Enjoy year-round comfort with this popular home update
Installing a whole-house dehumidifier costs about $1,500, but it ranges between $1,300 and $2,800. A central dehumidifier is a great way to ensure humidity stays at 30% to 50%, which is a home's ideal relative humidity level. Homeowners consider whole-house dehumidifiers to increase their comfort level, as excess humidity can feel sticky, wet, and plain gross.
The advantages don’t stop with comfort, however. Dehumidifiers can reduce allergy symptoms, deter nasty mold and mildew growth, and even reduce musty and “off” odors throughout your home. Let's break down all the cost factors at play when purchasing a dehumidifier for your home.
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Whole-House Dehumidifier Cost Breakdown
Lowering the humidity in your home can help prevent mold growth and reduce dust. Several factors affect the cost of installing a whole-house dehumidifier, including its features and where it's located in the home.
Several considerations will impact the cost of a whole-house dehumidifier. For instance, higher-capacity units tend to cost more than lower-capacity units, while energy-efficient models usually cost more than others.
Capacity refers to how much moisture a dehumidifier can remove from the air, measured in pints per day. Lower-capacity dehumidifiers start at around 60 pints, while higher-capacity units can remove more than 150 pints per day. The greater the capacity, the more you can expect to pay.
A dehumidifier's efficiency indicates how much energy it uses when removing humidity from the air. Higher-efficiency models use less energy per pint, which can help you save on your monthly energy bills. However, they also cost more than lower-efficiency units.
If you need to install a dehumidifier underground or in a basement, aka below grade, you might need to install an internal pump to adequately pump moisture up and out of your home. Internal pumps add $150 to $500 to the whole-house defumidier installation cost.
Location in the Home
If you're installing a dehumidifier in an easy-to-reach location, such as a clean garage, you can expect to pay less than you would if the installation location is difficult to access. That's because hard-to-reach locations will cause the installation to take longer, driving up labor costs.
Once you purchase a unit, the installation cost will add another $500 to $700. The installation cost includes the labor to assemble the unit, fasten it, and secure it in place. A contractor will connect the inlet and outlet supply to the central air supply and add the appropriate wiring.
Installation costs should also cover controllers being mounted and configured for operation. These controllers are important, as they will determine the settings used to vary humidity within the home. If you need to purchase additional equipment, such as mounting supplies and fasteners, these can cost about $20 to $25.
If you need to install a new electrical circuit and wiring to connect your new dehumidifier, you might need a permit. Permit fees vary by municipality, but they typically range from $50 to $200.
Where you live can also affect dehumidifier costs, especially with respect to labor. Typically, regions with high living costs, like large cities, tend to have higher labor costs than rural areas and regions with lower living costs.
Cost of Whole-House Dehumidifiers by Type
Dehumidifier designs tend to be on the simpler side, though numerous types of dehumidifiers will change the overall cost. Additionally, you can opt for an appliance that carries the same function as a dehumidifier without technically being one. Here is a breakdown by type.
If you desire comfort throughout the entirety of your home, a true whole-house dehumidifier will be your best bet. These dehumidifiers attach to the return ductwork of your pre-existing HVAC system and are generally available in multiple sizes and power ratings. Whole-house humidifiers cost $1,100 to $2,500, depending on the size of the unit and its overall efficiency.
Large homes may require multiple whole-house dehumidifiers, so be sure to ask your pro if this is a concern. Whole-house dehumidifiers are typically installed in unused areas of the home, such as a basement, crawlspace, or attic, or underneath the house itself.
Basements can get especially musty over time, becoming a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and water damage. If you want to protect the integrity of your basement but you're not concerned about the comfort levels throughout the rest of your home, consider a permanent basement dehumidifier.
Small 75-pint models cost between $800 and $1,200, while slightly larger 100-pint modes cost between $1,000 and $1,400. Meanwhile, high-capacity 130-pint models cost $1,700 to $2,000. Basements over 2,500 square feet require a dehumidifier that can handle at least 100 pints of water per day.
Two-Stage Air Conditioner
Two-stage air conditioners, otherwise known as variable-speed air conditioners, are entirely capable of handling the dehumidification duties of an entire home. These AC units pair with a combination thermostat/humidistat that constantly reads the humidity levels of your home.
If the levels get too high, the AC will automatically slow down the blower. These units are highly effective, though they are also quite expensive. A two-stage air conditioner costs $5,000 to $7,000, but you're also getting central AC as part of the deal.
Additional Costs to Consider
There are additional factors to consider when budgeting for the cost to install a whole-house dehumidifier.
Whole-house dehumidifiers typically attach to the return ductwork of an HVAC system. However, if this is not an option, a technician will have to add a dedicated return duct to accommodate the dehumidifier. On average, air duct installation costs $1,160, or $10 to $20 per linear foot.
For more complex installations, you may need to hire an electrician to carry out wiring and outlet installations. For instance, you may need to have new power outlets installed or old ones converted to accommodate the dehumidifier, as they tend to draw a lot of power. Electricians typically cost $50 to $100 per hour.
Whole-house dehumidifiers pull 30 to 150 pints of moisture each day. That water must go somewhere, so you'll need a drainage system of some kind. Most modern dehumidifiers come with an integrated pump that will push the water away from your home. If your dehumidifier lacks a dedicated pump, you can purchase an external pump for around $125.
Otherwise, you can just let gravity do its job. When you map out the system, be sure the dehumidifier is near and slightly above a drain. Direct a hose from the dehumidifier down to the drain.
Removing the Previous Unit and Disabling HVAC
If you're replacing a pre-existing dehumidifier, you’ll have to get rid of the old one. Removing debris from your home (such as old systems) usually costs $35 to $40. In some cases, the HVAC system will need removal or disconnection during the installation. This process costs $90 to $115 for labor.
Monthly Energy Costs
Dehumidifiers use a fair amount of energy. Expect to add $15 to $25 per month to your energy bill, with a yearly average of $60 to $300. If you want to cut down on your monthly utility bill, consider a dehumidifier certified by ENERGY STAR. A certified dehumidifier features highly efficient coils, compressors, and fans, resulting in a lower utility bill.
Cost to Install a Whole-House Dehumidifier Yourself
Unless you have professional expertise in electrical and HVAC work, installing a whole-house dehumidifier yourself is not recommended since it's a fairly complex project. Improper installation can lead to very costly damage down the line.
DIY Whole-House Dehumidifier Installation Costs vs. Hiring a Pro
The cost to hire an HVAC pro to install a whole-house dehumidifier is $1,300 to $1,700, but some high-efficiency models cost $1,600 to $2,800. However, if you decide to take on the project yourself, you can skip labor costs altogether—which typically amount to $500 to $700. Instead, you'll only pay for the dehumidifier and any tools needed to install it.
How to Save on Whole-House Dehumidifier Installation Costs
Since installers typically charge by the hour, you can potentially save money on an installation by removing any obstacles that might make it tough for the pro to access the installation site. For instance, if you're installing the dehumidifier in a garage, remove any clutter and appliances that might be blocking the installation site and pathway.
Frequently Asked Questions
A whole-house dehumidifier is a major investment for homeowners, despite the benefits to comfort and safety. Research the local HVAC contractor and their company ahead of time to make sure they have the appropriate insurance and licensing. You should also perform a quick search via the Better Business Bureau and pour through reviews online to look for any red flags.
Finally, call them and discuss the project. A reputable contractor will be more than happy to get into specifics regarding the installation process, the pricing, and other beneficial HVAC upgrades to consider.
Air conditioners and dehumidifiers are actually quite similar, though they perform different jobs. Dehumidifiers reduce moisture in the air, while air conditioners work to cool the home. A good central AC unit will naturally perform a certain level of dehumidification due to its design, but it will not be able to handle excessive levels of moisture.
Dehumidifiers typically use 300 to 700 watts of electricity per hour, whereas portable dehumidifiers use about 40 watts per hour. The exact amount of electricity your dehumidifier will generate depends on its capacity and energy efficiency. Generally, higher-capacity dehumidifiers generate more electricity than lower-capacity units, but they also usually have better energy efficiency over the long run.
If your house is less than 2,000 square feet, you might be able to use a portable dehumidifier for your entire home. However, you’ll need to install the dehumidifier in an area with optimal circulation. But remember that portable dehumidifiers are typically less energy efficient than permanent dehumidifiers, so they can drive up your utility bills over time.
Ideal humidity conditions generally range from 30% to 50%, with 45% considered optimal humidity for most homes. If your humidity levels drop below that range, you can turn your dehumidifier off. Additionally, suppose the temperature where the dehumidifier is installed falls below 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In that case, it's best to turn it off and unplug it since cooler temperatures can cause the unit's coils to freeze.