Is Your Home’s Dehumidifier Working in the Danger Zone?

The No. 1 Question Every American Homeowner Will Likely Never Ask Themselves This Summer: “Hmmm, Is My Dehumidifier Safe?”

With all the things to enjoy in Iowa this summer, it’s easy to overlook one of the most underappreciated of household appliances. Simply put, dehumidifiers are air purifying rock stars. They keep the air we breathe comfortable, they keep basements dry and they save us from dealing with pesky, ugly mold issues. Dehumidifiers reduce moisture in the air and create overall healthier environments. They are working overtime in countless millions of American homes this summer.

“There are many benefits to having a dehumidifier in your home, with the main one being that they reduce any allergens and irritants in damp areas of your home,” Abbas Kanani, a pharmacist and health advisor for Chemist Click, tells Metro Co, “with the main one being that they reduce any allergens and irritants in damp areas of your home.”

Plus, home dehumidifiers are literal fresh air defenders for homes (especially older houses) during torridly hot Iowa summers when indoor humidity is sometimes dialed up to 11.

“A humid indoor atmosphere is not easy to breathe in,” Yahoo’s Blythe Christensen writes. “… But it isn’t just uncomfortable or annoying, excessively moist air can pose a serious threat to your health and your home.

“Humidity promotes the growth of mold and mildew while allowing common household pests to thrive. Both of these can lead to the development of allergies in people who suffer from respiratory problems. In addition, the moist air can damage the insulation, siding, wood and painted surfaces around your house.

“A dehumidifier can prevent these problems.”

Alas, even dehumidifiers have their Kryptonite. West Bend Insurance Reports that since 2013 alone, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has recalled 5.6 million dehumidifiers cited as the cause of hundreds of fires that resulted in millions of dollars in damages. The CPSC recalled two million dehumidifiers from major brands in 2021 alone because they can overheat and catch fire. The CPSC’s full dehumidifier recall list is available at

The Dehumidifier Danger Zone

Here are West Bend’s best ways to keep your home’s dehumidifiers purifying your air safely and efficiently:

  • Determine areas that need dehumidifying. They are usually basement or crawl spaces, but can also be kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms.
  • When purchasing a dehumidifier, consider capacity, coverage area, and type of humidity problem.
  • Place your dehumidifier on flat floor surfaces.
  • Avoid using extension cords or power strips.
  • Place your dehumidifier at least six inches from walls or other structures that may impede airflow into and out of the dehumidifier.
  • Set the relative humidity level. For most spaces, a 45-50% relative humidity level is ideal. Relative humidity levels above 50% create an environment where mold spores, dust mites, bacteria and other harmful pests thrive. A relative humidity level below 30% can lead to an increase in cold and flu viruses, irritated skin and respiratory passages, cracked ceilings, separated wood floors and more.
  • Be sure to empty your collection bucket daily. Dehumidifiers don’t run if the bucket is full.
  • Check your unit daily to make sure it’s draining properly.

Remember, few household appliances will be working harder and on overtime more than your home’s dehumidifier this summer. Make sure yours is cleaning and purifying your home’s air safely.

“With the high heat and humidity, summer is prime season for dehumidifiers, and many homeowners keep them running around the clock,” Consumer Reports’ Mary H.J. Farrell writes. “And if you have a particularly damp basement or crawl space, you may be running yours year-round.

“Whatever the situation, it’s important to check your model number to see whether it’s on the recall list in the CPSC notice, which is quite extensive.”

Because your dehumidifier can’t truly do its job until you’re sure it’s safe for use.

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