Does a Dehumidifier Clean the Air?

a Dehumidifier Cleaning dusty the Air

A dehumidifier’s primary function is to reduce the humidity level in a room or prevent condensation on windows and other surfaces. Fortunately, the same dehumidifier does more other functions behind the scene. It does clean air contaminants. So, does a dehumidifier help with dust?

Yes! A dehumidifier comes with an air filter designed to clean the air of dust, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens. As the air passes through the cartridge, contaminant particles are trapped before passing to the freezing coils. The clean, dry air then flows into the room while leaving the contaminants on the other side of the filter.

Besides reducing the humidity level in the air, a dehumidifier also keeps your home or business healthy and comfortable for longer periods. It will clean your air of dust and other contaminants. But as time goes by, the air filter gets dirty and demands cleaning. Continue reading to learn how a dehumidifier helps clean dust and what to do when it gets dirty.

How Does a Dehumidifier Help Clean Dust in the Air?

Dehumidifiers have a series of components that work together to reduce the amount of humidity in your home. Among these parts is an air filter. It is normal for dehumidifiers to utilize filters, and 99% of the modern models have them. If your dehumidifier does not have one, then you should buy one that has one.

About dehumidifier filters

A dehumidifier filter is an integral part of any home appliance because it ensures clean air around you. The most common material for this purpose is foam, paper, or cloth.

The dehumidifier filter is similar to the air filter in your car that traps dust and pollen from the air before it enters into the vehicle’s ventilation system. It also catches particles of lint and pet dander. However, an automotive filter can only trap so much until it needs to be replaced with a new one because dirt and debris cause its efficiency to decline over time and use.

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While the dehumidifier coil removes excess humidity in the air by condensing it into a liquid or solid-state, a dehumidifier filter helps remove contaminants. That way, you can breathe easier and have a healthier environment while using a dehumidifier. The filter catches dust particles, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, lint, and other harmful particles.

How Does a Dehumidifier Filter Help With Dust?

A dehumidifier air filter is mostly placed in front of the dehumidifier where the air gets into the unit. Typically, there will be a fin-like design on this side.

The dehumidifier motor fan rotates; it pulls in the air that passes through the air filter to clean air contaminants. The filter is designed to capture microscopic particles, thus effectively trapping dust, pollen, dandruff, and more air contaminants.

That helps improve the quality of the air getting back to the room after moisture is removed. It does also help protect the evaporator coils from getting coated with all the gunk from the air.

What Happens If the Air Filter Collects Too Much Dust?

As the air filter help with dust, there will come a time to get saturated with all the dirt. This is when things start to go wrong.

A dirty dehumidifier filter can cause airflow blockage and result in reduced efficiency. Besides this, since there won’t be enough air passing through, the fan will work harder to pull in more air. In the process, it consumes extra energy than use, increasing your electricity cost.

Besides this, because of the extra work, the compressor and the motor will experience increased wear. The unit might overheat and end up breaking down sooner than expected.

That’s why it’s crucial you clean the air filter once in a while. The good thing is, some models have a light system that will alert you when the airflow is reduced. Some even have a smart shut-off feature that powers it down when such a situation occurs to prevent damage.

How to Clean a Dirty Dehumidifier Filter

It’s crucially important that you clean a dirty dehumidifier air filter to maintain optimal performance. Here is how you can clean your dehumidifier filter:

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  • Step 1: Unplug the dehumidifier from the power supply.
  • Step 2: If you have a portable model, remove the water collection tank and empty it.
  • Step 3: locate the cover side with a fin-like design.
  • Step 4: Reach underneath and look for a small handle or snaps. If you have a wall-mounted unit, you will want to remove the front cover. Some units will use easy snaps to hold the cover, and others with have some screws. Be gentle to prevent breaking things. What you’re looking for is a rectangular or square-shaped plastic thing. (It’d be best to refer to your unit’s user manual for this step.)
  • Step 5: Take the air filter out to the kitchen sink and splash it with clean tap water facing down the dirty side. If there is some stubborn dirt, you want to use mild dishwasher soap and rinse it with clean water.
  • Step 6: Set it aside so that it can drain the water out. Once there is no water-dropping of it, repeat the initial steps you took to replace it.
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How to Tell When the Dehumidifier Air Filter is Dirty

In most cases, dust accumulations on dehumidifier filters lead to the poor performance of a machine they serve. Most people do not notice this problem for a long time as its consequences can be relatively minor. That is why paying attention to the dehumidifier performance and signs that can signal it’s time to clean the air filter. They include:

The Dehumidifier Air Filter is Dirty

1) Dehumidifier Produce Noise

If your machine is making a lot of noise like it’s struggling to breathe, the filter is the first thing to check when troubleshooting the problem. It’s highly likely it’s dirty and needs cleaning.

2) Moisture Everywhere

In addition, if you notice that your clothes feel damp or collected water in the buckets too quickly and the dehumidifier is still running, it might have a clogged air filter that isn’t allowing enough air to pass through. Check the air filter for clogging.

3) Thick and Uncomfortable Air

If the dehumidifier is still running, but the air quality is getting thick and uncomfortable, the air is still damp, meaning the air filter might be dirty and clogged. The accumulation of the dirt might be interfering with the airflow that affects the unit’s effectiveness.

4) Unpleasant Smell in the Air

Another sign that there may be something wrong with your dehumidifier is an unpleasant smell coming out of it. This could either mean mold and mildew, or it could mean that dust and dirt are building up inside the unit. Either way, you should try to find out what’s responsible for this unpleasant smell so that you can get rid of it.

5) A dehumidifier is Collecting Less Water

Even though this can be a sign of a much bigger problem, it could also mean there isn’t enough air reaching the evaporator coils, which can happen when the air filter is dirty. If the dehumidifier water collection has been reduced, you might want to check the air filter for clogging.

6) The Cost of Running Your Unit Has Increased

Finally, one of the biggest signs that your dehumidifier may be dirty is if you notice that it’s suddenly using up more electricity than before. This could mean that dirt or grime is building up inside the unit.

If you see these signs even after cleaning the air filter, it’d be best to give dehumidifier repair services a call.

How Often Should You Clean the Dehumidifier Filter?

In humid areas, you should clean the filter every week. You should clean the filter every month; in dusty environments, you should clean the dehumidifier filter more often.

As demonstrated above, dehumidifier filters are easy to clean. When cleaned regularly, they may last for some time (provided they were manufactured by a reputable company that guarantees their durability).

On average, one humidifier filter should work for years, after which both appearance and efficiency start to deteriorate. So you will notice when the time has come for replacing this unit’s part in your home appliance.

The best choice would be to have a spare replacement filter. That way, you will always have an opportunity to properly clean your current machine’s components without unnecessary delays that can lead to increased humidity or, even worse – mold growth on walls or other surfaces in the house.

Related Questions

Can a dehumidifier help me breathe better?

A dehumidifier can help alleviate the discomfort faced by asthmatic patients breathing in denser air. It can also reduce the feeling of congestion caused by high humidity. A dehumidifier can also reduce the growth of microorganisms and mold in the home.25 Jun 2020

Can using a dehumidifier help my asthma?

Maybe. Again, if you think your breathing problems are caused by humidity, a dehumidifier may help to reduce the humidity in your home. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that this will automatically improve breathing problems. If you have breathing problems and want to try using a dehumidifier as a treatment, talk with your doctor first to ensure it is right.

About the author

Sharif Hasan

I am Sharif a data-driven marketer by profession and run The Spruce Air. I am very interested in keeping good-quality air inside of my home. Besides, I love to share my air-related knowledge through my website.

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