Like any electronic appliance, dehumidifiers do need maintenance from time to time, even if they seem as if they are running well without any special attention from you.
Here is a quick guide to keeping your dehumidifier at peak performance (which is important when you realize that a dehumidifier uses twice as much energy as a refrigerator, on average about 10% of your power bill!).
Place your dehumidifier at least six inches from the wall
This ensures proper air intake and exhaust, which will keep your machine running efficiently. Make sure that nothing will block the air flow to or out of your machine. This will compromise its performance and can lead to overheating. You will also want to keep doors and windows closed to the space where your machine is working so that it does not have to keep extracting moisture from air that is entering from outside its area.
Set your humidistat carefully
You don’t want to set this number too low. If you do, your machine will be working non-stop to extract moisture from the air, when in fact a 50% setting is fine for comfortable living and non-musty conditions. If you set this number too low, the air will become too dry and your machine will work too long and hard. If you want to determine the proper level of humidity in the space that you are seeking to dry out, obtain a hygrometer and check the levels to decide what is acceptable for you.
Replace or wash the filter regularly
Most dehumidifiers have filters that remove dust and allergens from the air. Check the manufacturer’s recommended replacement or washing schedule and follow it. Most call for replacement or washing of the filter once per year.
Clean the tank from time to time
Just because you are emptying the tank does not mean that it is clean. Use soap, water and/or a disinfectant to keep it from becoming a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Clean the tank monthly. It would be a sad irony if your dehumidifier became a source of mold and mildew in your air! If you are using a drain hose, check it every month to make sure that it is draining properly and not experiencing any blockage.
Don’t burn out the compressor
You can avoid frying your unit’s compressor by waiting at least 10 minutes to turn your machine on after it has been turned off. This time will allow the pressure in the system to equalize. Turning a dehumidifier on and off too rapidly can cause the compressor to overheat and/or trip your circuit.
Check condenser coils for frost or ice
The cooling coils in your machine can develop frost or ice if used in cooler temperatures (under 60 degrees Fahrenheit), hurting the efficiency of those parts. To check these coils, unplug the machine and look inside it to see if there is ice or frost on the coils. If there is, you will need to raise the temperature in the room where you are using the machine to keep these coils warmer. You can buy models with an auto-defrost function to eliminate the possibility of this happening.
Clean the air intake and exhaust grills
Inspect these grills occasionally and clean them if necessary. You can use a vacuum brush for this and keep dust and debris out of your machine.