Crawl spaces can be problematic when they become musty or smelly, putting you at risk of dust mites, mold infestations, bacteria, allergens, and more.
Crawl space mustiness is often a result of high humidity. This begs the question, can you put a dehumidifier in a crawl space?
Yes, installing a dehumidifier in your crawl space is possible and can be quite helpful if you do it correctly. Read on to learn all about dehumidifying a crawl space.
Simply put, a dehumidifier extracts moisture from the air, cools it down, and condenses it. It then stores the water in a tank or drains it through a water line.
Note that you need to empty the ones with water tank storage regularly so that they continue to work efficiently.
The answer to whether or not you need a dehumidifier in your crawl space depends on your living situation. If you live in an area with high humidity levels, you’ll benefit from using a dehumidifier.
It helps to consider the dew point. Between 55 and 65 is considered fine, though it’s playing on the “sticky” side of humidity levels.
If you live in an area with regular dew points of 65 or higher, your crawl space will probably need a dehumidifier to stay fresh and clean.
If you plan to install a crawl space dehumidifier, you should plan a budget between $870 and $1600.
The price depends on how big your crawl space is, and consequently how demanding your dehumidifier’s job will be.
Not to mention, if you’re going to opt for a high-quality 70-pint dehumidifier, you’ll need to invest even more.
You also have to consider the possible cost of hiring a trained professional to set up the dehumidifier for you.
While you can do it yourself, sometimes you need an expert’s help to figure out the best configuration for your crawl space.
In that case, the entire cost of purchasing and installing a dehumidifier can range between $1500 and up to $2500.
A crawl space of an average home (1500 to 2500 square feet) should be rated at 70 pints or above. This applies in typical conditions, which are 60% relative humidity and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Opting for an entry-level option that removes 10 to 50 pints can reduce the risk of wood rot, mildew, and mold, but it might not eliminate it.
That’s why you should double-check that the capacity of your dehumidifier covers the needs of your crawl space’s size.
Seeing as dehumidifier installation can range from $800 to $2000, you must be wondering, what are the factors that affect the cost?
If your dehumidifier comes with a touchscreen, Wi-Fi, or other automatic functions, it’ll cost more to install than manual ones.
If the crawl space is difficult to access, you should expect a higher cost of installation.
Also, if you’ll be adding a dedicated return duct and don’t already have an existing return one, it’ll take longer and increase the cost.
On the other hand, if you need to remove an old dehumidifier and set up a new one, you’ll have to pay an extra $40 to $200 for removal costs.
Adding a dedicated outlet, which most dehumidifiers need, also adds around $150 to $350 to the cost of installation.
The closer your dehumidifier’s placement is to the nearest drain or outdoor access, the less the costs are for its installation.
However, you need to place it further for ideal noise reduction. Also, to maximize efficiency, you might need to place it in an area that’s further from drains.
In that case, it’ll cost more for the materials and labor needed to run the drainage line.
The doors and windows in older houses tend to be drafty, entailing a larger dehumidifier to cover the air and contaminants that seep in.
In that case, the cost of installing a dehumidifier can also increase.
Crawl space dehumidifiers are designed to withstand rugged surrounding conditions, such as high heat, extreme cold, snow, and heavy rain.
Their parts are of a higher quality than conventional dehumidifiers and are engineered with greater precision, leaving no room for breakdowns. After all, crawl space dehumidifiers are designed to work for extended periods.
Dehumidifiers work more efficiently when in combination with vapor barriers or encapsulations, which can incur extra costs.
That’s not to mention that crawl space dehumidifiers are designed to eliminate moisture not just from the air, but also from the ground.
For all these reasons, crawl space dehumidifiers are more expensive than regular ones.
Running a dehumidifier adds about $10 to $30 to your monthly energy bill.
It’s a better choice to opt for an ENERGY STAR unit. Although they have higher upfront prices, their operating costs are significantly less in the long run.
No, you can’t. Regular dehumidifiers don’t work with the same efficiency as crawl space dehumidifiers. Firstly, they aren’t designed to run all the time or handle high humidity levels.
While they may work to an extent, they won’t hold up as they aren’t meant to dehumidify crawl spaces. Not to mention, they could be potentially dangerous.
Crawl space dehumidifiers can be loud as their job is demanding. They also run for relatively long durations.
A lot of people have this concern when they’re thinking about buying a crawl space dehumidifier. However, it shouldn’t be the case.
You can avoid hearing your crawl space dehumidifier through proper placement and by choosing the right dehumidifier size for your crawl space.
When you think about the implications of not installing a crawl space dehumidifier, their price and running costs quickly become justified.
This is especially true if you live in particularly humid areas like Michigan, Florida, Maine, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
You can quickly find wood rot, mold, and mildew without a crawl space dehumidifier. The dangerous part is that these infestations can spread through the house and not stick to the crawl space.
As a consequence, the integrity of your house may be at risk, its strength may wane, and the house might end up being at risk of collapsing.
Of course, that’s in the case that you leave your mold or wood rot issues unresolved. Still, getting rid of these infestations is both time-consuming and expensive.
A crawl space dehumidifier saves you from going through this hassle and eliminates the causes of these issues. So, if you weigh the costs and benefits of a crawl space dehumidifier, it’s undoubtedly a worthy investment.
Renting a dehumidifier costs around $40 to $70 daily or $200 to $300 weekly. So, in a month, you’ll pay $1200 to $2100.
Add that to the running costs, and you’ll be paying much more. So, it’s more budget-friendly to invest and pay a bulk amount for a dehumidifier.
However, renting could be a good idea if you’re still considering whether or not your crawl space needs a dehumidifier.
Yes, it will. A crawl space dehumidifier could take up to eight or 10 hours to completely dry your crawl space. Still, it will slowly but surely get the job done.
However, it’s worth mentioning that if your crawl space gets wet regularly due to leaks from a pipe or other items above, you should look into fixing the root cause.
Instead of wasting a lot of electricity drying out the crawl space, make sure you pinpoint where the issue stems from and fix it before installing a dehumidifier.
Yes, a crawl space dehumidifier can help you get rid of an existing mold issue.
With proper maintenance, a crawl space dehumidifier can last up to 5 years. That’s not too long, but their average life expectancy is between 3 and 5 due to how demanding their job is. They operate far longer than regular dehumidifiers do, after all.
To provide your crawl space dehumidifier with proper maintenance, you should change its filters every 6 to 12 months.
Moreover, you should regularly clean its tank—if its drainage relies on one—so that the contaminants it collects from the air don’t fester inside it and respread through the unit.
While crawl space dehumidifiers can seem like a hefty investment, they could be a necessary one. Living in a humid area can put your house at risk of mold infestations, dust mites, fungi, allergens, viruses, and bacteria.
To balance the liability of owning a crawl space dehumidifier and its benefits, you should plan your purchase well. Not only that, but you must also plan how you’re going to economize and where you’re going to place it.
With proper planning, you can maximize the advantages of using a crawl space dehumidifier while controlling costs and noise.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems and over 10 years of experience working in IT. As a homeowner, I love working on projects around the house, and as a father, I love investigating various ways to keep my family safe (whether or not this involves tech). I’ve also played guitar for almost 20 years and love writing music, although it’s hard to find the time these days.