Dehumidifier: What It Is And Do You Need It?

Kenneth Wilson

When I first moved into my home in Florida, I bought a high-efficiency air conditioning system. After a few years now, I can say that had it not been for my A/C and dehumidifier, mold would probably be growing in my home due to the high humidity percentage in the southwest.

Some people have an A/C that is enough to manage mold, but if you don’t want to spend a lot on upgrading your air conditioning system, you can also get a dehumidifier. Here’s how you can get rid of humidity within your home by dehumidification along with your current air conditioning system.

What is a Dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier is an electrical device that helps cool homes and eliminates humidity buildup, especially when the A/C is not capable of doing it alone. This device gets rid of humidity by extracting water and moisture from the air, which is the opposite of a humidifier. A humidifier adds moisture into the air, a similar contraption is placed by mothers in their baby’s nursery.

It is common in Florida and other states within the southeast for people to have dehumidifiers working along with their A/C unit to maintain or reduce their humidity levels as well as for comfort and health reasons. 

What are the benefits of getting a Dehumidifier?

By reducing the humidity levels, dehumidifiers can help cool your home. Aside from comfort, this device runs efficiently and quietly, so you won’t even notice it. Aside from these, here are other benefits of having a dehumidifier in your home:

Hinders mold growth and controls bacteria

The sweltering humidity in Southern Florida causes all kinds of health problems for people who don’t have dehumidifiers in their homes due to bacteria and mold buildup. A dehumidifier is a great contraption that prevents mold and bacteria from growing in your home. 

You can avoid having mold develop on your furniture, curtains, bedsheets, clothing, and other linens. Since mold and mildew bring musty odors, having a dehumidifier will also eliminate these rotten smells.

Energy Savings

You spend money on getting a dehumidifier and running it, but you will eventually save more in the long run because of lower energy costs for your air conditioning system. With the dehumidifier, the A/C will run more smoothly and efficiently with the help of a dehumidifier. If the humidity levels are low, the A/C will have an easier time cooling your home and removing moisture. You will also save more money because you don’t have to frequently repair or replace your air conditioning system.

Clean and Fresh

If your home is less humid, it will take longer for food such as cereals and bread to go stale. This device will reduce dust buildup and prevent rust or corrosion on electronics, computers, tools, and other equipment. This means you don’t have to clean your home and things as often. Aside from this, your clothes will also dry quicker.

Protects your furniture

Not only does a dehumidifier save your home from unwanted mold growth that could cause respiratory issues and other illnesses, but it can also save you from having to throw out furniture which could mildew had you not purchased the dehumidifier. Without it, you’d end up having to replace your furniture and other household accessories often which means more money out of your pocket. 

Prevents Health Problems

Some people don’t even realize that it’s because of the humidity within their home that’s causing their health problems. 

One example is how humidity triggers allergies. Mold, mildew, dust mites, and other contaminants thrive in humid places. For a home with children, it’s also dangerous to live in a humid environment as they can develop asthma from mold allergies. This will make it hard for children as well as increase your expenses. 

A dehumidifier will be able to prevent these allergens from thriving in your home. It also reduces skin irritation and makes it easier for you to breathe and feel comfortable.

That’s why it is essential for residents in high-percentile humidity states to keep in mind the humidity levels of their home and knowing what is the right humidity level to maintain within their home. 

What is the ideal level of humidity in Florida?



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For people living in Florida, the ideal level of humidity to have within their home during the summer months would be between 25 to 45 percent. In the winter months, the ideal humidity percentage should be no more than 60 percent.

You shouldn’t also go below the ideal humidity level. If your humidity levels are too low then it could cause dry skin and your nasal passages to dry, while if it’s too high you could feel clammy and uncomfortable. Nobody wants either of those - so it’s important to maintain the ideal level to avoid these things and keep your health in check. 

At first, I thought my A/C would be enough to sustain the correct level of humidity in my home but quickly found out that wasn’t the case during summer, as the mold was starting to build up in our bathroom and kitchen. The more I held off buying a dehumidifier, the more uncomfortable we became during the summer and the quicker the mold grew. We finally decided that enough was enough and went ahead to buy a dehumidifier that would stabilize that nasty humidity and get on with our lives.

Do you need a Dehumidifier in your Florida home?

It’s comforting to know that both my wife and I are protected from mold or other bacteria growing within our home and that this device has eliminated the risk of the contaminants' detrimental causes to our health since we’re not as young as we were.

If you live in a humid climate or if your home tends to have high humidity levels, you probably need this device. If you’re still not sure if you need a dehumidifier, here are some instances when you should get one:

A/C needs help

When your air conditioning system is not enough to control the mold, then you should probably get a dehumidifier. 

You would know if the A/C is capable of cooling your home based on its SEER rating. A higher SEER rating means that the unit has more time to cool your home and remove humidity on a lower power setting. A high-efficiency system will also lessen the chances of mold growing in your home when it eliminates humidity.

Limited or no ventilation

If you live in a place with low ventilation, a small home, or under the basement, it’s best to get a dehumidifier. Bathrooms and kitchens of small living spaces get moisture build up pretty quickly, even if it’s located in a place with a dry climate.

Or when you start...

  • Getting allergies
  • Seeing mold spores on the walls or in the bathroom
  • Smelling musty or rotten odors
  • Feeling stuffy in a room
  • Seeing water or moist stains on the ceilings and walls
  • Finding your windows covered with condensation

How much does it cost?

The cost of getting a dehumidifier will vary depending on its capacity, features, efficiency, and whether you plan on installing it on your own or getting someone to do it.

The capacity of a dehumidifier is measured by how many pints of water it can remove. Here is how much it would cost based on its size:




Mini Dehumidifiers

1 to 10 pints

$40 to $70

Small to Medium Dehumidifiers

11 to 25 pints

$100 to $250

Large Dehumidifiers

25 to 70 pints

 $150 to $400

Whole-house Dehumidifiers

80 to 260 pints

$1,000 to $2,500

The mini ones are typically used under a counter, in a closet, or inside the bathroom. If you need one for the living room, you would need a small- or medium-sized dehumidifier. Large ones are usually placed in basements, which are the dampest rooms in most homes.

Aside from the size, larger dehumidifiers tend to cost more because they need large tanks, hose attachments for drainage, low-temperature operations, or frost control. If the basement is bigger than usual, the price can go up to $800 to $1,200, especially if there are hard-to-access areas inside the room.

The price of the other sizes may also increase if it includes features like a humidistat to set the humidity level, energy savings, silent mode, or auto-shut-off before the tank overflows.

If you plan on hiring someone to install the dehumidifier, it may cost $100 to $400. This will still depend on the installation site if the area needs a new outlet for the device, and the contractor hired. But don’t worry, there are brands that you can easily install on your own. 

You may also need to purchase a hygrometer or humidity gauge to determine the humidity levels. These cost $15 to $80 with the lower range applying to mechanical models and the higher range for electronic types.

How to choose a Dehumidifier?

When choosing a good dehumidifier, it’s important to consider the size of your home and how often you’ll have it running. In Florida, it isn’t uncommon to have the dehumidifier running more often than not throughout the year so I’d recommend choosing one of high quality that will sufficiently stabilize your entire home. It’s sort of the same story with the screen enclosure, the investment will end up saving you a lot of trouble. 

Other factors you may want to consider:

  • Portability - Find a unit with casters and carrying handles to easily move it around your home.
  • Automatic Shut-off - Saves energy and avoid overflows with this feature.
  • Continuous Drainage - Avoid overflows and makes the unit easier to maintain.
  • Automatic Restart - For those who are not home often, the unit turns on after a power outage.
  • Energy efficiency - Does it have an Energy Star rating? Cut down on your utility bill with this feature.
  • Maintenance - It would be easier to clean if it has a top-loading filter.

Now, if you’re anything like my wife who is an avid health freak, having a dehumidifier within your home will now be set in stone. I initially planned on buying one dehumidifier for our entire home, I thought its sizing would be sufficient enough for the entire house, but my wife wasn’t having any of it. She insisted we purchase an additional dehumidifier to settle on the other side of our home and when I mentioned the idea of a higher energy bill she simply scoffed and said that we wouldn’t be able to pay the energy bill if the mold killed us. I obviously ended up agreeing to purchase two dehumidifiers.

Something to consider if you plan on purchasing more than one is, again, energy costs as well as maintaining the right amount of humidity within your home. You don’t want to buy more than one and have it make your air dry and uncomfortable and nobody wants to have their energy bill raised if it isn’t absolutely necessary. Keep these things in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing more than one dehumidifier.

But it's best to do your research on what kind of dehumidifier is best suited for your home’s needs. Don’t rush into buying something that’s cheap and of poor quality and end up having to purchase another one later on. I’d recommend also speaking with a great contractor to see what he recommends in regards to a dehumidifier that will accommodate your unique home.

All that being said I would recommend to anyone living or planning on living in Florida or any other state with a mass amount of humidity, to go ahead and invest in a dehumidifier along with a high SEER rating air conditioning system. These two things within your home are guaranteed to keep you healthy, comfortable, and cool throughout the hot summer months. 

Kenneth Wilson
November 15, 2019

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

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