11 Reasons Why Your Dehumidifier is Not Collecting Water

Dehumidifier not collecting water? It can be alarming, but a few quick fixes and your dehumidifier can be in working order in a jiffy.

Some reasons why your dehumidifier isn’t collecting water are:

  • float switch is stuck
  • drain pipes are clogged
  • air filter is dirty
  • coils are dirty
  • evaporator coils are blown
  • compressor is damaged
  • bad capacitors
  • fan motor is dead
  • faulty electric board
  • refrigerant fluid is low
  • dehumidifier is the wrong size

Below you’ll find out how to diagnose each of these problems and how to fix your dehumidifier not collecting water.

Let’s get started.

11 Fixes for a Dehumidifier Not Collecting Water

1. Float switch is stuck

The float switch is what turns off your dehumidifier when the water collection tank is full.

Once the water reaches a certain level, the float switch disconnects from the control board.

This is to ensure your dehumidifier does not continue collecting water once the tank is full.

The easiest way to fix this is by first emptying the tank.

If that does not work, your float switch may be stuck.

Check the inside area of where your collection tank goes and locate the float switch.

Move the float switch around if possible, if not, you may need to apply some force so it moves back down.

If whatever you do doesn’t work, you’ll need to find a replacement part so that your dehumidifier can collect water properly again.

2. Drain pipes are clogged

If you are using a drain pipe or a garden hose to empty your dehumidifier, they may be clogged.

Check if you have a good connection with the garden hose, if the connection is loose, then take a pair of pliers and make sure to tighten it.

If the hose is pushed into a drain, it should not be touching water.

If it is, it will no longer drain.

Leave the drain pipe/garden hose just above the water line.

If you can’t position your hose in this fashion because it’s too long, you can cut the end of your drain pipe that isn’t attached to your dehumidifier.

If your garden hose is old, you can try replacing it.

You can manually unclog it with a stick, snake or anything long that can go inside your drain pipe.

If after all of these steps you haven’t been able to fix the clogged drains, then it may be time to look into a new drain pipe.

3. Air filter is dirty

If the air filter is so dirty that the air blowing out cannot escape, then your dehumidifier will stop working.

Most dehumidifier filters are washable, so take it out according to your manufacturer’s specifications and then give it a good cleaning.

You need to position your dehumidifier in a way that the air flow isn’t blocked either.

Keep your dehumidifier a foot away from any furniture and walls so it has breathing room.

4. Coils are dirty

Dehumidifier coils can get dirty over time as they work to dehumidify the air coming in.

They can have grime and dust build up from what isn’t caught from the air filter.

This is normal, but if you don’t do proper dehumidifier maintenance it can be a reason why your dehumidifier stops collecting water.

Unplug your dehumidifier, and then take the grille off.

Take a can of compressed air and clean as much as the pet hair, dander and dust that you can manage. You can also use an air compressor hose if you have one.

You can purchase coil cleaner to help aid in this process if your coils are extremely dirty.

Remember to wash your air filter often to ensure that your dehumidifier operates in optimal conditions.

5. Evaporator coils are frozen

If your dehumidifier is operating in above 65F temperatures and the coils are frozen, it’s indicative of the blower wheel or fan blade being broken.

If you’re running your dehumidifier below 65F and it’s not rated for temperature fluctuation, then you should not run your dehumidifier whatsoever.

Not every dehumidifier can operate below 65F without being damaged.

Check the relative humidity level if that is the case, as you may not need to use a dehumidifier in low temperature conditions.

If you unplug and open your dehumidifier and notice that there is nothing blocking the blower wheel and fan blade, then they may need to be replaced.

Try to rotate them manually to see if they can move freely before turning them back on.

If they won’t move, you should look into repair parts for your dehumidifier.

6. Compressor motor is overloaded

If your compressor motor is having issues, your entire dehumidifier will cease to function.

It circulates refrigerant fluid through the coils and if it has any issues or frost start to develop, your dehumidifier will be overloaded.

Dehumidifiers have an overload switch that will automatically shut down your compressor motor, preventing damage.

If your dehumidifier doesn’t do anything when you try to turn it on, your overload switch may be flipped.

Check your manual and reset your overload device.

If there is a short circuit somewhere on your dehumidifier, it may just keep turning on the overload switch.

If you find that is the case, a faulty compressor may be the reason why your dehumidifier stops collecting water.

7. Capacitors are bad

If you’ve verified that your dehumidifier is working in its ideal environment and is still not collecting water, the capacitor that controls the compressor circuit may have failed.

If your compressor doesn’t run at all and the overload device continues to reset, then a defective capacitor is a common reason why refrigerant dehumidifiers stop working.

8. Fan motor is dead

A dehumidifier removes humidity when moist air flows through the dehumidifier onto cold coils.

If your fan motor is not working, then your dehumidifier will stop collecting water. Check if you have adequate airflow coming from your dehumidifier.

If the filter and grille are clean, and the fan is not restricted with pet dander, dust or lint and you don’t feel any air moving, then your fan motor is likely dead.

You can try running your dehumidifier on fan only mode to verify if this is the case.

If your fan motor does not rotate or only rotates slowly only for a few moments, you will need to bring your dehumidifier to a technician to be serviced.

9. Electronic Control Board is Faulty

Dehumidifiers have an electronic control board that lets the unit communicate with the compressor and fan motor.

If your control board’s sensors fail, then it will no longer be able to sense the relative humidity and won’t turn on.

The only way to test if your electronic board is faulty is by using a multi-meter.

If your dehumidifier’s board is broken, then it won’t be able to turn your dehumidifier on/off.

10. Refrigerant fluid is low

If the refrigerant fluid is low, then your dehumidifier will not be able to cool and condense the humid air in your home.

The coils are tightly sealed, but as time goes on tiny cracks can form leading to a refrigerant fluid leak.

Your dehumidifier will not be able to collect water as the low refrigerant fluid will keep it from functioning properly.

Sadly, you’ll need to consult with an HVAC technician to see if they can refill the refrigerated coils.

If you have cracks in your coils, then fixing the problem may not be worth it as it can leak again in the future.

Consider purchasing a new dehumidifier if that’s the case.

11. Wrong sized dehumidifier

If you purchased a dehumidifier that’s too big for your space, it may not work properly.

Check the amount of excess moisture your dehumidifier can remove and verify it’s the proper size for your room.

How do I know if my dehumidifier compressor is working?

If the indicator light on your dehumidifier is on, then it should indicate the compressor is working.

If your dehumidifier is on but nothing is happening and you don’t hear any noises, the compressor may be faulty.

Are dehumidifiers worth repairing?

Your skills will determine if your dehumidifier is worth repairing.

If you don’t know how to read voltages and work your way around the inner workings of a dehumidifier, you shouldn’t attempt to fix the problem yourself.

If you have a commercial dehumidifier, then servicing your dehumidifier would make sense.

If your dehumidifier is only around the $1-200 range, then it may not be worth troubleshooting at all past simple fixes like cleaning the coils and changing the air filter.

Final Thoughts

Your dehumidifier not collecting water can be a cause for concern. If you’ve tried troubleshooting all the methods and can’t figure out what the problem is, either take it to a licensed technician or look for a replacement.

We have a variety of dehumidifier buying guides for apartments, quiet, bathroom, and even garages.

Image credit: Flickr.com

About Roy Cohen

Roy Cohen has a burning passion for heating, cooling, and ventilation. He aims to help you save money on expensive repairs and bring you the best HVAC products. He has years of experience behind him in HVAC repair and garage maintenance.

You can find Roy at his LinkedIn or his email: [email protected]

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