How To Clean Dehumidifier Coils? [A Complete Guide]

Dehumidifiers, as you are aware, require routine maintenance. Cleaning a dehumidifier bucket or exterior is simple, but cleaning dehumidifier coils appear to be much more difficult because they are located inside the appliance and are connected to many other parts.

Don’t be agitated! This post will cover everything you need to know about cleaning dehumidifier coils. I believe you can get it done properly by following the steps in this post. 

Why should you clean dehumidifier coils?

clean dehumidifier

Dehumidifier coils consist of an evaporator coil and a compressor coil. When the air gets into the dehumidifier, it will first pass through the evaporator coil and then go through the compressor coil. 

Because of the low temperature of the evaporator coil, the water vapor in the air will be converted to liquid water, but the cold air will be reheated by a compressor coil before returning to the room.

While most models come with an air filter to filter out the airborne contaminants, it may not be as effective as you expect, meaning that a certain amount of impurities will get into the machine and cling to the coils. 

The dust and grime on the coils will reduce airflow over time, causing the dehumidifier to stop collecting water or icing up.

Furthermore, the coils can serve as a breeding ground for mold and bacteria, affecting air quality and posing health risks to family members.

As a result, in order to keep your dehumidifier in good working order and to protect yourself and your family, you should clean the dehumidifier coils on a regular basis.

How often do you need to clean dehumidifier coils?

Compared to cleaning a dehumidifier bucket, fewer people will clean the coils. As far as I know, many people don’t clean the coils at all before purchasing a new unit, which will significantly shorten the lifespan of a dehumidifier

In general, it is advisable to clean the coils twice a year. Depending on how you run the appliance, you can increase or decrease the frequency. 

Alternatively, you can decide whether or not to clean it based on how dirty the coils are or if the machine emits a musty odor.

How to clean dehumidifier coils properly?

Assuming you have made up your mind about cleaning dehumidifier coils, this section will show you how to do it exactly. It is a bit more difficult than cleaning a water tank, but you can accomplish it with time and patience. 

Step 1: Prepare the tools

To ensure the process goes smoothly, gather a variety of tools ahead of time. A screwdriver, a coil brush, detergent, a bottle of coil cleaner (optional), a vacuum cleaner, and some clean water are all required resources.

Step 2: Unplug the device

To avoid electric shock and other accidents, you should unplug the dehumidifier before doing any cleaning task. 

Step 3: Empty the water tank

There are many electrical components inside the machine. To prevent damage, you must dump the water before getting your hands on the disassembly. 

Step 4: Disassemble the dehumidifier

disassemble dehumidifier

This is the most time-consuming step in the whole cleaning process.

You need to use a notebook to write down the process or a camera to record it so that you can easily reverse it later. In addition, preparing a bowl to store the screws and nuts is a sensible idea.

To begin, unscrew the screws located on the back, top, and two sides of the shell. Then, to expose the coil, disconnect the connector and remove the fan.

Step 5: Clean the grime on the surface 

Many coil brushes (also known as fin brushes) are available in the market for cleaning the dust from the fins. Scrubbing the coils up and down can remove a significant amount of surface grime.

A vacuum cleaner is also helpful. You can choose a brush attachment and move it up-and-down to remove the dust and dirt. 

Step 6: Spray detergent or coil cleaner on the fins

Only using a brush or vacuum is not able to clean out all the dirt in the dehumidifier coils. You should take other measures to remove the residues and germs inside the fins. 

You can spray some coil cleaner and allow it to sit for a while to dissolve and lose the grime. Alternatively, you can make a solution of detergent and an equal quantity of water and then apply it to the coils. 

Step 7: Scrub the fins repeatedly

Now, it is time to clean those loose grime! You need to use the brush to scrub the fins a few times to let these grimes get into the sink or pot you have prepared to drain the dirty water.

During this process, you can add more solution or cleaner to the coils if there are too many buildups. 

For coils that have mold spores growing inside, you can spray some white vinegar or bleach on it and let them sit for at least 30 minutes.

Step 8: Rinse off 

To remove the dirt and cleaner left over, you can rinse the coils off with some water. 

Some coil cleaners don’t need rinsing. However, wiping them off as much as possible is still better. 

Step 9: Air dry

Don’t replace the wet coils! You can use a soft dry cloth to dry every corner it can reach and let the coils air dry. 

To speed up the process, you can turn on a fan to increase the airflow.

Step 10: Reassemble 

Check the notes you have written down or the video you have recorded and then put every part of the dehumidifier back carefully. 

Plug in the machine to see if the machine is working and the musty smell is gone.

Wrapping up

Cleaning dehumidifier coils is not a walk in the park, but by following this guide, you can try to do it on your own. 

Disassembling the dehumidifier is the step that takes the most time, and you should exercise caution because it may damage electrical components. When removing the dirt in the coils, you can use a fin brush with coil cleaner or detergent. Don’t forget to air dry dehumidifier coils before putting them back. 

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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 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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