Common Dehumidifier Problems

July 28, 2011



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This has been an especially hot and humid summer in most parts of the country. Keeping your  indoor air moderately dry and comfortable is the job of your dehumidifier. But, as with all machines, overuse can lead to problems.

Here a few simple but useful dehumidifier tips:

  • Little or no water in the dehumidifier bucket

If the humidity in your house is high, but the dehumidifier does not seem to be running frequently, adjust the humidistat control to a drier setting.

If the dehumidifier seems to be running continually, but there is still little or no water in the container, there could be a problem with the refrigeration system. Clean or replace the dehumidifier air filter, but if that does not help, you will need to call an experienced technician.

Dehumidifier Air Filter

Dehumidifier Air Filter

  • Dehumidifier does not run even when the indicator light in on

The water bucket might be filled to the top. Most dehumidifier units have a safety switch that turns the unit off when the water bucket is full to prevent it from overflowing. If the bucket is empty and the unit still doesn’t run, look at the internal side of the unit – the side that the bucket pushes against – to see if there is a switch present. Frequently, if you just juggle the bucket and push it in a little differently, it will press the switch and turn the unit on. If the bucket is bent or damaged, it needs to be replaced.

Dehumidifier water container

Dehumidifier water container

  • Dehumidifier runs, but no air comes out of the unit

Dehumidifier machines are equipped with a fan that draws the room air over the coils. If there is no air movement from the unit, the fan motor may have burned out and needs to be replaced.

Dehumidifier fan motor assembly

Dehumidifier fan motor assembly

  • Frost on dehumidifier coils

The evaporator is made up of coils that are located on the back of your dehumidifier unit. Evaporator coils turn ice cold when the dehumidifier is running and the fan draws the moist air over the coils, allowing the humidity in the air to condense. If air temperature blowing over the coils is too cold, the condensation on the coils will turn to ice.

One possible solution to the ice problem is raising up the heat in the room that the dehumidifier is located in. You can also turn the dehumidifier off for a while, allowing the temperature in the room to rise. Or, you could lift the dehumidifier onto a shelf or table higher from the ground, as the air is coolest near the ground.

  • Dehumidifier bucket fills up too quickly

If the bucket fills too often, your dehumidifier is working properly. On the other hand, you might have additional moisture and humidity in the air because of a pipe or water leak or an open crawl space. Look around your house and correct the problem of air leakage if you notice that to be an issue.

More Dehumidifier Parts, Maintenance Tips and Advice, and more

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