How To Recharge A Dehumidifier? Expert Advice & Frequently Asked Questions

As a Floridian, how to recharge a dehumidifier is a frequent question as I’ve grappled with the intense heat in this Sunshine State for years, and a dehumidifier is an inevitable device in daily life. 

Honestly, the heat didn’t bother me as much as the brutal humidity did. It made me feel tired and triggered headaches. Also, my family’s wooden furniture suffered from cracks and splitting, which drove me crazy. However, your dehumidifier like mine, the hero that helps you out of all those troubles, doesn’t produce cold and dry air as well as it used to. 

Is it possible to recharge a dehumidifier? And How to recharge it successfully?

Answers will depend on. My colleagues and I have been in this industry for a long time, allowing us to see how dehumidifiers worked and evolved over the years. We have done numerous researches and analyzed how to recharge a dehumidifier quickly and safely.

In this article, you will go through the following elements to have sufficient information about dehumidifiers and how to recharge a dehumidifier.

  • What Is A Dehumidifier?
  • Can Your Dehumidifier Be Recharged?
  • When should Recharge A Dehumidifier?
  • How To Recharge a Dehumidifier?
  • What Are Safety Considerations When Recharging A Dehumidifier
  • How To Avoid Recharge A Dehumidifier?
  • Q&A About How To Recharge A Dehumidifier?

What Is A Dehumidifier?

A humidifier is responsible for pulling out the moisture from the air and dry or fresh air, which decreases the adverse influence of a damp environment causing many fatal respiratory diseases. The way it operates is quite similar to the way of a refrigerator or air conditioning. This is why lots of people think of recharging this unit in the same sense as recharging their A/C or car. 

Besides, there are a variety of humidifier types. The basic one with water vapor inside itself pulls air laden and runs the air through its filters, then emits cool and gives dry air back into the atmosphere. Other types of dehumidifiers spit sprays and mists; these cool sprays interact with the atmosphere and enable them to decrease humidity.

Can Your Dehumidifier Be Recharged?

First and foremost, you cannot recharge all types of dehumidifiers. If you still own older units, you may find recharging kits on some online pages but not in any local hardware store. This is because of the strict environmental regulations. Today’s models are diverse and you must check the manual to know what type of dehumidifiers you have because recharging only works in case your dehumidifier is equipped with a refrigerant or coolant. 

In other words, refrigerant and desiccant dehumidifiers are rechargeable. With the coolants on the inside, refrigerants will collect water from the moisture and cool down the air. After you know for sure a new coolant or refrigerant is what your device needs, it is important to choose a reliable HVAC agency.

As for desiccant dehumidifiers, it has a silica gel with color beads which helps to realize when it needs charging. However, if you lost the manual, you can figure out what type of your machine is by searching online where your type is still available.

As you may not have technical experience, it takes time to take the device apart and you even can break it. We highly recommend you to find out more about your type as follows. 

Types of Dehumidifiers

There are three types of dehumidifiers. They are Condensate, Desiccant, and Whole House dehumidifiers. What we usually choose to use at home are stand-alone dehumidifiers that collect water from the air. These types are also known as Condensate or Refrigerant dehumidifiers. Meanwhile, Desiccant dehumidifiers apply the absorption method and are optimal choices for high-humidity places with low temperatures. 

Condensate / Refrigerant Dehumidifier

As its name implies, this dehumidifier’s heart is its coolant or refrigerant that makes the metal plate cool when the moisture condenses. You can imagine it as a cousin of a refrigerator, and it is a great choice for typical room temperatures.

However, its coolant is not a permanent engine. When you notice your dehumidifier does not work properly, such as stopping collecting water or stopping making the air cool, it may get tired after a long time of use. It is high time for you to check the coolant content and recharge it. 

This is why it is important to consider carefully the dehumidifier you intend to purchase as a gift this summer. It is better designed with coolant or refrigerant for a later replacement, especially with a high frequency of use in upcoming hotter and hotter summers. 

Desiccant/ Absorption Dehumidifier 

Instead of using coolants to solve humidity problems, this type uses a humidity-absorbing substance called desiccant similar to “silica gel” that you may find in food packages or electronic devices. This type of dehumidifier is suitable to use in places with high humidity at low temperatures. Besides, refrigerant dehumidifiers mentioned are heavier and noisier than these desiccant ones because they have compressors.

Whole House Dehumidifier

If portable dehumidifiers mentioned above can perform well in single rooms and all you need to do is to plug them.  Whole house dehumidifiers with high capacity can tackle the entire home and need professional installation which costs between $500 and $700. 

There are two types of  Whole house dehumidifiers. Some are installed onto HVAC systems and handle the humidity through air ducts. The others which are also called “plug-and-go” are portable but large, it can take up the entire square footage and require less installation.

Besides, this dehumidifier can be controlled via a humidistat and offer an out-of-sight setting which is suitable for those who feel uncomfortable with the fan’s noise of portable models. In general, whole house dehumidifiers cost more but they are less maintenance after the initial install and tend to last up to fifteen years and have longer warranties than portable dehumidifiers.

Overall, each type of dehumidifier has its own pros and cons, choosing a suitable one depends on the specific need of users.

When Should Recharge A Dehumidifier?

It is vital for you to consider when is the right time to recharge your dehumidifier. You just cannot recharge it whenever you feel the need. There will be certain environmental effects as refrigerants or coolants produce chemicals in the air, especially Freon. Plus, the dehumidifier’s life expectancy can lower if you recharge it often.

Besides, you should weigh recharging with purchasing a new one to see which option is economical. Normally, the expense of dehumidifier repair service is around fifty to two hundred dollars. Therefore, if you still want to recharge it after careful consideration, you should check the following key indicators:

Humidity Levels

The most important sign that shows the emergency of recharging requirements is moisture levels. A dehumidifier that no longer reduces humidity gives you no choice but to recharge it. It is easy to check this by letting it run, examining there is no blockage, and the fans work properly; however, the dampness is not brought down.

No Dry Air

You should know that when the dehumidifier works well, there is dry air blowing from the exhaust pipe, which you can feel obviously. If what you feel is too much moisture, there are problems with the coolant for sure.

No Condensing

Since the coils are responsible for condensing the moisture drawn from the air, you will be able to see liquid in the tray when the dehumidifier runs; otherwise, it is clear that the coolant fails and needs recharging.

Control Panel

Last but not least, you should check the control panel to see whether its light indicator turns red, this signal indicates that the coolant needs charging.

How To Recharge A Dehumidifier?

How To Recharge A Desiccant?

Silica Gel

It is quite easy to recharge a desiccant dehumidifier, especially with the type using silica gel. When you see that the color beads turn from orange to green (or blue to pink depending on the brand you use), you should plug them into a wall outlet for about eight to ten hours.

By doing so, you heat up your dehumidifier with its small heating component inside and help to dry out the silica desiccant, which allows the desiccant to absorb moisture again.

In addition, some people often recharge a desiccant by putting the silica into a microwave. Take a look at the video for more information:

How to recharge a Condensate?

When it comes to recharging a Condensate, it is again necessary for you to know what refrigerant/coolant you need. Look at the label on your humidifier and identify which type your device belongs to. There are three types that you should know:

 + R-12 or CFC stands for Chlorofluorocarbons

+ R-22 or HCFCs stands for Hydrochlorofluorocarbons

+ R410A or Hydrofluorocarbons

Details of coolant types

R-12

I hope you don’t own any dehumidifier with this coolant as it is already phased out because of its bad influence on the environment and Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). If you have one, it is high time for you to change another one for your safety.

R-22

R-22 is also known under another name as Freon. This type belongs to those models made from 2010 and below. It is, of course, better than R-12 but hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) still adds to ozone exhaustion. 

In addition to the environmental impact, there are bad health repercussions of this type found by scientists. If your dehumidifier looks quite old, chances are it uses R-22. As mentioned, you cannot find recharging kids anywhere unless you search for it online.

R-410A

You can find this type of coolant in most modern dehumidifiers. R-410A which is also called Puron is a friendly-environmental alternative. No worry about its adverse impacts on ozone, it is an optimal alternative to Freon. R-410A is not only good for the environment but also energy-efficient. 

Considering the great advantages of Puron may make you want to replace your old R-22 with R-410A. However, the methane base requires a lot more pressure. In order words, Puron is more pressurized and cannot be compatible with any dehumidifier equipped with R-22. Any attempt to apply this new coolant in an old dehumidifier might result in leaking and damaging your device. If you still want to give it a try, remember to use a different pressure gauge and take extra care.

Step By Step On How To Recharge A Condensate

  1. Prepare your gas can with R- 22 or R-410A and all equipment to open your dehumidifier.
  2. Remove the cable from power and bolt all of the unbolts.
  3. Take the back part or top part out.
  4. Remove the compressor and you will see a hose.
  5. Connect the can for a couple of minutes and the gas will be transferred to the compressor.
  6. After charging, remove the can and bolt all the parts in their right position. 
  7. Check carefully again to ensure there is no part that you forget to bolt 

Tips: If you recharge a humidifier for the first time and are not familiar with where all elements should stay, it is better for you to take pictures of how they are installed at the beginning, that helps a lot for assembling later.

Safety Precautions During Recharging a Dehumidifier

After referring to all the information and you still find it hard to start, we recommend you to ask for help from a professional person. If you determine to recharge it by yourself, remember the safety precautions as follows:

Keep Away From Children

If your children are interested in assembling or fixing electronic devices, this is not what you should involve them in. Coolants/Refrigerants are kinds of gas that are highly pressurized and definitely dangerous if your kids consider them as toys and hit or knock by accident. 

Heat Resistance

During recharging, you should place your dehumidifier on a surface resistant to heat since your device will get hot. Besides, it is important to leave your humidifier uncovered and open as a way to prevent it from overheating and damaging. When the gas is transferred into the coils, you can see how the coolant starts to work again.

Standing Upright

Look out that a fire may outbreak unless you plug the charging socket at the top. Plus, it is essential to remain the charger upright to ensure the chemicals will be transferred safely from the can to your dehumidifier.

Wearing a facemask and find a well-ventilated place

It is a great idea to recharge a humidifier in a well-ventilated place as the amount of dry air, moisture, and chemicals will be released. Therefore, it is vitally important for you to put on a mask for the whole time while charging your dehumidifier as a way to protect you from breathing these fumes. 

How to avoid Recharging a Dehumidifier

If you know how to take care of your dehumidifier, you can avoid recharging your unit and use it for around 5 years or more. Even if you need to recharge it for now, knowing how to use it properly helps you to reduce the times of recharging later on. The following maintenance is important and you should keep in mind while using your dehumidifier.

Keep It Clean And Empty Your Water Tray

Regular maintenance is necessary if you want your dehumidifier to work properly. Remember that the filter is in charge of cleaning the air and its efficiency will be affected when it is dirty. Also, keeping it clean ensures the quality of the air it dehumidifies, which is good for your health.

A six-month cleaning enables you to keep your humidifier away from the build-up of particles. You also need to clean the outside of your device, give extra cleaning to the intake and exit vents. Additionally, you should check the water reservoir regularly.

Give your humidifier a rest

Last but not least, you will need to recharge your unit soon if you plug it for the whole day, which is not good for your health and shortens the durability. Give it a rest sometimes. By protecting the compressor and the fan from being overworked, the smooth flow of the refrigerant is also lengthened.

Close all windows and doors

If you open windows while using your humidifier, the humidity from the outside will intrude into your house and force your device to work hard. It not only wastes energy but also reduces the durability of the coolant. 

Find an ideal set-up location

You should know that how well your dehumidifier works depends a lot on where you place it. Considering the fact that the dehumidifier works by drawing moist air and then removing the humidity by condensing the water and discharge the fresh air, meaning that it needs plenty of room around it. To find an ideal set-up location, you should consider the following factors:

  • Do not place your dehumidifier directly against the surface like walls or a piece of furniture, the intake and exhaust vents will be blocked which leads to the dehumidifier’s bad performance. 6 to 12 inches of space offers ideal air circulation around your dehumidifier and it can work efficiently. However,  there is no worry about this if your device has a top-mounted air discharge.
  • You should put the draining capacity into consideration, and find a place where the unit can reach the nearby drain if it needs removing water continuously. 

Set the humidity level

As for the first time of use, you should not set the humidity at a high level. The level between 25 and 40 percent is ideal for the first thirty minutes, which helps save energy and gives it a good start for the long run. If your device performs well, you can increase and keep the humidity level depending on your specific need. Regulating the humidity level depends on different seasons. 

During warm months, there is no big problem, you only remember not to set humidity levels over 60 which can harm your breathing, breed dust mites and mold. In addition, if you set the humidity level too low under 35 percent, it will lead to opposite symptoms:

  • Your skin and lips will suffer from becoming dry and chapped
  • Walls start peeling paint
  • Furniture begins to warp

Meanwhile, during the winter months, if it becomes extremely cold and the moisture that your dehumidifier gets from the air may freeze and damage your device. In this case, a desiccant dehumidifier is an optimal choice. The ideal relative humidity can go low around 40 percent as a good way to avoid condensing. 

Use it smartly

You can not only save energy but also remain the humidifier’s longevity by using it smartly. You can turn it off when you don’t really need and use it for some specific time. For example, there will be excess moisture after you have taken a shower or drying washed clothes; running your dehumidifier is a good choice to help your clothes quickly dry. If you do not want to bother with the sound of the dehumidifier’s fan, turn it on when you go outside and enjoy fresh air when you are back. 

Besides, if the moisture is not too crucial, you do not need to sleep with a dehumidifier. You can place it in the bedroom, open the wardrobe and let your dehumidifier do the job for a couple of hours before you go to sleep. By doing so, you not only save energy but also ensure an ideal humidity level for a good sleep.  

Frost Control Helps

If you use your dehumidifier mainly in a basement or cold room with little insulation, check to see whether it features a frost control. It is really helpful in the winter months, it shuts your dehumidifier down when there is a sign of freezing to protect your device from any damage. 

Partner up with vacuum cleaner 

It is a great idea to vacuum your room before placing your device into it. This way ensures your dehumidifier does not spread dust and harm your breathing. Besides, this method gives a hand to the dehumidifier’s filter that helps it to last longer.

Q&A About How To Recharge A dehumidifier

What If The Recharge Doesn’t Work?

If your dehumidifier still does not work after charging, there must be a problem with the new coolant or you may make a mistake during fixing it (forget to bolt any part or put any part in the wrong place). Another reason you should consider is that whether you identify the right problem, whether the fan or compressor is what needs fixing instead. 

What else can we do if the dehumidifier does not work properly but charging?

As mentioned, you cannot recharge all types of the dehumidifier. In this case, you can try cleaning the fan, vacuuming the internal coils since the build-up dust may make it hard to work in the right way. It does not take a lot of time and can improve the quality of the air it dehumidifies somehow.

Moreover, it is essential to tighten the fan’s screw because it may get loose after using it for a long time, which results in the rattle of the dehumidifier. Besides, the fan motor should be checked as a way to ensure it works well. 

Finally, check the internal compressor. The compressor is responsible for getting air into the machine and then back out into a room.

Can I Recharge My Dehumidifier Myself?

If you can find a recharging kid, it makes a lot easier. However, remember that you cannot find it in any local shop nowadays. We still recommend you to take your dehumidifier for your own safety if you cannot follow all the strict steps to recharge a dehumidifier successfully.

How Many Years Does a Dehumidifier Last?

Considering the fact that a dehumidifier is used daily, it is important to know how long a dehumidifier may last. Depending on what type you have, most portable dehumidifiers can last more than 5 years if you take good care of them. Of course, a whole house dehumidifier lasts a lot longer, even up to 15 years as its price is quite expensive . Don’t forget proper maintenance, replace important parts when they fail and use them in the right way to keep your humidifier for longer. 

Is There Refrigerant in a Dehumidifier?

Yes, there is a refrigerant in Condensate dehumidifier.  Two common types are R-12 for old models and R-410A equipped in today’s models. Refrigerant is also called coolant which is in charge of cooling the entering air and condensing it into water. The water then runs into the bottom tray and we get dry air as a result. Since the refrigerant plays a vital role, we should not make it too overworked by turning on your device all day.

Do Dehumidifiers Have Freon?

Dehumidifiers made from 2010 and below may have Freon. Freon, known as R-12 or hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), is a type of coolant that you find in old models as they are not environmentally-friendly and replaced by R-410A in modern ones.

How To Tell If a Dehumidifier Needs Freon?

No water in the tray is a clear signal that shows you it is high time to recharge it. This is because Freon is a substance which is responsible for cooling the air and condenses it as a way to dehumidify. Also, the indicator on the machine’s control panel may let you know when the time comes.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Dehumidifier Recharged?

Generally, the price can be around $200 to $500. This depends on what type of coolant/ refrigerant you need and the size of your dehumidifier. You should weigh carefully the expense of recharging with getting a new one.

Conclusion

Dealing with the upcoming hot summer, it is necessary to have a good dehumidifier in your home to reduce and maintain the humidity. It is not only for your comfort but for your health. You may feel desperate as you notice your humidifier does not work properly and have vague knowledge on how to recharge it. 

This is the reason why we have done numerous researches and written this article with the high hope that it provides you all the useful information you need on how to recharge a dehumidifier safely. Moreover, we include all related information ranging from the basic knowledge of dehumidifier types, specific explanation on when and how to recharge a dehumidifier to safety precautions. All common questions around recharging a dehumidifier are included as well. 

It is true that you need to put lots of efforts and time into recharging a dehumidifier successfully. Again, we still recommend you find an HVAC company if you are not confident enough to do it by yourself. If you used to do it in the past, you need to know that it is different now since recharging kits are not available in the local shops. Besides, it is important for you to be well aware of the dangerous substance you intend to use such as R-22; this is not only for the environment but health concerns, especially if you have kids around.

Fortunately, modern models are equipped with eco-friendly Puron or R-410A. If you change your mind and want to replace your old dehumidifier which requests R-22 with a new one; you can spend some minutes referring  “Top 17 Best Dehumidifier With Pump To Remove Dampness From Your Home” or “Keep Pace With Top 15 Best Whole Home Dehumidifier: Reviews & Comparison 2021“. These are top best modern dehumidifiers with a wide range of budgets and different purposes of use. They will enable you to reduce your recharge cycles and support you to find the most suitable one for your home.

According to the World Population Review, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Arizona have average annual temperatures above 60.0°F during summer in 2021. Here comes another boiling summer. If you find the article useful, we do appreciate all your comments and don’t hesitate to share it with your friends to get over the brutal humidity of the upcoming summer.

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