5 Common Dehumidifier Problems

Question 1: Why won’t the dehumidifier turn on?

Answer 1: Plug something else in the same outlet. If it works, you know you have power to the Dehumidifier. If it doesn’t work, you’ll need to check for any blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers. If you have power, it could be one of several problems that are keeping it from running.
Another reason that the dehumidifier won’t turn on may be that the humidity level you set your unit for has been reached. If you need or desire a lower level of humidity, adjust the humidistat to reflect this.
Many dehumidifiers have a safety device which senses when the reservoir is full. The tank either presses against a switch, or there may be a sensor connected to the tank that triggers a switch when the tank is full. This is to prevent any water damage to your property. Always remember water and electricity do not mix well. Empty the tank. This should solve the problem if the tank was full. If you empty it, and the unit still doesn’t run, look around the tank to see if there’s a switch or other device that controls the dehumidifier. Look for a bucket switch. You may be able to throw a switch by hand.

Question 2: Why doesn’t the reservoir fill?

Answer 2: There is a humidity selector on most models. The first thing to check is the setting of this control. If it is set too high, the humidity level may have been achieved and the dehumidifier doesn’t need to run. Set it to a lower humidity level and it should start working.
If the unit is running regularly, but the reservoir remains empty, then there is probably a problem with the refrigeration system of the dehumidifier. Get all the dust and dirt out of the inside of the dehumidifier and if there is a filter make sure that it is clean. If it is still not working, contact a professional appliance repair person for help.

Question 3: Why is the reservoir filling so fast?

Answer 3: If you don’t like emptying the reservoir manually, there are drain hose attachments for most models. If the reservoir is filling too fast, it usually means that there is a lot of water in the air. If this continues to happen, there is a source of moisture near the dehumidifier. Finding and controlling the source will reduce the expense of continually running the dehumidifier.

Question 4: Why are the evaporator coils freezing up?

Answer 4: A well running dehumidifier will have really cold evaporator coils on the back of the machine. When moist air is drawn across these coils, the moisture condenses. Occasionally, the air over the coils is too cold, and the condensing water can freeze. Turn off the unit for a little while and let everything thaw out. Some temporary frosting can occur during the first 10 to 15 minutes of operation. If frost or ice remains, the room temperature may be too low for your model. Many non-basement models can not operate below 65 F. They become too efficient and cause the evaporator to freeze up. Some basement models operate well down to 38 F by using a de-icing mechanism.

Question 5: Why does the dehumidifier run so much?

Answer 5: There are several reasons why the unit may appear to run too much. The humidistat may be set to the highest setting. If that’s the case, the unit will not stop running unless the full bucket sensor shuts it off or you lower the setting. Open doors or windows near the dehumidifier may keep the humidity level too high for the unit to turn off. Also, the grill on the front of the unit may be blocked with dust and does not allow for proper airflow. The coils on back may be dirty and will not transfer heat or cool the air sufficiently. Lastly, the area may just be too large for the unit to operate efficiently.

For more Appliance Repair help, please search this blog and for appliance parts visit us at APWagner.

30 thoughts on “5 Common Dehumidifier Problems

  1. As a Maryland native, I completely understand the importance of having an efficient dehumidifier, especially during these hot summer months! These common problems are ones that I have run into over the years and these tips are great! Do you have any suggestions about overall maintenance? Thanks 🙂

  2. hi boredinbaltimore
    here are the maintainance tips that my company provides on their website, its very basic, but sometimes that is best.

    Household appliances have average lifetime expectancies. Maintaining your appliances properly can extend their lifetime indefinitely.

    If you have to do any kind of repair or maintenance on this unit, make sure to unplug it from the power supply.
    Use a properly grounded outlet.

    Never run your appliances off of an extension cord. Some appliances require a lot of power. Trying to run yours off an extension cord can cause overheating or fire.

    Clean and replace any filters as recommended by the manufacturer.

    It is very important that you do not turn the unit off and back on right away. The systems’ pressure needs to equalize for several minutes before you turn it back on.

    Keep your appliance clean and dust-free. Check the evaporator coils for frost or ice buildup. Keeping it clean and ice-free will help to prolong the life of the compressor motor.

    A certain level of humidity is necessary in the home. Very dry air can make it difficult for you and your pets to breath, so don’t turn the humidistat up too high. This will make your unit run too much and probably won’t help very much. Too dry can be very uncomfortable, and can also make wood shrink, which leads to creaking, air gaps, and higher fuel costs.

  3. Wow. I feel real silly, but I figured out my problem after number one. I just moved into a new apartment and didn’t realize that I had to flip a switch to turn the outlet on. Thanks for helping me get my mind started 🙂

  4. I have 2 dehumidifiers and I can’t get the hose drain to work on either one of them. (different brands). I’ve done what the directions say. One you just open a door and attach the hose. One you had to knock out a plastic piece and attach the hose to a plastic connector. The bucket keeps filling up and I have to keep emptying it everyday. Is there a trick I’m missing? Thank you so much.. any help is appreciated.


  6. Kenmore 54701 (70 pt) dehumidifier will not power on. After plug in to outlet, it makes a small bip. I do not see the lights orwhen i push turn on switch, nothing happens.

    Any one facing similar problem?

  7. Hi, I’ve been reading your blog and have questions of my own regarding my dehumifier. First, recently my (Sears) model started producing ice and the motor became louder. Doesn’t seem to pull enough water. Also, what is everyone talking about a drain hose, I don’t have one, am I supposed to? The water fills in a bucket. Thanks

  8. Our dehumidifier runs for about 2-3 minutes then turns off and within 30 seconds restarts. This happens all day and night. I checked for ice, none; verified the attached hose allows the water to run into another rooms drain. Concerned that the unit will damage its compressor because of the constant quick recycling. It was on max dry auto setting. Moved to run always, recycling stopped. Any advice would be helpful and appreciated.

  9. I have a puddle forming around my dehumidifier. The outlet hose seems to be connected fine and is draining properly. What is the problem?

  10. I have a 70 pint portable unit hooked by piping/tubing to a drain. When I look at the clear plastic tubing I can see a white “gunk”. I have cleaned out the house a time or two over the months. This is the third season for the unit, the first season it seemed to work very well, and each season thereafter not as well. Tonight I removed the hose and am just using the bucket to see if the unit is really gathering water.

    Any ideas about the “gunk”?

  11. The red light indicats the tray is full of water and didnot absorb any water at all ?????????? how i can eliminate the idication of the red light {to turn off the red light }???????? THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!

  12. what is appropriate humidity level for a unfinished basement? is fedders model m7 dh65 b2a a r suitable for basement use ?

  13. kenmore 70 pint 251.50701012 unit stopped working… sometimes it will turn on and work for a few seconds or a couple minutes..then off it goes again….. sometimes it beeps and lights flash on and off when you turn it on… we have had it draining from the attachment and hose in back for months with zero problems… seems also that sometimes moving the power cord which attaches to the lower back of the unit causes off and on issues….but not always…… filter is clean…..unit has never been moved since we set it up….

    any thoughts?

  14. Hi,

    I have a Simplicity humidifier (model SDR505R) and it just suddenly stopped working. Nothing works. Not even by starting it manually or by remote control. I know the power outlet is fine since I’ve used it for other appliances.

    I guess that it’s an internal problem, but what and where?

  15. I have two dehumidifiers in a large unfinished basement and they’re both having the same problem. When I try to lower the Relative Humidity to a reasonable level, say 50%, within 5 seconds they go back to 80%. The compressor does not kick in but the fan does continue to spin. I’m guessing humidistat issues but am not sure. One is a 50 pt. Frigidaire (4 yrs old) and the other a 70 pint SoleusAir (bought in 2012). Have cleaned filters and used compressed air to blow out coils/fins. Each empties via a hose and that is not blocked.

  16. Help! My dehumidifier, is two years old and has started making terrible noise! Even when I turn it off it keeps working but not working at the same time. I took it apart and dusted the insides out really good. We clean the filter often. Just wondering if the motor has gone bad?

  17. My Haier 45 pint runs period of time then shuts for 5 to 7 seconds then restarts it does constantly It is only 3 weeks old

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