Dehumidifiers are handy devices that help keep indoor spaces comfortable by extracting excess moisture from the air. However, just like any other home appliance like air purifiers, they can produce a rather annoying buzzing sound during operation.
But, how loud are dehumidifiers?
A noisy dehumidifier can get as loud as 65 dB. It can even get noisier than that with units that offer higher dehumidification capacity, which is determined by pints. That’s louder than the range of sound that the human ear can hear, which is 60 dB.
Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid it. The good news is that you can find the quietest dehumidifiers without sacrificing performance. They can preserve a quiet room while still keeping the relative humidity within a healthy range.
But what exactly causes the noise? If you take apart and examine each component of your unit, you’ll know which ones contribute to the subsequent noise in the room.
In this post, we will delve into the different parts and factors that contribute to the noise produced by dehumidifiers. We’ll also explore the typical decibel ranges associated with these practical devices, and guide you on how to minimize the noise problem that comes with having a comfortable indoor environment.
Why Are Dehumidifiers Loud?
While it is true that most of them can generate a lot of noise, you can also find a quiet dehumidifier. You just need to know what you’re looking for.
Most dehumidifiers designed for bedrooms are on the lower end of the dB scale. These quiet dehumidifiers have smaller compressors. They also often have low-noise fans and offer optimal airflow as well as energy-efficient.
Decibel (dB) is the unit used to measure the intensity or loudness of sound. In dehumidifiers (and other appliances that come equipped with a motor, really), a higher dB means that they generate louder sounds. So, it’s important that you look at the manufacturer’s decibel rating for a particular model.
According to the National Institute of Health, the human ear can pick up sounds between the 20 Hz and 20 kHz range. When having a normal conversation, the most comfortable sound you will hear is approximately 60 dB. That said, any slight increase in the decibel level means higher sound intensity.
Dehumidifiers can produce noise between the 40 and 60 dB range. Below are some examples of common dehumidifier dB ratings for comparison:
- Normal – 57 to 60 dB
- Noisy – 60 to 65 dB
- Loud – 65 dB and above
- Whisper – 53 to 57 dB
- Quiet – below 53 dB
Let’s dissect a typical dehumidifier, though. What makes a dehumidifier noisy is that it bears crucial components that make the dehumidifying process possible. Another reason is the way they work, and believe it or not, the placement of their exhaust affects noise levels, too.
Below are the parts and factors that are at play.
This is one of the most important parts of a dehumidifier, however, it also contributes to the noise during operation. Whenever you turn on your device, the compressor produces mechanical vibrations, which result in a buzzing sound. So, like most motors, it’s loud. And it’s something you simply have no control over.
Fan and Airflow
The fan is one of the crucial components of a dehumidifier. It circulates the humid air within the unit. This allows humid air to be drawn in, passed over the cooled evaporator coil, and released back into the room. And because of this mechanism, the rotating blades will produce noise, especially if it operates at high speeds.
Location of the Exhaust
As you already know, all dehumidifiers need a fan to function. It can exhaust through the side, top, or rear of the device. And the placement of this vent can have an effect on the noise level and how you perceive the sound in a room.
Side exhaust vents release air horizontally, increasing noise, especially if they face your main living space. Units with exhausts on top produce minimal noise at ear level. For dehumidifiers with exhausts found at the back, they direct the released air away from the front, which reduces the noise.
Whichever your dehumidifier’s exhausts are located, it’s always a good idea to place the unit away from rooms or spaces in your home where noise will be a disturbance. This may include your bedroom, home office, or library. It’s also important to provide adequate clearance.
This is where your dehumidifier takes in humid air from your indoor space. This process takes place through a grille located on the rear of the unit. When the warm air is taken through the air filter, it will produce some noise.
However, unlike a compressor, this part of a dehumidifier does not produce as much vibration. This is due to the fact that the air typically comes from the rear of the dehumidifier, where the intake is located.
This department is where we mostly compare dehumidifiers with one another. Measured in cubic feet per minute, the coverage or airflow capacity of a dehumidifier can affect the noise it produces. It indicates the amount of air that the fan in your dehumidifier circulates in any given device.
The higher the CFM, the more air is circulated through a dehumidifier per minute. And since there is more air being circulated within the unit, it can produce more noise.
That being said, high CFM may be beneficial for noise output. If your unit can provide more coverage, it means that it has more wind noise, which helps mask the loud compressor. But if your dehumidifier has a small compressor that operates quietly, then the wind noise from the circulation may be too much.
What Can You Do?
We’ve already put it out there—dehumidifiers can be loud devices. But lucky for all of us, there are ways to minimize the noise we hear.
Check fan speed. Dehumidifiers have settings that allow you to adjust the fan speed. You can choose between high, medium, and low fan speeds.
To minimize noise, you can set the dehumidifier to a low speed, which is ideal if you want to run your device during study hours and bedtime. Setting the fan to medium balances dehumidification efficiency and noise level. High settings will dehumidify the air in your space faster, but it will generate a lot of noise.
Check the distance between you and the dehumidifier. Where do you usually place your device? The distance between you and the dehumidifier can affect the noise level you hear. Of course, as you walk further from the dehumidifier, the intensity of the sound decreases, making the noise less audible.
Consider placing your unit in a separate room. This will create some physical space between you and the dehumidifier, minimizing the noise you hear in the main living spaces. You can do this whenever you need to focus on studies or work and still want to keep the atmosphere comfortable.
Placing it in an area next to your HVAC intake and letting it circulate dry air throughout your home as opposed to a single room should also do the trick.
But if placing your device in a different room isn’t an option, try in an area (utility room, basement, etc.) distant from where you spend the most time. However, keep in mind that you should still strategically place your dehumidifier so it can efficiently dehumidify the target area.
Does a Dehumidifier Make a Lot of Noise?
Dehumidifiers are hardworking devices. They require a lot of air movement in order to dehumidify your indoor air, so, yes they can produce a lot of noise.
But depending on the model and size, some can be louder than others. The quieter ones usually have insulated enclosures and improved fans. However, dehumidifiers with larger capacities or moist higher extraction rates can produce more noise. They work best if you have a large room.
What Is the Noise Level of a Dehumidifier?
Each dehumidifier has its own noise level. In general, dehumidifiers generate noise that can range between 40 to 60 decibels (dB). Anything above the 60 dB range can produce a really loud buzzing sound that isn’t ideal for bedrooms unless you just really love a high amount of white noise.
Do Quiet Dehumidifiers Exist?
Yes, there are dehumidifiers designed to operate quietly. However, note that all dehumidifiers will produce noise due to their compressor and speed fans, so none of them are completely noise-free. The best quiet dehumidifiers are those with 50 dB or below the noise range.
How Can I Make My Dehumidifier Quieter?
If you’re stuck with a loud model, there are ways to remediate the noise it makes. You can use soundproofing materials to help reduce the noise levels it produces during operation. Things like blankets or cushions can help to reduce dehumidifier noise levels.
Also, think about placement. Try to place your dehumidifier on an uneven surface. Do you hear an extremely loud rattling or buzzing sound? Of course, you do. And that is why placement is important. Always make sure that your device is standing on a flat, level surface.
Tighten any loose vibrating parts as well. Screws that come out of place can make it hard for the dehumidifier to function and the vibrations from the loose parts can turn the unit into a loud machine.
For more details, checked out our article for more idea on how to reduce noise from a dehumidifier.
Where Should You Not Use a Dehumidifier?
You should set the device in a spot with adequate air circulation. This helps your dehumidifier do its job efficiently. Avoid placing it against a wall or other appliances or furniture.
You should also consider when to use or not to use your dehumidifier. If the atmosphere is currently extremely dry, unplug your dehumidifier and humidify the space, instead. Most importantly, the manufacturer’s instructions.
Can You Use a Dehumidifier as an Air Conditioner?
No, you can’t use your dehumidifier to cool the air in your indoor space. That’s what air conditioning units are for. While dehumidifiers can cool the humid air and release fresh air back into your room, it doesn’t cool the air permanently the way ACs do.
Dehumidifiers are most effective when the ambient temperature is not already very high. In fact, they are more cost-effective to run than air conditioners if the sticky feeling is your only concern. And no matter the energy efficiency or energy star rate of your AC, it would still use more power than your dehumidifier.
While dehumidifiers may generate a buzzing sound when running, understanding where it is coming from, which parts contribute to the noise, and knowing what you can control will help you remediate the noise issue in your home.
If you’re still looking into investing in one of these helpful devices, consider factors such as fan speed and dehumidification capacity. Many dehumidifiers have quiet compressors, and if you can, look for one with a noise-reduction feature. You have endless options. Plus, they come in different decibel ratings so research is key!
At the end of the day, dehumidifiers can be loud. You just need to know which model suits your environment and needs. Still, we gotta give credit to these practical devices for working hard to keep our indoor spaces healthier and more comfortable.
If you have more questions about the noise levels in dehumidifiers, feel free to reach out and we’ll be more than happy to help you. Thanks for reading and good luck!