Spend here, save there: How installing dehumidifier helped my clothes dryer. Sometimes spending on one thing saves you money on something else.
Several years ago I realized that the basement of my house was too humid and I definitely needed a dehumidifier. The basement doesn’t have water seeping in through the walls, and it’s actually pretty dry during winter. During summer, however, the seasonal humidity combined with the cooler temperatures of the basement created a rather unpleasant and unhealthy environment. It was never moldy, but it didn’t seem to be too far from being so.
Clearly, I needed a dehumidifier. Luckily there was one at the local Goodwill that seemed to be in good condition. I bought it and installed it. I knew it wouldn’t do much good if I just put it on the floor and plugged it in. A dehumidifier has a bucket that needs to be removed and emptied when it gets full. When a dehumidifier’s collection bucket is filled with water — taken right out of the air, like magic — it automatically shuts itself off and waits for its human master to empty the bucket. I was afraid that emptying the dehumidifier bucket was a task that wouldn’t be done as often as it should. I wanted my dehumidifier to work whenever needed, bucket be damned. So I suspended it on cables attached to the overhead floor joists directly above my basement sink and connected the discharge pipe to a garden hose leading to the drain. The discharged water goes right down the drain, completely bypassing the bucket. Thus, no need to ever empty the dehumidifier bucket … one less thing! Also, it’s nice to have it out of the way and not taking up floor space.
Just a day after I turned on the dehumidifier, the air in the basement was noticeably dryer and more pleasant. I saw that the basement sink dried more quickly after doing a load of laundry. I was also glad to know that the basement was much less hospitable to vermin, like cockroaches. But, I worried: how much electricity is this thing going to use, i.e., how much is it going to cost?
As it turned out, I didn’t notice any change in my electric bill. Maybe part of the reason is the dehumidifier doesn’t use as much electricity as I feared it might. But I noticed something else: the clothes dryer (which is also in the basement) was drying clothes more quickly than it had before I installed the dehumidifier. I don’t know exactly how much more quickly, but I do know that I never had re-start the dryer because the clothes were still a bit damp after the dryer stopped (which happened sometimes before the dehumidifier).
It makes perfect sense. To dry clothes, the dryer uses a lot of air pulled from the area around it. Before I had the dehumidifier, the air in the basement was full of water. Once the dehumidifier was doing its thing, the dryer has nice dry air to work with. To some degree, the electricity used by the dehumidifier is offset by reduced electricity usage by the dryer. Spend a little here, but save a little there.