As the summer heat inches up, humidity levels can quickly spiral out of control transforming the air into an unpleasant, sticky mess. Turning to a dehumidifier seems like a smart solution to cut off a significant percentage of moisture in the air. However, like any electrical appliance, dehumidifiers can sometimes go awry. Knowing what can potentially go wrong with a dehumidifier and how to troubleshoot common problems can prove helpful in keeping your home cool and comfortable. In this article, we will explore the most frequent problems encountered by homeowners who have dehumidifiers, and discuss the possible solutions to make them run efficiently again.

1. Common Issues With Dehumidifiers: An Overview

What Usually Goes Wrong with a Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers are essential appliances in areas with high humidity levels. They reduce the moisture in the air and prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and other allergens. However, these devices are susceptible to various problems that can affect their performance and efficiency. Here are some of the most common issues with dehumidifiers:

  • Inadequate water collection: Dehumidifiers that fail to collect water or produce less water than expected may have clogs in their filters, coils, or drainage pipes. These obstructions can restrict the flow of air and water and affect the machine’s ability to dehumidify the air effectively.
  • Excessive noise: While dehumidifiers typically produce a low humming sound, excessive noise signals a potential problem. The motor or fan may be malfunctioning, or the compressor could be generating an unusual noise that requires immediate attention.
  • Leaking water: Water leakage is a common issue with dehumidifiers. It may be due to a clogged drain or an overflow of the water collection reservoir. Leaking water can damage floors and furniture and create a potential safety hazard.
  • Freezing up: Dehumidifiers that freeze up may have a problem with their refrigerant or compressor. This issue can reduce the machine’s efficiency and cause damage to the internal parts.

If you are experiencing any of these problems with your dehumidifier, don’t panic. Most issues can be fixed relatively easily with some proper troubleshooting and maintenance. In the following sections, we will discuss some of the critical reasons why your dehumidifier may not be working correctly and how to address them effectively.

2. Key Reasons Why Your Dehumidifier is Not Working Properly

Dehumidifiers are an essential household appliance, especially in humid climates, but they can often encounter issues that affect their performance. Here are some key reasons why your dehumidifier may not be working properly:

1. Dirty Air Filters

One of the most common reasons why dehumidifiers fail to work properly is due to the accumulation of dust and debris on the air filters. These filters are responsible for trapping airborne particles and preventing them from entering the unit. Over time, this buildup can restrict airflow, reducing the efficiency and effectiveness of the dehumidifier. To fix this issue, you should clean or replace the air filters regularly. It is recommended to clean the filters every two weeks, and replace them every three to six months, depending on the usage and the quality of the air in your home.

2. Faulty Humidistat

The humidistat is a device that measures the moisture levels in the air and regulates the dehumidifier’s operation accordingly. If the humidistat is faulty, it can cause the dehumidifier to malfunction and not remove enough moisture from the air. In some cases, the humidistat may be set too low, causing the dehumidifier to constantly run, which can lead to higher energy bills and wear and tear on the unit. To test the humidistat, you can use a hygrometer to measure the humidity levels in your home and compare them to the settings on the humidistat. If there is a significant difference, you may need to replace the humidistat or adjust its settings.

3. Drainage Issues

Dehumidifiers rely on a drainage system to remove the excess moisture they collect from the air. If the drainage system is clogged or not working properly, it can cause water to back up into the unit, damage the internal components, or even cause flooding. To prevent drainage issues, make sure that the drainage hose is clear of any debris or blockages and that the unit is leveled to ensure proper drainage. You should also check the unit’s water tank or reservoir regularly and empty it when it reaches its maximum capacity.

By identifying and resolving these common issues, you can ensure that your dehumidifier works effectively and efficiently, creating a comfortable and healthy living environment in your home.

3. Troubleshooting Your Dehumidifier: Tips and Tricks

So, your dehumidifier doesn’t seem to be working efficiently, or maybe it’s not working at all. Before you call in a professional technician, you can try troubleshooting the issue yourself. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:

Check the Power Source

The first thing you want to do is check the power outlet. Make sure the plug is securely and correctly inserted into the outlet, and that the outlet is functioning properly. If the outlet seems to be the problem, try plugging your dehumidifier into a different outlet and see if it works.

Check the Filter

The filter is an essential component of your dehumidifier. It traps moisture and allergens from the air, preventing them from recirculating. A dirty or clogged filter can restrict airflow and cause your dehumidifier to work harder. Make sure you clean or replace the filter every 3-6 months, depending on the usage and manufacturer’s recommendations.

Check the Drainage System

If your dehumidifier has a water tank, make sure it’s emptied regularly. Otherwise, the tank can overflow and cause damage to your unit. If you have a continuous drainage system, make sure the hose is securely attached to the unit and leading to a proper drainage location. An improper drainage system can cause water to pool around your dehumidifier, causing electrical damage.

Check the Settings

Make sure your dehumidifier is set to the right humidity level. If it’s set too high or too low, it can affect how efficiently your unit works. Also, make sure the fan speed is set to the appropriate level. A high fan speed can cause the coil to freeze, while a low fan speed can decrease the airflow and cause inefficiency.

By following these troubleshooting tips and tricks, you can identify and resolve many common issues with your dehumidifier. However, if your unit still doesn’t seem to be working correctly, it may be time to call in a professional technician or consider replacing your unit.

4. Critical Components of Dehumidifiers: Causes of Failure and How to Fix Them

Dehumidifiers have a number of critical components that are vital to their effective operation. These components include the compressor, refrigerant, fan, evaporator coil and drainage system. Each part plays a specific role in removing excess moisture from the air, and if any of them fail, your dehumidifier will not work properly.

Compressor Failure

The compressor is what pressurizes the refrigerant to remove moisture from the air. If the compressor is not functioning, your dehumidifier will not be able to remove moisture effectively. Common causes of compressor failure include a faulty capacitor, a refrigerant leak or a blocked refrigerant line.

If you suspect that your compressor is not working properly, you can try replacing the capacitor. If this doesn’t work, you’ll need to call a professional to diagnose and repair the issue. In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to replace the entire dehumidifier rather than repairing the compressor.

Refrigerant Leakage

The refrigerant is what removes moisture from the air in your dehumidifier. If there is a refrigerant leak, your dehumidifier will not be able to remove moisture effectively. You may notice that the air coming out of the dehumidifier feels less cool than it used to.

If you suspect a refrigerant leak, it’s important to have the issue addressed as soon as possible. The refrigerant used in dehumidifiers is harmful to the environment and should be handled by a professional. They will need to locate the leak, repair it, and recharge the refrigerant.

Fan and Evaporator Coil Issues

The fan and evaporator coil work together to remove moisture from the air and deposit it into the drain pan. If the fan isn’t working, the air won’t move efficiently through the dehumidifier. If the evaporator coil is dirty or damaged, it won’t be able to remove moisture effectively.

If you suspect that your fan is not working, you can try cleaning it or replacing the motor. If the evaporator coil is dirty, try cleaning it with a soft brush or vacuum. If the coil is damaged, you’ll need to have it replaced.

In conclusion, it’s important to identify and fix these critical components of your dehumidifier to ensure it functions properly. If you’re unable to pinpoint the issue or if the components are too damaged, it may be time to replace your dehumidifier.

5. Dehumidifier Maintenance: Preventing Problems and Extending Its Lifespan

Regular maintenance is crucial in ensuring that your dehumidifier continues to function smoothly. Below are some tips to help you prevent common problems and extend the lifespan of your unit.

Clean the Filter

One of the most important components of your dehumidifier is the air filter, which helps to remove dirt, dust, and other particles from the air. Over time, the filter can become clogged with debris, reducing the unit’s efficiency and leading to potential damage. To prevent this, it’s important to clean the filter regularly. Depending on your usage, you should clean or replace the filter at least once a month or as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This will prevent the build-up of debris and ensure that your unit is working at its best capacity.

Empty the Water Tank

Another key maintenance task is to regularly empty the water tank. When the tank is full, the unit will stop working and can even cause water damage or overflow. Make sure to check the water tank often, and empty it before it reaches full capacity. Additionally, make sure to clean and dry the tank before refilling it to avoid bacterial growth and mold.

Inspect the Components

Periodically inspect the components of your dehumidifier to ensure that they are in good condition. Check the power cord for fraying or damage, and make sure the internal components are free of dust and debris. If you spot any damages or suspect a problem, contact a professional technician for repairs.

Store the Unit Properly

Finally, if you are storing your dehumidifier for an extended period, you need to ensure it is stored properly to prevent damage. Empty the water tank, clean the filter, and disconnect the power cord before putting it away. Store the unit in a clean, dry, and well-ventilated area. This will help prevent dust buildup, rusting, and other problems that can occur during storage.

By following these simple maintenance steps, you can help prevent problems with your dehumidifier and extend its lifespan. Regular maintenance can also help you save money in the long run, as it can prevent costly repairs or the need for a complete replacement.

6. Replacing or Repairing Your Dehumidifier: Choosing the Best Option for Your Home

When it comes to a malfunctioning dehumidifier, you may consider whether replacing or repairing the unit would be the best option. In some cases, repairing your dehumidifier may be a more cost-effective means of getting it back in working order. However, in other cases, replacing your dehumidifier may be the better choice, particularly if the unit is outdated or has suffered significant damage.

If you decide to repair your dehumidifier, the first step is to determine the root cause of the issue. Refer to our section on 4. Critical Components of Dehumidifiers to gain an understanding of the possible causes of your dehumidifier’s failure. Once you have identified the issue, consult your dehumidifier’s manual or a professional technician to assess the extent of repairs needed and weigh the cost of repair against the cost of a new unit.

If you determine that your dehumidifier is beyond repair, it’s time to consider purchasing a new one. Keep in mind your budget and the size and needs of your home when making your selection. Look for models with energy-saving features to reduce your operating costs and make sure the capacity of the new unit matches the necessary moisture removal needs of your home. Check out our article on 1. Common Issues With Dehumidifiers: An Overview for some of the more popular models and features on the market and consider reading reviews and feedback from other customers before making a purchase.

Ultimately, the decision to replace or repair your dehumidifier is up to you, and a careful evaluation of the unit’s repair needs, age, and efficiency compared to the cost of a new model should be taken into consideration. No matter which option you choose, always prioritize your safety and follow proper guidelines for disposal or recycling of your old unit.

7. How to Identify and Resolve Dehumidifier Problems Before They Affect Your Health and Safety

One of the most significant concerns with a malfunctioning dehumidifier is the potential health and safety risks to you and your family. Moisture can accumulate inside the machine and lead to the growth of mold, mildew, and bacteria, which can adversely affect indoor air quality and cause respiratory problems. This section will discuss some crucial signs to look for and steps to take if you suspect that your dehumidifier is not functioning correctly.

Signs of a Faulty Dehumidifier

  • Unusual noises: if your dehumidifier is making strange sounds like rattling, buzzing, or squealing, it could indicate a mechanical issue.
  • Excessive condensation: if you notice that the water tank is filling up too quickly or you spot water droplets forming on the external surface of the device, it could be a sign of a refrigerant leak or a clogged drain hose.
  • Poor performance: if the humidity level in your home remains high despite running the machine for hours, it could mean that the compressor or the fan is not working correctly.

What to Do if Your Dehumidifier is Not Working Properly?

If you suspect that your dehumidifier is faulty, the first step would be to turn it off and unplug it from the power source. Do not attempt to repair or disassemble the machine on your own unless you have prior experience and knowledge. Instead, call a professional technician who can diagnose the problem and suggest appropriate solutions. It is also essential to clean and disinfect the device regularly to prevent the buildup of mold and bacteria. Empty the water tank frequently, wipe down the exterior with a damp cloth, and replace the air filter periodically.

In conclusion, a malfunctioning dehumidifier can have severe health and safety consequences. Therefore, it is crucial to stay vigilant and inspect the device regularly for any signs of trouble. Addressing the problem promptly can prevent costly repairs, extend the lifespan of your dehumidifier, and safeguard your and your family’s well-being.

People Also Ask

What are common problems with dehumidifiers?

Common problems with dehumidifiers include a failure to lower humidity levels, leakage, freezing, and the buildup of ice. The machine can also emit unpleasant smells and noise if it’s not working correctly.

Why does my dehumidifier keep shutting off?

Your dehumidifier could keep shutting off due to a dirty air filter, a malfunctioning humidity sensor, or a problem with the electronic control board. It could also be a result of overheating, a full or faulty water tank, or because the room temperature is lower than the minimum operating temperature.

How long should a dehumidifier last?

A dehumidifier’s lifespan depends heavily on the model, usage, and maintenance. However, on average, a well-maintained unit can last from 5 to 10 years.

How do I fix my dehumidifier iced up?

If your dehumidifier has ice buildup, unplug it and allow it to thaw for several hours. Next, clean the air filter and the coil with a soft-bristled brush. Be sure that the room temperature is above the minimum operating temperature, and the air is circulating freely.

Can dehumidifiers catch fire?

There have been reports of dehumidifiers catching fire, but this is a rare occurrence. The risk of fire usually happens when the unit overheats or short circuits. To prevent any fire risk, make sure that your dehumidifier is well-maintained and plugged into an electrical outlet that can handle its power needs.


In conclusion, dehumidifiers are commonly used machines in households and commercial areas to regulate humidity levels. Still, they can develop issues such as leaking, malfunctioning humidity sensors, or overheating, among others. Regular maintenance, cleaning, and following the manufacturer’s instructions can help avoid most problems with the dehumidifier. If a problem persists despite troubleshooting, the unit should be checked by a professional technician.