Why Your Dehumidifier Isn’t Collecting Water

Dehumidifiers are extremely useful appliances that help keep rooms free of allergens and improve breathability. Excess humidity in the air is extracted by dehumidifiers and stored as water in a tank integrated into the appliance.

If a dehumidifier isn’t collecting water then your dehumidifier will need to be looked at or undergo some repairs.

A dehumidifier that’s not collecting water can be due to a water tank that’s full and needs to be emptied, parts that need to be cleaned, there’s an issue with the coils on a refrigerant dehumidifier, the moisture level in the room is already too low or has been set too high.

There are various reasons why a dehumidifier may stop collecting water, but most of these issues can be easily fixed.

When our dehumidifier stopped collecting water it was due to a blocked inlet into the water tank and simply needed cleaning to resolve the issue.

Dehumidifier Drain Channel
Something as simple as a blocked water tank inlet can be the reason for a dehumidifier not collecting water

Keep reading to learn why your dehumidifier is not collecting water and the steps you can take to fix your water collection problems.

Common Dehumidifier Issues That Cause Water To Stop Collecting

There are a few things that can lead to your dehumidifier to stop collecting water. It could be as simple as the setting you have dialed into it or something a little more complicated like the coils freezing over.

You’ll want to take into consideration what kind of dehumidifier you’re using and then diagnose the problem from there.

Luckily it shouldn’t require a trip to the hardware store and so this is what you should be looking for:

  • Your moisture level should be the first thing you check. This determines whether the dehumidifier is doing its intended task. It could simply be that there’s not enough moisture in the air to collect, or it has already collected all it needs to in order to reach the target humidity.
At low humidity it can be much harder for a dehumidifier to collect moisture from the air
  • Your dehumidifier’s tank is full. Dehumidifiers collect moisture and store it as water in a tank. You should regularly check to see if the tank is full, especially after prolonged use.
Dehumidifiers are typically equipped with an indicator light to let you know that the water tank is full
  • This only applies to refrigerant dehumidifiers, but it could be an issue with the coils. The coils cool the hot, humid air down and extract the water. The coils are what cool the air down, so make sure they’re working properly.

If your dehumidifier isn’t collecting water, then you may need to take apart your dehumidifier to see what’s going on inside. This is especially true for desiccant dehumidifiers, as they have fewer parts and are typically simpler machines

Desiccant dehumidifiers use a desiccant wheel to extract moisture, so if there’s a problem with water collection it usually has to do with the wheel.

Our desiccant dehumidifier that uses a desiccant wheel to extract moisture

Alternatively, refrigerant dehumidifiers work by cooling the air and condensing it using coils. If there’s an issue with a refrigerant dehumidifier, then there is most likely an issue with the coils.

Our refrigerant dehumidifier that uses refrigerant and coils to extract moisture from the air

There isn’t one singular reason why your dehumidifier may stop collecting water, but all the reasons center around the same principle.

By quickly identifying what’s wrong, you can usually get your dehumidifier up and running in no time.

Check Your Dehumidifiers Moisture Level

The process in which your dehumidifier operates may help you understand the problem in the event of it not collecting moisture.

For refrigerant dehumidifiers, for example, if placed in a hot room, it will collect the moisture from the dense, humid air with a fan and effectively “squeeze” this moisture out of the air by cooling it down with coils. These coils will drop the moisture into a tank located in your dehumidifier.

If your dehumidifier stopped collecting this moisture, the first thing you want to check is the moisture level or the humidity percentage.

If the target humidity is already reached, then a dehumidifier won’t collect any further water.

You may have just set the humidity percentage too high when it needed to be lower.

It’s typically recommended that humidity should be set to around 30%-50%.

If your dehumidifier stopped collecting water and the air is still uncomfortable, look at this first and make sure you just simply didn’t set it incorrectly.

Most dehumidifiers will have this openly on display for you to monitor.

The current humidity in the room is displayed at the top of our dehumidifier

On the other hand, it may have something to do with the temperature. If the temperature changes a lot, it may have trouble keeping up.

Check If Your Dehumidifier Is At Capacity

Your dehumidifier collects the moisture in the air and stores it away in a tank connected to the appliance internally or externally.

  • Every dehumidifier has a certain capacity. if the moisture levels are ideal, the next step is to check the capacity of your dehumidifier.
  • If it’s full, simply empty it and let it continue to operate. If it’s not full and the air feels breathable, then it’s likely working as intended.

If the tank is full of moisture and the air still feels thick, humid, or otherwise uncomfortable, then it is more than likely an issue with the amount your dehumidifier can currently hold.

This will be easy to spot and can usually be solved in one of two ways:

  • Finding a way to increase the size of the tank or setting up continuous drainage.
Dehumidifier Water Level
There’s a slot at the top of the water tank on our dehumidifier for a hose to set up continuous drainage
  • Changing the type or model of dehumidifier you are using to one with a larger capacity tank.

Again, your local HVAC service can help you out.

It’s important to reiterate that some of the air that your dehumidifier is taking moisture from could be carrying dust mites or mold, so the tank should be emptied regularly anyway.

Refrigerant Dehumidifiers May Have Frozen Coils

If you’re using the more complicated types of dehumidifiers, the refrigerant variety, then it may be an issue with the coils.

These coils act as the sole cooling source to drive the moisture out of the air. Depending on how hard it is working, these coils could freeze over, which will cause them to stop working.

Luckily, most of these machines have a defrost feature built into them.

If time continues to go by and the ice is still there, then you need to shut your dehumidifier off immediately and let it thaw on its own.

If the temperature is already pretty low, you should let it rest anyway unless you need to make the air very dry for a specific reason. Either way, if the problem persists, maybe look at the owner’s manual and double-check what the manufacturer suggests.

Why Is My Dehumidifier Not Collecting Water?

A dehumidifier may stop collecting water at times, but issues with water collection can usually be sorted quickly and efficiently.

Common issues that lead to a dehumidifier not collecting water include a tank that’s already full, a target humidity that’s already been reached, the moisture level in the room that’s already very low, or the air temperature is too low for a refrigerant dehumidifier to work effectively.

Further Reading

What Should I Set My Dehumidifier At?

Why Your Dehumidifier Keeps Shutting Off

How Much Water A Dehumidifier Should Collect In A Day

Do Dehumidifiers Need To Be Emptied?