Complete Guide for How to Fix a Dehumidifier

How to Fix a Dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is an appliance you can use in domestic and commercial settings to remove excess moisture from the air. In areas where humidity is high, a dehumidifier can be vital to preventing mold and condensation from forming, which can lead to serious health problems.

Although dehumidifiers are generally quite reliable, they can sometimes develop faults. This article will look at how to fix a dehumidifier, with some common issues you may encounter.

Moreover, if your dehumidifier isn’t working correctly, we will review several fixes to help fix the problem or find a solution.

Why Isn’t My Dehumidifier Working: Common Problems

Some common problems may be why your dehumidifier is not working. So, let’s take a look at these common issues:

  1. Humidity limit

Most dehumidifiers let you select your preferred humidity level. For instance, if you use a humidity level of 55%, the dehumidifier will collect moisture from the air until the humidity reaches 55%. After the humidity reaches your desired level, the dehumidifier stops working. It restarts the dehumidification process when the humidity rises.

Imagine accidentally selecting a much higher humidity level, such as 70%. But the actual humidity level in the room is 65%. In this case, even though the room’s humidity is higher than the recommended humidity level (45%), the dehumidifier will not work.

So, recheck your dehumidifier humidity level to ensure it is set correctly.

  1. Float switch stop working

The float switch malfunction could be why your dehumidifier is not collecting water. However, this problem does not arise with every dehumidifier. You have the possibility of facing this problem only if your dehumidifier is “Overflow Safe.” Simply put, your dehumidifier is designed to stop collecting water after the tank is complete; it is overflow-safe.

dehumidifier float switch
dehumidifier float switch

This overflow safety of a dehumidifier depends upon the float switch. But sometimes, when the float switch malfunctions, the dehumidifier gets a false alert. And then it stops to collect more water.

An easy way to solve this problem is:

  • Locate the float switch in your dehumidifier. It is usually near the water bucket.
  • Now, give the float switch a couple of taps.

If the switch is positioned downwards, congratulations, you have successfully reset it.

  1. Clogged drain pipe

Some dehumidifiers come with a drain pipe with them. And debris makes it easy for any drain pipe to get clogged. If your drain pipe is stopped, the water will not be drained out of the unit and will start building up inside the dehumidifier. 

dehumidifier clogged drain pipe
dehumidifier clogged drain pipe

Once enough water builds up, the float switch will be triggered, causing the unit to shut down. Half the solution is recognizing the problem. So once you’ve identified this, you can quickly unclog the pipe by using a vacuum or inserting a stick through it.

Why Is My Dehumidifier Not Collecting Water: Parts Failures

Dehumidifier part failure is one of the main reasons why dehumidifiers stop working. The following are some of the common part failure that you should look for:

  1. Low Temperature

Different dehumidifiers work within different temperature ranges. In other words, some are more suitable for working at low temperatures than others. For instance, most dehumidifiers can work within 60 to 80 Fahrenheit.

But how do you know that your dehumidifier is not collecting water due to low temperature? Look up the product listing on the manufacturer’s site and check the “Working Temperature Range.” Then check the weather to determine if the low temperature is the reason behind the issue.

PS: The operating temperature range may vary from brand to brand and even model to model. If you are looking for a low temperature dehumidifier for your garage, please check this list: Garage Dehumidifiers At Colder Temperatures

  1. Defrost Malfunction

When dehumidifiers work at low temperatures, the dehumidifier coil can quickly freeze. Most dehumidifiers designed to work at low temperatures are now equipped with a defrost function.

This feature can be manual or automatic, depending on the brand. The primary function of this feature is to warm up the dehumidifier coil so it can keep working even under low temperatures.

However, if the defrost mechanism has stopped working, it can lead to the dehumidifier malfunctioning. 

  1. Capacitor Problem

In every dehumidifier, there are two capacitors. One helps run the fan, while the other is responsible for the compressor functioning correctly.

Now, if both the intake and exhaust fan are working, the problem might be with the capacitor.

Dehumidifier Capacitor Problem
Dehumidifier Capacitor Problem

Dehumidifier capacitors can stop working for many reasons. But the most common reason among those is dust collection in the vent.

  1. Compressor Problem

The compressor of any dehumidifier is one of the essential parts of its design. The primary function of a compressor is to rotate the refrigerant through the coils. This way, the coil can turn the moisture in the atmosphere into liquid.

However, if the compressor is broken, the refrigerant will not circulate. And this results in the dehumidifier not collecting water.

Dehumidifier Compressor Problem
Dehumidifier Compressor Problem

One of the signs of a broken compressor is a clicking sound. You have caught the culprit if you hear your dehumidifier clicking every time you turn it on. 

  1. Faulty Fan

In a dehumidifier, the task is to draw the air from the room and get it into the dehumidifier. That air then goes through the condenser, where the condenser extracts the humidity from the air and turns it into water.

However, it won’t draw enough air if your dehumidifier fan is not running or running slowly. Hence the dehumidifier will not collect water.

Dehumidifier Faulty Fan
Dehumidifier Faulty Fan

Now, there are two possible cases of a faulty fan.

Broken Fan Blade: The dehumidifier fan blade is often fragile and easy to break. Turn it on with your hand to check if the edge is faulty. If it moves freely and looks intact, then it is okay.

Defective Fan Motor: If the fan blade is intact, but the fan still doesn’t work, the possible culprit is the fan motor. And this is caused by two reasons, lack of energy to the motor or faulty motor.

  1. Stuck Relay

A relay in a dehumidifier, or any other electronics, is an electrical switch that opens and closes circuits. This allows the electricity to flow and run the electronics.

However, as you may have guessed, if the relay of a dehumidifier is stuck and the circuit is constantly open, then the dehumidifier will not work.

  1. Control Board Issue

If you did not detect any of the abovementioned issues, it might indicate that the control board could be faulty. The control board in your unit contains several sensors that allow the dehumidifier to work correctly.

dehumidifier control board
dehumidifier control board

For instance, the humidity level detector detects the humidity level, and then the dehumidifier starts working.

Now, if this control board is not working, then the dehumidifier will not be able to detect the humidity level. Hence, neither will it work nor will it collect water.

How To Fix a Dehumidifier That Won’t Collect Water

If your dehumidifier is not working then there are some easy fix that might brought your dehumidifier back to life:

  1. Check error code

Most dehumidifiers send error codes to inform you about your dehumidifier’s issue. All you have to do is then fix that specific issue. However, as the error codes vary from brand to brand, you would have to search for what that code means.

Usually, the manufacturer posts the error code explanation on their official website. Or you may also find this list in the instruction manual.

Here are some of the common meanings of error codes:

  • High Refrigeration Pressure
  • Temperature Sensor Failure
  • Internal RH/Temperature Sensor open or shorted
  • Low Refrigerant
  • Insufficient Capacity
  • Float Switch Open
  • Inlet Air Temperature
  • Dew Point Out of Range
  1. Restart the Dehumidifier

As simple as it may sound, restraining your dehumidifier can sometimes solve the issue.

The best way to do this is:

  1. Turn off the dehumidifier power switch.
  2. Disconnect the dehumidifier from the switchboard.
  3. Wait for 30-60 seconds.
  4. Now, connect the electricity back and turn on the dehumidifier.
  5. Set the control settings according to your preferences.

Check if the dehumidifier is working.

  1. Check fan motor

If you have pinpointed that the fan motor has gone bad, you might wonder how to fix it. The answer may vary depending on the type of dehumidifier you have.

Start unplugging the appliance and removing the cover for a standard unit. Locate the fan motor near the back of the unit and check to see if it is loose or has any visible damage. If everything appears normal, reattach any loose wires and replace the cover before plugging in your dehumidifier and turning it on again.

If this doesn’t work, you might need to replace the fan motor altogether, but how to do that?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The fan motor’s replacement process depends on the dehumidifier’s specific model. However, replacing a dehumidifier fan motor should be relatively straightforward.

Many models will have access panels that allow you to quickly access and replace the existing fan motor with a new one. If your model does not have an access panel, you may need to disassemble the unit to reach the fan motor.

In either case, it is advisable to consult your owner’s manual or contact customer support for specific instructions on how to safely and effectively replace your particular model’s fan motor.

  1. Check compressor

The compressor issue is the most critical issue your dehumidifier can have. If you have replaced the capacitor and the overload is still tripping, the compressor is not working. It can be fatal as repairing a compressor is more expensive than getting a new dehumidifier altogether.

However, should you still wish to replace the compressor, here’s how to do it:

  1. Disconnect the power to the dehumidifier.
  2. Remove any screws securing the compressor cover, then remove the cover.
  3. Remove any wires or tubing attached to the old compressor, then carefully remove it from its mountings.
  4. Install the new compressor in reverse order of how you removed the old one, ensuring all connections are secure and tightened properly.
  5. Replacement Part

If you wish to replace some parts, please ensure you have experience working with boards, electricity, and HVAC devices. There is no definitive answer to where you can find the details. You must first ask yourself if you need OEM parts or third-party options.

The process for obtaining parts replacement will also vary depending on the manufacturer and model of your unit. However, contacting the customer service department of your dehumidifier’s manufacturer should be able to provide you with information regarding where to obtain replacement parts.

Additionally, many hardware stores or home improvement retailers may sell generic replacement parts that could work for your particular dehumidifier model. You can also search for details online with your unit’s model number and manufacturer name.

  1. Replacement A Dehumidifier

Sometimes, you may run into more than one issue. Replacing or fixing more than one part can be tricky. In some instances, replacing your unit is a better option than trying to fix all of the issues.

In such cases, you should try contacting the manufacturer’s helpline and inquire if a replacement would be possible. Most of the retailers that sell dehumidifiers also offer replacements.

More dehumidifiers you can get from here: Best dehumidifiers for your garage, RV, car etc.

  1. Find official customer service

Often, it is best to leave the repairs and replacement work to the professionals, especially if you do not have experience working with HVAC devices. So if you cannot figure out the issue, you should contact the manufacturer’s customer service. Most retailers have their customer service contact information on the owner’s manual. If not, an excellent place to start would be the customer service page on the manufacturer’s website.

Summary of A Dehumidifier Problem And Solusion

Dehumidifier Problem: Dehumidifier does not start

Problem Possible CausesHow To Fix
The dehumidifier is unpluggedMake sure the dehumidifier’s plug is pushed completely into the outlet.
Dehumidifier has reached its preset level or tank is fullThe dehumidifier automatically turns off when either condition occurs. Change to a lower setting or empty the tank and replace properly.
Tankis not in the proper positionThe tank must be in place and securely seated for the dehumidifier to operate
Power failureThere is a protective time delay (up to 3 minutes) to prevent tripping of the compressor overload. For this reason, the unit may not start normal dehumidifying for 3 minutes after it is turned back on.

Dehumidifier Problem: Dehumidifier does not dry the air as it should

Problem Possible CausesHow To Fix
Did not allow enough time to remove the moistureWhen first installed, allow at least 24 hours to maintain the desired dryness
Airflow is restrictedMake sure there are no curtains, blinds or furniture blocking the front or back of the dehumidifier. See the Choosing a Location section
Dirty filterSee the Care and Cleaning section
The Humidity Control may not be set low enoughFor drier air, press the “-” pad and set to a lower percent value (%) or at LAUNDRY for maximum dehumidification
Doors and windows may not be closed tightlyCheck all doors, windows and other openings are securely closed.
Clothes dryer may be blowing moisture-laden air into the roomInstall the dehumidifier away from the dryer. The dryer should be vented to the outside.
Room temperature is too lowMoisture removal is best at higher room temperatures. Lower room temperatures will reduce the moisture removal rate. Models are designed to be operated at temperatures above 5°C.

Dehumidifier Problem: Dehumidifier runs too much

Problem Possible CausesHow To Fix
Area to be dehumidified is too largeThe capacity of your dehumidifier may not be adequate.
Doors and windows are openClose all doors and windows to the outside.

Dehumidifier Problem: Frost appears on the coils

Problem Possible CausesHow To Fix
Dehumidifier has been recently turned on, or room temperature is below 5°C.This is normal. Frost will usually disappear within 60 minutes. See the Automatic Defrost section.

Dehumidifier Problem: Controls cannot be set

Problem Possible CausesHow To Fix
The compressor will turn off and the fan will automatically continue to run for approximately 3 minutes at a fixed setting.This is normal. Wait approximately 3 minutes and set the fan as desired.

Dehumidifier Problem: Fan noise

Problem Possible CausesHow To Fix
There is sound created when wind passing the unit. That is the sound of windThis is normal.

Dehumidifier Problem: Water on floor

Problem Possible CausesHow To Fix
Hose connection may be looseCheck the hose connection.See the Removing Collected Water section.
Intend to use the tank to collect water, but a hose is attached.Disconnect the hose if using the tank to collect water. See the Removing Collected Water section.
The unit may have been placed on an unever surfaceMove the dehumidifier onto another surface such as a table top to test. Use a spirit level to test levelness

If your dehumidifier isn’t working correctly, check the power source, air filter, and water level. With some troubleshooting, you should be able to get your dehumidifier up and running again.

With some troubleshooting, you should be able to get your dehumidifier up and running again.

If all else fails, some underlying issue might be causing the problem. The case can be with the capacitor, a stuck relay, float switch, tripped overload, faulty fan, or a bad compressor. Following the owner’s manual, you can identify and pinpoint the root cause. You can fix most of the fundamental problems relatively quickly. However, some fixes may require experience working with HVAC systems.

Sometimes, you may need to replace some part or the whole unit altogether. However, it is best to consult a professional technician if you cannot figure out what is wrong and what needs to be done. You should also contact customer support to get a resolution to your problems.


I am Johnson, welcome here. I love RV travel, and RV is more than simply a mode of travel for me, it is a way of life. But terrible humidity and mold destroy my freedom and happiness, so I started to share my own experiences and sources of dehumidifiers to generate even more value. You can find out more about my story here or follow me on Youtube if you wish. If the humidity is also trapped around you, the articles here will have some tips and suggestions and reviews of dehumidifier, hoping to help you and more people.

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