Portable Dehumidifiers Vs. Whole-House Solutions For York, PA HomesDehumidification is an essential part of your home comfort — and indoor air quality — in the summer. When you control the amount of moisture in the air, you feel cooler and breathe better. You’ll also help preserve wallpaper, wood furniture, and other items in your home.

But, sometimes even central air conditioning isn’t enough to do the job. Or, if you’re using window or portable ACs, you may need to treat other rooms just for humidity.

So, what’s the best way to do it? Pick up a portable dehumidifier online or at a big box store? Or, put the time and money into a permanently-installed system that treats your entire home?

In this article, we’ll weigh the pros and cons of portable dehumidifiers versus whole-home solutions for houses in York, PA, and across Central Pennsylvania. This way, you can consider your needs and budget to make the best decision for your family’s health and comfort.

We’re breaking things out by:

  • Cost
  • Customization
  • Performance
  • Maintenance

But first, we’ll talk about how a whole-home system works.

Meanwhile, if you have any questions about the air conditioning, humidity, or overall indoor air quality in your Central PA home, call or email us at Air Comfort Technologies. We’re here to help!

Why Is Indoor Air Quality Important?

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Whole-House Dehumidifier

A whole-house dehumidifier works the same way an off-the-shelf, plug-in-and-turn-in model works. They both draw in air, remove moisture from it, and re-circulate it. The big difference is a matter of scale. As the name implies, a whole-house dehumidifier handles your entire home rather than just one room.

When we install one of these, we attach it directly to your HVAC system. That way, it takes advantage of the system already drawing air from all over the house and re-circulating it. Now that we know how it works, let’s see if it’s worth it.

Whole-House Humidifier Pros And Cons For Dover, PA Homes
What Does A Dehumidifier Cost?Let’s start with the big question: What will all this cost me? Of course, a portable unit is much, much cheaper. And, as you may expect, it doesn’t work as well. But we’ll get to that later.

Here are the numbers: Portable dehumidifiers run as little as $15 for a mini unit up to $175 for a larger model. The big factor is how much space you’re treating: The bigger the room, the more powerful (and more expensive) model you’ll need.

By contrast, expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 to buy a whole-house dehumidifier and have a professional install it. And no, you shouldn’t try to do it yourself. You risk damaging your heating and cooling system or even hurting yourself. And, you’ll void any warranties on it.

The other component here is how much they cost to run. On the one hand, you’re taking some of the burden off your air conditioning. So, that can lower your electric bill a little — more so if you’re using less energy-efficient window or portable units.

All things equal, expect to pay around $15 more a month in electricity for a portable unit. And around $30 a month for a whole-home unit. But, remember: The whole-house dehumidifier covers more ground. If you use two portable ones for two rooms, you’re at the same price.

And, that’s assuming you run each for the same amount of time every day.

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When you’re talking overall comfort, a whole-house solution is the way to go. You’ll decrease the humidity and increase the indoor air quality in every room of your home. But, what if that’s not what you’re after? In some cases, you’re better off with just one less-expensive unit.

However, we’re really only talking about when there’s one room causing a problem. That’s usually the basement because water seeps in through the walls. And, if the cellar’s not air-conditioned, it’s affecting the rest of the house.

Even in many of these cases, you’re better off with a more comprehensive strategy.

How A Dehumidifier Improves Your Summer Indoor Air Quality

Performance And Installation

Adding A Whole-Home Dehumidifier Is EasyWe’ve touched on these aspects already, but let’s hash them out here: A portable dehumidifier is way easier to “install.” All you have to do is plug it in and place it in the middle of the room. And, for that one room, it’ll do the job.

For a whole-home model, you need a professional, as we mentioned. And, in most cases, you also need a forced-air system. That’s ductwork and vents for your heating and cooling. Otherwise, you don’t have a way for the system to reach every room.

There are some other models out there that work with air handlers and different setups. But, they can become complex and more costly. So, talk to a professional and see if it’s worth it in those cases. If you don’t have the right HVAC setup, you may want to just go with portable units and look into additional indoor air quality strategies.


Whole-house dehumidifiers need the same kind of upkeep as their off-the-shelf cousins: Make sure you drain the water out and keep it clean. But, those processes look very different between the two.

For the most part, you don’t need to empty one that treats your entire house. We install a drain line, so the water escapes on its own. By contrast, you’ll empty a portable one at least once a day. But that’s just a matter of pulling out the tray and pouring out the water.

Both also need regular cleaning. But, you need a professional to get inside a unit that’s hooked up to your HVAC system. Otherwise, you run the risk of mold and mildew taking hold. You can also schedule this maintenance with your annual heater or AC tune-up to get it all done at once.

Four Big Benefits Of AC Tune-Ups and Air Conditioner Maintenance

Indoor Air Quality In York, PA

Call Air Comfort Technologies today to learn more about how to improve the indoor air quality in your York, PA home — or anywhere in South Central PA! Whether it’s dehumidification in the summer, humidifiers in the winter, air purification, or maintaining your HVAC system, we have the knowledge, experience, and excellent reputation to keep your family safe and comfortable in every season.

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