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Using a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air in the humid summer months is the most effective means of providing your room, home or office building with clean, fresh air at a comfortable relative humidity. Dehumidifiers are still machines and machines have faults from time to time. Here is a guide that will give tips & troubleshooting advice for your portable dehumidifier.

Dehumidifiers control the moisture in the air and prevent mold and mildew from spreading their spores. Living in a humid environment can also damage your health. Humid environments lead to respiratory problems and can inflame existing health issues such as asthma and allergies.

A dehumidifier system, whether a fixed unit or a portable one, will give you the control you need over your living space. While most dehumidifiers are ‘set-and-forget’ systems, meaning that you set them up and then go about your daily activities in your home with the unit operating in the background, They do require a little bit of maintenance from time to time to keep them operating at their maximum efficiency.

GMC Aircon has put together some maintenance tips for you to keep your dehumidifier in tip-top shape, as well as a few troubleshooting tips, should you encounter any common problems while cleaning and maintaining your dehumidifier.

Maintaining your dehumidifier

If you take care of your dehumidifier, it should give your years of trouble-free use and quiet operation. As the working parts age, they can be replaced with new spares, a much more cost-effective solution than buying an entirely new unit. Make sure that you send your dehumidifier for a service once every year or 18 months, the technicians will make sure that the unit is fully functional and operating to its full capacity. You can order here or why not check out our feature packed blog and of course if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to help.

Cleaning it down

Your dehumidifier contains parts that will collect debris and dirt over time. If you take the time to clean them down from time to time, then you will extend the operating life of your unit.

Air intake & exhaust

Every season, give your dehumidifiers air system a good once over. Remove the grill and the filter panel, then shake out the debris into the air outside and use a brush attachment on a vacuum cleaner to make sure all the dust and debris in the filter screen is gone.

Blockages in the filter can limit the airflow in and out of the unit and reduce operating capacity while placing a strain on the motor and fans, keeping the air filter and exhaust grill clean will make sure that your unit stays in great condition.

Water tank

A dehumidifier collects moisture from the air and deposits it into the water collection tank, usually housed at the rear of the unit in portable and free-standing units. The tank will fill according to the rate at which the unit is working, if you have it on high in a humid environment, it may collect water faster than a less humid one.

Check your water tank every day and empty it. Make sure to give it a good rinse with water and light soap to sterilize it and prevent and bacteria or viral build up.

Most dehumidifiers come with warranties from the factory, if your unit fails within the time period of the warranty, then take it down to your dealer or service agent and have them replace the faulty part.

Where in the room?

When placing your dehumidifier in the room that your wish to dehumidify, make sure that you give the air-inlet enough space away from the wall to ensure that the fans can easily draw in air through the grille and into the system.

If this space is limited, the fans and motor will be overloaded with extra stress and the operating life of your unit will be significantly reduced.

The humidistat

The device within your humidifier that creates the magic, is your humidistat. The humidistat measures the humidity in the air and then turns the system on and off to meet your preferred settings that you have entered,

The ideal humidity for a room is between 45-50% relative humidity and the humidistat controls the unit to ensure that the room is always at the correct humidity you desire.

Compressor cool-down

If you power down your unit, then make sure that you wait around ten to fifteen minutes before turning it back on again. This gives the compressor time to de-pressurise before going back to operations. If you turn the unit on right away, then you are likely to overload the compressor and cause it to fail, resulting in you taking a trip to the service agent or dealer to have the pat replaced.

Replacing filters

The filter is the sentry at the gate. It collects pollen, dust, and debris from the air, allowing your dehumidifier to push fresh, clean air into the room at a comfortable relative humidity. To keep your system breathing optimally, make sure that you keep the filter clean and replace it as it becomes to sodden over time. It’s a good idea to replace the filter every year, that way you can be assured that you will not have any unpleasant odours emitting from the unit in operation.

A guide to tips & troubleshooting

While not very common, dehumidifiers experience occasional operational issues as s do all electrical appliances. Some problems are large and require professional expertise, while others are small, allowing you to take charge of the situation and get your dehumidifier back in working order. Let’s look at some common issues with dehumidifiers and what we can do to fix the problem.

Very low water level

If your unit is running infrequently during the day and doesn’t seem to help with controlling the humidity in the room, you may have to increase the settings to a higher level. If this does not help, then you may be dealing with a faulty refrigeration system that will require a professional to look at it for you.

Unit not operating at all

This is usually because the water tank is full. Most dehumidifiers have sensors that will automatically shut down the system when it detects a full water tank, this is to prevent the tank from overflowing and ruining the floor-space around it. Check the water tank and empty it, it may also not be positioned correctly, so make sure the tank is seated correctly in the housing. Once again, if the tank is empty and the unit is refusing to operate, then take it to the professionals. You can find out more information on our dehumidifier instruction manual here.

No air flow

If you do not have any air coming from the unit, then the fans that draw the air over the coils may have failed. This is a serious issue for the dehumidifier and you should take it to the service center as soon as possible to have the fan motor replaced.

Frosting on coils

The evaporation unit is comprised of coils that rapidly chill the moist air pulled into the fan housing. The coils condense the moisture from the air and then push the filtered, clean, drier air out into the room. If the air temperature in the room is low to start, then the condensation may freeze on the coils, causing unplanned shutdown of the unit.

Turn the unit off and give it some time to defrost. Some units come with auto-defrost settings that will detect this as it happens, however, if you find the unit is constantly defrosting, then you may need to heat the room before running the dehumidifier.


Taking care of your dehumidifier isn’t as challenging as you think and with a little bit of care and maintenance, you can expect a long operating life from your unit that will give you years of comfortable relative humidity in your home.

The evaporator on the back of the dehumidifier is made up of coils that get very cold while the unit runs. The moist air from the room is drawn across those coils by the fan so that the humidity in the air condenses. If the air temperature is too cold, the condensation will freeze. Before checking the coils for frost, turn off the machine and unplug it for safety. Evidence of frost indicates that the room is too cool.

Tips & troubleshooting for frost build-up include:

  1. Turn off the dehumidifier so that the room will warm up.
  2. Turn on a heat source in the room.
  3. Move the dehumidifier to a higher location, since heat rises and the air near the floor is coldest.

Some dehumidifiers have an automatic defroster that protects the compressor by turning it off and running the fan to melt frost before resuming operation. If you live in a cold area, you may want to consider purchasing a dehumidifier that works in lower temperatures, as well.

With proper care and maintenance, your dehumidifier can control the humidity of your home for years, providing a healthy and comfortable environment.

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