Bathroom Dehumidifier Vs Exhaust Fans – Which Should You Use

If you’re having trouble with moisture in your bathroom, you may be wondering which is the best to use; a bathroom dehumidifier or an exhaust fan?

Both devices are designed to remove excess moisture from the air, but they work in different ways. In this article, we’ll compare and contrast these two appliances, so you can decide which is the best option for your needs.

Bathroom exhaust fan or dehumidifier

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How do bathroom dehumidifiers work?

Bathroom dehumidifiers work by drawing in moist air and then passing it over several coils. The coils are cooled by a fan, which causes the water to condense out of the air and into a reservoir. 

How do exhaust fans work?

Exhaust fans work by venting humid air outside of your home. This can be accomplished by ducting the fan directly to the exterior or installing it in a window.

Exhaust fans are less expensive than dehumidifiers, but they’re not as effective at removing moisture from the air.

What are the pros of bathroom dehumidifiers?

Bathroom dehumidifiers provide powerful humidity reduction: In enclosed spaces, bathroom dehumidifiers can help prevent mould growth by reducing the amount of moisture in the air and also help to reduce musty smells caused by excess moisture.

Bathroom dehumidifiers are inexpensive and easy to set up: Most models can be placed on the floor or mounted to a wall. Bathroom dehumidifiers are available in various sizes to suit the specific needs of any space – from small, portable units that can be placed on a windowsill to larger, industrial-sized dehumidifiers that can cover several hundred square feet.

Our favorite compact dehumidifier, perfect for a bathroom

What are the cons of bathroom dehumidifiers?

A dehumidifier will take up valuable bathroom space: Dew points below freezing can cause water lines to freeze, so a dehumidifier should not be used in an unheated space. 

Bathroom dehumidifiers can be expensive: While many smaller models cost less than $100, you can spend as much as $300 on a larger unit but if it is for a bathroom, a smaller unit will be more than capable.

What are the Pros of bathroom exhaust fans?

A bathroom exhaust fan gets the job done quickly: Installing a bathroom exhaust fan is relatively easy. An operation that most do-it-yourselfers can complete in the afternoon. 

Window exhaust fans are inexpensive: Bathroom exhaust fans are less expensive than dehumidifiers. The average cost of a good quality bathroom exhaust fan is between $30 and $100. 

Our favorite bathroom exhaust fan:

What are the cons of bathroom exhaust fans?

Exhaust fans bring in unconditioned outside air into your home: This can cause negative pressure in your home, leading to back drafting of combustion appliances and infiltration of pollutants from the outdoors. 

You will need to open a window when using an exhaust fan. This negates the energy efficiency of using an exhaust fan in the first place and can make your bathroom chilly in the winter.

Ceiling exhaust fan installation is complicated and expensive: If you don’t feel comfortable installing a ceiling exhaust fan yourself, you’ll need to hire a professional, which can be expensive. 

What is the best option for removing moisture from your bathroom? 

The answer depends on your specific needs. If you have a serious problem with moisture in your bathroom, a dehumidifier is better. However, if you’re looking for a way to keep the air in your bathroom from feeling clammy, an exhaust fan will suffice.

No matter which option you choose, both devices will help remove stagnant, moist air from your restroom, helping prevent mould, grime, and water damage. 

FAQs

Q. Should you run a dehumidifier in the bathroom?
A. Yes, you can run a dehumidifier in the bathroom if you wish. Doing so will help remove moisture from the air, preventing mould and mildew growth. Whether you should or not is dependant on how much moisture there is and what you wish to achieve.

Q. Can I use an exhaust fan instead of a dehumidifier?
A. You can use an exhaust fan instead of a dehumidifier, but it will not be as effective at removing moisture from the air. 

Q. What is the best way to prevent mould growth in my bathroom? 
A. The best way to prevent mould growth in your bathroom is to keep the space well-ventilated and free of excess moisture. You can do this by using a dehumidifier.

Q. Is an exhaust fan the same as a dehumidifier?
A. No, an exhaust fan is not the same as a dehumidifier. An exhaust fan will help remove moisture from the air, but it will not be as effective as a dehumidifier at reducing humidity levels. Also read our article on using a ceiling fan to help with humidity.

Q. Do I need to open a window when using an exhaust fan? 
A. Yes, you should open a window when using an exhaust fan to prevent negative pressure from building up in your home. 

Q. Can I install a bathroom exhaust fan myself? 
A. Most people can install a bathroom exhaust fan themselves, but if you’re not able to do it, you can hire a professional to do it for you. 

Q: What are some of the benefits of using a dehumidifier in the bathroom? 
A: They can also help to reduce humidity levels, making your bathroom feel more comfortable and also help prevent mold growing.

Q: How often should I empty the water tank of my dehumidifier? 
A: You should empty your dehumidifier’s water tank when it is full. Depending on the size of your unit and the humidity level in your bathroom, this could be once a day or once a week. 

Q: Can I use both a dehumidifier and an exhaust fan in my bathroom? 
A: Yes, you can use both a dehumidifier and an exhaust fan in your bathroom. Doing so will provide the most effective way to remove moisture from the air and prevent mould and mildew growth. 

Q. Should a dehumidifier run all the time?
A: No, a dehumidifier does not need to run all the time. It would help if you only used it when necessary, such as when the humidity level in your bathroom is high. 

Q: What is the best way to prevent mould and mildew growth in my bathroom? 
A: The best way to prevent mould and mildew growth in your bathroom is to keep the space well-ventilated and free of excess moisture. You can do this by running a dehumidifier or using an exhaust fan. 

Q. Should I use a belt driven or direct drive exhaust fan?
A. Belt driven exhaust fans are mainly for industrial use. All bathroom exhaust fans are direct drive. Find our more in our article comparing direct drive to belt driven exhaust fans.