Dehumidifiers 101: What This Appliance Does and Why You Need One

You love how comfortable you feel in your home. But recently, you’ve noticed moisture creeping along your walls, floors, and other surfaces. You’ve tried to dry off the surfaces, circulate more air throughout your home, and even keep fans running after you shower.

Despite your best efforts to keep the areas dry, moisture still clings to your walls and flat surfaces. Even if you try to clean up the damp areas in your home regularly, your home’s humidity levels could contribute to the constant dampness.

To completely rid your home of damaging excess moisture, consider installing a dehumidifier. Below, we discuss what this appliance is, how it works, and why you should consider investing in one.  

How Dehumidifiers Work

Since you live in the Midwest, you’re all too familiar with humidity. The outside air is typically humid year-round, though the humidity levels vary depending on the time of year. The humidity can also permeate your home, so your inside air can be just as humid (and sometimes more so) as the outside air.

For example, if you cook on your stove without the proper ventilation, the steam produced from cooking will add extra humidity to your home’s inside air. You can typically notice increased moisture and humidity by the condensation that builds up on windows and walls. If your home is too humid inside, then you’ll notice high amounts of condensation on your flat surfaces.

To reduce the amount of humidity in your home, you’ll want to install a dehumidifier. This appliance resembles a vacuum and an air conditioner combined. Dehumidifiers suck moisture out of your inside air to balance the humidity levels. However, the process is a little more complex, as outlined below.

A dehumidifier will pull air into it from one end of a room. Then, it removes the moisture from the air and puts that condensation or water into a collection tank. You’ll have to empty that tank every so often so that the appliance can continue to work properly. Finally, the dehumidifier disperses the humid-free air back into the room at the opposite end.

A few kinds of dehumidifiers exist, but the two most common types are refrigerant and desiccant.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers condense the moisture and allows it to drip into the tank. Desiccant dehumidifiers use a material that absorbs and extracts water from your inside air. The material then heats up to transfer the moisture to the collection tank.

Reasons to Get a Dehumidifier

Before you shop for a dehumidifier, you’ll want to make sure you actually need the device in your home. Take a look around your home and see if you notice the following signs:

  • Water runoff
  • Water stains on your ceiling or walls
  • Rotting wood
  • Regular condensation on your windows, walls, and other flat surfaces
  • Mold spores (black spots or specks) on the walls and floors in your bathroom, near sinks, or by other water sources
  • Mildew or must odors

Additionally, poor ventilation in rooms accompanied by continuous moisture on surfaces creates the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew growth. If mold begins to grow in your home, you’ll notice black spots in areas found in the list above.

As mold continues to grow in your home, and as you and your loved ones are exposed to the spores, you increase your risk for becoming ill, experiencing minor allergies, or developing respiratory health issues.

Benefits of Having a Dehumidifier in Your Home

Like most appliances, you can expect a dehumidifier to provide you with a few benefits, such as those listed below.

Energy Efficient

When your home contains less moisture, your home’s HVAC system won’t have to work as hard. Increased levels of humidity tend to keep a space warmer than necessary, so your air conditioner will work overtime to keep your home cool. By reducing the humidity of your inside air, your A/C unit won’t run as often. As a result, you’ll see a drop in your home’s energy usage and your utility bills.


Dehumidifiers can remove moisture from your home in a couple of ways. First, it can work on your house as a whole to suck out condensation and deposit the water in the collection tank. Second, it can work on a
specific room individually. So if you have a room that collects more condensation than other areas in your home, your dehumidifier can target that room to reduce the humidity level.

Additional Benefits

Dehumidifiers are also easy to conceal and maintain, and they provide several health benefits. For example, they reduce the chance for mold growth, which in turn reduces the health risks associated with mold exposure.


Now that you understand how dehumidifiers work, why you need to purchase one, and what benefits this appliance provides, you can better choose which appliance works best for your home and needs. Keep this information in mind as you browse different options and make a purchasing decision.

For more information about dehumidifiers, or to buy one and have it installed, contact your local HVAC professional. These experts can recommend the appropriate appliance for your home’s needs and budget, and they can also install the device properly to ensure it works to its full capacity.