Do Dehumidifiers Need To Be Maintained & Serviced?

Dehumidifiers are electrical appliances that can have a number of moving parts, as well as contain a range of filters that can help to purify the air going through it.

These components may need different levels of maintenance and servicing to help keep a dehumidifier operating well.

One of the most important upkeep services for dehumidifiers is routine cleaning, in particular filters that may need cleaning every few weeks or months. In addition, issues such as fan blades bending and compressor malfunctioning may arise over time and parts may need to be replaced, including the filters.

Ongoing maintenance of dehumidifiers can often to undertaken at home with a few tools and some basic appliance knowledge.

While our dehumidifier isn’t too old, there hasn’t been anything wrong with it so far and no parts have had to be replaced.

We have however followed the maintenance schedule of cleaning out the filters and replacing them as and when required.

Dehumidifier HEPA Filter
The filters inside our dehumidifier that need to be cleaned and/or replaced as part of ongoing maintenance and servicing

Let’s take a deep dive into how to service, clean, and maintain a dehumidifier during its lifespan.

Why Service Dehumidifiers?

The main purpose of a dehumidifier is to trap excess moisture from the air.

This can be beneficial as too much moisture will result in bacteria growth, mold, unwanted smells, and more. The dehumidifier will take any collected moisture and store it in a bucket or drain through a hose.

The dry air with the removed moisture will be released back into your room. This will decrease the overall moisture in the air. Of course, this is not an easy process, which is why servicing your dehumidifier is a must.

Over time, you may find that your dehumidifier is not working as well as it once was, this is often due to underlying issues or lack of cleaning.

If you realize your dehumidifier is not as good as it once was, you will want to complete the traditional servicing needs. A great place to start is with a proper cleaning.

How Often Should A Dehumidifier Be Cleaned And Serviced?

Dehumidifiers should always be cleaned and serviced at intervals outlined by the manufacturer within the owner’s manual. Cleaning and replacements of filters may be every few weeks or months, depending on usage, while more onerous cleaning may be required at the end of every season.

We’re required to replace the HEPA filter in our dehumidifier after about 3 months.

Dehumidifier HEPA Filter

We’re also asked to clean the carbon filter every couple of months and replace it every 3-6 months.

Dehumidifier Carbon Filter

Our owner’s manual also requests that we undertake end of season maintenance by undertaking a more rigorous cleaning process.

How To Service A Dehumidifier Through Cleaning

Just like most appliances around your home, your dehumidifier has several components that can develop buildup over time.

You will want to clean these components regularly or you may notice that there is an excess of dirt and other debris.

In fact, dehumidifiers can quickly build up with mildew, mold, and bacteria.

Dehumidifier Drain Channel
Mold starting to accumulate above the water tank

When your dehumidifier is not clean, it can release bacteria filled air back into your home.

This will essentially defeat the purpose of the device all together. You’ll want to clean out your dehumidifier regularly to ensure that it is running smoothly, and no nasty gunk is building up.

To clean your dehumidifier well, follow these steps:

  • Reference the manual that came with your dehumidifier before you ever start the process. You’ll want to ensure that you are maintaining the appliance properly. The best place to start is by removing the tank that holds the excess water.
  • Next, clean the tank that holds the water removed from the room. You will want to not only rinse the tank out but give it a good scrub with a cleaning solution as well. A good solution to use is one part vinegar to one part water.
  • Spray the tank down with the vinegar mix or a similar cleaning mix. Allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping it out. Scrub off the cleaner with a sponge or brush, repeating the process if needed.
  • After this, you will clean the filter and coils on the device. You will want to use some type of soft bristle brush to scrub over these parts, adding a cleaner if needed. Once you give the coils and filter a good scrub, rinse them with water making sure to keep water out of the motor.
  • The fan blades of the dehumidifier will also need cleaned. By using a damp cloth, you can wipe the blades and remove dust, dirt, or debris that may have built up. You can also add a few drops of motor oil to the fan shaft to re-lubricate it if you choose.
  • If you notice a buildup of dust or dirt on the interior of the dehumidifier, reach for your vacuum attachment. A vacuum hose is a great way to rid the corners of the device of dirt. You can often get out any extra grime by simply using the vacuum.
  • Allow your device to dry completely once you have it cleaned thoroughly. After drying, put the pieces back together and plug the machine back into a power source. If you have done this process properly, your dehumidifier should work well.

You should be cleaning your dehumidifier regularly, at least once every couple of weeks.

Many professionals recommend cleaning every single week. If you struggle with the process, you may want to consult a professional for a deep clean.

How To Maintain Your Dehumidifier

Cleaning your dehumidifier is the first step to ensuring it remains working properly. However, this is not the only issue that can arise with your dehumidifier.

You’ll want to ensure that you are using it properly and doing your best to maintain the device.

  • Always check the placement – You should never place the dehumidifier closer than six inches from any wall. If you place your dehumidifier closer, it can cause the air intake or exhaust to be blocked. This can lead to malfunctions or overheating of internal components.
  • Ensure it is the right temperature – Your home should never be lower than 65 degrees F as this can cause damage to your dehumidifier. If your home is lower than this, it can cause the device to freeze up or even burn up the motor. Some dehumidifiers are designed for lower temperatures, but always make sure beforehand.
  • Protect your compressor – A common issue is if the dehumidifier is turned off and back on very quickly. This can cause the compressor to overheat and malfunction. You will want to give your device at least 10 minutes in between turning it off and back on.
  • Adjust the humidity – Each dehumidifier is equipped with a humidistat, which controls the humidity levels of the room. The ideal humidity for most devices is between 40% and 60%. This will offer optimum comfort and keep the device effective.
  • Regularly replace the filter – Each dehumidifier comes with an air filter which helps clear the dust from the air. This should be replaced often to ensure the appliance is protected from these outside particles. You will want to check your manual to see the frequency of replacement needed.
Dehumidifier Filters Removed
Our dehumidifier after the filters have been removed for cleaning and/or replacement

By regularly maintaining your dehumidifier, you are less likely to see major issues and extend the life of your device.

When To Seek Professional Help?

If you are not very appliance savvy, then it may be best to consult a professional from the get-go. However, with some base knowledge, you can do a simple servicing at home with a few basic tools.

Smaller dehumidifiers should need their tank changed very regularly. If you find that your dehumidifier is not getting much water in the tank, especially during muggier days, it is probably not working properly. You will want to start by giving your device a deep cleaning.

After cleaning the device, some other important steps you can take to try to repair your dehumidifier are:

  • Tighten the screw on the fan shaft as this can slip over time.
  • If the fan motor seems to have slowed, it may need replaced. Pay attention to how fast it is turning and how quickly it spins up when it turns on.
  • Check your fan blades, as these can get bent over time. Bent blades can actually damage the motor and will need replaced. You can often find these at appliance stores, just make sure you get the correct model number.
  • Another issue is that the humidistat is faulty. This can also be replaced. Just disconnect the humidistat and look for a model number, then order the part online.

If you try all of these things and your dehumidifier is still not working, you will want to seek professional help.

Service Your Dehumidifier Regularly

You’ll want to maintain your dehumidifier regularly by completing routine servicing.

The most important thing to remember is that your device needs cleaned every couple of weeks in line with the manufacturer’s guidelines, and lack of cleaning can lead to malfunction, so that’s the most important servicing you can provide.

Other mechanical issue can often be fixed at home, but if you are ever unsure of what you are doing then it’s best to take it to a professional.

Further Reading

Why Your Dehumidifier Is Leaking And How To Fix

Does A Dehumidifier Make A Room Warmer Or Cooler?

Does A Dehumidifier Make Distilled Water?