do i need dehumidifier in winter

Do I Need a Dehumidifier in the Winter?

In Appliances, Home Tips by Jamie

Dehumidifiers are a great investment with many benefits to keep the air in your home cool and allergen-free. They are commonly used in summer when the air is more likely to be warm and humid. Now that the seasons are changing, you might be wondering if you should run your dehumidifier in the winter as well.

You do not need a dehumidifier during the winter months because the air tends to be cold and dry. The exception to this is if you live in a climate that is relatively warm and humid all year round, warranting the use of a dehumidifier to lessen the moisture and allergens present in the air.

Dehumidifier usage is dependent on season and climate, ideal for warm humid conditions. Running a dehumidifier below a certain temperature can damage the unit. To ensure your dehumidifier is kept safe and ready for the next summer season there are some tips to follow.

What Are the Benefits of Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers are a worthwhile investment in warm conditions with high humidity, boasting a plethora of benefits for your health and the maintenance and longevity of your home and belongings.

  • Dehumidifiers make your home less habitable to allergens, mold, and mildew which thrive in moist environments.
  • Reduces odor that often accompanies the presence of bacteria growing in humid environments.
  • Protect your clothing and furniture from mold growth and smell.
  • Reduce irritants to your skin and lungs.
  • Reduces dust in your home, allowing it to stay clean for longer.
  • Dehumidifiers have a cooling effect by removing moisture from the air and reducing the workload of your air conditioning units thus saving energy.
  • Protect the foundation of your home from moisture build-up (especially wood-based materials that are not water-resistant).
  • They are relatively quiet and non-obtrusive to run.

Why You Do Not Need a Dehumidifier in the Winter

Because the purpose of a dehumidifier is to reduce moisture in the air, it logically follows that a dehumidifier would be useless when there is low humidity in the air. Typically, summer months tend to be warmer, rainier, and humid which adds to the heat. This creates the perfect condition for allergens, mites, mold, and mildew to grow.

Running a dehumidifier helps mitigate these harmful substances while cooling and protecting your home at the same time. During the winter months, the air tends to be cooler and drier, making it harder for bacteria to get a foothold in your home, rendering a dehumidifier unnecessary.

Where You Live Determines Whether or Not You Need a Humidifier Year Round

The use of a dehumidifier is dictated by the presence of moisture in the air which is usually paired with warmth. If you live in a temperate climate that experiences noticeable season changes or in a landlocked territory, a dehumidifier might benefit you if the summers are hot and humid but you can unplug your humidifier once the weather cools off for autumn and winter bringing natural dryness with it.

Conversely, if you live in a tropical, sub-tropical climate, or along a coast, humidity can linger throughout the year and can have damaging consequences to your home and your health. A dehumidifier can protect you from these effects year-round.

It should be noted that running a dehumidifier when the weather is below 60 degrees (Fahrenheit), any moisture pulled from the air can freeze to the cooling coils in the dehumidifier causing damage to the unit.

A great dehumidifier for larger spaces is the hOmeLabs 4,500 Sq. Ft Energy Star Dehumidifier. It will reduce humidity exponentially within a large house, having one of these is a great idea if you see high humidity levels year-round.

If you only need a dehumidifier for a smaller space or even a smaller duration, I recommend the Midea Cube 20 Pint Dehumidifier, It has Wi-Fi built-in and it works with Amazon Alexa, a huge plus! You can literally tell the dehumidifier to set itself at different percentages. What is great is this Midea dehumidifier can extend if more work is needed, just pull it up, and voila. You now have a dehumidifier that can hold a lot more water!

How to Monitor Humidity in Your Home

Whether or not you choose to run a dehumidifier in your home is typically dependent on the humidity level in your home. To help you with this, it is recommended to use a hygrometer which is a humidity sensor.

One popular and affordable option is the Govee Mini Hygrometer. It acts as both a temperature gauge and a humidity monitor with wireless Bluetooth capabilities. This allows you to monitor the climate in your home from any room and with a two-second response time, you can react quickly if your dehumidifier needs to be adjusted.

Not only does a hygrometer show you if the humidity in your home is too high but also if it is too low, in which case, you may need a humidifier. Read more about humidifiers below.

How to Properly Store a Dehumidifier for the Winter

There are some steps to be taken when putting your dehumidifier away for the season. Because it draws and collects moisture from the air, you want to be sure it does not grow mold while in storage. Storing your dehumidifier well can lengthen its lifespan saving you money on replacement.

1. Unplug your dehumidifier and secure the power cord.

Make sure your dehumidifier is unplugged so that it does not continue to draw power from the outlet and remains unaffected by any sudden power surges.

2. Clean the air filter.

Most air filters in dehumidifiers are reusable and should be washed or wiped down often as they catch larger dust particles.

3. Empty the water bucket and allow it to dry completely.

Dehumidifiers have a water storage bucket that collects the moisture pulled from the air. Be sure to empty it and dry it out completely. You can wash it with mild dish soap or distilled white vinegar to remove any microbial growth on it.

4. Remove the drain hose and allow it to dry fully.

If your dehumidifier has a drain hose, detach it and allow it to air dry fully before storing it.

5. Wipe the outside of the unit.

To ensure the unit stays looking clean and free of dust, wipe the outside with a damp cloth and allow it to dry fully.

6. Cover to store.

Once all of the parts are completely dry, cover your dehumidifier or place it in a sealed box for the winter to prevent dust from settling into its parts.

Should I Use a Humidifier in the Winter?

In temperate climates, because the air becomes much cooler and drier in the winter, it can be beneficial to use a humidifier, especially in your bedroom. You can use a hygrometer to determine if the humidity in your home is too low.

Opposite to a dehumidifier which pulls moisture from the air, a humidifier releases moisture into the air to increase the humidity level. This can be desirable for many reasons.

  • Reduces the transmission of airborne viral infections.
  • Keeps dry skin hydrated, also preventing a dry mouth and eyes.
  • Prevents snoring.
  • Eases Asthma and blocked sinuses.

Which Humidifier Should I Use?

There are two main types of humidifiers and although they work similarly to increase humidity in their environment, each type is suited to a specific household.

Warm Mist Humidifiers

Warm mist humidifiers contain a heating element to warm the water to create steam. This steam increases air humidity and warmth however, it should not be used in homes with pets and small children to avoid the risk of steam or hot water burns.

A great warm mist humidifier is the HuPro Humidifier. It has a modern design and offers both warm and cool mist features. Plus it has timers, sleep mode, and even a humidistat integrated for automatic humidity control.

Cool Mist Humidifiers

A good option for any household, cool mist humidifiers work by evaporating water into the air with the use of a fan and can have a cooling effect on the air. It is important to change the water regularly in a cool-mist humidifier, cleaning the unit thoroughly between uses as the standing water system can accumulate bacteria and mold growth.

Though the fan on a cool-mist humidifier can make the unit slightly noisier than a warm mist unit, there are cool mist humidifiers that boast silence and have added options to infuse your water with essential oils like the Everlasting Comfort Cool Mist Humidifier.

Final Thoughts

Both dehumidifiers and humidifiers are wise home investments depending on the season and climate you live in. They can improve your health, your quality of sleep, and even improve the longevity of the structure of your house. With proper care, your dehumidifier or humidifier unit will last for years.

About the Author

Jamie

Jamie is the Founder of My Home Dwelling. He is a homeowner and enjoys sharing his homeowner tips with others. He has real estate experience working as a new home construction Realtor. Jamie has worked on numerous residential construction sites helping with interior and exterior renovations. He loves refinishing furniture, DIY home projects, and sharing his knowledge online.