What Should I Set My Dehumidifier At?

Dehumidifiers typically offer you the ability to set the desired humidity in your home, meaning that you can choose from a wide range of humidity levels to set it at and help keep it there.

However, everyone has their own level of comfort for their home in terms of the right amount of moisture in the air, but for optimum comfort there can be a certain range in which the humidity should be aimed for.

It’s widely recommended that the optimum relative humidity level for a home is between 30% and 50%, and to keep it below 60% to help prevent mold growth and to help discourage pests and dust mites. The target humidity on a dehumidifier should therefore be set within this range.

As this ideal humidity range is relatively large, it’s important to understand more about it.

This means knowing why you need a dehumidifier, where it should be located, as well as what setting options you should have.

We typically set our dehumidifier to 50%, which is at the top end of the optimal humidity range, and it will bring the moisture in our home down to this level and keep it there.

Setting our dehumidifier at 50% target humidity

Read on to find out more about what to set your dehumidifier at and why.

What Should I Set My Dehumidifier At And Why?

If you’re wondering what you should set your dehumidifier at, you’ll need to consider a few factors.

This includes where the moisture is located in your home, what type of home you have and what the local climate is.

The following things can all influence where you should place your dehumidifier and what it should be set at:

  • Temperature in the home: Your temperature can typically be hot and humid or cold and dry.
  • Where the moisture stays longest: If you have a dark, damp basement, then you should put your dehumidifier there.
  • Access to electricity: You’ll need to plug in your appliance to a nearby electrical outlet.
  • The different seasons: It’s drier in the winter than in the spring and summer. Depending on where you live, you may need to use your dehumidifier more in the summer and spring than the winter.
  • Air-flow in your home: You don’t want the humidifier to try to take the moisture out of an open window. You’ll need to close off the area around the humidifier to get it to work more efficiently.
  • Number of floors in your home: If you have a single-story home, or a multi-story home, that will make a difference as to where you should place the dehumidifier.

Wherever you set your dehumidifier in your home, you’ll also need to close all the windows and doors. This will allow the dehumidifier to work more effectively in the space where the water needs to be removed from the air.

Using a dehumidifier with the windows open can affect performance, no matter the settings

Humidity can cause a variety of problems within your home. It can also influence your health.

Using a dehumidifier will cut down on damage to your home, as well as help you with various health issues, but only if you can find the ideal settings for your dehumidifier.

Ideal Settings For A Dehumidifier

According to the Mayo Clinic, the ideal humidity levels for your house needs to be consistently between thirty percent and fifty percent.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that indoor relative humidity (RH) should ideally be kept between 30% and 50%, but also kept below 60% to help prevent mold growth and help discourage dust mites and pests.

Energystar.gov also outlines that the optimum RH level for any building is considered to be between 30% and 50%, as bacteria growth can be promoted above this range. It’s also recommended that in colder climates during the heating season humidity should be set between 30% and 40% to help prevent window condensation.

You should therefore aim to set your dehumidifier at a level that’s within the 30-50% relative humidity range and that’s most comfortable for you.

These percentages are the best for your health, as well as the pressure and maintenance of your home.

We personally set our own dehumidifier at 50% relative humidity and it will work through the day to bring the humidity of the room down to this level.

Our dehumidifier working to bring the humidity down to 50%, currently at 58%

Once 50% is reached, the dehumidifier will turn off and then turn back on again at a later point once the humidity has risen back up again.

During the wetter spring and summer months, you can even turn your dehumidifier lower. You will do the opposite in the winter and autumn months and raise the settings. The exact settings will be different for each home, as well as different areas of your house.

Summer condensation on your windows and doors can also be a sign you need this helpful appliance. Sweaty glass and creaking doors, more often during the damp spring and summer months, are a cue you may need to change the settings on your dehumidifier.

The temperature inside your home will also change the ideal settings.

If you like to keep your home at 68 degrees, then look to set your dehumidifier to something a little lower. If you like your house to stay around 80 degrees, then you will invite humidity to stick around and should set it to around 60%.

The Best Placement

If you have a single-story home that is high in humidity, then a central location will be best.

Find a place that is not inconvenient for foot traffic, but offers the appliance access to the moistest areas.

In hallways near a bathroom is typical, but it is up to you. You can also experiment where it seems to work more efficiently.

Multi Level homes will more than likely see dehumidifiers in basements. Because basements retain moisture from the ground, it is more likely that there will be more water in the air, not to mention mold and mildew. A dehumidifier in the basement will help to negate damage from mold and even from bugs!

Damage to paint and walls can be a huge sign of too much water in your home.

Peeling paint, moldy corners of the bathroom ceiling, or stained wallpaper can all be signs of water damage. A dehumidifier would work against the moisture and save your walls from this kind of havoc if you have it placed in the correct spot!

We place our dehumidifier in a central location in any room we’re using in in or place it in the hallway when looking to reduce humidity levels throughout the whole house.

Dehumidifier Drying Washing
Placing a dehumidifier in the right location can help maximize its efficiency, regardless of the settings

Settings For Different Humidifiers

There are a few different types of dehumidifiers you can choose to purchase for your home. Finding the right dehumidifier settings for your home is not difficult but learning the different dehumidifier settings can be.

The four primary types of dehumidifiers all work towards the same goal, ridding your home of excess water in the air. Each type of dehumidifier should be set to different levels of dehumidification.

Here are the four types of dehumidifiers and how they will work in your home:

  • Desiccant Dehumidifier: This type of dehumidifier is also known as a chemical absorbent dehumidifier. They use silica gel to absorb moisture in the air. This is a larger unit that is typically used for flooding, etc. It will need to be set for max dehumidification based on the size of the building.
  • Ventilator Dehumidifier: These dehumidifiers have exhaust fans, and sometimes exhaust hoses, to push wet air outside. They should be set according to different temperature restrictions. Like if it is above 100 degrees outside, it needs to be set to a specific ventilation.
  • Refrigerant Dehumidifier: A heat pump dehumidifier uses a fan to pull air into heat exchange coils. These coils then get very cold and form condensation that eventually drips into a pan, or bucket area to be thrown out later. You can actually get a heat pump to be a part of your normal HVAC system. This means it will automatically dehumidify the air based on the temperature.
  • Whole-House Dehumidifier: A central humidification system works like a heating and cooling unit. It can add or take away humidification for your entire home. You should be able to set this dehumidifier during the different seasons to maintain a proper humidity level.

All these types of dehumidification are extremely effective. For most dehumidifiers, you can set them and forget them based on the time of year.

Additionally, some dehumidifiers are portable and require small daily maintenance tasks like resetting a timer or emptying the water tray.

No matter the type of dehumidifier, it’s still important to keep humidity levels between 30% and 50%.

Setting the humidity at 40% can be a good compromise between the recommended 30% and 50%

Setting Your Dehumidifier Too High (Or Too Low)

It can be possible to set your dehumidifier too high, or too low.

If you set it too low, then you will not see adequate dehumidification. Meaning you will not find a lot of water in the tank, and you will be wasting electricity running it. Keep it set over 30% humidity.

If you set your dehumidifier too high, you run the chance of overfilling the tank too often. A dehumidifier can’t run when the tank is full unless continuous drainage has been set up.

You could have your dehumidifier on all day and it will not be taking the moisture out of the air because it is set too high. Keep your settings 65% or lower.

Many dehumidifiers won’t be able to function well below around 60 degrees. This is because the air will be too cold. The coils located within the dehumidifier can freeze and damage the whole unit. When the outside air is around 65, it might be time to start shutting off your dehumidifier for the winter.

What Is A Good Setting For A Dehumidifier?

Your dehumidifier can help to alleviate allergies, rid your house of dust mites and even help maintain your home. The costs of replacing walls, flooring, and possibly getting sick can all be avoided with a dehumidifier.

Protect your health and your home at the same time by knowing exactly what settings to keep your dehumidifier at.

It’s widely recommended that the relative humidity level for the air in any building should be kept within the range of 30% to 50%, and under 60%.

Further Reading

When Should I Turn Off My Dehumidifier?

What Are The Settings On A Dehumidifier?