Electric dehumidifiers – How much energy do they use?

When your indoor humidity is too high for long periods at a time, germs and molds will start to flourish. This is why it is important to ventilate your home. However, not all residences can be sufficiently ventilated to evacuate all excess moisture. If adequate ventilation is impossible, you should consider purchasing a dehumidifier.

For small spaces, non-electric dehumidifiers like the Pingi MiniPingiSachel/Bag or Pingi XL are typically the most efficient solution. For large spaces, electric dehumidifiers are a better solution, especially when ventilation is not an option. So how do you pick a suitable electric dehumidifier?


How electric dehumidifiers work

Let’s first see how electric dehumidifiers work in an easy-to-understand way. The theory is actually pretty simple: A metal surface is cooled. Humid air that touches the metal surface also cools down. Because cold air can contain less moisture than warm air, water starts to condensate on the metal. This condensation is collected in a plastic bucket, which you can empty regularly. Even though most electric dehumidifiers work in this way, there are huge differences in efficiency.

Dehumidifier energy consumption

The most important thing to take into account is the energy consumption in kilowatt-hour (kWh) of the device you purchase, as well as how efficiently the device uses that energy. You can always find the energy consumption on the label on the product. Next, check the energy efficiency, which is expressed in the so-called energy factor. For an electric dehumidifier, the energy factor is based on its performance per kWh so this will tell you how many liters of water from air are removed per kWh. You can easily compare energy factors of common models by visiting the Energy Star website.


Large devices are often more efficient than small ones. However, the device with the highest energy factor might not always be the best or cheapest choice for you as most spaces do not require high capacity devices. There are also considerable differences in purchasing price between models and manufacturer. It can be worthwhile to consider non-electric dehumidifiers, especially when you have a moisture problem in a small space.

What would be the approximate operating cost of an electric dehumidifier?

Let’s take a standard model that operates at 280 Watts-hour. If the current power rate is 15 cents/kW, an electric dehumidifier uses 4.2 cents of power per hour. Therefore, if you run it for 10 hours a day, the cost is 10 hours * 4.2 cents = 42 cents/day or about $153.30 per year. Of course, the calculations shown above are based on approximate figures but they give a good illustration of the operating costs.

So what things should you take into consideration when buying an electric dehumidifier?

In real time, the operating cost of an electric dehumidifier depends on the size of a room, the humidity entering the space, the number of hours you need to keep it on and the kWh rate charged by the power company. Ambient temperature can also affect the performance of an electric dehumidifier. Moreover, not all spaces will have a reliable power source available. Always take the noise an electric dehumidifier makes into account. Some electric dehumidifiers can be as noisy as pedestal fans, so be sure to try before you buy.

Be sure to make a well informed decision when selecting a dehumidifier because the operating costs of a too large dehumidifier might be higher than installing sufficient ventilation. Also, a high-capacity electric dehumidifier is simply overkill for many spaces. We hope this helps you make an informed choice.