How Long For A Dehumidifier To Dry Basement?

You might be thinking to turn your basement, despite its dampness and high humidity, into one of the living spaces of your home. You need a dehumidifier to let the air dry. But you might be wondering how long the dehumidifier can dry your basement. We have done the research to explore the answers for you.

Unless you have a brand-new humidifier, it can dry your basement for a maximum of 12 hours in order to achieve the ideal humidity level your basement needs. But how long the dehumidifier can dry your basement is dependent on several considerations:

  • Dehumidifier capacity 
  • Moisture level and floor area of your basement

Despite the usefulness of the dehumidifier in making your basement a livable space, there are cost implications in running your dehumidifier. You would ask yourself how long should you use the unit every day or when should you turn it off? Stay on this page as we find the right answers and in order to make use of the dehumidifier efficiently.

Humidifier in the basement room, How Long For A Dehumidifier To Dry Basement?

Dehumidifying Your Basement

Dehumidifiers are made to run 24 hours a day, but given the challenge of electricity costs, it would be safe that you run your dehumidifier for a maximum of 12 hours a day until the ideal humidity level is reached in your basement.

The duration, however, that it will take your dehumidifier to dry your basement will boil down to the following factors:

Dehumidifier Capacity

man hand setting up house hold dehumidifier

Dehumidifier capacity refers to its ability to extract moisture content of the area within 24 hours. The higher the capacity, the higher the absorption level given the same length of time. The commonly used capacities are 25, 50, and 75 pints.

Pint is the unit of measurement for volume or capacity.

To learn more on the right sizing and capacity of dehumidifiers for your basement, check out this post: What Size Dehumidifier For A Basement? 

Moisture Level And Floor Area Of Your Basement

Another important consideration is the dampness or the moisture level of your basement. A hygrometer should come in handy in order to check the humidity level of your basement.

Though nowadays, there are certain models of dehumidifiers in the market that have built-in humidity detectors that can signal that you should run your dehumidifier.

For a convenient reference, the table below shows the minimum required dehumidifier capacity for different levels of dampness given an area of 500-2500 square feet.

Dampness Level Capacity (pints per 24 hours)
Moderately Damp 10 - 26
Highly Damp 12 - 32
Wet 14 - 38
Extremely Wet 16 - 44

Another factor to consider on whether to keep the dehumidifier running constantly is when it reaches the comfortable humidity level. A 30-50% humidity level is the rule of thumb.

Should You Run A Dehumidifier In The Basement All The Time?

There are no hard fast rules on whether or not you keep running your dehumidifier.

To decide if you run a dehumidifier in the basement all the time greatly depends on many factors:

  • The climate in your area - If you are living in areas where most of the time is winter, the moisture content of air dramatically drops, so there is no need for a dehumidifier. In contrast, if you are living in temperate areas, you might need to run the dehumidifier all the time.

  • The humidity level at your basement - A 30-50% humidity level is the rule of thumb. To decide whether to keep your dehumidifier running is when it reaches the comfortable humidity level. In order to save on electricity costs and to prevent the device from overheating, there is no need to keep the dehumidifier running if the safe level is reached.

  • Tank size of your dehumidifier - The tank size of your dehumidifier will determine how much water it can extract per day. If you intend to run your dehumidifier constantly all the time, you will need the appropriate tank size to store the water extracted.

However, if you have a smaller tank, you need to monitor closely and empty the tank when it’s full. You need to empty more often if the tank size is small.

There are now certain model types of dehumidifiers that have a continuous drain feature. These model types have built-in pumps to empty the water extracted continuously and you do not need to empty it manually.

However, in instances when you feel unusually humid air in the basement, it is always a wise move to know the root cause of this excess humidity rather than keeping your dehumidifier running all the time.

What Is The Best Setting For A Basement Dehumidifier?

Air purifier , Business woman use filter for clean room in a living room

A humidity level range of 40% to 60% is the recommended setting for your basement dehumidifier. To be precise, maintain it at an exact 50% humidity.

At level 60% and above, mold formation is most likely to develop. Mold growth and dew formation thrive at high relative humidity. Also, setting the dehumidifier at a high level may cause cracks in the wood interiors in the basement.

While at the other extreme, setting the dehumidifier at an insufficient speed or lower than 40% could never lower down the moisture level. You would end up just be wasting electricity. This defeats the purpose of having a dehumidifier. 

The humidity level in the basement should be controlled and expected to be at a safe level at all times. Due to the constant high air moisture in the basement, the dehumidifier is expected to run frequently.

Regulating the humidity could be made more convenient if there is a humidistat feature that comes with your dehumidifier. The humidistat measures the air humidity and temperature of the room.

The humidistat offers the convenience of automatically bringing your dehumidifier to sleep mode if it reaches the allowed humidity settings.

When Should I Turn Off My Basement Dehumidifier?

While most dehumidifier models have a built-in humidistat, it still provides a feature where you can manually power off. You can choose to stagger the time you run your dehumidifier in order to save on electricity costs.

As an example, you can choose to run for four hours during the day and four hours during the night.

From another perspective, it is better to shut off your dehumidifier for a few months as summer ends and start to heat your home to prepare for winter.

Aside from saving from electricity costs, turning off your dehumidifier would lessen the wear and tear of your device. The compressor gets rested, thus lowering down running costs.

While it is still normal for your dehumidifier to run non-stop, and given that the basement is a high moisture area, thus, giving more work for the dehumidifier, the humidistat is still a great help. There is no close monitoring of when to manually power off your unit.

Do I Need To Run A Dehumidifier In A Basement In Summer?

Dehumidifier monochrome fornt view on the wooden floor

As a general rule, and regardless of the season, if the recommended relative humidity exceeds the 60% mark, you need to run a dehumidifier. During summer, when there is always high humidity, running the dehumidifier is needed to compensate.

Do I Need To Run A Dehumidifier In A Basement In Winter?

During winter, when room temperature drops to become colder, such produces dry air. In this instance, you do not need to run the dehumidifier.

Tips To Prevent Undue Strain To Your Dehumidifier

  • Position your dehumidifier in a well-ventilated spot to let air freely flow and work efficiently. The basement floor is appropriate, not elevated where it is near the ceiling or near the basement wall.

  • Keep the water tank empty. The risk of water overflow can damage the circuit board. Also, the dehumidifier doesn’t work with a full water tank.

  • No heating appliances when dehumidifiers are in use because kerosene heaters may contribute to the room’s moisture, thus giving more work to your dehumidifier.

  • Coils and air vents should always be maintained dust-free. The buildup of dust may clog and damage the device’s internal parts.

In Closing

Notwithstanding cost and efficiency, your dehumidifier could indeed provide a long list of benefits for you and your family. You could safely run it for 12 hours a day until your basement becomes a healthful and breathable living space. 

But how long it takes to dry your basement essentially depends on important factors such as dehumidifier capacity, tank size, and humidity level of the basement. The general climate and the area of your basement are taken into consideration as well.

The basement is made to be your haven! A dehumidifier is here to help to make your basement a livable place in your home.

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