Dehumidifiers

Maintaining the humidity level in your home does a few important things. If you have wood floors or delicate wood furniture, it helps control the natural expansion and contraction cycles that wood undergoes through humidity changes. Removing excess humidity also makes it easier to cool your home and discourages the growth of mold and mildew. If you have a central air conditioner, you already have a whole- house dehumidifier, but damp basement areas some times require additional dehumidification.

Tuning-up

As summer approaches, improve your dehumidifier’s performance and efficiency by conducting a seasonal checkup. One reason condenser coils ice up is that accumulated dust insulates them and reduces their cooling efficiency, forcing the condenser to work overtime. If your unit has a washable filter, clean it and all plastic parts on or inside the unit with warm water and mild detergent.

1. Unplug the unit before disassembling it. Consult your owner’s manual for specific maintenance procedures. Scrub mineral scale out of the drain pan and, if used, check the hose for kinks.

2. Vacuum condenser coils and other parts inside the dehumidifier; then wash coils down with warm water and mild detergent. After washing, thoroughly rinse and dry coils.

3. Correct drain pan spillover if necessary, by changing position of pressure spring to the “less fill” position. When the pan is full, the spring fully deflects, activating a shutoff switch and killing power to the unit.

Replacing a Switch

If your dehumidifier doesn’t hum to life when you turn the humidistat switch on, first check to see that it’s plugged into a working outlet. If it’s getting power, unplug it and test to see whether the switch is bad.

Test for bad switches on appliances with either a continuity tester or a multimeter. If you need a new humidistat switch, call appliance stores to find the right one. When handling the new switch, avoid dam aging the piece of plastic that is stretched inside the switch; it acts as a humidity sensor.

Remove the front panel of the dehumidifier chassis by pulling off the knob on the humidistat switch and loosening the panel screws. Release the switch’s mounting bracket by unscrewing it. To avoid confusion later, label the two switch wires, for example, “red to front,” before disconnecting them.