Dehumidifier Fills Up Quickly? Causes & Solutions

Liz Yang

Most residential dehumidifiers collect water using a bucket by default. It will gradually fill up and need to be manually emptied.

If a dehumidifier fills up too quickly, it could indicate that something is wrong with the machine.

If you are experiencing the same issue, you have come to the right place. In this post, I’ll go over the normal frequency of emptying the bucket, as well as the causes and solutions for dehumidifiers that fill up too quickly.

How quickly should a dehumidifier fill up?

How quickly should a dehumidifier fill up

There is no single clear-cut answer to this question. On average, a dehumidifier will fill up in 6 to 8 hours. The indoor humidity and the size of the water tank are the most important factors that can affect the result. 

If your dehumidifier fills up faster than the one in your sister’s house, it doesn’t mean it is malfunctioning. It may be just because you have run it in different conditions. 

How often should a dehumidifier fill up?

Generally, we should run a dehumidifier for 8 to 12 hours daily. Since a dehumidifier tank will fill up in 6 to 8 hours, you will expect to empty the tank 1 or 2 times daily. 

The bucket will fill up every few days for those who only run the machine for 1 or 2 hours per day. However, it is advisable to dump the water daily to prevent the mold and bacteria from growing and thriving. 

Again, consider your situation when determining whether your machine fills up too quickly.

Why does my dehumidifier fill up quickly, and how to fix it?

There are numerous causes of a dehumidifier quickly filling up. It is sometimes due to external factors, implying that your device has nothing wrong. However, it could also be due to internal issues.

1. Humid environment 

A dehumidifier, regardless of the type, works by converting water vapor in the air into water. That is, the more moisture there is in the room, the faster the dehumidifier bucket will fill up.

The drainage frequency will increase accordingly if you live in a humid area. Furthermore, it is common for a dehumidifier to collect more water during humid months.

Check the hygrometer first if you notice you need to empty the bucket more frequently than usual. If the moisture level rises, there is a good chance that nothing is wrong with your machine.

Moreover, excess moisture is more common in the basement, crawl spaces, bathroom, and attic than in other parts of the house. When you move the bucket from your bedroom to these areas, you can expect it to fill up faster.

How to fix it?

There is nothing that needs to be fixed. However, you can try other drainage methods for those who are tired of dumping water every so often. 

Many models come with a drain port on the back. You can connect it to a drain hose that directs water to the floor drain. In this way, the collected water will go down the drain continuously and automatically. 

Note that you should make sure the water can flow from high to low due to the gravity effect. If this is not possible, you may need to use a pump to successfully send the water to the floor drain.

2. A room that has never been dehumidified before

When you run a dehumidifier in a new house or a room that has never been dehumidified before, it is normal for the machine to fill up quickly.

While the humidity level is similar to that of other rooms, the device can extract more moisture from it.

This is because the furniture, carpet, and other items in the room have absorbed a certain amount of moisture. When a dehumidifier is working, this moisture will come out and turn into the condensate in the machine. 

How to fix it?

Many manufacturers recommend running the machine continuously for a few days when dehumidifying a new room. Following that, the frequency of drainage will gradually decrease.

If the situation does not improve, you must look for other causes.

3. Small water bucket

Depending on the design of your unit, the bucket can be small.

For those who may not have a clear idea, the dehumidifier capacity is different from the capacity of a water bucket, meaning that it is possible that a model can condensate a lot of water per day but has a small reservoir. 

When the bucket is full, the machine will stop working. As a result, to ensure the performance of your unit, you must empty the bucket on a regular basis, which can be frustrating.

How to fix it?

To avoid this problem, carefully check the specs when purchasing a dehumidifier. You can return it if you just get a new one. 

If it has been used for a while, you can drain the water via a hose like what I mentioned above. 

4. Clogged air filters and coils

Dirty filters and coils are the culprits of many issues with dehumidifiers. For example, it can lead to the machine stopping collecting water

Since it is a common issue, manufacturers these days embed a defrost model in most models to help alleviate or solve the problem. 

When the air filter or evaporator coil gets clogged, less airflow will get into the machine. As a result, the air is cooled to a lower temperature, and the water droplets freeze when they pass through the coil.

The defrost mode kicks in when the machine detects that it is about to freeze. When this mode is activated, the compressor turns off while the fan continues to run. Because the airflow at the ambient temperature will pass through the ice, it will thaw, and more water will enter the tank soon.

How to fix it?

Regularly cleaning the air filter and coil can keep the defrost mode from activating.

The majority of air filters are reusable. You should take it out every so often, rinse it under water, and then replace it when it is dry.

Some dehumidifiers, such as my Hisense model, have a “clean filter” indicator to remind you to clean the filter.

clean indicator in dehumidifier

If the soft cloth is not powerful enough to remove the debris, you may need to spray some specific cleanser on it to clean it.

5. Damaged fan

A broken fan is another factor that contributes to a dehumidifier freezing up. When a fan fails, less air is drawn into the machine, resulting in insufficient airflow and frozen condensate.

A dehumidifier fan consists of various parts. Thus, the issue could lie in the broken fan blades, stuck blower wheel, or faulty fan motor.

You should first identify which part is dysfunctional and then decide how to fix it. 

How to fix it?

When the fan motor is damaged, purchasing a new model is a better choice since repairing or replacing a motor can cost a lot. 

If the problem is due to the blades or wheel, you can hire a professional to repair it or do it yourself if you have the expertise. 

Wrapping up 

When you notice your dehumidifier fills up quickly, please calm down.

Many times, it has nothing to do with your machine. It is simply due to the humid climate or moisture remaining in the room’s items. Examine the water bucket; perhaps it is simply too small to hold the water produced by the machine.

Nonetheless, it could be an indication of a faulty machine. When the machine is icing up and the defrost mode is activated, more water will enter the bucket. In this case, you should determine whether you need to thoroughly clean the machine or hire someone to repair it.

Liz Yang is the founder of Airsmartly. She has been working at home for a few years and realizes that the performance of the HVAC system plays such an important role in our life. She has tested a lot of products in person, like humidifiers, air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and ACs, and wants to share tips about using or troubleshooting these products with you. Her uncle is an HVAC expert with over 30 years of experience in the field, and often offers assistance when she is unsure how to handle a situation. He is also in charge of reviewing the articles on this site.

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