How to recharge a dehumidifier?

Our expert tips on how to recharge a dehumidifier.

When excess moisture content in the air ruins the health of our home and atmosphere, we turn to our dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers are wonder devices that are equipped to decrease humidity and even improve air quality. Getting dry air that is free from too much moisture and fresh air that is not filled with allergens, is indeed possible with dehumidifiers.

When there is too much moisture indoors, you ought to invest in the right dehumidifier to protect your home and health from moisture damage. Apart from giving you a damp environment, excess moisture is also capable of leading to many fatal respiratory diseases (by simply aggravating the underlying issues). High humidity has to be brought under control for various reasons and this has been made possible by the different types of dehumidifiers.

The most modern dehumidifiers are also conscious of their energy consumption and ozone depletion potential. Energy-efficient models are manufactured to save energy. They are fully aware that some homes need to have a dehumidifier running for long hours to absorb moisture and control the humidity level effectively. In such cases, an energy-efficient rechargeable dehumidifier would be a great option.

‘How to recharge a dehumidifier?’ is a common question that many homeowners have. To understand how to recharge a dehumidifier, one has to realize that a lot of information and thought has to go into the process. To begin with, not all dehumidifiers can be recharged.

Let us keep reading to learn more about what goes into having a dehumidifier recharged and how to recharge a dehumidifier.

What type of dehumidifier can you recharge?

Commercial garage dehumidifier

Before you consider having your dehumidifier recharged, you must be aware of the fact that not all dehumidifiers can be recharged. There are different types of dehumidifiers, and each of them pulls air-laden with moisture differently. Head over to your user manual to confirm whether or not you can recharge your unit.

You can recharge a dehumidifier only if it contains a refrigerant or coolant. Most modern dehumidifiers are rechargeable, nevertheless, do not forget to get a confirmation on the same.

There are basically two main types of dehumidifiers- Condensate or Refrigerant Dehumidifiers and Desiccant Dehumidifiers. The stand-alone dehumidifiers that are used at homes, to collect water from the air, is also known as a refrigerant dehumidifier or a condensate dehumidifier. To regulate high humidity at low temperatures, one can resort to desiccant dehumidifiers. A desiccant dehumidifier uses the absorption method. Both these types contain coolants which means you can recharge a dehumidifier of this type.

A whole-house dehumidifier, on the other hand, is more of a central unit system which is similar to a central refrigeration system. You can have your whole house dehumidifier installed with the HVAC system to have a smooth flow in controlling increased humidity levels.

The older dehumidifiers that were manufactured earlier could be recharged with user-friendly recharging kits that were available online. But these recharge kits are not an option anymore, you would not find them in a local hardware store.

The reason why you cannot find a recharging kit in any hardware store is the strict environmental regulations that are in place owing to the dangerous chemicals used in coolants. The coolants produce chemicals that are found to play a significant role in ozone exhaustion. Due to this ozone depletion potential that these chemicals have, many safety precautions are being placed upon using recharging kits, in the older units especially.

The new dehumidifier models that are now available are conscious of the chemicals they use and emit. If you have to recharge a dehumidifier at your home, you just contact a reliable HVAC agency, who will provide you with a recharge kit and necessary chemicals to refill the coolant.

Older dehumidifiers or older units make use of Freon, which is a refrigerant that finds itself in the list of dangerous chemicals. Since these contribute to ozone exhaustion the new dehumidifier has been modified and comes with strict environmental regulations. Hence, only an HVAC company can help you with the refill if you have a dehumidifier that can be recharged at home.

When should you recharge a dehumidifier?

A girl showing a dehumidifier

Recharging a dehumidifier needs some thought and planning. You cannot recharge a dehumidifier as and when you please, nor should you do it often since it will affect the life expectancy of the unit. The coolants produce chemicals in the air, like Freon, which is hazardous to the environment.

Moreover, sometimes the cost expected to be spent on a recharging kit and to refill a dehumidifier might turn out to be way higher than purchasing a new dehumidifier. Hence, you will have to carefully evaluate the cost of recharging vs purchasing a new unit.

The following are some conditions that will help you to judge if a recharge is necessary.

Indoor humidity level

If your dehumidifier has been running for a few hours but still you do not find any effect in the moisture levels, you will have to get the unit checked. Is the fan motor trouble-free and there is no sign of a blockage, and all seems to be well with your device; yet, the dehumidifier running does not absorb moisture from the damp environment? This could mean you have to know how to recharge your dehumidifier quickly before the problem escalates.

Recharging the dehumidifier might help to control the moisture levels and humidity levels of the room in which the device is placed.

Lack of dry air

Does dry air come out via the exhaust pipe when you have the dehumidifier running? If yes, your device is alright. In the same sense, if there is no dry air coming out of the exhaust pipe, rather the air is still laden with water vapor, then it means your unit has issues with the refrigerant.

Lack of condensation

The internal compressor or internal coils are the ones responsible for the condensation of water vapor into liquid; which gets collected in the tray. It pulls air laden with moisture and carries forth the process. If this process of condensation is not happening and the tray is dry, your device’s refrigerant or coolant is at stake. You have to recharge your dehumidifier quickly.

Control panel

The modern dehumidifiers that are now available in the market come with a light indicator facility in the Control Panel for most functions that need to be kept track of. If the machine’s Control Panel has a light indicator that turns to RED, denoting that the coolant needs to be recharged, you must do so with delay.

How to recharge a refrigerant dehumidifier?

Once you have ruled out that there is no trouble with the fan motor or any other internal parts of the unit, and you have confirmed that only a recharge will help; you have to contact a reliable HVAC agency. Dehumidifiers cannot be recharged like other home appliances, that simply need to be plugged into an electrical source. The process to recharge a dehumidifier with a coolant or refrigerant is similar to that of an air conditioning unit and refrigerator.

Consult with the HVAC company on what refrigerant your dehumidifier will require. There are specific coolants for different appliances. R-22 is the refrigerant that the old dehumidifier models used. Most modern dehumidifiers use R-410A. You can check your manual or label to confirm the type of coolant your dehumidifier needs.

R-22 is referred to as Freon. Earlier, the air conditioning units, refrigerators, and dehumidifiers used only R-22. Since Freon is a Hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), it was adding to ozone exhaustion. Due to this, you cannot find an air conditioner or dehumidifier recharge kit containing R-22 readily available in the market as it used to be.

R-140 A is a Hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC), which does not bring about ozone destruction. This was found to be a better alternative to Freon, both in terms of reliability and performance. Research suggested that R-140 A could handle higher pressure and absorb more heat. This will enable the compressor to run in cooler conditions. It is possible to use R-22 even for a dehumidifier that is designed for only R-140 A. However, for this, a different pressure gauge will have to be used. Using a different pressure gauge will prevent leaks and damage to the unit.

Here is a step-by-step guide on the process undertaken while recharging a dehumidifier.

» Get ready by preparing the gas can with R-22 or R-140 A, and all the essential equipment to open the dehumidifier.
» Detach the cable from the power supply. Bolt all the unbolts. Remove the back part of the top part out.
» Reach the compressor, remove it and you will see a hose.
» Take your gas can, connect it to the hose for a couple of minutes until the gas transfers to the compressor.
» Once the recharge is done you can remove the can and bolt all the parts into their respective places correctly.

What to do when recharging doesn’t work?

If there is no change in the humidity levels even after recharging the dehumidifier, check if you have identified the problem correctly. If there is an issue with the internal compressor, internal coils, fan motor, or even the new coolant, then the recharge may not work. If you have not assembled the device perfectly, the recharge will not work again.

Remember to take professional assistance at the earliest to isolate the problem and resolve it.

Safety considerations while recharging a dehumidifier

Dehumidifier

All electronic devices come with a set of safety precautions when they are being handled. Here is what you have to remember when you recharge a dehumidifier.

Keep children away
Ensure you keep the gas cylinders out of reach of children. The coolants and refrigerants are dangerous chemicals that are unsafe to have around children.

Heat resistance surface
The device will be emitting a lot of heat while the recharge is taking place. Hence, it is advisable to keep in on a surface with good heat resistance. In order to prevent overheating and damage to the coils, it is better to leave the device uncovered. A surface with heat resistance and a bare dehumidifier will help the generated heat to escape.

Upright position
Another key precaution to remember is that the charger is standing upright. A fire might break out unless the charging socket is at the top. Ensuring that the charger is standing upright will also make sure that the chemicals transfer safely from the can into the device.

Wear a mask
Last but not the least, it is never safe to inhale hazardous fumes from dangerous gases. The transfer and recharge will emit dry air, moisture, and fumes. Keep on a face mask the whole time to avoid inhaling them. Safety goggles will also do you good by preventing itchy dry eyes.

FAQ Section

1. How long do dehumidifiers last?

If you have a device that is well taken care of and recharged only when necessary and proper; it may last for 2 to 5 years. Some homeowners have also reported that they have had units that have lasted in good condition for 10 years; with recharge cycles in between when absolutely essential.

2. How much does it cost to get a dehumidifier recharged?

On average, a dehumidifier unit repair or recharge can cost anywhere between $50 to $200. However, this cost will vary based on the type of dehumidifier, recharge cycles, the coolant type used, the issue with the unit, HVAC company, and other relative factors.

3. What are the best long-lasting dehumidifiers in the market?

There are plentiful dehumidifier brands available in the market. Like portable dehumidifiers, silica desiccant units, etc. The typical room temperatures, area coverage essential, amount of humid air in the place will help you to access the kind of model you require.
Frigidaire, Homelabs, Waykar are among the best long-lasting models in the market.

4. Can refrigerant be added to a dehumidifier?

Yes! It is possible to recharge a dehumidifier model with a refrigerant if its model permits that.

On the other hand, you cannot add a coolant into a silica gel or silica desiccant dehumidifier unit since its mechanism is different. Silica gel can be recharged by reheating for a specified amount of time. You cannot add any refrigerant to this model apart from silica gel.

5. How to fix the dehumidifier compressor?

A dehumidifier compressor is easy to be fixed. If it is blocked or clogged with debris; from the dust particles and dirt that are trapped, you will find a hindrance in the function of the coils. You can vacuum the accumulated particles to fix this.

Other common fixes that arise might require you can replace the motor if the issues persist (and if necessary), look into fuses suffering electrical damage, replace or check the tripped overload switch, etc.

6. Is a refrigerant leak dangerous?

Yes. A refrigerant leak is harmful to one’s health and the environment. The complications that arise from this include difficulty breathing, headaches, nausea and vomiting, skin and eye irritation, and coughing.

7. What else can we do if a dehumidifier does not work properly but charging?

‣  Follow instructions given in the maintenance guide.
‣  Fix internal coils if they fail to produce a cold environment to pass the humid air over them.
‣  Check motor, fan, electrical circuits, compressor, and other internal parts.
‣  Defrost the unit if necessary.
‣  Check if there are any blocks in the air filters and clean them.
‣  Ensure the position of the device is not too close to the wall outlet.
‣  Drain the unit as and when required.

8. Can you use R-134A in a dehumidifier?

Yes. It is considered to be a better refrigerant or coolant. However, it must be used only in units designed to contain it. It is not recommended you transfer an R-134A into an R-410A unit, since this is a better choice. Mixing is never advised.

Wrapping Up

Hope we have covered all your doubts and concerns regarding recharging a dehumidifier. Do let us know if you have recharged a unit before and how did it work for you. Share with us, your experience in the feedback form.