How To Tell If Your Dehumidifier Is Working Properly

a dehumidifier on top of a rug

How can you tell that your dehumidifier is working properly? Find the answer to this question, and more useful information, here.

Dehumidifiers are a modern day marvel. They are beneficial to our health, easy to use, and great at removing excessive moisture from our homes. There’s not enough fingers in my hand to count how many times this appliance saved me from moldy walls.

It’s hard to believe that a machine, so relatively inexpensive, can save you thousands of dollars worth of repairs originating from moisture damage, and rot.

Now, before you close this page because you think I’m trying to sell you on a new model, wait. I promise that I’m not, I just want to help you.

If you’re reading this, you already own a dehumidifier, and you’re not sure whether it’s actually working as it’s supposed to.

Is there anyway you can tell? Of course!

There are several methods you can try to make sure that your appliance is working  normally. And the best part is that half of them require nothing more than your keen senses of smell, touch, and vision.

Sounds simple enough so far, no? That’s because it is.

Below, you will find a list with everything you can try in order to confirm that your unit is, in fact, removing moisture from your living spaces.

Are you ready? Let’s dig in!

Testing a Dehumidifier

Whether you’ve owned your appliance for a very long time or just purchased a brand-new model, there’s always a small learning curve when it comes to using it. This opens the door for an ocean of uncertainties around its proper functioning.

This is especially problematic when you’re someone like me, a guy who triple-checks that he closed the faucet after brushing his teeth.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make sure that your machine is operating as it should, but please, stay away from your internal components.

I know it can be tempting to try and look inside your dehumidifier for answers, but in this case, it will only be necessary as a last resort.

Without further ado, here are some things you can do to see if your humidifier is working:

  • Check your water levels
  • Feel for air flow
  • Look at the lights
  • Listen carefully
  • Place a humidity gauge in the room

#1 Check Your Water Levels

woman placing empty water container in air dehumidifier
The water level depends on the weather condition in your home

This is one of the clearest indicators that your dehumidifier is working as it should.

Depending on the weather conditions where you live, the water levels might increase faster or slower, but they should definitely be on the rise.

However, unless you have a wonderful memory or very sharp eyes, it can be difficult to notice a level increase by just looking at the appliance. Here are a couple of things you can try.

If you have a washable marker, you can draw a line on the current water level and then return a couple of hours later to see if it has risen above it.

Provided that you don’t feel comfortable going full on Picasso on your machine, you can also use duct tape, or masking tape.

#2 Feel for Air Flow

You might think this is obvious and something that would never happen to you. And while I’d normally agree with you, remember that it’s the most unimportant factors, that we tend to overlook more often.

If you’re not sure whether your dehumidifier is working, you can always approach it, place your hand above it, and feel for airflow.

Some models have different settings, so there’s a chance that you’ve set yours at low operating speeds, making it hard to see if it’s doing its job. Assuming that you need an immediate answer and don’t have time to mark the water levels, this is the next best thing to try.

#3 Look at the Lights

working dehumidifier LED indicator
Pay attention to the LED indicators

Daylight can sometimes make it difficult to see if the lights in your dehumidifier are on.

These little LED indicators are one of the best ways to tell whether your machine is operating adequately. Depending on the model you own, your machine might have a wide range of indicators, or just the “On/Off” light.

Whatever the case may be, looking out for these should give you a straight answer, but you should not rely solely on them. Your dehumidifier could be working even if these lights are malfunctioning.

These indicators are built to last, but they’re not indestructible or fail proof, so it’s always a good idea to combine this test with the other two above for the maximum levels of certainty.

#4 Listen Carefully

Everyday responsibilities can take up most of our free time, and attention. Sometimes, even if you own a noisy dehumidifier, you could miss the sounds it makes while operating.

Especially if you set it to the lowest settings.

If you’re not sure whether your dehumidifier is working, you can always approach the unit and listen to it carefully. Make sure that your TV and any other unrelated noise sources are off.

Dehumidifiers are designed to solve our problems, and make our lives easier, so failing to pay attention to them is very easy. The next time you have doubts about your unit’s functionality, take a 5-minute break, and observe it diligently.

#5 Use a Humidity Gauge

a digital temperature and humidity gauge
Use a humidity gauge to get the exact humidity percentage in the room

Lastly, you could use a humidity gauge.

As their name suggests, these meters are used to measure the levels of humidity in a determined environment.

They can come in especially handy when you’re having this problem, as they will not only provide you with an immediate answer, but also let you know the exact humidity percentage in the room, which is very useful to determine the right settings for your unit.

That being said, getting one of these meters is not necessary to determine whether your dehumidifier is working properly, so you’re not obligated to get one.

However, if you’re curious about your humidity levels, and can afford one of these, by all means go ahead, and buy one. You should be able to find a good model at any online marketplace.

What Are the Benefits of Owning a Dehumidifier?

I’m going to give it to you straight, even if you’ve heard wonderful things about dehumidifiers, there’s a chance that they might not be what you need. After all, what works for some people, might not be as useful to you.

Before you make up your mind about returning your recently purchased unit, I want to tell you a little about the benefits it offers, so that you can make an informed decision down the line.

Here are 3 great things it can do for you.

Number one, these units are great at controlling mold formation, both in your walls, and in your furniture. If you live in a very humid place, a dehumidifier could save you thousands of dollars in repairs, and upholstery replacements.

Number two, by removing the excessive moisture in your home, your dehumidifier is eliminating any chances of unpleasant humidity smells from appearing in your living spaces.

If you’ve ever had excessive moisture in your home, you know off-putting the smell can be.

Lastly, if you own an air conditioning unit, your dehumidifier could help reduce its power consumption as well.

As you probably know, air conditioners remove excessive moisture from the warm air they suck in before releasing the cooler currents you’ve come to love. When there is excessive moisture present in your home, this unit has to work extra hard to dry the air, thus consuming more power.

I hope this information proves useful to you, and helps you determine whether you still want to keep your appliance. As I said before, dehumidifiers are wonderful, but that does not mean that you have to own one if you feel like it does not meet your needs.


Dehumidifiers are truly wonderful appliances; however, there is always a learning curve to them, which means that, if you’re the proud owner of a new model, there’s a very good chance that you’re doubtful about its correct operation.

In theory, any household appliance should be ready to go right out of the box, but this is not always the case.

Fortunately, as I hope you’ve learned in this piece, there are several tests you can perform in order to confirm that your unit is working normally, and removing the excessive moisture from your home.

More often than not, all you need to test your machine are your senses, and a little patience.

Thank you for sticking with me all the way to the end. If you found this article helpful, why not become an expert in the subject through our other incredible resources below?

Enjoy mold-free life!

I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more