Seven tips to get the most from your dehumidifierExpert ideas for using your damp fighting machine
26 March 2015
Damp can be an expensive problem for your home. But buying a dehumidifier is a relatively low cost way to prevent it from spreading. We've collated our top tips for using your dehumidifier most effectively, and tell you what to do for more serious damage like rising damp.
Not only is damp unattractive and may affect the value of your home, it can be bad for your health too - if you have damp or mould, you're more likely to develop respiratory problems like asthma and allergies.
Dehumidifiers are designed to monitor and manage a room's humidity levels by drawing excess moisture out of the air. This helps to reduce condensation and, with it, the chances that damp will develop.
We've put more than 20 dehumidifiers through our tough lab tests to see which ones extract the most moisture, and won't cause a racket while they do it. Find the ideal model for your home by heading straight to our dehumidifier reviews.
Get the most from your dehumidifier
1. Empty it regularly
Empty the collected water out of the dehumidifier after every use and before moving it to another room. This will help the unit to work more effectively for longer.
2. Think about position
Keep your dehumidifier away from walls, curtains and furniture and keep all doors and windows closed when you use it. The more centrally the unit is placed, the more moisture it should remove from the air.
3. Get the humidity right
Generally, you should aim for a relative humidity of between 30% and 50%. But be careful if you're using your machine to protect valuable items, such as guitars or classic cars - you will need to check specific humidity levels with a specialist.
Some dehumidifiers are able to work at a range of humidity settings. Find the very best ones that we've tested by checking out all our Best Buy dehumidifiers.
4. Vacuum first
It's a good idea to vacuum your floors before you switch on your dehumidifier, so that it doesn't spread dust particles. This is particularly important if you already suffer from allergies.
If you do have allergies, you should look out for a dehumidifier that has a dust filter. Plus you should choose a low humidity as this is better for controlling dust mites - although the lining of your throat can feel uncomfortable at lower than 30% relative humidity.
5. Be cost-effective
Dehumidifiers usually take a few hours to reduce humidity. So unless you enjoy giving money to your energy supplier, you will need to be smart about when you use one. If you’re on a tariff that offers you cheaper electricity at night, such as Economy 7, set the timer to run your dehumidifier at this time.
Don’t worry if you’re not on one of these tariffs though - you can still make savings. Most of our Best Buys are more effective in warm temperatures, so run yours only when the heating is on.
6. Get frost control
If you're using a dehumidifier in a cool room - for example, in a basement - check the dehumidifier has frost control. This will stop the dehumidifier freezing up if it gets too cold during use.
You can check our product reviews to find out which models do - and don't - have frost control and other features, such as inbuilt humidistats, digital displays and clothes drying functions.
7. Use at the right times
Dehumidifiers are most effective when you have excess moisture in your home. So switch yours on just after you've taken a shower, or if you're drying washed clothes indoors.
But dehumidifiers are no cure for a serious damp problem. Keep reading to see how to deal with larger scale damp problems.
Rising damp and penetrating damp
Although dehumidifiers are a cost-effective way to prevent damp from taking hold in your home, they can't remove cases of serious damp. Our expert guide helps you identify the kind of damp that's affecting your home.
If you discover that you have rising damp, you should check how effective your damp-proof coursing is. Although you'll need an expert to assist, this may not be as expensive as you think - it may just be a case of digging away any soil that is above the level of the damp-proof course.
Solving penetrating damp is unlikely to be quite so easy though. You'll need to identify where the cause of the damp is coming from and then mend it. Some of the most common causes are a dodgy roof, leaky guttering and gaps in window and door frames.
Get to the heart of the problem now, before your damp problem causes even more damage - see all our advice on dealing with damp.