumidifier Work With The Windows Open?

Do You Need A Dehumidifier For Every Room?

Does A Dehumidifier Actually Work?