What You Need to Know About Whole House Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers are one of those amazing devices that sort of emblematize the whole 21st century – they are great at solving a problem that a while ago people didn’t even know existed. That’s not a notch on dehumidifiers, however, to the contrary. Dehumidifiers perfectly showcase just how far we’ve gotten technologically.

But what is a dehumidifier and, more specifically, what is a whole house dehumidifier? Most people nowadays know what dehumidifiers do – they filter our homes’ air, extract the moisture out of it, and release it back. That’s done when the relative air humidity is above the recommended 40%-60% range. Dehumidifiers do this to help prevent mold, mildew, as well as allergies and other problems all the way to pest infestations.

What about whole house dehumidifiers, however? Will one dehumidifier do the whole house effectively and efficiently? The quick answer is that yes, whole house dehumidifiers can work great. But, for a bit more detail, here’s what you need to know about whole house dehumidifiers.

How does a whole house dehumidifier work?

Similar to whole house air conditioning systems or whole house heating installation, these dehumidifiers are designed to use your home’s air ducts system. This makes whole house dehumidifiers much bigger, more powerful, and more effective than the portable basement or single-room dehumidifiers.

Instead of sucking air on its own and extracting its moisture in a bucket or a container like portable dehumidifiers, whole house models use the duct system to suck the air and then dump the moisture into the drainage system.

The extra power provided by whole house dehumidifiers may feel wasted at times if you don’t really need that much dehumidifying in your entire home. However, in cases of overwhelmingly high air humidity, a whole house unit may be your only hope.

And if you’re wondering will a dehumidifier in the basement help the whole house, the answer here is – usually not. Such portable units are typically designed to operate in small enclosed spaces. And in fairness, that’s the most common scenario. Unless you live far south in an extra high-humidity climate, you’ll probably only have moisture problems in specific areas of your home.

When the problem is all-encompassing, however, a whole house system can work wonders.

Whole house dehumidifier pros and cons

So, what do the exact pros and cons of whole house dehumidifiers look like? The basic pros of getting a dehumidifier are clear:

  • Keeping the air humidity in the standard range brings a lot of comfort at any time of the year.
  • Keeping the humidity low prevents mold and mildew from forming anywhere in your home.
  • Dehumidifying the air also tends to remove a lot of dust and allergens that usually reside in its moisture particles. This is great for people with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions.
  • Maintaining a low average air humidity also makes your home less inviting for insect pest infestations which typically thrive in high humidity environments.
  • Keeping the air clean and dehumidified will also make your AC system work more efficiently.

Those general dehumidifier advantages do apply to both whole house and portable units, however. So, what are the specific pros and cons of whole house dehumidifiers?


  • More power and capacity. Right off the bat, it’s clear that a whole house dehumidifier will have a much better capacity and dehumidifying effectiveness than a portable model. What’s also worth pointing out, however, is that even beyond that, the effective capacity of whole house units is typically more accurately listed as that of portable units.
    A lot of stand-alone dehumidifier models and brands tend to drastically oversell their capacity by only listing their optimal performance and conditions. This tends to trick a lot of consumers into buying smaller and lighter units for rooms they’re not powerful enough to work in.
    That’s why most people with a bit of experience know to always underestimate the listed capacity of a portable dehumidifier.
    With whole house dehumidifiers, on the other hand, what you’re advertised is almost always what you get.
  • Convenient operation. One of the major downsides of portable dehumidifiers is that you need to empty their water container or bucket almost daily. With whole house units that’s never an issue because they dump the moisture directly into the water drain. All you need to do is perform some routine seasonal checkups as you do with an AC system and that’s it.
  • Improved airflow. Because whole house dehumidifiers use your home’s air ducts, their airflow is usually much better and more effective. Portable units use their own vents so even just in single rooms they tend to not work evenly throughout the whole space.


  • Whole house units require a pre-existing air duct system to work. If one’s not present, you’re going to need to install it which can be costly and time-consuming.
  • These units are also quite expensive to both buy and operate compared to portable dehumidifiers. That’s natural as they are bigger. Plus, they are more efficient and affordable than buying and using multiple portable dehumidifiers in each room. Regardless, they are a sizable investment.
  • Whole house dehumidifiers can be pretty inefficient if you don’t really need that much dehumidifying in every single room in your home. These models are designed for homes that have humidity problems in every room and in every month of the year. If your humidity problems are concentrated in certain areas or happen just a couple of months of the year – sticking to your AC unit only or a portable dehumidifier might be more efficient.

So, is a whole house dehumidifier worth it?

When the relative air humidity levels in your home are consistently above the average every month of the year and in every room – yes, a whole house dehumidifier Is definitely worth it. Otherwise, sticking to a good whole house AC or a portable dehumidifier might be the better option.

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