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DIY dehumidifier repair?


Zero Knievel
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I already called a local shop.  They are repairable, but the cost is prohibitive (might as well buy a new one).

 

So, yet another is on its way.  This time, I sprang for the extended warranty so I get a new one when it fails.  In recent years, a dehumidifier tends to last just over 2 years before it fails.

 

The failure, so far, is always the same.  Coils start icing up and it stops removing moisture effectively.  So, low on refrigerant, but units are not designed to be serviced.  Even an A/C unit needs to be checked and topped off every few years for optimal performance and leak detection/repair.

 

Still, I'm sick of tossing these into a landfill.  Does anyone make a DIY repair kit for a dehumidifier?  I suppose you'd have to install a line tap to add refrigerant to the sealed system.  I don't know of anyone who takes these in to dismantle and recycle the parts.

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In order to own a repairable unit that will give you 1000's of hours of use trouble free you are going to have to spend $1500.00+ 
My brothers company owned over 75 Dri-Eaz  model 1200's for over 20 years with only a hand full of repairs needed over the years.
Said repairs were quick, easy and low cost performed my me in the shop.
The cheap china made units at Lowes of the Depot are disposable only with a short life span.

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3 hours ago, Zero Knievel said:

Even an A/C unit needs to be checked and topped off every few years for optimal performance and leak detection/repair.

Woah horsey:
If ANY A/C unit needs to be "topped up" it's because it has a leak, it has nothing to do with optimal performance. Leak tests are only usually scheduled on systems larger than 5 tons, or if there's evidence of a leak. I have got 30-year-old units that have never leaked, and new units that have leaks from the factory, or from a poor installation.  Split A/C units that leak are almost always from the flare nut at the evaporator, it's why I braze the pipe, it cuts callbacks by 80%. 
Topping up refrigerant is NOT part of maintenance and with newer refrigerants shouldn't be done,  products like R-410A aren't homogeneous so if you've lost part of your charged amount, the best (and only) practice is to find and repair the leak, recover the entirety of refrigerant from the system, pull a vacuum test and or pressure test. Anyone who just tops up a system is just setting up for issues further down the line. 
As for dehumidifiers, small or portable A/C and domestic refrigerators, they're pretty much disposable because no-one wants to fix them, it's not worth it. 
 

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Buy the stuff on a credit card with extended warranty protection.  Call them when it fails.  Done.

 

But like Dave said, there are kits to add a valve to the "unserviceable" systems.  

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6 hours ago, John01XX said:

In order to own a repairable unit that will give you 1000's of hours of use trouble free you are going to have to spend $1500.00+ 
My brothers company owned over 75 Dri-Eaz  model 1200's for over 20 years with only a hand full of repairs needed over the years.
Said repairs were quick, easy and low cost performed my me in the shop.
The cheap china made units at Lowes of the Depot are disposable only with a short life span.

 

Yeah...I kind of figured that.  The cost of an industrial-grade unit would make sense if it's 100% serviceable.  I'm actually more bothered about tossing all this waste into a landfill because the unit's designed to fail within 5 years.

 

Are there brands that are highly recommended?

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On 6/3/2020 at 4:20 PM, Zero Knievel said:

 

Yeah...I kind of figured that.  The cost of an industrial-grade unit would make sense if it's 100% serviceable.  I'm actually more bothered about tossing all this waste into a landfill because the unit's designed to fail within 5 years.

 

 

You live in the south, why not just use air conditioning? It will not only dehumidify, but keep your place comfortable. a 12000BTU unit doesn't cost much more to operate than a humidifier. The bonus is if you get a "heat pump" you can use it to heat the space on cool  days. 

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1 hour ago, JoWhee said:

You live in the south, why not just use air conditioning? It will not only dehumidify, but keep your place comfortable. a 12000BTU unit doesn't cost much more to operate than a humidifier. The bonus is if you get a "heat pump" you can use it to heat the space on cool  days. 

 

In a way, we might...there is a duct from the AC that supplies the basement, BUT no return in the basement.  I'm not sure if that would be enough.  More so, we don't need AC in the basement.  So, I doubt the unit would cycle enough to do the job.

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On 6/3/2020 at 4:03 AM, Zero Knievel said:

Even an A/C unit needs to be checked and topped off every few years for optimal performance and leak detection/repair.

No.

 

And your "diagnosis" is an assumption, not a diagnosis.  I don't play with dehumidifiers, but it's basically the same as a refrigeration or AC unit.  Every time I've seen an iced condenser it was lack of air flow.

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Took the unit upstairs and ran it.  It cycled normally for a while and pulled moisture from the air.  Coils didn’t get that cold.  Compressor didn’t get that hot.  Humidity reading matched what another sensor upstairs registered.  Then it cycled on and stayed on.  Compressor got hot.  Coils started developing frost.  Nothing on the unit has replacement parts (that I can find online).  Casing was off with no sign of air flow restrictions.

 

There’s a recycling center in town that takes dehumidifiers.  I’ll drop it off there.  At least it won’t go into a landfill.

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If the basement has a window (being in the south Lord knows I hope it does) then throw a window unit in there.  It's not about the temperature, it's about recirculating the air.  Dumping an AC vent with no return is not fixing the problem as the damp air is now just damp COOL air.  Point is to remove the damp.  I have a dehumidifier in the garage but only because I got one for free.  It does a wonderful job of keeping the humidity down so I don't have to run the through-the-wall unit.  But if it takes a dump I'll just set the AC on 80 and let it cycle.

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3 hours ago, blackhawkxx said:

There are some window AC units that have a dehumidifier setting on it.  

That's usually just a slower fan speed, 

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  • 1 year later...

Not sure if it's a humidifier, it's more like a ventilation. It may be worth repairing your dehumidifier if the problem is minor and can be handled by an expert or by Do It Yourself (DIY). Furthermore, the price varies based on the type of unit. Dehumidifiers can cost anywhere from $50 to $200 to repair, depending on the problem. If this is not the case, then it's better, buying a new one. You could check this top from dehumidifiercritic of the 7 best dehumidifiers, and maybe you can choose which one suits you better.

Edited by Anthropus
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If it's icing the coils it's not a lack of refrigerant, it's a cycling problem. Your fridge would do the same if it just kept on cooling.

Put a timer in the circuit and it will work, it will ice the coils, shut off, the ice will melt, repeat.

Edited by OMG
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4 hours ago, OMG said:

If it's icing the coils it's not a lack of refrigerant, it's a cycling problem. Your fridge would do the same if it just kept on cooling.

Put a timer in the circuit and it will work, it will ice the coils, shut off, the ice will melt, repeat.


Good to know.  I doubt it would be fixable as the pressure switch is probably not serviceable, but worth a try.

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  • 1 month later...

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