How Often Should You Run a Dehumidifier in a Basement?

How Often Should You Run a Dehumidifier in a Basement featured photo

If you have a basement, you know it is among the most humid areas in your house. You probably use a dehumidifier to prevent excess moisture in the air. But how often should you run this household appliance?

You can run a dehumidifier for 24 hours in a very humid basement without air circulation. If the area has moderate humidity levels and ventilation, you can use the device less often.

Below, we’ll teach you the ideal runtimes of a dehumidifier based on your specific conditions. We’ll also answer some of your questions about placing this device in your basement. 

How Often Should You Run a Dehumidifier in a Basement?

You can run a dehumidifier non-stop for 24 hours a day if your basement has high humidity levels and poor air circulation. However, the continuous use of the appliance can lead to increased electricity costs and frequent maintenance.

You can operate the dehumidifier in the basement for shorter periods if it has average humidity levels and tolerable ventilation. You can run it for 8 to 16 hours, but not longer than 18 hours.

Those lucky enough to have a basement with low humidity and good air circulation can use the basement dehumidifier less often. Turn it on only when needed.

Besides the basement conditions, you must also consider the current weather. For example, during very dry times of the year, you can operate the dehumidifier in the basement for only a few hours. In the winter, you can opt to turn off the unit if you’re not home for more than a day.

Another thing to consider is the basement size. If you have a large crawlspace but own a small dehumidifier, expect to run the device longer. But if you have a powerful model to reduce humidity in a tiny room, you can use it for shorter periods. 

Finally, those with a new basement must examine the conditions for several weeks before you run your dehumidifier. That is because new spaces tend to have low humidity during the first weeks. By monitoring the environment, you can determine the best dehumidifier size and runtimes per day.

Do You Need a Basement Dehumidifier? And When to Use It?

Do You Need a Basement Dehumidifier

You must turn the dehumidifier on when the relative humidity exceeds safe and comfortable levels. According to OSHA, ideal humidity levels must range between 20% and 60%. If your indoor relative humidity level is above 60%, you need to invest in a basement dehumidifier.

Another scenario that requires a dehumidifier is poor ventilation in the basement. The lack of airflow can trap excess water vapor. It can lead to several problems, including poor indoor air quality and mold growth. 

Water leakage in the basement is also a sign you need a dehumidifier. Of course, the best course of action is to fix the source of the leak. However, operating the dehumidifier in the meantime can significantly help reduce relative humidity.

What Are the Disadvantages of a Basement Dehumidifier?

Improper or excessive use of a dehumidifier comes with several disadvantages.

First, running the dehumidifier in the basement too often can be expensive. After all, the appliance consumes energy. The longer you run it, the larger the electric bill. But if you really need to use the dehumidifier several hours per day, you can buy an energy-efficient model to decrease operational costs.

There is also a risk of over-drying the air. Using the basement dehumidifier for too long can make humidity levels too low. It causes dry skin, chapped lips, and even nosebleeds in extreme conditions.

Lastly, operating the basement dehumidifier constantly may lead to frequent maintenance. If you don’t regularly maintain the device, you might damage its internal components. You also increase the risk of respiratory problems due to dirty filters.

Are Basement Dehumidifiers Permanent?

Basement dehumidifiers can either be a permanent or temporary addition to your home. It all depends on the existing indoor humidity levels and the type of dehumidifier you choose.

For example, if you have severe mold and mildew issues due to high humidity, you must actively run the basement dehumidifier. 

Do you have gutters that drain too close to your home or leaking pipes? Then, you may have no choice but to use a dehumidifier constantly.

Those who installed a dehumidifier as part of their home infrastructure accept that it will be a permanent solution. You can always uninstall it, but doing so costs a lot of money and effort.

In contrast, buying a portable device means you’ll only use it as a temporary remedy for your basement. You can move this unit to different locations with relative ease. And if you don’t need it in the future, you can always sell it. 


The basement is one of the most humid areas in a house. It’s important to run your dehumidifier to reduce high humidity levels and prevent various problems. However, you don’t have to use it all the time. Doing so actually leads to increased electricity bills and other issues. You can operate it only when necessary, such as during periods of high humidity in the summer months.

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