Occasionally you might notice your dehumidifier not working as it used to. You may see it taking longer to do the job, running for hours on end, and still not soaking up all the moisture from the air.
This, along with several other factors, indicate that maybe it might be time to recharge your dehumidifier. Recharging a dehumidifier isn't as straightforward as recharging car batteries, as it requires certain gases to be used and other chemical components.
We will examine what to look for to check whether you need to recharge it, briefly how it is done, and how to keep your dehumidifier in good condition so that all its components are looked after, thus prolonging the machine's life. Read on for some handy tips!
Which Types of Dehumidifiers Can Be Recharged?
Most of us own a refrigerated or desiccated type of humidifier, as these are the two most common types available on the market. These two are rechargeable, but any other type of dehumidifier may not respond to being recharged.
A refrigerant dehumidifier works by allowing warm air to cool onto the cold coils then releases warm, dry air out of the unit. A desiccant type, on the other hand, works by absorbing the moist air using silica beads rather than using condensation.
Both units require recharging for them to continue being effective. Still, you need to know when to recharge them, as doing it too often can reduce the overall lifespan of your dehumidifier.
When To Recharge Your Dehumidifier?
The first step of fixing a problem is to know when it occurs. Here are the signs that indicate that your dehumidifier needs recharging:
- No Dry Air: If the air leaving your machine isn't warm, dry air, and you still feel excess moisture, that means the unit’s cooling function isn't working correctly and may need to be recharged.
- No Condensing/Empty Tank: If the unit’s water tank is empty while it's running, that means that the air entering the unit isn't cooling properly; this indicates that the coolant is tired and needs recharging.
- Light Indicator: Many dehumidifiers have a handy indicator light that'll tell you if your dehumidifier needs recharging.
- Fan and Motor Check: Check if the fan and motor are functioning how they used to. Although it might not necessarily mean that you need a recharge, it could be an indicator for it.
- No Change in Humidity Levels: If your unit is running yet it feels continuously humid in your area of space, or you have a humidity indicator that's showing no change in levels, then your unit’s charge may be low.
Coolant Replacement Types
You'll need a coolant replacement for recharging the dehumidifier that has to be filled inside the unit by opening it up. For the two types of dehumidifiers we mentioned earlier, there exist two types of coolant replacements:
- The refrigerant dehumidifier - Puron R410A: This uses a methane-based gas coolant that is environmentally friendly, so don't be alarmed after reading methane!
- The desiccant dehumidifier - Silica Gel: This type doesn't require a replacement but just a recharge plug-in. You'll need to plug your unit into a socket and wait till the beads have changed color. The silica beads will be heated, causing the silica desiccant to dry out, allowing them to be reused and soak in moisture again.
How to Recharge Your Dehumidifier
It is advised that you seek professional help to replace your coolant and recharge your unit because of the dangerous chemicals and gases that need to be used. We recommend contacting a professional to replace the coolant for you.
The engineer will remove the valve cover, remove any excess air using a pipe, and tighten the valves' connection. The coolant level on the gauge indicates how much is left; the engineer will replenish with coolant gas until the gauge shows enough. The valve will be closed then, and the dehumidifier can then safely be reused.
Read more: How do you add refrigerant to a dehumidifier?
How to Ensure the Recharge Lasts Long
Along with recharging your dehumidifier, you should also take the following measures to keep the dehumidifier working to its best capacity and not mistake its bad working order for unnecessary recharges.
- Try to keep your unit away from furniture and walls so that the machine can take in the moist air properly and then release it without obstructions.
- Keep it on a surface that's even so that there isn't a compromise on how much moist air can be taken in.
- Close your home’s windows and doors when your dehumidifier is running. Or else, it will just run unnecessarily, using more electricity than needed.
Cleaning the Water Tank
Usually, we just empty the water from the tank and think that's enough. But this doesn't disinfect the tank from potential bacteria, mold, and mildew that may collect. Even if the tank looks clean, ensure you clean it occasionally with soap and water, dry it out, and reuse it.
Replacing the Air Filter
Air filters in dehumidifiers work to remove harmful particles of air that can prevent allergens in your home environment. If the filter is clogged, then air can't move through it easily, causing it to overwork the machine.
Replacing the filter frequently helps protect the longevity of the other components, like the coolant. You can replace the air filter according to the manufacturers' instructions.
Switching the Dehumidifier On and Off
Try not to turn the machine on and off immediately. Give 10 minutes between switching it off and then on again to allow the pressure in the unit to stabilize. This will prevent long-term damage to the compressor and coolant.
Switching it on and off quickly can cause the system’s insides to overheat and maybe even short-circuit while also not creating the best conditions for removing moisture as the unit wasn't given enough time to fully evaporate the moisture it'd sucked in.
Remember that you can always purchase dehumidifiers with delayed start functions to prevent damage.
Cleaning Air Inflow and Outflow Grilles
Like the air filter, it's essential to clean the grills. Dirty inflow and outflow grills prevent good dehumidifier performance and can sometimes be mistaken for a faulty coolant that needs a recharge.
You can do this easily using a vacuum brush attachment that can suck up dust and other fragments. It's a job often not done, but it will definitely be worthwhile.
What If Recharging Doesn't Work?
If your machine is under warranty, the first thing you can do is to contact the manufacturer and explain the issues you are having. You can do this even before recharging so that they can explain the best procedure, and it could save you money.
If your dehumidifier is not under warranty, then you can still contact your manufacturer and request the maintenance guide for the model you have. You can follow the steps above but then also check the following:
- Check the coils inside; if they're covered in dirt and dust, that might be causing the problem. Use care and vacuum the dust off the coils.
- Check the fan and the sound it's making. If it's irregular and there's a rattling sound, different from how it was before, then check the screws. They might need tightening, or one could be missing.
- There might be a fault with the compressor. This is hard to tell, and you might need a professional to confirm whether the problem is coming from there. So if you've checked the previous two points, as well as the general maintenance above, and if your machine hasn't responded to recharging, then the compressor could be the issue, and you'll need to have a technician to assess the situation.
It's challenging to recharge a dehumidifier yourself as it's not as straightforward as other appliances. If you happen to have a desiccant dehumidifier, you can do this easily by plugging in your unit and letting the silica beads heat up. But if you have the other refrigerant kind, you will need a professional to replace your coolant.
Recharging your dehumidifier shouldn't have to be done often, and doing it unnecessarily can cause more damage than good. Therefore, you must check the factors indicated above to know whether you need a recharge. Equally, it's also necessary not to disregard needing to recharge your dehumidifier, as this can cause issues.
Along with recharging, to make sure that your dehumidifier runs efficiently, the steps above, such as good cleaning routines, can make a lot of difference to how your machine runs.
Lastly, when recharging doesn't work, checking out the technicalities, such as the fans and coils, may solve the issues you're having with the dehumidifier.