Dehumidifier Repair Tips for Homeowners

Spring is here, as well as the rain – before you know it, summer humidity will be upon most of the country! Whole-home dehumidifiers and portable dehumidifiers will be working in full force to keep indoor relative humidity levels in check.

Dehumidifier Repair

Occasionally, you may discover an issue with your system requiring dehumidifier repair. There are some steps homeowners can take to repair a dehumidifier, which we will discuss below. For more serious issues and help with whole-home dehumidifiers, be sure to call your trusted HVAC company for skilled dehumidifier repair to protect your equipment and keep humidity levels balanced throughout your home this season.

How Long Do Dehumidifiers Last?

A portable or room dehumidifier has an average service life of three to five years, depending on use and maintenance. Whole-home dehumidifiers have an average useful life of eight years when maintained correctly. Lifespan of your dehumidifier will vary based on a number of factors, including maintenance, climate, use, water quality, and air conditioner use (air conditioners also work to lower humidity levels in homes).

How Do You Clean a Dehumidifier Filter?

To clean the filter in your portable dehumidifier, follow the steps below:

  • Unplug the unit.
  • Remove the filter from the unit.
  • Soak the filter in a solution of warm water and bleach for 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow the filter to thoroughly dry before reinserting it into the unit.

Your dehumidifier’s owners’ manual will give instructions as to how frequently the unit’s filter needs to be replaced. Cleaning your filter between replacement is ok, but be sure to replace it as called for to protect your dehumidifier from damage.

For whole-home dehumidifiers, check your owners’ manual for instructions on cleaning the unit’s filter and replacement. Clean the filter by following these steps:

  • Turn off power to the unit.
  • Remove the filter access door to slide out the filter
  • Rinse the filter with a solution of warm water and detergent.
  • Shake the filter to remove excess water.
  • Reinsert the filter into the unit and replace access doors.
  • Turn power on.

Cleaning a Dehumidifier’s Water Reservoir

Simply emptying water doesn’t mean the reservoir is clean. If it isn’t cleaned regularly, mold and mildew may begin to grow and could spread through the air in your home, causing health issues. To clean your water reservoir, follow these steps:

  • Turn off power to the unit.
  • Remove the water reservoir.
  • Wash the container with warm water and mild detergent.
  • Rinse the container with clean water.
  • Dry the container completely and reinsert it into the dehumidifier.
  • Turn power on.

My Portable Dehumidifier Isn’t Running

If your portable dehumidifier is not running, the issue could be with the reservoir tank.

  • Check the tank to ensure water level is not too high. Most units have a control that will shut off the unit if the tank is filled to prevent overflow.
  • Check the position of the tank and make sure it is installed correctly. Readjust the tank into proper position so that it is not accidentally triggering the control switch.

Why Does My Dehumidifier Have Ice on It?

A dehumidifier’s evaporator coils may freeze up if the ambient room temperature is too cold for effective moisture removal. Most humidifiers are meant to be used in temperatures 70 degrees and higher. When running at temperatures below 65 degrees (unless it is a unit made specifically for lower temperature environments, such as basements), the dehumidifier’s coils may not drip collected moisture, instead allowing it to freeze on the coils. The unit may also freeze if airflow is an issue, whether due to a malfunctioning fan or clogged filter.

If your dehumidifier ices over, do not continue to operate the unit – you could do extensive or irreparable damage. Troubleshoot the unit by allowing the coils to defrost and cleaning or changing the filter. Moving the portable unit to a higher location will help the coils thaw faster as heat rises. If your dehumidifier continues to freeze, call a technician for dehumidifier repair. There may be issues with the power source, humidistat, compressor, or other components.