How Much Does a Whole-House Dehumidifier Cost?

Lawrence Bonk
Written by Lawrence Bonk
Updated February 17, 2022
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Highlights

  • A whole-home dehumifier costs $1,300 to $2,800.

  • Then, add another $500 to $700 to cover installation fees.

  • Adding a dehumifier may also warrant additional ducting, electrical work, and drainage systems.

  • In general, this is a project best left to a local HVAC pro.

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Installing a whole-house dehumidifier, otherwise known as a central dehumidifier, is a great way to ensure your humidity stays at 30 to 50%, which is the ideal relative humidity level for a home. In fact, the primary reason homeowners consider whole-house dehumidifiers is to increase their overall 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. 

The cost to hire a local 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.

Whole-House Dehumidifier Cost Breakdown

The biggest cost factor here will be the dehumidifier itself. A brand new standard whole-house dehumidifier starts at around $1,100 but will top out at $1,700. High-efficiency models, which may be necessary for ultra-humid climates, start at $1,500 and creep up to around $2,500

There is also labor to consider, as some units will be able to simply plug into your pre-existing HVAC system, while others require more complex setups. You should also keep an eye on any hidden costs that can pop up, such as setting up a drainage system and making sure your ducts are on point. 

Here’s a breakdown of how you can expect to spend your money when taking on a whole-house dehumidifier installation project:

1. Type of Dehumidifier System

5 different dehumidifiers broken down by cost, with the whole-house option averaging $1,100 to $2,500

Dehumidifier designs tend to be on the simpler side, though there are numerous types of dehumidifiers that will change up 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.

Whole-House Dehumidifier

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. 

Be aware that large homes may require multiple whole-house dehumidifiers, so be sure to ask your pro if this is a concern. Whole-house dehumidifiers are installed in unused areas of the home, including the basement, crawlspace, attic, or underneath the house itself.

Basement Unit

Basements can get especially musty and gross over time, becoming a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and water damage. If you want to protect the integrity of your basement but are not overly concerned about the comfort levels throughout the rest of your home, go with 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. Finally, 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, cooling the cool and, thus, pulling moisture from the air. These units are highly effective, though they are also quite expensive. A two-stage air conditioner costs $5,000 to $7,000, but you are also getting a central AC as part of the deal.

2. Labor

Once you have purchased a unit, the installation cost will add another $500 to $700. The installation cost will cover 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.

What Factors Influence the Cost to Install a Whole-House Dehumidifier?

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There are additional factors to consider when pricing out the cost to install a whole-house dehumidifier.

1. Ductwork

Whole-house dehumidifiers typically attach to the return ductwork of our HVAC system. However, if this is not an option, a technician will have to add a new dedicated return duct to accommodate the dehumidifier. On average, air duct installation costs $1,160, or $10 to $20 per linear foot.

2. Electrical Work

For more complex installations, you may need to hire an electrician to carry out additional 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 will typically cost $50 to $100 per hour.

3. Drainage

Whole-house dehumidifiers pull 30 to 150 pints of moisture each day. That water must go somewhere, so you will need to consider 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.

4. Removing the Previous Unit and Disabling HVAC

If you are replacing a pre-existing dehumidifier, you’ll have to get rid of the old one. Removing debris from your home (such as old systems) can cost $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.

5. Monthly Energy Costs

Dehumidifiers draw a fair amount of energy during use. Expect to add $15 to $25 per month to your energy bill, with a yearly average of $60 to $300. If you are looking to cut down on your monthly utility bill, consider a dehumidifier that has been ENERGY STAR certified. A certified dehumidifier features highly efficient coils, compressors, and fans, resulting in a lower utility bill.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Whole-House Dehumidifier Yourself?

First of all, installing a whole-house dehumidifier is not a simple DIY project. Do not attempt it unless you are relatively seasoned in electrical work or HVAC work. If you do decide to go the DIY route, you will save on labor costs. Installing a whole-house dehumidifier takes a qualified pro five to six hours at $70 to $100 per hour, which adds up to $500 to $700

Of course, an HVAC technician will make sure it is running at optimum efficiency, saving you money down the line.

FAQs About Installing a Whole-House Dehumidifier

How do I find a reputable contractor to install a whole-house dehumidifier?

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 both the installation process, the pricing, and other beneficial HVAC upgrades to consider.

What’s the difference between an AC unit and a dehumidifier?

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.

What other projects should I do at the same time?

While you are having a pro install a whole-house dehumidifier, you can also ask the technician to look over your ductwork, patch up any leaks, and perform a thorough duct cleaning. Leaks let cool air escape into the attic or crawl space. That air loss creates negative pressure inside, causing it to suck in humid air through cracks.

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