Maintaining the right humidity level in your home is crucial for both comfort and health. Humidity, or the amount of moisture in the air, can have a significant impact on your living environment. Too much or too little moisture can lead to various issues. In particular, high humidity creates conditions that can foster the growth of harmful organisms, posing health risks.
This brings us to a common question: is it safe to leave a dehumidifier unattended? Dehumidifiers are often used to tackle excess moisture, but their use requires careful consideration.
Managing moisture levels in your home is crucial because too much or too little can create harmful conditions. On one end, high humidity can create an environment where many disease-causing organisms thrive, increasing the risk of infection.
Regarding the safety of leaving dehumidifiers on, the answer is both YES and NO. In this guide we will explore the reasons behind this and discuss how to use dehumidifiers safely and effectively.
High humidity is when the air in the atmosphere is saturated or holds a high amount of moisture, precisely above a relative humidity of 60%. This comes with ordinarily hot weather, sleeping problems, and calling forth of mold to join the home party.
A dehumidifier pulls out moisture from the air and condenses it in a storage tank or channeled outwards as water. Most of the time, dehumidifiers have to work for a prolonged period to affect the relative humidity of the atmosphere. Since they are electrically powered, it could become risky to leave in more ways than one. However, we can only outright say that by considering other factors.
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Are dehumidifiers a fire hazard?
Not all dehumidifiers use electricity, but most dehumidifiers are electrical devices that condense the air’s moisture through a compressor like fridges and washing machines. As a result, we can’t completely rule out the fact that it poses a fire risk like many other similar appliances. However, this risk is very minimal. If everything goes accordingly from the manufacturer’s end to proper use by the customer, it should never cause a fire.
Fire risks associated with a dehumidifier are primarily due to manufacturer design flaws or customer misuse. Fire from the manufacturers’ end is mainly due to design or coupling flaws like wiring and structural mishaps.
However, this category of issues is rare due to the numerous tests each unit goes through before passing as safe.
Fire could also occur when using a dehumidifier due to poor maintenance or improper use on the customer’s end. It includes placing the device to function in enclosed areas too small compared to the Dehumidifier’s size.
Enclosed spaces hamper the airflow required to keep the device from overheating; when otherwise is done, the effect is excessive heat, which could start a fire. Placing any form of the object, especially fabric materials, on the device while operating could also hinder proper airflow, resulting in overheating.
We recommend purchasing a dehumidifier with the most minor fire risk hazard precisely because it contains features such as auto defrost. This stops the Dehumidifier from operating when the temperature of the compressor gets too cold. If the unit keeps running with frozen coils, it won’t extract moisture while trying to overwork itself, leading to overheating.
Also Read: Best Dehumidifier for Mold Removal
Should a dehumidifier run constantly?
Are dehumidifiers safe to leave on? Running a dehumidifier constantly naturally comes with the risk of overheating, which could cause a fire. However, this likely happens when the device lacks an auto-defrost feature and runs under unhealthy maintenance conditions.
We recommend that a dehumidifier run proportionally to the high moisture level in the air. This means that the Dehumidifier should be used to reduce excess humidity and moist air, and when it drops to a safe level, turned off. This way, you never have your dehumidifier running when you don’t need it, which makes monitoring and maintenance less frequent and much more accessible.
Assuming you leave a dehumidifier on while on vacation – What to do?
Leaving a dehumidifier running while on vacation poses several risks, like water leakage and overheating, resulting in damage to the unit or, much worse, starting a fire. However, you might pull it off with a suitable device with the right features.
There have been many instances of people doing this, even running an AC all through their vacation in the home and coming back to meet the house with no damages incurred.
If a Dehumidifier is left running unintentionally, then you probably didn’t take the necessary precautions, and if you can return home, call in one of the neighbors to cut power, or simply shut it off on your behalf, do so.
When intentional, however, ensure the Dehumidifier uses a continuous drain so the tank never gets filled, causing it to shut off. Also, ensure proper air circulation in the location, and the device has a working auto defrost function to prevent overheating.
Dehumidifiers while sleeping- Are they safe?
Most dehumidifiers can handle overnight running with relative ease. As far as there is no error on your path (maintenance, air flow, no blockage, leakages), it is very safe to use overnight. We recommend that the device has the auto defrost feature; however, if it starts to overheat for any reason, it goes off.
Still on the question, are dehumidifiers safe to leave on? The other important feature to have is an auto-shutoff on tank overflow. With these two features having your back, the Dehumidifier can run without fearing a fire or overflowing all night.
However, remember that you would still have to battle the problem of noise emanating from its operation, especially the compressor, when taking in and exhausting air. Also, if your tank capacity is not very large and you don’t use a continuous drain system, then there is no point in leaving the device running all night in the first place.
Conclusion – Can you leave it unattended?
YES and NO. Dehumidifiers are man’s best bet when battling high moisture, and they could well be the thin line between staying healthy and falling sick.
For this reason, they are well deservedly critical, safe to use at home, and left unattended. We recommend that when you use the unit alone, it must possess the auto defrost and shutoff function.
These two features combine to ensure that the machine continues to work only in safe condition; the auto defrost is responsible for monitoring overheating, while auto shutoff is for keeping tabs on the condensed water level in the tank. Trust us, you wouldn’t want to leave a dehumidifier unattended without cover from these features, as the resulting damage could be catastrophic. You would surely cost quite a sum of money depending on the impact.