4 Reasons Why Your Dehumidifier Smells like Fish

A fishy smell coming from your dehumidifier can be a cause for concern.

The most likely reason why your dehumidifier smells like fish is the burning, loose or overheating internals of your dehumidifier. You may also be smelling the stagnant water or built-up residue from the uncleaned filter.

Below we’ll expand further on why your dehumidifier smells like fish and how to fix it.

Let’s get started.

4 Reasons Why Your Dehumidifier Smells like Fish

1. The internals or plastic components are burning

Internal components that are overheating, burning, or loose give off a fishy smell.

Your outlet, cord, or circuit breaker can be the reason why your dehumidifier is burning.

If you smell a fishy smell coming from your dehumidifier, don’t continue using it until you can confirm where the smell is coming from.

It’s best to hire a professional to diagnose any issue your dehumidifier may have.

2. You have mold in your dehumidifier

Stagnant water in your dehumidifier can lead to mold and mildew growth which can, in turn, start to smell over time.

Add some heat into the equation, and the mold and mildew can start giving some off smells that you aren’t used to.

The best way to fix this is by giving your dehumidifier a thorough cleaning and washing it down with bleach or vinegar.

You may need to take apart your dehumidifier entirely to get to the internals and clean any mold and mildew that you can’t see.

3. You aren’t storing your dehumidifier properly

If you’ve just taken your dehumidifier out of storage and you notice a fishy smell, then you haven’t properly stored your dehumidifier.

Before you store your dehumidifier next time, allow 24 hours for all the moisture to drop into the water tank. Then, empty it, dry it off, and put it into storage.

Next time you take it out to use again, you shouldn’t have a fishy smell to deal with.

4. You aren’t doing proper maintenance

While dehumidifiers can be great to reduce the moisture in the air, they require regular maintenance.

You must clean out the air filter every two weeks and even the internal coils every so often to remove any dust, dander, or hair that’s made its way into your dehumidifier’s internals.

The build-up can hold onto lingering smells from your home and then concentrate them back into your room when they get heated up through the dehumidification process.

By thoroughly cleaning your dehumidifier every half a year to a year depending on how often you use it, you’ll extend the life of your dehumidifier and prevent any fishy smells.

Tips to Freshen Up Your Dehumidifier

  • Give your dehumidifier cleanings every few weeks and a full cleaning every year

  • Don’t leave stagnant water sitting in the tank

  • Let the water inside your dehumidifier fall into the water tank a full 24 hours before stowing it away

  • Change the filter often

  • Take your dehumidifier to a repair man if you don’t know where the fishy smell is coming from

Final Thoughts

A fishy smell from your dehumidifier is likely coming from the internals burning or catching fire, stagnant water, improper storage or you aren’t maintaining the dehumidifier properly.

By taking preventive measures like cleaning your dehumidifier regularly, you will avoid a lot of fishy smells.

Remember, if your dehumidifier has burning internals or wiring, do NOT use your dehumidifier under any circumstance as it’s now a fire hazard.

Take your dehumidifier to a professional serviceman to do repairs if you aren’t comfortable doing them yourself.

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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