When using a dehumidifier, you may find that you have to run the appliance for long periods of time.
Overuse can often lead to overheating, but will your dehumidifier go up in flames and burn your house down?
While there may have been countless reports of home appliances like dehumidifiers burning homes down in the past, the modern world of electronics has ensured that there are safety measures and requirements in place to keep you and your loved ones safe.
Your dehumidifier is no exception.
Is It Safe To Run A Dehumidifier Constantly?
As long as everything in the machine works as intended, then your dehumidifier is perfectly safe to allow running as frequently as you need it.
Unless your dehumidifier empties itself, it will stop running once the tank inside has been filled.
When using a dehumidifier, you may find that you have to run the appliance for long periods of time.
Overuse can often lead to overheating.
What if your pet knocks your dehumidifier over?
Luckily, manufacturers have considered these scenarios and have done all that they can to ensure the safeness of their products.
How Your Dehumidifier Keeps You Safe
Dehumidifiers do more than just help you stay comfortable.
Your dehumidifier is lowering the humidity level, so your body can cool itself off by sweating and helps reduce the number of airborne allergens.
In addition to helping your well-being, your humidifier has a few safety features in place.
If your dehumidifier were to tip over, the position could cause all the water that is collected in the machine to drip onto the floor or into parts of the dehumidifier that can’t get wet without shorting out the dehumidifier.
Luckily, manufacturers have taken this into consideration when creating their dehumidifiers and added a feature that turns off the machine immediately, should it get knocked over.
What happens if you forget to empty your dehumidifier?
Manufacturers know we’re all human and forget the little things from time to time.
Dehumidifiers come with overfilling shut off.
Without this feature, your electric dehumidifier could end up in a puddle, becoming a major fire and electrocution risk!
When running almost any electronic device, the longer and more intense use an item has, the hotter it gets.
Dehumidifier manufacturers, like any electronic manufacturer, take thermodynamics into consideration.
Since the energy that the device runs off can neither be created nor destroyed, the energy simply changes its form to heat.
The longer a device like a dehumidifier runs, the hotter it gets.
Overuse is the most common reason for appliances catching fire.
However, that was before the days of safety features like overheating shutoff.
Not only does this feature keep you safe, but it also keeps the machine safe.
When a dehumidifier gets overheated, the overheating can burn out the device.
That saves you money by expanding the useful life of your machine.
The last safety feature that modern dehumidifiers have is that you can set your dehumidifier to shut off at a certain humidity level.
Once the room has reached the desired humidity level, the dehumidifier will turn itself off temporarily.
It will start running again once the humidity level has gotten too high.
What If There Are Pets In The Home?
Modern dehumidifiers are completely safe to be around pets and their fur.
While you should always clean pet hair out of any of your devices regularly, a little dog or cat hair won’t hurt the dehumidifier any more than any other device in your home.
Having a dehumidifier in a home with a fuzzy pet can actually be extremely beneficial for all of your health concerns.
Our pets need to be able to cool down just as much as we do, if not more.
A dehumidifier makes the feel of a room getting blasted by summer heat much cooler for you and Fido.
If it’s too hot or uncomfortable for you, it’s likely the same or worse for your pets.
The Risks of Running Your Dehumidifier Constantly
No electric appliance is completely without risk, and your dehumidifier is no exception.
While your dehumidifier may have the same likelihood of going up in smoke as your refrigerator or your air conditioning unit, you should always keep the risk in the back of your mind.
In November of 2016, dehumidifier manufacturer, Midea, had to recall their dehumidifiers.
Their humidifiers were overheating and ended up causing $4.8 million in property damage.
This was not the first time such a thing happened with Midea’s dehumidifiers.
In 2011, the manufacturer had to recall 198,000 units sold between 2007 to 2009.
This time, the problem was that the compressors were short-circuiting, causing the machines to overheat and catch fire.
Gree, an appliance company, has had 471 reported overheating instances, with an additional 121 fires caused by their devices between the years 2003 and 2013.
The Gree dehumidifiers caused $4.5 million of property damage during those years.
Even major electronics manufacturers like LG have had problems with their dehumidifiers.
The company had to recall 98,000 units that were sold between 2007 and 2008.
The problem with LG’s dehumidifiers was that the internal electrical connection was overheating and causing the dehumidifier to go up in flames.
Home Depot had to recall their Hampton Bay dehumidifiers because there was an internal component that was failing in many dehumidifiers, resulting in overheating and fires.
Luckily, only 2,000 units were sold between the years 2000 and 2007.
Whirlpool had to recall 1.4 million dehumidifiers that were sold between 1997 and 2001.
Whirlpool’s dehumidifiers had a poor internal electrical connection, similar to LG’s dehumidifiers.
Even Whirlpool’s machines were overheating and causing fires.
How To Minimize Risk
Although dehumidifiers have safety features in place to keep their users safe, no one wants to be one of those statistically few who have had the safety features that fail, and no one wants to lose or damage their home.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk.
You should make sure that your dehumidifier is in a safe location.
There should be at least eight to twelve inches around a dehumidifier.
A clear area ensures that airflow can easily get through the cabinet louvers, keeping the machine or its fan from overheating.
While a dehumidifier can be run in an indoor space, you must make sure that the exterior doors and windows are closed.
When a machine is constantly running at maximum capacity, that’s where the risk of overheating from overuse lies.
Know The Temperature Of The Room
The next tip from professionals on the use of a dehumidifier is that you bear in mind the temperature of a room.
Dehumidifiers were built to work in rooms that are 65 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Anything below 65 degrees Fahrenheit will cause the coil to freeze.
A frozen coil results in the compressor overheating.
Some of the newer models allow you to use them in rooms below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, but they carry the same risk.
While your dehumidifier may have the humidistat shutoff feature, the feature doesn’t eliminate risk.
If you set your humidity level too low, your dehumidifier will never give itself a break.
This could result in the compressor overheating and burning out the entire unit.
The maintenance of your dehumidifier greatly affects the risk and lifespan of your dehumidifier.
The better you take care of your machine, the better and longer it will run.
Make sure to clean out your air intake and exhaust grilles.
You can use your vacuum cleaner to get any potential dust or hair buildup.
If you have pets, it’s recommended that you do this more frequently.
Hair and dust can build up on the fan and restrict airflow, which can lead to your unit overheating.
Just like your air conditioning unit or furnace, you must replace your filters regularly.
If you use your dehumidifier frequently, then it is recommended that you replace the filters once every three weeks.
However, if you have pets, you should check your filters every two weeks.
Without clean filters, airflow can get trapped in the dehumidifier.
Another part of dehumidifier maintenance is cleaning the coils.
You can clear your coils the same way you clean your air intake and exhaust grilles: with your vacuum cleaner.
You only need to clean your coils periodically.
Cleaning both your condenser coil and your evaporator coil is crucial to proper maintenance.
The buildup of dust and dirt can lead to your compressor overheating if it remains on the condenser coil.
The dust and dirt buildup can cause water to build up as well and freeze your coils if your evaporator coil isn’t cleaned.
Parts Of Your Dehumidifier That May Fail
The most common part of your dehumidifier to fail is your compressor.
The compressor is what keeps cool air flowing through your machine.
While your compressor can handle a little heat, it can become overheated in a multitude of ways.
Typically, your compressor is kept safe from the heat by your compressor’s thermal protector.
The compressor’s thermal protector is one of the most important parts of your dehumidifier.
By sensing when there is an increase in temperature, the thermal protector knows when to open and stop the machine.
A failure of the compressor thermal protector is what allows your compressor to overheat to the point of catching fire.
Your compressor capacitor and relay are what start and stop the running of your compressor motor.
Short cycling and compressor overheating can happen if they fail.
Your dehumidifier will have either a manual or an automatic humidistat.
If the humidity sensor isn’t working, that could result in your machine not knowing when it should turn itself off.
Your relay won’t stop the dehumidifier when the humidity is low, causing overheating and potential fires.
Your dehumidifier has a defrost control that protects your cooling coils.
Typically, if your defrost control senses ice beginning to form on your cooling coils, it will stop the machine and allow the fan to help in the defrosting process.
It will turn back on once the thawing process is complete.
A broken defrost control won’t stop the machine and will kill the cooling coils.
Each dehumidifier’s water collection tank has a switch, referred to as the tank full switch or bucket level switch, that senses when the water level has reached a certain point.
When the switch is flipped, the dehumidifier turns off, preventing the tank from overflowing and short-circuiting the whole unit.
The compressor and fan will not turn on until the water tank is emptied.
You can tell that your dehumidifier’s tank needs to be emptied by the indicator light on the device.
Is It Safe To Leave Your Dehumidifier Running While On Vacation?
Your dehumidifier is safe to run while you’re on vacation, as long as everything in it works as intended by the manufacturer.
However, your dehumidifier will only run as long as the bucket isn’t full.
There are some dehumidifiers that you can connect to a drainage pipe.
Models like the Danby 50-Pint Energy Star Dehumidifier have multiple drainage options.
You should consider the safety risks and the possibility of a part of your dehumidifier failing when deciding whether you are going to leave your dehumidifier on while you are on vacation or gone for extended periods of time.
Should you decide to leave your dehumidifier running despite the risks, make sure you clean your machine out thoroughly close to the time you plan on leaving.
This will help you minimize the risk.
The Cost Of Constantly Running A Dehumidifier
The safety risk of constantly running your dehumidifier isn’t the only thing you should consider.
You must also consider the cost of electricity.
While it is definitely worth the extra cost to get a dehumidifier that is as energy efficient as possible, they will only save you so much money.
If you are frequently running your dehumidifier, you could be spending $1,401.60 on the electricity going to your dehumidifier alone.
The more often you run your dehumidifier, the shorter its useful life will be.
A low-priced dehumidifier will cost you anywhere from $40 to $250 per dehumidifier.
If you’re looking for a dehumidifier of average quality, you will be paying anywhere from $150 to $400.
The safest and most efficient dehumidifiers run between $800 and $2,500.
The higher the price and quality of the humidifier, the less maintenance there will be.
Your dehumidifier has multiple safety features and controls that keep you and your loved ones safe while you use it.
While there have been dehumidifiers with faulty parts and safety features, there are many ways to minimize the risk.
By keeping up with the maintenance of your machine and being mindful of your dehumidifier’s environment, you can safely run your dehumidifier whenever you need it.