When it comes to the reasons for dehumidifier ice build up, there are a couple of scenarios to consider when looking for the source of the problem, this guide will walk you through what you need to know in order to find the solution to your icy problem.

Relative humidity is easily controlled in the home by means of a dehumidifier, the common refrigerant type of dehumidifier is available in both portable and fixed units, providing relief for both homes and offices. A refrigerant unit behaves in the same manner as a refrigerator would. It uses a condenser, compressor, fan and evaporation coils to remove humidity from the air and cool it down.

 

The coils

The evaporator coils become cold because of the condensed, compressed refrigerant that evaporates very quickly within the coils, absorbing heat as it operates this results in the water being cooled and the vapor condensing to liquid water on the surface. The fan then blows the cooled air back out into the room. You can learn more here on dehumidifiers explained or why not check out our feature packed blog or FAQ page. Of course if you have any questions at all please don’t hesitate to contact the GMC Airconditioning team today.

This creates an environment conducive to making the dehumidifier ice up, even in normal operation, the coils become covered with a thin layer of frost that builds up over time. Lots of modern dehumidifiers have auto-defrost functionality that stops dehumidifier ice build up in the coils operation while the ice defrosts, however, it will usually continue to fan air through the system to keep the circulation in the room going.

 

 

The air-flow

Another possibility for your unit frosting up is that the air in the room is too cold and the condenser is no able to defrost in time, allowing for further build-up of the ice. If you find that your dehumidifier was working fine in the same room for years and suddenly starts icing over, then there may be a problem with the air-filter in your unit.

If the incoming air is not sufficient then that can cause icing on the condenser as the unit is no-longer filtering the air efficiently, making your dehumidifier work harder and causing the condenser to ice over because it is forced to work overtime. Make sure that you maintain your dehumidifier with a good cleaning of the filter every now and then as the environment demands. Another reason for insufficient air-flow to the unit is that the fan has lost its efficiency and no longer operates effectively.

 

Lack of cleaning and maintenance

A dehumidifier is designed to be a device that assists you in living a better quality of life, that being said, it is not a miracle device that you never look at again after you have plugged it. Just like any other device, it requires a bit of maintenance in cleaning of the unit from time to time to avoid build-up of dust and dirt on them, especially if you are living in a dusty environment.

Keeping the coils clean is a bit more challenging and is important because it means that the moisture from the icing of the coils will not wet the dust, keeping the coils from defrosting properly and ending up with the dehumidifier ice building up over the spot on the condenser that is dirty and then spreading over the entire coil with time.

Most portable units have the condenser hidden in the housing and it may be challenging to locate them for inspection and cleaning. So, if you find yourself looking to inspect the coils, the take it back to the agent or dealer where you purchased it from and ask them to take a look at it. The coils are also very delicate components that are easily damaged, so it is best to leave it to the professionals in this case.

 

 

Sensor failure, faulty coils & other possibilities

Your dehumidifier may also use an auto-defrost operation to defrost the coils when it senses they need it. If this sensor is faulty from loose wiring or damaged from the unit taking a bump or fall, then it may affect the operation of the dehumidifier, in this case, your service technician will need to either repair or replace the sensor.
If you find that your coil is only partially freezing across its surface, this is a sign that there is a fault in the refrigeration system. The most common cause of a fault is a lack of refrigerant from a leak which could be caused by damage from dropping or knocking the unit, or from simple wear and tear if your unit has been in service for years. Check out our instruction manual for more information.

The compressor is the heart of your dehumidifier it’s not common for these units to stop working from a fault and when it finally gives out, then it’s time to move on from your unit to an upgraded model.

Most units are sold with a manufacturers warranty that can be for a period of up to five years. If you have purchased your dehumidifier with the warranty period, then take it to your dealer and have the professionals look at it for you, they will be able to assess the unit and identify any issues with the refrigerating system., getting you back on track to defrosting dehumidifier ice and creating a comfortable home.

 

 

The Final Thought

If your dehumidifier has given you years of good service and is now out of its warranty period, then it may be time to consider getting a new model with a new warranty, as repairs on a older model may end up being equivalent to a new unit.

 

 

 

About 

GMC Air conditioning is South Africa’s leading cooling and heating distributor, backed by 22 years of real world HVAC experience.
We offer a range of portable dehumidifiers for both residential and commercial use.

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