How Long Should I Run A Dehumidifier After A Water Leak?

You’re dealing with a water leak in your home.

This unfortunately means that you’ve got days, if not weeks of work ahead of you.

You’ll need to mop and dry up, or worse, pump the water out your home. And once that’s done, you’ll still need to thoroughly dry out the flooded carpet, baseboards, walls, and furniture thoroughly, or you’ll be dealing with some serious water damage and mold growth.

Renting a commercial dehumidifier (or hiring a water damage specialist) is your next step. Dehumidifiers are machines that work by removing moisture from the air in the room that it’s placed in. The dehumidifier intakes air from the room, collecting the moisture and spewing clean, dry air back into the room. This helps to draw out and evaporate the remaining water from your carpets, walls, and furniture, and speed up the drying process.

There is no ultimate tell-all for how long you should run a dehumidifier after a water leak, as each case is individual and depends on several key factors. The recommended usage is 24-48 hours, but each case is relative.

Think of it in these terms: if the affected area from the leak is small, you won’t need to run a humidifier for as long as if, say, your entire home was flooded.

Factors to Consider

Some things to consider when determining how long to run a dehumidifier include:

  • Affected Area Size

If the leak only affected a small corner of your carpet and walls, the dehumidifier should only be necessary for about a day. A larger leak or straight up flood can take up to two days to handle properly. Each dehumidifier can handle a room on its own, so if the leak affects multiple rooms, you may want to get yourself a humidifier per room.

  • What was damaged?

If the leak happened in a room where the wall or floor is concrete, linoleum, or material that is less absorbent, then the dehumidifier won’t need to be on for a very long time. If the damage is done to drywall, carpeting, Pergo or wood furniture, flooring, and baseboards, then you’ll need the dehumidifier for a day or two.

  • Humidity

How humid your local climate is can greatly determine the amount of time you’ll need to use the dehumidifier. Higher humidity locations can put strain on the machine and affect your usage time.

  • Closed system

Using the dehumidifier in a room with open windows and doors can make the machine run inefficiently, as it will be removing moisture from all available air intakes. Closing all doors and windows to the affected room while you use the dehumidifier is the best option for optimal usage.

What Not To Do

  • Regular household dehumidifiers

While cheaper than commercial options, these dehumidifiers aren’t built for the large scale job that you’ll be facing with water damaged property. Always go with a commercial dehumidifier when you’ve had a leak.

  • Leave windows & doors open

Adopt a closed system in the affected room when using a dehumidifier. Otherwise you’ll literally be paying for the extra amount of time you need to keep the dehumidifier. Keeping doors and windows closed creates a closed system for the machine to do its job properly.

Dealing with increased humidity after a water leak is surprisingly complex, which is why it’s always best to hire a specialist. If you live anywhere in the San Diego area, we’re here to help.