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Can You Have A Whole-House Dehumidifier Without Ducts? A Simple Guide

Can You Have A Whole-House Dehumidifier Without Ducts? A Simple Guide

Are you considering purchasing a whole-house dehumidifier to combat excess humidity in your home but are reluctant to deal with the installation of large ducts? You might wonder if there’s an alternative method to effectively remove moisture from your indoor environment. In this article, we will explore the necessity of ducts when it comes to whole-house dehumidifiers and explain how these systems operate. Moreover, we will delve into the advantages of using a whole house dehumidifier, installation methods, costs, lifespan, and other types of dehumidifiers.

The Role Of Ducts In Whole House Dehumidifiers

Can You Have A Whole-House Dehumidifier Without Ducts? A Simple Guide

A whole-house dehumidifier cannot function without ducts. This is primarily because the dehumidifier needs to be integrated into your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system. The air that is drawn into the ducts passes through the dehumidifier before reaching the air conditioner and returning to your home. This process is essential for effective humidity control and air quality improvement.

Understanding How A Whole House Dehumidifier Works

A whole-house dehumidifier is typically installed along the return duct that leads into your indoor cooling system. When warm, humid air enters the HVAC system, it flows through the whole house dehumidifier. Inside the dehumidifier, the air encounters an evaporator coil, where it is dehumidified. The moisture in the air condenses and turns into liquid, reducing the humidity level.

The condensed water is collected in a reservoir and then emptied into a nearby drain. The dehumidified air subsequently passes through the air conditioner for further cooling before being released back into your home. This entire process relies on the presence of air ducts to facilitate the movement of air.

The Importance Of Whole House Dehumidifiers

Excess humidity in your home can lead to various problems, making whole house dehumidifiers a valuable investment. These systems offer simultaneous moisture removal from different areas of your house, including the basement, crawlspace, kitchen, and bathroom. Here are some of the detrimental effects of high humidity:

  1. Mold and Mildew: High humidity provides an ideal environment for mold and mildew growth, leading to damage to furnishings, books, carpets, and structural integrity.
  2. Scaly Paint and Wallpaper: Moisture can cause exterior surfaces of your home to absorb and release water, resulting in flaky paint and wallpaper.
  3. Wooden Furnishing and Flooring Deterioration: Elevated humidity levels can cause wooden furniture and flooring to rot and decay, potentially causing irreversible damage.
  4. Damaged Walls: High humidity can penetrate wall materials, potentially leading to structural defects.

Advantages Of Whole-House Dehumidifiers

Installing a whole-house dehumidifier offers several benefits, including:

  1. Maximized Cooling Efficiency: By cooling the air passing through, these systems reduce the workload on your air conditioner, resulting in lower energy consumption and reduced electricity bills.
  2. Improved Indoor Air Quality: Lower humidity levels lead to improved air quality, minimizing health risks associated with mold and mildew.
  3. Fewer Pests: Humidity levels below 50% deter insects and pests, reducing the need for pest control measures.

Installation Of A Whole-House Dehumidifier

The preferred method for installation involves adding a dedicated return supply duct. Here’s a brief overview of the installation process:

Can You Have A Whole-House Dehumidifier Without Ducts? A Simple Guide
  1. Attach a new return duct, preferably from the bottom for two-story homes, complete with its own grille, similar to your HVAC return.
  2. Direct the dry, dehumidified air into the supply plenum of your HVAC system to ensure it enters your home through the HVAC pathways.
  3. Make necessary adjustments based on static pressure. High static pressure may require running the dehumidifier independently if it becomes excessive.

If you are unsure about installation, it’s advisable to contact your HVAC company for professional assistance.

Cost And Lifespan Of Whole House Dehumidifiers

Whole-house dehumidifiers typically come in a price range of $1,000 to $3,000. While this may seem like a significant investment, these systems provide long-term comfort and energy savings over the years. With proper maintenance, a whole-house dehumidifier can last up to a decade. Some models even feature an auto-switch that turns off the unit when humidity levels are within the desired range.

Other Types Of Dehumidifiers

Apart from whole-house dehumidifiers, there are other dehumidifier types available:

  1. Desiccant Dehumidifiers: Originally developed for moisture control in water-damaged environments, these units use a hygroscopic substance to extract moisture from the air.
  2. Room dehumidifiers: These compressor-based units operate similarly to air conditioners, removing moisture from one room at a time. However, they require periodic emptying and do not have built-in filters.

The Timeframe For Whole-House Dehumidification

The duration required for a whole-house dehumidifier to remove moisture from your home depends on the initial humidity level. Typically, it can take 12 to 24 hours for the unit to effectively eliminate excess moisture. If the humidity level is around 50%, it may take as little as 6 hours to achieve the desired results, after which the unit automatically shuts off.

Common Sources Of Indoor Humidity

Understanding the sources of indoor humidity is essential for effective dehumidification. Common culprits include:

  1. Everyday Activities: Cooking, dishwashing, laundry, showers, and even human perspiration introduce moisture into your home, especially in larger households.
  2. Leaks: Roof leaks, damaged pipes, and faulty water heaters can contribute to indoor moisture levels.
  3. Rising Dampness: Moisture can rise from the ground through bricks and mortar, damaging interior walls.

The Role Of Dehumidifiers In Odor Removal

Dehumidifiers play a crucial role in eliminating musty odors by removing the moisture responsible for them. To add a pleasant fragrance to your home, you can also use a diffuser, which disperses essential oils into the air.

Dehumidifiers VS. air Purifiers

Can You Have A Whole-House Dehumidifier Without Ducts? A Simple Guide

While dehumidifiers and air purifiers may share some features, they serve distinct purposes. Air purifiers focus on removing particles like mold spores, smoke, and dust from the air, while dehumidifiers reduce humidity levels, effectively curbing the growth of pollutants and microbes in moist environments.

Additional Tips For Humidity Control

In addition to using a dehumidifier, here are some tips for controlling humidity indoors:

  1. Utilize Air Conditioning: Running your air conditioner can help maintain a comfortable humidity level. Ensure you replace the filter regularly to maintain efficient airflow.
  2. Ensure Proper Ventilation: When cooking or doing laundry, use exhaust fans or open windows to facilitate moisture removal.
  3. Opt for Colder Showers: Taking colder showers can reduce the humidity level, and using a low-flow showerhead conserves water.
  4. Remove Indoor Plants: Indoor plants can contribute to humidity as water evaporates from their soil. Remove them temporarily when watering until the soil dries out.
  5. Hang Clothes Outside: Instead of using a dryer, consider hanging clothes outside. If you must use a dryer, vent it outside to minimize indoor humidity.


In conclusion, whole house dehumidifiers are invaluable for maintaining a comfortable indoor humidity level and preventing issues

associated with excess moisture. However, they require the presence of air ducts to effectively remove water vapor from the air. The advantages of whole house dehumidifiers include improved cooling efficiency, enhanced indoor air quality, and reduced pest problems. If you decide to install one, consult with a professional HVAC company for the best results.

Can You Have A Whole-House Dehumidifier Without Ducts? A Simple Guide

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