Dehumidifier running costs: What to expect and how to save

white dehumidifier in bathroom with wet washing hanging
(Image credit: Getty)

Dehumidifier running costs are likely to be at the forefront of your mind if you are considering using one to help out with controlling moisture levels in your home this winter. 

Our guide is here to explain how to ensure that you can enjoy all the benefits of a dehumidifier while still taking advantage of our energy saving tips to ensure that you aren't faced with budget-busting bills.

There are many reasons why people choose to use dehumidifiers, particularly as outside temperatures begin to fall. Not only can they eliminate the issues associated with hanging damp laundry around the house, such as damp, but they can also help to reduce the time it takes for your washing to get dry as well as solving and preventing condensation.

We have been busy doing the calculations needed to give you a clear idea of what it will cost to run a dehumidifier to avoid any nasty surprises. 

How do you calculate dehumidifier running costs?

Before we get into how much it costs to run a dehumidifier it is useful to take a look at their benefits to see how spending money on the first one could help you. 

They are commonly devices bought by those looking at how to stop condensation in their homes, although they have other benefits too. They can solve damp problems, prevent pesky mould patches from forming on walls and soft furnishings, remove bad odours from the air and even speed up the time it takes for laundry to dry. They can also remove dust from the air — ideal for those suffering from allergies, or those taking on renovation projects. 

Dehumidifiers are designed to remove water and excess moisture from the air until the desired relative humidity is reached. They should then maintain this humidity level. It is generally agreed that a relative humidity level of around 50% is a good target, meaning a reduced risk of problems associated with excess moisture, such as some of those detailed above. 

When calculating dehumidifier running costs, you need to look at the model's power rating and how much you pay for electricity per kWh. From October 2022, following the energy price guarantee, the national average price of electricity will be 34p/kWh.

Dehumidifiers are rated in Watts (W) and this is the amount of power the they use. The higher the power, the more energy it uses.

So, a model such as the Meaco Dry Arete® One 10L Dehumidifier/Air Purifier has a power consumption of 151 watts at 20°C and 60% relative humidity.

To establish how much it would cost to run, you would use the following calculation:

0.151kWh x 34p = 5p per hour.

To give another example, the Bora dehumidifier from Duux, which has a capacity of 20 litres a day, costs 13.2p an hour to run. This is based on the Bora's wattage of 400W: 0.4kWh x 34p = 13.2p per hour.

modern dehumidifier in home office

The Bora Smart Dehumidifier, from Duux, has a a capacity of 20 litres a day and is a compressor dehumidifier that can be controlled remotely via the Duux app.  (Image credit: Duux)

Which dehumidifiers are cheapest to run?

There are several factors that affect how much a dehumidifier costs to run, including the type you opt for.

There are two types of dehumidifier: 

  • Compression (or refrigeration) dehumidifiers: This type of machine sucks air from the room in and passes it over cold coils on to which the warmer air condenses before dripping into a collection tray or tank beneath. They tend to be a good option for warmer rooms such as living rooms.
  • Desiccant dehumidifiers: This style of dehumidifier passes the air they take in over a moisture absorbent material (known as a desiccant) that can takes up the water in the air. Warm air then passes over the desiccant to dry it out again. They are commonly recommended for colder rooms, such as conservatories. 

Both of these types of dehumidifier can be used to tackle condensation and to help those looking how to treat damp

Compressor dehumidifiers tend to be a little cheaper to run. For example, the EcoAirDD3 Simple Desiccant Dehumidifier with a 10L capacity has a power consumption of 420W so would currently cost 14.2p per hour to run. The EcoAir Vebo Compact Portable Dehumidifier, on the other hand, is a compressor model, with the same capacity, but has a wattage of 230W, so costs just under 8p per hour. 

However, things are not always so straightforward. Bear in mind that desiccant dehumidifiers have benefits that compressor models don't — mainly that they can heat the room they are in as well as getting rid of excess moisture in the air. 

In fact, the air they expel can be as much as 12°C warmer that the air it took in. Compressor units, on the other hand, barely warm the air at all. Using a desiccant unit can help with drying clothes quicker and mean you will need to heat the room less — so the extra costs could be seen to be worthwhile.

wall-mounted dehumidifier in utility room

The Meaco Arete® dehumidifier monitors energy consumption and turns the compressor off when the relative humidity reaches 35% to save power — plus it can be wall-mounted.  (Image credit: Meaco)

Are there ways to cut dehumidifier running costs? 

One of the main ways to ensure you are not paying too much to run a dehumidifier will be to choose the right one for your home and needs. This will also mean that you are not paying for a dehumidifier that isn't running as efficiently as it should be. 

Firstly, think about the type of space you are purchasing the dehumidifier for. As mentioned before, certain types of dehumidifier are better for cold spaces, such as conservatories and garages, while others work best in warm rooms, such as bedrooms or living rooms. 

"Compressor units run on a refrigerant. So just like a fridge if they get too cold, they go into defrost — you don’t want to spend your money on a machine that will defrost more then it will dehumidify," says Chris Michael, Managing Director of Meaco

"If it is going to be used in a space where the temperature goes below 15 degrees, a desiccant variety will be better. Desiccant models have an internal heating system, so they can function far better in colder temperatures."

Next you need to think about the capacity you will need. "The more people there are, the more washing, showering, cooking, talking and breathing there is. This will add to the humidity in the atmosphere and in the property," explains Chris Michael. "With two or three people in a home, the 10L or 12L models would be suitable. In a larger family, the 12L or 20L will be needed."

white dehumidifier in utility room with wet washing hanging

Not only can dehumidifiers, such as the Dimplex EverDri14EL Dehumidifier, prevent damp and condensation problems, but they can also reduce the amount of time wet washing takes to dry.  (Image credit: Dimplex/Quiet Mark (UK))

Tips to cut dehumidifier costs

There are a number of functions designed specifically for saving energy and making the most of your dehumidifier so if you are in the market for a new model, it makes sense to look out for these. 

We took a look at some of the best:

  • Smart humidistats: On a dehumidifier, the humidistat works in a similar way to a thermostat on a heating system — apart from it monitors the humidity level in a room as opposed to the temperature. The more advanced models allow you to set the desired humidity level and will then maintain that, either going into sleep mode once it is reached to conserve energy, or switching off altogether. 
  • Motorised louvres: These are designed to direct the newly dried warm air through a wide angle set of louvres in order to speed up the drying time of laundry. The most advanced models will detect when the humidity levels in the room drop and reduce power consumption accordingly. It is also worth noting that drying laundry this way should save on the cost of running a tumble dryer.
  • Adjustable speed: It is worth paying a little more for a dehumidifier with more than one speed option — you won't always need it running at full pelt. Some of the most advanced models will adjust the running speed for you. 

Finally, in order to get the very most out of your dehumidifier, be sure to close windows and doors when it is running, clean or change the filters regularly and make sure your bathroom and kitchen extractors are working properly. 

Natasha Brinsmead

Natasha is Homebuilding & Renovating’s Associate Content Editor and has been a member of the team for over two decades. An experienced journalist and renovation expert, she has written for a number of homes titles. Over the years Natasha has renovated and carried out a side extension to a Victorian terrace. She is currently living in the rural Edwardian cottage she renovated and extended on a largely DIY basis, living on site for the duration of the project. She is now looking for her next project — something which is proving far harder than she thought it would be.