Does a dehumidifier make a room cooler? Experts explain how yours could help beat the heat

Beating the heat by tackling humidity is a great approach to keep cool in summer – here is how a dehumidifier could help

A lady tuning on a dehumidifier
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Even if you have an AC or a fan, the oppressive humidity of summer continues to trouble us at home. But could a dehumidifier help make a room cooler? 

Although dehumidifiers are not known for blowing cold air, these handy appliances could be the very thing you need to lower stifling humidity in your home and take the edge off the heat. They may not be enough to cool the space down on their own, though.

Here, experts explain how a dehumidifier could help to make a room feel cooler.

Does a dehumidifier make a room cooler?  

There's no straightforward answer to this. John Carey, appliance expert and vice-president at Designer Appliances, explains that a dehumidifier does not actually cool down a room like an air conditioning unit does. Instead, it takes in excess moisture to lower humidity and make the space more comfortable. This ‘certainly makes it feel cooler,’ he says, 'but it doesn't actually do anything to lower the temperature.'

The reason a dehumidifier can feel like a great way to cool down a room, is because it helps create an environment where our sweat evaporates more quickly, relieving our skin of the ‘clammy’ sensation we often associate with summer and making us feel cool, continues Tony Abate, certified indoor environmentalist, and chief technology officer at Atmos Air Solutions. 

Because of this, a dehumidifier is a great companion to use alongside cooling a room with fans or air conditioning, and keeping external doors and windows closed for the best results. A combination of both will lead to a much more comfortable summer. 

Anthony Abate
Anthony Abate

Tony has served as Chief Technology Officer of Clean Air Group since 2004. He has significant HVAC, air quality testing, and environmental analysis experience, developed over years in the field. He is a Certified Mold Inspector and trained IAQ professional, and is a regular member of ASHRAE.

A dehumidifier in a living room

(Image credit: Alamy)

There are two types of dehumidifiers to choose from, and while neither one ‘cools’ a room any better than the other, one does not produce any heat while running. This makes it slightly more efficient when trying to cool a room in a heatwave, adds Trey Lewis, appliance expert at HVAC Training Shop

‘There is a type of dehumidifier called a desiccant dehumidifier that does not produce any heat,’ he says. ‘Desiccant dehumidifiers are capable of dehumidifying to a much greater extent than a standard refrigerant dehumidifier, however, they don’t actually cool a room, except for the "cooling" effect.’ 


Can you dehumidify a room too much?

It is possible to dehumidify too much and dry the air in your home out to an uncomfortable degree. This can, in turn, dry out your airways, causing respiratory discomfort, or dry and cracked skin. Use the automatic shut-off setting on your dehumidifier to control how long the machine runs, either leaving it on for a set amount of time or programming an ideal humidity and having the machine shut off once that has been achieved.  

Is opening a window better than a dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier will always be better for reducing humidity and making a room more comfortable in the heat than opening a window. An open window is more likely to reintroduce humid air into the room, making you feel hotter and stickier, while a dehumidifier will reduce this, making the space more comfortable even if it does not actually cool the space.  

So long as you avoid some common dehumidifier mistakes such as placing it too close to a wall, or putting it in a less-than-efficient location to cool down a room or collection of spaces, then it can be a great addition to your summer survival kit. What’s more, this device has some handy uses in winter too, helping to combat mold before it develops, adding to the list of reasons to have a dehumidifier – we certainly wouldn’t want to be without one. 

Chiana Dickson

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.