How often to change a dehumidifier filter, and signs it needs replacing now

'A clogged or dirty filter can hinder performance, cause the device to work harder, and use more energy.'

Dehumidifier
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Dehumidifiers are becoming ever-present in modern households, and to keep yours working optimally, its filter needs to be changed regularly to keep it clean. By monitoring when your dehumidifier filter needs replacing, you can avoid dehumidifier mistakes. You'll also prevent it from using excess energy which should be avoided as an inefficient machine means higher costs of running your dehumidifier.  

'Dehumidifiers play an important role in maintaining optimal humidity levels in homes, especially in areas prone to excessive moisture. A crucial part of ensuring they run effectively is regular maintenance, which includes changing or cleaning the filter,' explains Josh Mitchell, HVAC technician and the owner of AirConditionerLab. Clean filters can also reduce allergic reactions and respiratory issues. 

Our experts outline the different factors that impact how often you should replace your dehumidifier filter to keep it running smoothly.

Josh Mitchell
Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell is, an HVAC technician and the owner of airconditionerlab.com.

How often to change dehumidifier filter

'It depends on the type of filter, the manufacturer's recommendations, and the specific conditions in your home,' says Dave Roebel, HVAC Specialist and owner of Northeast Mechanical Services. 'However, a general guideline is to check and potentially replace the filter every 3 to 6 months.'

1. Based on manufacturer's recommendations

Dehumidifier

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In general, the best way to determine how often your dehumidifier filter should be changed depends on the manufacturer's guidelines.

'The manufacturer of your dehumidifier typically provides guidelines on when to replace the filter in the user manual or product documentation,' says Dave Roebel. 'It's a good idea to follow their recommendations for the specific model you have.'

Some dehumidifiers also have lights that indicate when the filter needs to be cleaned or replaced. If your dehumidifier has this feature, pay attention to this indicator.

If your dehumidifier needs to be replaced altogether, you can check out our guide for the best dehumidifiers

2. Based on indoor air quality

If your indoor air contains a lot of dust, pet dander, or other particulates, your dehumidifier's filter may clog faster, requiring more frequent replacement or cleaning.

'For households using dehumidifiers in average conditions (not excessively dusty or polluted), it's advisable to check the filter every 30 days,' recommends Josh Mitchell. 'If the filter looks fairly clean, a simple dust-off might suffice. However, for optimal performance and air quality, I recommend replacing or thoroughly cleaning the filter every 60 to 90 days.

'If the dehumidifier operates in an area with a lot of dust, pet dander, or other airborne particles, it's best to inspect and potentially clean the filter every two weeks. In such environments, consider replacing the filter every 30 to 60 days.'

3. Based on humidity levels

A dehumidifier in a living room

(Image credit: Alamy)

If you live in an area with consistently high humidity, your dehumidifier will likely run more often and work harder, requiring more frequent filter changes.

The season you are in can therefore dictate how often you should change your filter: 'During the warmer months when humidity levels tend to be higher, your dehumidifier will work harder,' explains Josh Mitchell. 

'Consider checking the filter more frequently during this time, and be prepared for more frequent replacements if necessary.'

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4. Based on usage

The more frequently you use your dehumidifier, the more often you'll need to change the filter. 

If you run your dehumidifier continuously or for extended periods, you might need to change the filter every few weeks or months. 

If, however, you use the dehumidifier seasonally or only during particular months, it's a good practice to clean the filter at the start and end of the season, replacing the filter at least once a year.

5. Based on filter type

There are various different types of dehumidifier filters depending on the model you have, including reusable, washable filters, built-in filters, and disposable ones.

'Some dehumidifiers use specialized filters, like HEPA or activated charcoal. These might have distinct maintenance needs and lifespans, so be sure to be aware of your filter type,' warns Josh Mitchell.

With disposable filters, they should usually be changed every one to three months, but this can vary based on the factors mentioned above. 

For washable filters, regular cleaning is necessary, and the filter may last longer on account of this regular maintenance.

Paul Walker, founder of Air Caring says, 'It is generally recommended to change the dehumidifier filter every 2-3 weeks, but if your dehumidifier has a built-in filter, we recommends replacing it every 12 months.'

6. Based on signs of reduced efficiency

Dehumidifier

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Perhaps the clearest indicator that you should replace your dehumidifier's filter is when it exhibits signs of decreased efficiency. 

'You can visually inspect the filter to determine if it needs replacement,' explains Dave Roebel. 'If the filter appears clogged with dust, dirt, or debris, it's time to change it. 

'Reduced airflow or decreased dehumidification performance can also indicate a need for a new filter.' 

Regularly inspect the filter, and if you notice decreased efficiency or it's clogged, discolored, or damaged, you'll know it's time for a replacement. 

FAQs

How can you tell if your dehumidifier filter needs changing?

One way you'll know your dehumidifier's filter needs changing is if you've noticed a decrease in indoor air quality, or if household members with allergies or respiratory issues experience these worsening because of the decreased efficiency of the filter.

You can also check the manufacturers instructions or look for signs of clogs in the dehumidifier's filter.


'Regular filter maintenance not only ensures the efficiency of the dehumidifier but also maintains good air quality, which is vital for health and well-being,' concludes Josh Mitchell. 'A clogged or dirty filter can hinder performance, cause the device to work harder, and use more energy.'

Remember to always unplug the dehumidifier before checking or changing the filter and ensure the new filter fits properly.

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.