A dehumidifier, like any other appliance in your home, is prone to problems at some time. However, breaker tripping isn’t a usual problem; if it happens, you can reset the breaker and continue enjoying a dehumidified home. But if it happens more than once or every time you connect the unit, you have a bigger problem.
Why is my dehumidifier tripping the breaker? There is no specific answer. Most of the time, it can be caused by loose connections, or it’s something to do with the dehumidifier parts such as a dirty filter, defective air blower motor, or clogged fins around the evaporator coils. You have to troubleshoot the problem to know the exact cause.
How do you troubleshoot a breaker-tripping dehumidifier? If you don’t know how do not worry. This post has you covered; it has everything you need to help troubleshoot the breaker-tripping dehumidifier.
Why Does a Dehumidifier Trip the Breaker?
It’s not normal for a dehumidifier to continuously trip the circuit breaker. If this is happening with yours, it’d be best to troubleshoot the cause and plan how to address it. Here are the most common and possible causes of your dehumidifier to trip the breaker:
1) Faulty Electrical Panel
There are times when the issue has nothing to do with your dehumidifier. It might be that the breaker is worn out, or there is an issue with the electrical panel itself.
Try connecting the dehumidifier to another breaker using an extension cord and see if it trips it too. If it does, then you have a dehumidifier problem.
With the mains power off, inspect the breaker for any dark spots that could indicate it’s burnt. You can also call a licensed electrician to check the electrical panel and install a replacement.
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If a problem is found, the dehumidifier will have to be fixed to operate normally again. Your qualified electrician will diagnose the problem and offer a better solution.
2) Overloaded, Shared Circuit
Sometimes we are forced to share some appliances on the same circuit. If your dehumidifier shares a circuit with another unit, you might be overloading it, causing the tripping.
Your dehumidifier should run from an exclusive circuit to prevent other appliances or tools from overloading the circuit.
Also, make sure the dehumidifier ratings match the circuit ratings. You might be connecting the unit to a less powerful circuit and thus forcing the circuit breaker to trip.
3) Dirty Dehumidifier Filter
Inside a portable dehumidifier, there is an air filter that cleans it before it gets cooled. It collects all types of dirt and dust particles and more. With time, it can get clogged with all this dirt.
When that happens, the restriction will reduce airflow, forcing the dehumidifier to need additional power to pull more air inside it. Because of the increase in power consumption, the humidifier could trip the breaker.
The best way to solve this problem is to check and clean the dehumidifier filter regularly. Make it a routine to check the air filter once a month and clean it with tap water when dirty.
It’s pretty easy to remove the filter; all you need is to snap them out. Check with your user manual to know where yours is located and how to remove it for cleaning.
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What If Your Dehumidifier Uses Registers or Air Vents?
Like a portable dehumidifier air filter, the registers or air vents filters can get blocked by the dirt and dust they collect.
If that were to happen, the dehumidifier would be forced to overwork to suck enough air into the vents. That translates to a high-power draw, thereby causing a breaker tripping.
A solution to this problem is to inspect your home’s air vent filters and registers for dirt and blockage. Check them out every month and replace them with ideal replacements.
4) Dirty Dehumidifier Evaporator Coils and Fins
Like dirty dehumidifier air filters, clogged evaporator coils and fins can force your dehumidifier to work extra to meet your set settings. That makes it consume more power, which can trip the breaker.
Open the unit slowly with the guide of your user manual to have a look at the evaporator coils. Please make sure the unit is unplugged when working on it.
If you find them dirty, use a stiff evaporator coil fin cleaner brush and CAREFULLY clean the surfaces in the direction of the fins.
Note: If you’re not a handy person, leave the job to a professional.
5) Defective Air Blower Motor
It’s also possible that the air blower fan motor is faulty. It might be running, but the motor could have a slightly burnt thermal fuse causing a spike in the power intake of the fan motor. If that is the case, the breaker will trip off to protect anything connected to the line.
Unfortunately, to check the unit motor, you have to get deeper into the unit, and that means taking down the top cover on the air blower side to access the fan.
Remember: Before moving forward, make sure the unit is unplugged from the power to avoid electrocution. Also, be confident that you know what you’re doing; else, consider taking the dehumidifier to a professional.
Once you’ve accessed the fan, locate the connection on the dehumidifier motherboard, and unplug the easy connector. Plug the unit in and taste for voltage from three plugs. Look at the quick-connect to confirm the high, low, and common.
Take your multimeter, touch the red multimeter lead to the low or high and black lead to the common. It would be best if you got close to 110 volts. If you get anything higher than 100 volts, which is rare, there’s a problem with the motherboard.
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If the voltage flowing through is close to 110 or 120 volts, it’s time to test the motor’s thermal fuse. Remove the plastic fan and unscrew the fan motor. Around the coil is a plastic cover or tape. Open it carefully, and you should access the thermal fuse.
Using the multimeter set to continuity, check if it’s faulty. You should get a constant beep sound. If the sound breaks or reduces volume, the fuse needs replacing.
What Parts of a Dehumidifier that Need Power?
For a dehumidifier to run, you must hook it up to a power source to supply the rated electrical power, 110/120 volts or 220/240 volts. So, what are these parts that need electricity?
Air Blower Fan Motor
Every compressor dehumidifier requires a fan to pull air from the room into the evaporator coils and blow it out. Without it, the air won’t be pulled in for water removal and won’t be pushed far enough to allow air circulation.
When faulty, the evaporator coils will freeze enough to trigger compressor shutdown. The unit will be starting and shutting down without even dehumidifying any air.
Inside a compressor is a compressor motor head that works by compressing the evaporator gas. It requires electricity for it to work.
The evaporator gas must be compressed into liquid before turning into gas for the condensations process to work on the other side.
Inside the compressor, there is also a sensor designed to controls the evaporator valve, which controls the compressor intake. It prevents the compressor from receiving any liquid evaporator.
The other part that needs electric power is the control panel of your dehumidifier. That is the section with the LED screen and all the buttons you press to set the humidity level and the timer that controls how long the unit will run.
Under this, the humidity sensor communicates with your settings to monitor the humidity level and send a signal to the control board to start the dehumidifier.
Some dehumidifiers come with a water pump that you can use to pump out the condensate. It’s connected to the unit’s main motherboard and requires electric power for it to run. It comes with a float pump switch which turns it on when the condensate water reaches a certain level.
Can You Run a Dehumidifier 24/7?
Yes, there is no strict rule limiting you on how long you can run your dehumidifier. It means you can run it for 24 hours a day for a week or more without harming it. However, you’ll have to consider the amount of water it can remove in pints per day and your availability to empty the tank. When the water fills, the unit will shut down to prevent flooding.