How to Clean, Maintain & Troubleshoot Your Dehumidifier

Dehumidifier
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By drawing excess moisture from the air, a dehumidifier keeps the house mold and mildew free during humid months. This makes your house more comfortable in a number of ways, from eliminating musty smells to helping to control allergies, asthma symptoms, and other respiratory health problems.

Although dehumidifiers do not require much maintenance as a rule, they do require a certain amount of upkeep in order to continue functioning properly.

Here’s our tips to cleaning, maintaining and troubleshooting your dehumidifier. By following these guidelines, your dehumidifier will help control the humidity of your home for years, providing a healthy and comfortable environment for you and your family.

Cleaning Your Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier has many parts that can develop build-up. Regular cleaning of each of these parts can prevent problems that can lead to the death of your appliance.

  • The Water Collection Tank

    Your dehumidifier’s water collection tank needs to be emptied frequently, but it also needs to be cleaned with soap and warm water or a disinfectant. Mold and mildew can build up quickly, and when inside a dehumidifier tank, it gets dispersed into your air, causing illness.

  • The Air Intake and Exhaust Grilles

    At least once per season, use a vacuum with a brush attachment to clean the intake and exhaust grilles. Dust and debris build-up can cause blockages that can lead to the deterioration of the appliance.

Maintaining Your Dehumidifier

The proper use of the dehumidifier and replacement of older parts can keep it running smoothly for many years.

  • Dehumidifier Placement

    Your dehumidifier should not be placed closer than 6 inches to any wall so that the air intake and exhaust are not blocked. The temperature of the room or area being dehumidified should be at least 65° so that it does not freeze up or burn up the motor, unless the dehumidifier is specifically designed for lower temperatures.

  • Adjusting the Humidistat

    The humidistat is the device that controls the humidity level in the room. The ideal humidity is typically between 40 and 50 percent for optimal comfort and efficiency.

  • Protect the Compressor

    When a dehumidifier is turned off and then back on too quickly, the compressor may overheat. Give the machine at least 10 minutes after it is turned off to allow pressure in the system to be equalized.

  • Filter Replacement

    The dehumidifier’s air filter is designed to clear dust and allergens from the air to protect the appliance’s insides as well as to improve quality of the air in the room. The owner’s manual of your dehumidifier will tell you how frequently to replace the air filter in order to ensure the appliance’s best performance.

Troubleshooting Your Dehumidifier

Dehumidifier

Some problems require the expertise of a professional, but many issues may be fixed simply and quickly if you know how to identify them.

  • Low or No Water Level

    If the dehumidifier seems to run infrequently without affecting the high humidity, it may simply need to have the humidistat control set to a drier setting. On the other hand, if it runs constantly without filling the tank, the refrigeration system may have an issue. If cleaning the filter and the unit doesn’t help, you may need to take it to an appliance repair shop.

  • The Dehumidifier Stops Running

    If the indicator light is on, but the dehumidifier does not run, check the level of water in the tank. There is usually a switch that turns the unit off when the tank is full. If the tank is not full, the switch may still have been accidentally activated by the position of the tank. Readjusting the tank or pushing the switch with your finger should resolve the issue.

  • No Air Comes Out When It Is Running

    There is a fan to pull air from the room over the coils. When no air is blowing out of the dehumidifier, that fan motor has likely burned out and will need to be replaced.

  • Frost on the Coils

    The evaporator on the back of the dehumidifier is made up of coils that get very cold while the unit runs. The moist air from the room is drawn across those coils by the fan so that the humidity in the air condenses. If the air temperature is too cold, the condensation will freeze. Before checking the coils for frost, turn off the machine and unplug it for safety. Evidence of frost indicates that the room is too cool.

Solutions to frost build-up include:

  1. Turn off the dehumidifier so that the room will warm up.
  2. Turn on a heat source in the room.
  3. Move the dehumidifier to a higher location, since heat rises and the air near the floor is coldest.

Some dehumidifiers have an automatic defroster that protects the compressor by turning it off and running the fan to melt frost before resuming operation. If you live in a cold area, you may want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier that works in lower temperatures, as well.

With proper care and maintenance, your dehumidifier can control the humidity of your home for years, providing a healthy and comfortable environment.

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Kara Zorn

About Author

Kara Zorn is a wife and working mom who loves life hacks that help her schedule allow for as much quality family time as possible. She enjoys cooking with locally sourced food and produce and recently took up brewing Kombucha.

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