When to Use Humidifier vs Dehumidifier

Do you know when to use humidifier and dehumidifier?

If you have one of these units at home you may find this question a bit awkward. However, to a beginner, they ask: Which is better dehumidifier or humidifier?

What you would need to use at home depends on your needs. For instance, if you have too much humidity at home, you will need to lower it. That is why you need a dehumidifier for such.

As you can tell, the humidifier increases humidity in your indoor air. On the other hand, the dehumidifier reduces humidity in your indoor air.

To better explain when should you use a dehumidifier or humidifier, you ought to see a few frequently asked questions regarding these two items.

Keep reading to see the questions and their answers.

Humidifier vs dehumidifier: Frequently Asked Questions

humidifier and dehumidifier

The difference between dehumidifier vs humidifier is like the difference between day and night. However, it is not so obvious to everyone.

Therefore, we decided to cover every question possible for dehumidifier and humidifier.

Do I need a humidifier or dehumidifier?

This depends on many things but chief among them is the season and the status of your indoor air. For example, if the humidity in your home runs lower than 30 percent, you definitely need a humidifier. This can be a warm mist or cool mist humidifier to increase humidity to 40 to 50%.

If your indoor humidity level is more than 60%, you need a dehumidifier to suck the moisture out of the air. Therefore, you can see that if you live in a place that experiences extreme summers and winters, you will need to buy both the humidifier and dehumidifier.

In winter, when you switch on the heating system, the heat dries the air too much. Therefore, you need to increase the humidity.

In summer, the air can be hit and humid. Therefore, you need to lower the humidity with a dehumidifier.

If there has been a leak or flooding in any part of your home, you need a big dehumidifier for mold.

Can a dehumidifier be used as a humidifier?

This is not possible at all. The reason for this is that a dehumidifier lowers humidity while a humidifier increases it.

Therefore, the humidifier or dehumidifier debate is similar to a debate about the north pole vs south pole. Therefore, you can never use one in place of the other.

Should you use a humidifier or dehumidifier in winter?

Well, in winter, a few things are bound to happen. For instance, the air outside will be quite cold and damp. This air will try to creep into your home.

However, when you crank the heating and if your house is well insulated, the cold air stays outside. On the other hand, the warm air stays inside.

However, when you turn on the HVAC system for heat, it removes all the dampness from the air. Therefore, you will start experiencing the symptoms of dry air.

Therefore, in winter, you mostly need a humidifier. You will need to increase moisture in your indoor air.

However, if you live in a place that experiences mild winters and is near the coastline, you may actually need a dehumidifier.

In winter, some places such as Jacksonville in Florida and New Orleans in Louisiana experience high humidity throughout the year. Therefore, you might need a dehumidifier in your home in winter if you live there.

So what is the best humidity level in winter? This should be between 30 and 45%.

Do I need a humidifier or dehumidifier in basement?

Well, because of its hidden nature, you will most likely need a dehumidifier in your basement rather than a humidifier.

Image of Which is better dehumidifier or humidifier

The basement hardly sees any natural light or heat. Therefore, if the humidity is even just slightly more than it should be, you might experience the festering of mold and other indoor allergens.

If you have a finished basement fitted with everything including heating, well, you might not really need a dehumidifier alone.

In some cases, you might need a humidifier especially if the water table in your area is far and if your basement is well insulated.

How do you know if you need a humidifier?

You may not feel the dry air using your nostrils or lungs. However, there are many tell tale signs. For example, if you experience static when wearing clothes, it is an indication of dry air.

You can also look out for static in your hair. In addition, unhealthy indoor plants may be an indication of low humidity. Therefore, you might have to buy a humidifier for plants.

If you work from home or from office and your lips feel too dry, you need to buy a humidifier. At the same time, if your skin feels really dry, if your sinuses are dry, you need to add some moisture into the air.

Another thing that you can look for is extra oily skin. To compensate for the low humidity, the skin overproduces oil to keep itself protected.

These are just a few of the most outstanding signs of dry air in your space.

Do you need a humidifier in the summer?

Yes you do!

I know, it sounds like a paradox because in summer, we mostly turn on the dehumidifier.

However, apart from humidifying the air, there is another good reason for this. For instance, there is a lot of pollen floating around in the spring and summer. It will definitely find its way into your indoor space.

However, a humidifier is going to make the pollen heavy and then they will drop to the ground. Therefore, using a humidifier in your space and keeping indoor is going to prevent allergy flare-ups among your family members.

Do I need a humidifier or dehumidifier in winter?

Definitely, you do need a humidifier in winter more than you need it in summer. However, this depends on the type of winters that you experience. If it is extreme, well, you will need to run the heating and it will dry out the air.

Even if you live in a place that experiences mild winters, well, just buy one. That way, if the need for it ever arises, you can use it.

Does a humidifier help with headaches?

As a matter of fact, it does. You see, there are many causes of headaches and migraines. For instance, there are sinus headaches, which can occur because of inhaling air that is too dry.

When the air is too dry, it can cause dehydration. Dehydration is a cause for headaches and migraines.

Does humidifier affect air purifier?

Not really, it does not. The two appliances serve different functions. For instance, the air purifier is going to remove pollutants, bacteria, fungi and viruses from your indoor air. However, the humidifier is going to increase the humidity level. Therefore, one should not affect the other at all.

Is air purifier better than humidifier?

Not really because it cannot do what the humidifier can do. For example, the work of the humidifier is to increase humidity level.

However, the work of the air purifier is to remove germs, viruses, dust mites, smoke and other pollutants from the air.

Therefore, it is perfectly possible to have very clean, but dry air. In that case, you will not become sick from airborne bacteria, but you could suffer from the negative effects of low humidity.

For the best experience, it is best to use the two appliances together.


Knowing when to use humidifier and dehumidifier can save you from a lot of trouble. However, look out for humidifier issues such as white dust on your things.

On the other hand, a dehumidifier can heat up a room and make the air too dry. Therefore, know when to turn it on and off.

Do you have any other question regarding humidifier vs dehumidifier that you would like us to answer? Ask away!