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dehumidifier is not collecting water

Dehumidifier Not Collecting Water? 13 Causes & Solutions

A dehumidifier is a must-have for people who live in humid areas. It is hard to realize how damp your house is until you see the water collected by it. 

Collecting water is the primary function of a dehumidifier. If your humidifier is not collecting water, it is almost to say your humidifier is not working. 

This problem can be caused by a variety of issues, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution. In this post, I’ll go over all of the potential causes and solutions. Then you can decide whether you can fix it yourself or if you need to call a professional.

Know the types of your dehumidifier

It is important to know a bit more about your device since you may come across different problems, depending on the type of dehumidifier you are using. 

The market is dominated by two types of dehumidifiers: compressor dehumidifiers and desiccant dehumidifiers (also known as refrigerant dehumidifiers).

A compressor dehumidifier is typically noisier and heavier, but it is also more energy-efficient, whereas a desiccant dehumidifier is better for use in cold climates and has a simpler mechanism.

That is to say when two dehumidifiers are not collecting water, fixing a desiccant dehumidifier could be easier than fixing a compressor model in many cases.

In the following section, I’ll go over the most common causes of a dehumidifier not collecting water. Some may apply to all types, while others may not.

Common reasons why your dehumidifier is not collecting water and solutions

When your dehumidifier does not collect water, it does not always mean that there is a problem with your device; it can also be caused by external factors.

1. Low humidity level

When winter arrives, or if you live in an arid region, the indoor humidity level can drop to or remain low.

If you run a dehumidifier in this situation, it may stop working quickly because there isn’t enough moisture in the air for it to extract.

Using a hygrometer to monitor the moisture level can help you decide whether you need to turn on your dehumidifier. You can move this machine to your basement, where humidity levels are typically high, to see if it can collect water again.

2. Oversized dehumidifier 

Dehumidifier capacity is an important factor to consider. If you put a unit capable of covering 3000 square feet in a 500 square foot room. This machine can get its job done quickly. 

You may think it has stopped working, however, the truth is the humidity level in the room is already back to the ideal range. 

Beyond that, if you run your dehumidifier for an extended period of time, it will gradually collect less water because there is less moisture in your room as a result of your dehumidifier’s work.

In this case, you don’t have to fix anything.  

3. Wrong placement

Both refrigerant and desiccant models require the use of a fan. Adequate airflow is required for your machine to function properly.

As a result, you should place it properly, such as in the center of the room, to ensure that the machine works properly.

4. Frozen chilled coil (compressor model)

As previously stated, a compressor dehumidifier is not suitable for use at low temperatures.

When cold air enters the machine, moisture on the coil can easily freeze, preventing subsequent moisture from condensing. In other words, because the device is no longer capable of removing moisture, no water will be collected in the water reservoir.

This is a common issue in older models, and the solution is to unplug it from the machine and let it thaw. However, dehumidifiers now include a freeze protection feature. When the compressor detects ice or frost on the coil, it will shut down.

5. Failed freeze protection function (compressor model)

You still can find frozen coil in a modern dehumidifier and the culprit is not the temperature this time. 

When the frost-sensing elements malfunction, the compressor of your machine will not shut off automatically. Again, when the coil is frozen, it will not able to collect water. 

To solve this problem, you need to fix or replace the related elements, which can be difficult if you don’t have any expertise. It is no shame to seek professional help.

6. Dirty coils (compressor model)

With time, the coil can accumulate dirt and dust. When more and more buildups show on it, it will impede the condensation process, collecting less or no water. 

To clean the coils, you need to take apart the machine and use compressed air or a specific coil cleaner to remove the debris. Similar to cleaning the inside of your laptop, this process could be easier or hard, depending on which model you are using.

7. Dirty air filter 

Dehumidifiers take advantage of fans to suck up and expel air. As a result, less air will get into the machine when the air filter is blocked. 

The clogged air filter will also make the machine become overheated and consume more electricity as it will work harder to extract the air. 

Taking out the filter, rinsing it off, and then letting it air dry before putting it back is an effective way to fix this issue.

8. Stuck float switch

If your dehumidifier keeps collecting water without a drain pipe, then it can overflow in the end. To prevent this from happening, dehumidifiers use a float switch to detect the water level in the tank and shut off automatically when a certain level is reached. 

Occasionally, the float switch can get stuck. Your dehumidifier will not work or stop working immediately in that it thinks the water tank is full. 

Remove the water reservoir to locate the switch, and then rotate the float switch to see if it can return to its normal position.

9. Clogged pipe

Some dehumidifiers can work with a drain pipe. However, the pipe can clog due to the improper placement and residue over time. This will make the water remain in the machine, and when the tank is full, the machine will stop collecting water.

You can get it fixed by modifying the placement or using a long brush to clean out the buildups. 

10. Overloaded compressor (compressor model)

Most dehumidifiers today have an overload protection feature. The machine will shut off when the compressor is overloaded and stop collecting water. 

It could be due to a problem with your power source or the capacitor. It is likely to be the reason you are plugging the device into an extension cord. 

Otherwise, you must replace the capacitor or connect it with another socket. 

11. Damaged capacitor

The capacitor is an electrical component that stores electricity and then sends it out to the fan and compressor. 

If it is damaged, the entire device will cease to function. Fortunately, it is not that difficult to replace on your own. However, you should test it before replacing it.

Following this video below and you are all set.

12. Damaged fan motor

Many reasons in this list can cause fans to fail. If those possibilities are ruled out, the issue could be with the fan itself – the fan motor is damaged.

Replacing a fan motor is difficult, and you should hire a professional or send it back to the manufacturer.

However, the cost could be prohibitively expensive, necessitating the purchase of a new one.

13. Control Board

When the control board is faulty, it will not be able to send the signal to each part of the machine. Accordingly, the device will not collect water as usual. Repairing a control board is difficult, making calling in a professional a necessity.


This post summarized 13 causes and solutions for a dehumidifier not collecting water.

When cleaning is overdue, it can clog the air filter, coils, and pipe, making the machine stop working. In addition, the capacitor, fan motor, and control board can also go wrong. 

Save this page and go through the issues one by one. You have the option of resolving it yourself or hiring a professional.

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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 more than 150 products in person, including 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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