Dehumidifiers are relatively simple to operate and do not require a lot of attention. Although they are easy to use, certain factors can affect their functionality.
If you notice that your dehumidifier is not collecting water, this article will help you to troubleshoot some of the issues that might be affecting your dehumidifier’s performance and hopefully help you fix the problem.
Just like other devices in your home, dehumidifiers can stop working for different reasons. There are instances when a dehumidifier stops collecting water and this can be frustrating especially when you are relying on the dehumidifier to reduce the humidity in your home.
Dehumidifiers usually stop collecting water because of low humidity levels, poor maintenance, dirty filters, wrong settings, wrong placement and positioning, water tank capacity, and mechanical damage. In some cases, the electrical outlet that you are using might be faulty.
If your dehumidifier stops collecting water, there is a high likelihood that it has not malfunctioned and just requires a bit of attention for it to work properly.
If you notice that your dehumidifier is not collecting water, there are several tests that you can carry out within your home to determine the cause of the problem and fix it.
In this post, we will address:
- Types of dehumidifiers
- Why dehumidifier stops collecting water and possible solutions
- Tell-tell signs for a damaged dehumidifier
- Reasons why a refrigerant dehumidifier is not collecting water
Type of Dehumidifiers
Before delving into the reasons why your dehumidifier is not collecting water, it is important to first understand the type of dehumidifier that you have in your home.
You should note that there are generally two types of dehumidifiers, refrigerant and desiccant-based dehumidifiers. Refrigerant dehumidifiers can also be referred to as compressor-based dehumidifiers because they rely on the condensation process.
Refrigerant or compressor dehumidifiers function by cooling the air drawn into the dehumidifier to a point where water molecules in the air begin to condense.
The condensed water molecules are then collected in a water tank and the dry air gets reheated before being released back into the air in your surroundings.
On the other hand, desiccant dehumidifiers rely on a drying agent to absorb moisture from the air drawn in the dehumidifier. A common desiccant used is silica gel beads.
When the air is drawn in the dehumidifier, the silica gel beads draw water from the air and retain the water. After they are saturated, the dehumidifier is recharged to dry the silica gel beads.
Some issues relating to the inability of the dehumidifier to collect water are common between these two types of dehumidifiers while others are specifically based on the type of dehumidifier that you are using.
Why Dehumidifier Stops Collecting Water and Possible Solutions
Low Humidity Level
If the humidity level in your home is low, the dehumidifier might not be able to draw out humidity from the air. It is essential to remember that dehumidifiers are designed to reduce the level of humidity in your home and not to draw out all the humidity from the air.
A certain level of humidity in the air is healthy. Breathing in excessively dry air can increase your risk of respiratory health issues. This is why manufacturers adhere to a specific set of rules that prevents the development of dehumidifiers that could draw out all the moisture in your environment.
As such, if the humidity levels in your home are low, you will notice that your dehumidifier will stop collecting water. If there is not enough moisture in the air, the dehumidifier will not work.
Solution: Switch the Dehumidifier Off
Ensure that you check the humidity levels in your home before turning on your dehumidifier. If the humidity levels are already low, there is no need for you to keep your dehumidifier on as it will not be able to lower the humidity levels much further.
All dehumidifiers require constant maintenance. If you have not conducted the recommended routine maintenance on your dehumidifier, it could be the reason your dehumidifier has stopped collecting water.
Most manufacturers usually list the maintenance services that you should perform on your dehumidifier to ensure that it functions well.
If you have not performed routine maintenance for a while, you should check your dehumidifier’s manual for the recommended maintenance guidelines.
Solution: Conduct Routine Maintenance
If you have not conducted routine maintenance for a while, then performing regular routine maintenance could resolve your problem. For most dehumidifiers, routine maintenance entail
Most dehumidifiers have a setting that you can use to determine the level of humidity that you wish to attain after turning your dehumidifier on.
If the settings are high and indicate a high relative humidity level, then the dehumidifier will only remove humidity from the air until they reach the pre-set humidity level.
If the settings are low, indicating that a low level of humidity should be attained, then the dehumidifier might continue working even after attaining the recommended relative humidity level for a home.
Solution: Reset the Dehumidifier
If the settings on your dehumidifier are not correct, simply reset the dehumidifier based on the relative humidity level that you wish to attain.
You should also ensure that you adhere to recommended relative humidity levels guidelines so that you do not lower the levels of humidity in your home so much or leave your home with high levels of humidity.
Power Supply and Charging
Most dehumidifiers require either a continuous power supply or recharging after several hours of operation. If you are using a refrigerant or compressor dehumidifier, you will need to keep it plugged in throughout the time you intend to use the dehumidifier to ensure that it performs its function properly.
On the other hand, if you are using a desiccant dehumidifier, you will only need to recharge it after the silica gel beads are saturated.
Understanding the operations of your dehumidifier will help you know whether you need to keep the dehumidifier plugged into an electrical outlet or whether you should recharge it after every few days.
If you are using a compressor dehumidifier, the dehumidifier will stop working during a power outage. A desiccant dehumidifier will continue working as long as the desiccants used in the dehumidifier are not saturated.
Solution: Check Power Supply or Settings
If you are using a compressor dehumidifier and it stops working, check the power supply to ensure that the dehumidifier has been plugged incorrectly. If the electric cord has not been plugged in correctly the dehumidifier will not work.
If there is a power outage, a compressor dehumidifier will stop working. Depending on the type of your dehumidifier, the dehumidifier might either restart working after the power is back or stop working completely until you turn it on yourself. Dehumidifiers that have an auto-restart feature usually continue working after a power outage.
You can also test the compressor on a different electric outlet if it does not collect water a few hours after plugging it into an electric outlet. If you suspect that the electric outlet is problematic, then switching it to another outlet could resolve the problem.
If you are using a desiccant dehumidifier, you should check if the desiccants are saturated. Most desiccant dehumidifiers have an indicator that will alert you when you need to recharge your dehumidifier.
You could also check the color changes of the desiccants to determine if they are saturated. If the desiccants are saturated, simply recharge the dehumidifier for the recommended time before turning it on again. After that, it should collect water as expected.
Dehumidifiers have different capacities, meaning that they will not be able to operate within the same area coverage. If your dehumidifier was meant to cover a 150 square feet room and you attempt to use it in a 1500 square feet room, it will not operate effectively.
You might notice that the relative humidity in the room remains the same hours after turning on the dehumidifier.
Choosing the right dehumidifier for your space will ensure that the dehumidifier collects water effectively. While large dehumidifiers can still function properly in small rooms, small or mini dehumidifiers are generally meant for small spaces. These small or mini dehumidifiers would not be able to handle the workload in a large room.
Solution: Matching the Capacity of a Dehumidifier with Recommended Area Coverage
Most modern dehumidifiers have a recommended area coverage. Manufacturers also make dehumidifiers of varying capacities to ensure that they cater to the needs of different clients.
When buying a dehumidifier, you should ensure that you match the capacity of the dehumidifier with the recommended area coverage.
If the manufacturer’s instructions state that the dehumidifier should be used in a room of up to 1000 square feet, then you should use the dehumidifier in rooms of either 1000 square feet or less than 1000 square feet.
Remember that not matching the dehumidifier’s capacity with its recommended area coverage, will not give you the best results.
Large Extraction Capacity
Dehumidifiers that have large extraction capacities are often used in large spaces or for whole-house humidity removal. These dehumidifiers are designed to extract high levels of humidity from the air.
If you are using a large extraction capacity dehumidifier in a small room, the dehumidifier will reduce the humidity levels in the room faster.
If the humidity in the air is lowered significantly, the dehumidifier will not be able to continue removing moisture from the room. In such cases, it might appear like the dehumidifier has stopped collecting water when the humidity levels in the room are already low.
Solution: Turning Off the Dehumidifier
If you have a large extraction capacity dehumidifier and you plan to use it to reduce the humidity levels in a small room, it is advisable to keep checking the humidistat on the dehumidifier or measure the humidity levels in your home.
If you notice that the humidity levels are within the recommended levels, you should turn off the dehumidifier, since once the recommended humidity levels have been attained the dehumidifier will not collect as much water as it was collecting when the humidity levels were high.
Where you place your dehumidifier significantly affects its operation. You might want to place your dehumidifier behind a couch to ensure that it does not stand out in your home. While you would have succeeded in maintaining the aesthetics of your home, your dehumidifier will not operate well.
Generally, dehumidifiers should be placed in an open place to promote proper air circulation. Placing a dehumidifier behind the furniture in your home affects its ability to collect water. Moving a dehumidifier to an open space, like on top of a shelf or a central location within the room could significantly improve its functionality.
Solution: Place the Dehumidifier at a Central or Raised Position
A dehumidifier should be placed in an area with proper air circulation. You should ensure that all the sides of the dehumidifier have at least 30 cm of free space, with the exception of the lower part. Placing the dehumidifier too close to a wall or furniture will affect its ability to draw air from its surroundings.
Move your dehumidifier to a raised surface or place it in a central position in your home to ease air circulation. Ensure that nothing is blocking the dehumidifier.
A Damaged Dehumidifier
If you are unable to determine the issue affecting your dehumidifier’s ability to collect water, there is a slim likelihood that your dehumidifier has malfunctioned.
Before you assume that your dehumidifier is damaged, you should ensure that you check all the possible reasons listed above and give the dehumidifier at least a day to see if you will notice any changes.
Some dehumidifier brands like Frigidaire sell replacement parts for their products. The availability of replacement parts eliminates the need to buy another dehumidifier when you notice that a part of your dehumidifier is damaged. You can read more about one of the dehumidifiers offered by the company from the link below.
Related: Frigidaire FFAP5033W1 50-Pint Dehumidifier Review
Tell-Tell Signs for a Damaged Dehumidifier
Aside from the dehumidifier not being able to collect water, some of the things that can help you detect a malfunctioned dehumidifier include:
Rattling noise when turned on
If your dehumidifier produces some rattling sounds after you have switched on the power supply, there is a high likelihood that the dehumidifier is broken and needs to be fixed.
If you notice that your dehumidifier is not collecting water and is also producing rattling noises, you should consider seeking the help of a professional or reach out to the manufacturer.
No Longer Turns On
If your dehumidifier does not turn on after you have plugged it into an electric outlet, it is possible that there is a problem with an internal component of the dehumidifier. Ideally, a dehumidifier should turn on immediately after you have plugged it into an electric outlet.
Beads Color Do Not Change
If you are using a desiccant dehumidifier that has silica gel beads and you notice that when recharging the dehumidifier the beads do not change their color, then there is a high likelihood that the dehumidifier has an additional problem that needs to be fixed.
If your dehumidifier is damaged, you should either contact the manufacturer or a professional to help you fix it. Attempting to fix the dehumidifier yourself could cause irreversible damage by making the existing problem worse.
It is also important to remember that the manufacturer can refund you or offer you a different dehumidifier if the damage occurred during the manufacturing process.
You have a higher likelihood of being refunded if you bought your dehumidifier recently compared to a case where you have been using the dehumidifier for two to three years. Ensure that you have a valid warranty from the manufacturer.
Reasons Why A Refrigerant Dehumidifier is Not Collecting Water
Most compressor dehumidifiers cannot function well under extremely low temperatures. This means that if the temperature in your home is extremely low, your dehumidifier is likely to stop collecting water temporarily.
When the temperature in your home is extremely low, you might notice some ice or frost on the evaporator coil or other parts of the dehumidifier. When the temperature becomes extremely low, the moisture in the dehumidifier will begin freezing.
Similarly, if you put your dehumidifier outside your home during winter (whether for experimental purposes or for whatever reasons you might come up with), you will notice that your dehumidifier will not collect water due to the low temperatures.
The humidity in the air could easily freeze either on top of the inner parts of your dehumidifier or affect its water-collection abilities. This can also happen when you use your dehumidifier in an open garage during winter.
Solution: Increase the Temperature in your Home
During winter or colder temperatures, you can increase the temperature in your home to ensure that your dehumidifier functions properly.
Increasing the temperature in your home slightly will not affect the humidity level in your home but will only make it easy for your dehumidifier to operate well during seasons that are prone to low temperatures.
Ideally, the temperature in your home should not be lower than 65 degrees Fahrenheit for your dehumidifier to work properly. Most dehumidifiers will not work in temperatures below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
For refrigerant dehumidifiers, the most ideal conditions would be temperatures ranging between 65 degrees Fahrenheit and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, along with high levels of humidity (80% relative humidity).
While increasing the humidity levels in your home to ensure that your dehumidifiers remove more moisture from the air does not make sense, increasing the temperature in your home to the recommended levels can ensure that your dehumidifier functions properly even during cold seasons.
A defective fan could be the reason why a dehumidifier stops collecting water. If you notice some weird noises coming from the dehumidifier, there is a likelihood that the movement of the fan has been blocked or restricted by dirt or something else that might have found its way inside the dehumidifier.
Solution: Vacuum Cleaning the Dehumidifier
If there is a bit of dirt lodged in the fan, you use a handheld vacuum cleaner to clean the dehumidifier. Regular cleaning of your dehumidifier using a handheld vacuum cleaner will prevent a long-term accumulation of dirt and dust particles in the dehumidifier, which will, in turn, improve the functionality of your dehumidifier.
If the fan has been damaged completely, either because the dehumidifier had been dropped, kicked, or something heavy was dropped on the dehumidifier and the impact affected its functionality, then vacuuming the dehumidifier might not help. In such cases, calling a professional to take a look at the extent of the damage would be a better approach.
Low Refrigerant Levels
The refrigerant is a chemical compound that is used in dehumidifiers, refrigerators, and fire suppression systems. It works by absorbing heat from the air within your home and cooling the air to a point where the water vapor in the air condenses and is collected as water.
If your dehumidifier has a compressor, coils, and a fan, then it uses refrigerant in its processing. Low refrigerant levels would mean that your dehumidifier will not be able to condense the humidity from the air.
Solution: Refilling the Refrigerant
Older dehumidifiers have a higher likelihood of having low refrigerant levels than recently purchased dehumidifiers. If your dehumidifier has low refrigerant levels then you can easily fix the problem by refilling the refrigerant.
If you suspect that this might be the problem or if you are unable to figure out the problem with your dehumidifier, contact a professional who can help you check whether the refrigerant needs to be refilled. After refilling your dehumidifier, the dehumidifier should work properly and be able to continue collecting water.
In cases where the dehumidifier you are using was fairly cheap, the cost of refilling the refrigerant plus paying the maintenance professional might be higher than the cost of buying a new dehumidifier.
Ensure that you inquire with the professional first to determine whether buying a new dehumidifier would be much cheaper than refilling the refrigerant in the old dehumidifier.
If a dehumidifier stops collecting water, it is possible that the capacitor in the compressor of the dehumidifier is defective. The role of the compressor in the dehumidifier is to rotate the refrigerant through the evaporator, which then promotes moisture extraction from the air.
The capacitor helps the motor of the compressor to start when the dehumidifier has been turned on. A professional can correctly diagnose the problem if the capacitor is defective.
Solution: Repairing the Capacitor
Asking a professional to help you examine the dehumidifier will help you determine if the capacitor is defective and if it needs to be fixed. Attempting to fix it yourself, could cause more harm than good.
An overload is a device in the compressor circuit that protects the motor in the compressor from damage. If the overload fails your dehumidifier will not run because the compressor will not start.
This means that your dehumidifier will stop collecting water. In most cases, the overload fails when the dehumidifier is being operated using undersized extension cords.
Solution: Multi-meter Test
You can use a multimeter to check the overload. If you are not conversant with using a multi-meter, request a professional or a person who knows how to repair electrical devices to check the dehumidifier for you.
Working with a professional can help you uncover additional problems that might be affecting the performance of your dehumidifier.
If the filter on your dehumidifier is dirty or clogged then the dehumidifier will not be able to collect water. The air drawn from your surroundings contains dirt particles that are usually trapped by the filter to prevent any damage.
If the filter is clogged, the air drawn from the air will not be able to pass through the filter, meaning that your dehumidifier will also not be able to condense the water molecules from the air.
Solution: Cleaning the Filter
Cleaning the filter could improve the functionality of your dehumidifier and increase the amount of water collected. If you are using a dehumidifier with washable filters, you should ensure that you clean the filters regularly based on the recommendations and guidelines provided by the manufacturer.
If your dehumidifier does not have washable filters, you should consider buying replaceable filters. You can buy the filters online or in retail stores that stock the same dehumidifier as the one you have in your home.
It is important to ensure that you match the filter that you buy to your specific type of dehumidifier.
Unless you have extensive experience with repairing refrigerants, repairing electrical devices, or you have a background in electrical engineering and related courses, it is advisable to consult a professional when all the simple solutions that we have discussed do not work.
If you notice that your dehumidifier stops collecting water, you should first check the temperature in your room and adjust it before considering the other options. In most cases, a dehumidifier stops collecting water because the temperature in the room is too low.
Always ensure that the temperature in your home is between 65 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit as extremely low temperatures can affect the performance of most dehumidifiers.