Possible to fix this dehumidifier?

I have a portable dehumidifier that’s a few years old. The fan will kick on but it won’t take any moisture out of the air. Is something like this fixable? I suppose there is some issue in the control circuitry. I have heard of cases where they need new capacitors, but have no idea if that’s the issue here. Any ideas of how to troubleshoot?

I think dehumidifiers work by chilling a coil, which causes moisture in the air to condense. If the chiller unit is not working, it will not precipitate any moisture. So it could be a freon issue, just like an air conditioner.

The capacitor you’re talking about might be the one for the compressor motor.

Is the compressor motor (not fan motor) running? Do the coils get chilled at all?

When I was growing up, we had a dehumidifier that worked for about 25 years. It had a metal case, was heavy as hell, no hose outlet (so you had to empty the bucket), was dirty and rusty but if you turned it on, it ran and the next day the bucket was full of water.

I bought the house from my parents, and inherited the dehumidifier.

About fifteen years ago, I saw a new dehumidifier on sale that was all clean and white and Energy Star rated, and decided to get it. It would be cleaner, quieter, and more efficient, and it had a hose so that I wouldn’t have to empty a bucket. Good bye old (still working) dehumidifier.

Worst decision I ever made.

I have been through about five dehumidifiers since then, maybe more. On average, they last about two seasons, and it takes another season for me to realize it is not drawing moisture out of the air anymore and then getting around to buying a new one the next spring, basically because it is so depressing spending a couple hundred dollars each time.

I am pretty sure it is a question of the refrigerant having leaked out. I assume the coils are made just well enough to last out the warranty.

My latest is a Toshiba. I am hopeful that it will last longer just out of some Japanese engineer’s misguided dedication to quality over creating demand for replacement unit sales. We’ll see.

Your problem could many different things. Loose wire, capacitor failure, compressor motor failure, control failure, and more. The unit will have to be tested out to find the trouble.

This is only tangentially related to the thread topic, but is it possible (practicable) to use a Peltier-based cooling unit in a dehumidifier rather than one that relies on a refrigeration cycle?

A) Yes, it is possible.
B) It is incredibly inefficient. A typical compressor driven dehumidifier uses on average 15% of the power it would take to do the same thing with Peltier devices.

– Aside…
Peltier devices are neat novelties, but completely impractical probably 98% of the time due to their energy requirements, and the delta-t requirements across them.

This my experience too, I’m on my third one and I actually have two in this non-working condition. I hate to just trash them–I don’t like loading up landfills with things that can be fixed.

It cost me about $200. If I have to have a professional test and repair it, the cost could easily exceed that.

I was hoping for some DIY guidance for someone who knows how to use a wrench, a screwdriver, a soldering iron, and a multimeter. But if this needs a pro–landfill here I come.

Without knowing what is wrong other than it is not working can not give you any advice on where to look.

I had similar situation and the repair guy told me to scrap it. He said in 90% of the time where the tubes don’t get cold, it’s a coolant leak. He has to dissemble the unit, disconnect the tubing, pressure test the tube, find the leak. Hope the leak’s in a place he can solder it. If it was, he then put’s it back together and then adds new refrigerant. Way more than the cost of the new unit. If he couldn’t repair the tube, you still paid him for what he’d done and the unit is garbage anyway. Alternatively, the parts & labour to immediately replace the tubes was as much as a new unit.

@cooking with gas - you sound like my dad :). He hated to toss anything. After he passed away and I was cleaning his basement workshop, I found two broken dehumidifiers plus a broken humidifier. I can remember the humidifier breaking when I was a kid 40 years ago!

He also switched their house to a breaker panel 20 years ago, but still had a big box of old fuses! Not to mention the box of metal golf-shoe spikes 15 years after they were banned by all the courses in our area! :confused: I miss the old fella.

BTW- As far as “landfilling” the unit goes: where we live in Canada, we can drop off at a municipal recycling centre, where they’re sold to a scrap metal recycler. If you don’t want to drive to the drop off, they actually recommend you leave it on your front lawn because metal dealers will drive by on garbage days and pick the units up themselves. Our broken fridge was picked up in about 3 hours.

:slight_smile: I will not keep these for 40 years :slight_smile: I do try to fix things. These days, though, stuff is made so cheaply it is often more economical to just toss it and buy another. But I hate to throw away something when I know I can fix it. My wife is always on me when I say I can fix something. She says, “Yeah, but you don’t have time.”

I threw away a 40" flat screen TV because the power supply went bad. I spent two months trying to find a replacement before I finally gave up. Fixing it myself would have been worth it, but I bought it on sale at Target and it wasn’t worth paying a technician to fix it.

Search for some Youtube videos.

How much would a replacement cost?


Do you have a name and model number for the device? It’s rather difficult to formulate a precise opinion without more details.