Stay comfortable in summer

A dehumidifier can keep your basement comfortable during sticky summer months.  Get the most out of your dehumidifier with friendly advice from our Energy Expert (and a little help from Isabella).

Congrats to Jennifer M., who won a smart plug for her great comment on this story!


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  1. Sue Stark said:

    Great video!!! Pleasant, informative and so well done!! More of these please! I learned several things that I was not aware of before watching the video!

    at 2:07 pm on July 6, 2017
  2. Vicky Heinz said:

    Having an older home with a crawl space for a basement, a good dehumidifier is critical. Thanks for the education about how to monitor the levels – I learned something new!

    at 2:07 pm on July 6, 2017
  3. Suzette Topper said:

    Helps a lot on these humid days!

    at 2:07 pm on July 6, 2017
  4. Carol said:

    Good info on dehumidifiers!

    at 2:08 pm on July 6, 2017
  5. Tim said:

    Thanks for the easy info!

    at 2:09 pm on July 6, 2017
  6. Megan said:

    Interesting tip about using a smart plug to check on the energy use of the dehumidifier. I suspect that our dehumidifier costs quite a bit more than 30 dollars a month to run, and we’re only bringing down the humidity to around 60-65%. It’s tricky to balance out humidity versus cost.

    at 2:11 pm on July 6, 2017
  7. Nola Risse-Connolly said:

    I’ve always wondered if I’m using ours too much or too little….now I know how to find out. Thanks.

    at 2:12 pm on July 6, 2017
  8. Ann said:

    How timely! We just bought a dehumidifier this last weekend because of the basement “stink”.

    at 2:14 pm on July 6, 2017
  9. Julie Fitzpatrick said:

    Thanks for reminding me it’s time to do something about our dehumidifier which isn’t performing well.

    at 2:19 pm on July 6, 2017
  10. Bob said:

    I agree with Megan. Despite following the recommended usage guidelines here, I feel that the dehumidifier is really an energy hog. Even if it’s running just a few hours a day, our energy bills go up in the Summer (as compared with early Spring or late fall and this is with little to no use of AC.

    Nice to know there’s a way to monitor usage though.

    at 2:27 pm on July 6, 2017
  11. Richard Baker said:

    I lived in Arizona for a couple of years and would try my best to avoid the humidity cliches, but it’s so true. One of the things I’ve noticed in moving to a townhouse is the extreme differences in temperature and comfort depending on the level. I’m wondering if adding a dehumidifier to the mix might help. Any suggestions from others would be appreciated.

    at 2:28 pm on July 6, 2017
  12. danny andersen said:

    Good video. We have an energy star device, but have had it set at 60%, so I will adjust to 50%. I also have the option to use a 3 hour cycle, a 6 hour cycle, or neither (ie, it runs as necessary). What do you suggest is best?

    at 2:35 pm on July 6, 2017
  13. danny andersen said:

    Another question. Our energy star device is more than 10 years old. Are newer versions better? Is there a particular brand that is best?

    at 2:36 pm on July 6, 2017
  14. Chris M said:

    Dehumidifying the basement makes sense to me, but my last landlord disagreed 🙁

    at 2:37 pm on July 6, 2017
  15. mike harris said:

    well presented piece

    at 2:39 pm on July 6, 2017
  16. Laura H. said:

    Our dehumidifier is such a lifesaver. Now I know to keep it at 50%. Thanks!

    at 2:41 pm on July 6, 2017
  17. Tiffanie said:

    Thanks for the tips! I’m going to set mine to 50%.

    at 2:41 pm on July 6, 2017
  18. Joyce said:

    Very informative – especially for those of us who do not have central air. The fact about the setting of 50% was especially helpful. I did not know what the correct setting should be.

    at 2:42 pm on July 6, 2017
  19. Cathleen S. said:

    I liked learning about the Smart Plug. Thanks for the reminder about getting a dehumidifier.

    at 2:43 pm on July 6, 2017
  20. Helena Tsotsis said:

    I did not realize that the humidity percentage should be at 50%. Thanks for the info! Nice video.

    at 2:44 pm on July 6, 2017
  21. Val S said:

    What is the energy difference between an older model and a new energy star dehumidifier. I know it was huge when I replace a refrigerator freezer.
    Same thing here?

    at 3:05 pm on July 6, 2017
  22. Stuart Utley said:

    Not familiar with the smart plug. Is it like a watt meter that can also power the device plugged into it on & off? If so, can it do so at preset times and/or based on energy usage etc.?

    at 3:20 pm on July 6, 2017
  23. Jane Greischar said:

    I always wondered what setting to use on a dehumidifier and I learned about the plug that records wnergy use. It’s another HIT video.

    at 3:49 pm on July 6, 2017
  24. Leonard everett said:

    I need to go to the libr.

    at 3:52 pm on July 6, 2017
  25. Leah F said:

    Great reminder on a humid day like today.

    at 3:53 pm on July 6, 2017
  26. Ashley Kerst said:

    Your green videos are always well done and informative. I can usually pick up a couple useful hints from each one.

    at 4:25 pm on July 6, 2017
  27. Rena Crispin said:

    I am so glad I listened to this! I’ve been keeping mine at 30% because I had no idea where to set it. Now I know that 50% humidity is good and that anything less than 50% is a waste of money. Wow, I’m changing it right now.

    at 4:41 pm on July 6, 2017
  28. Tia Davis said:

    This is a great educational clip! I didn’t know 50% is the recommended level for the dehumidifier so I appreciate the advice. It’ll cost to run it but we need to consider the need to replace windows and musty carpets sooner than later because of not running one enough or at all.


    at 5:00 pm on July 6, 2017
  29. Bob Beck said:


    at 5:12 pm on July 6, 2017
  30. James Koch said:

    %0% is good to know

    at 6:09 pm on July 6, 2017
  31. Ria said:

    Great video, thanks for the information, especially the tip on the smart plug!

    at 6:14 pm on July 6, 2017
  32. Tara said:

    Important info to share, going into summer months I am sure we will see increase in energy usage.

    at 6:27 pm on July 6, 2017
  33. Elizabeth Armstrong said:

    This is a very nice video with good information. The pace is just right and the man speaking has an upbeat tone of voice which encourages listening to his points. Thank you MG&E. I’d eagerly read other presentations about energy usage and home comfort levels all year ’round if you produced more such videos.

    Like others who commented, I’m glad to know about the smart plug! A great idea to understand energy usage.

    I have found that this year (2017) the humidity levels have contributed to my sinus headaches. I’ve never had this kind of reaction before. It may be my age, 73, but I suspect it has been the prolonged humidity. My small home has no basement, so don’t experience the dank smell, but I do think the AC is making a difference not only in the cooler air but the lower humidity in my home.

    at 6:55 pm on July 6, 2017
  34. Josh said:

    Does it help to run a dehumidifier along with an air conditioner even if you don’t have any trouble with basement humidity or musty smell?

    at 7:01 pm on July 6, 2017
  35. Fred Ellsworth said:

    Mold loves moisture and heat. Another great reason to spend a little more now to preserve home and health in the future.

    at 7:24 pm on July 6, 2017
  36. Edwin Gilbert said:

    Bought a big Sahara unit 12 years ago. Humidity set to 65% . Last bill used 200 kwh more than April. Finished basement – live there in the heat. My allergies act up when in AC all day. So have not turned ours on in 16 years.

    at 7:56 pm on July 6, 2017
  37. Mary Polancih said:

    Good info for the short video. How about a slightly loner one with more faces for madison users?

    at 8:42 pm on July 6, 2017
  38. Bobbi Zehner said:

    Thank you. We do use a dehumidifier in our basement for the very reasons you stated. But clearly, we need to upgrade to a more efficient model.

    at 8:49 pm on July 6, 2017
  39. Jennifer Mitchell said:

    We have been using a dehumidifier for years to do what your video suggests: keep the smell and mold absent from our basement. What I did not know is that 50% is the target number, I often kept it lower. We recently purchased a new model that has a remote setting. We’ll set it at 50% now.

    at 8:57 pm on July 6, 2017
  40. Brian said:

    I have heard that humidity gauges are often inaccurate. Is there a good one to get?

    at 9:40 pm on July 6, 2017
  41. Robert Cambray said:

    I would like to know about maybe upgrading to a new humidifier-wondering if older ones use substantially more electricity?

    at 9:48 pm on July 6, 2017
  42. David said:

    Very cool. I never new that less than 50% humidity is basically a waste of energy. I’m going to check my setting when I get home tonight!

    at 9:27 am on July 7, 2017
  43. Jennifer Wabers said:

    50% information is helpful. Good video. Thanks for sharing

    at 9:51 am on July 7, 2017
  44. Janeen said:

    Very well done and informative.

    at 10:48 am on July 7, 2017
  45. Margaret Becker said:

    Our dehumidifier is a necessity in the summer months and runs pretty much non-stop.

    at 11:02 am on July 7, 2017
  46. Courtney Van said:

    Great to know! Thank you!

    at 11:21 am on July 7, 2017
  47. Michelle Buerger said:

    Thanks for the advice on dehumidifiers. The humidity level in a home can really make a difference.

    at 11:20 pm on July 9, 2017
  48. Suzy Griffiths said:

    Thank you for your advice. I never realized there was such a thing as a TP link smart plug and a way to monitor the levels.

    at 3:07 pm on July 10, 2017
  49. Aleksandr Kladnitsky said:

    I did not know 50% is the magic number.

    at 5:16 pm on July 10, 2017
  50. Sonjia Short said:

    Nice job as usual, Charles.

    Can’t believe how old Isabella is already. Sure is growing up quickly.

    at 5:22 pm on July 10, 2017
  51. Donalea said:

    I’ve been thinking about replacing my older dehumidifier and this video sealed the deal. I did check out ratings on CR before I decided but I bought one moments ago.

    at 5:53 pm on July 10, 2017
  52. anu said:

    Great info. I didn’t know below 50 was waste. I always had it at 40. Now I’ll be saving some on energy bill.

    at 9:36 pm on July 10, 2017
  53. P Trainer said:

    I appreciate the effort you took to develop the video – very informative and helpful! I feel confident I can shop for an efficient dehumidifier now!

    at 7:38 pm on July 13, 2017
  54. Mary Christian said:

    I had a smelly basement years ago, but got out all the mildewed paper boxes, paper anything, and moved all into plastic bins…treated mildewy wood stuff I wanted to keep with tea tree oil. I painted and decorated half the space then…it is a very fun T.V./lounging space and so cool in the summer. Then I set up a high quality dehumidifier (I actually run two sometimes for a space around a corner) – one drains right into the floor so I don’t have to remember to emtpy the bucket all the time. I don’t like the extra I have to pay in the summer, but figure it offsets the winter heating bill I don’t have, and also, it is a trade-off for having a space that is nice, and never smells of mildew. I used consumer reports to buy mine a number of years back.

    at 10:23 am on July 14, 2017
  55. Mike Collins said:

    The video made me realize that we probably need a new dehumidifier in our basement. I know the one we have now is quite old. Thanks for the informative video.

    at 2:50 pm on July 15, 2017
  56. Matt DeMars said:

    I’ve been setting my humidistat to 35%. I’ll change it tom 50% based on the video advice.

    at 1:10 pm on July 26, 2017
  57. janet schowengerdt said:

    Thanks for this! I am moving to Madison, just signed up for gas/electric and am going to need a dehumidifier in my new home!

    at 1:05 pm on July 27, 2017
  58. Paul Milenkovic said:

    The efficiency of refrigeration dehumidification equipment depends on both humidity level and temperature. Each 5 degrees colder in temperature requires a humidity setting 10 percentage points higher to be at about the same level of energy consumption.

    Furthermore, humidity gauges and dehumidifier digital readouts are not always that accurate.

    When I brought up with my allergist about 50% humidity being a difficult level to achieve, I was told, “The important thing is that you have a humidity gauge and have some awareness of its reading.” Use your nose and other senses as a guide.

    at 4:36 pm on January 25, 2021

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