Why your dehumidifier freezes up and how to fix

Dehumidifiers are designed to improve the quality of air by absorbing excess moisture present in the air.

With a dehumidifier in place, your house or room will be free of stuffiness, mold, mildew, and a musty smell. While you may wish to have your dehumidifier run efficiently for the rest of its life span, certain aspects may slow it down.

One such aspect is when the dehumidifier freezes up to form ice build-up on the coils. Very little moisture drains to the reservoir when a dehumidifier is icing up.

The dehumidifier, therefore, emits a cold breeze which may seem cool during summer but in an actual sense, it makes the device inefficient.

Reasons your dehumidifier keeps freezing up.

It probably bothers you why your dehumidifier is icing up, yet you have done nothing to it. Not to worry.

Here is a compiled list of the various reasons your dehumidifier freezes up. They include:

  • Low room temperatures
  • Restricted airflow
  • Dirt accumulation in the dehumidifier
  • Faulty dehumidifier parts

1. Low room temperatures

There is a possibility that your dehumidifier is icing up because it has been placed in a cold room or during winter. Room temperatures below 160 or 170 cause the coils to freeze up.

It is especially common to find dehumidifiers freezing up in the basement because the area is usually so cold.

2. Restricted airflow

If there isn’t enough air flowing through your device, you can be sure the ice accumulated won’t melt into the reservoir.

Airflow is mainly restricted by a dirty air filter and any other thing that may be right in front of the air intake.

Clogged air filters limit the airflow around the dehumidifier, trapping cool humid air around it, which gets so cold and ends up freezing.

3. Dirt accumulation in the dehumidifier

Having dirt such as dust, debris, mold, and mildew stuffed around could be another reason the dehumidifier keeps freezing up.

If your dehumidifier is freezing up in the basement, it is mostly due to dirt accumulation. This is especially true in areas that you don’t clean often.

4. Faulty dehumidifier parts

Probably your dehumidifier keeps freezing up because of faulty parts. These include the condenser, motor, or dehumidifier defrost sensor.

An example is when a dehumidifier defrost sensor is faulty, the compressor won’t receive sensor signals which help prevent ice build-up. This then causes the coils to freeze up and become ice.

Fixing a dehumidifier that freezes up

icing on dehumidifier coils
Ice on dehumidifier coils

Having ice building up on the condenser coils of your dehumidifier is a temporary issue that you can easily resolve on your own.

However, if it leads to advance issues that lead to your appliance not working, you should take it to a licensed dealer for repair.

You can fix a dehumidifier that keeps freezing up using these different ways:

  • Improve ventilation by cleaning the filter so that there is enough airflow. It is better than basing temperature and humidity off the hot, humid air circulating in the appliance. The airflow is also important to melt the initial frosting that occurs when the dehumidifier is first turned on. You can also change the air filters to fix the airflow problem that causes your dehumidifier to freeze.
  • Frequently deep-clean the dehumidifier. Use bleach water to eliminate dirt and minimize the growth of mildew and mold inside.
  • Turn up the thermostat in the basement or room where the dehumidifier is located since it is designed to run in rooms that are 65 degrees. However, there are a few basement-specific dehumidifiers that can stand room temperatures of 60 degrees.
  • Take broken or faulty parts of the dehumidifier to be repaired by authorized persons like a licensed HVAC person. They have the tools that can repair a leaking condenser or coil. You’re also guaranteed that your dehumidifier won’t be freezing up with their help.

Cold room temperatures, blocked air filters, dirt, or faulty dehumidifier parts can cause your dehumidifier to freeze. However, you can fix this issue through deep cleaning it, turning up room temperatures, cleaning/ changing air filters, and repairing faulty dehumidifier parts.

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