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Old Basement Dehumidifier May Need Replacement

D107
D107 Member Posts: 1,777
Dehumidifier GE ADEL70LR. Current basement room temp is 77 º, humidity is 57%. I have it on a time that goes 30 minutes on, 30 off. When cycle starts it lowers humidity to 53-55%. So it works, but there's never any water in the bucket. I would think the temp and humidity levels would be high enough to collect water.

For six years I had the Dehumidifier in the boiler room where it was in a corner draining into the slop sink--probably built more heat up--partially from its own motor-- and being the room has a brick wall, perhaps subject to more humidity. Basement is 500+ square feet. Outside humidity is 38% which I suspect is the culprit. Usually NY area summers are very high in humidity but not this early in June. I can hear the unit cycling between fan and coils several times within the half hour that it's on. Humidifier itself mostly reads 55%, sometimes down to 35%. Air coming out of unit is cool, so obviously not extracting a lot of water. Serves as a cooling fan for now.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,094
    You almost certainly have enough air exchange with outside so that what you condense when the thing is running just evaporates when it's off...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    D107
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    edited June 7
    is the coil getting cold but not freezing? perhaps the refrigerant has recently escaped.
    D107ethicalpaul
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    @mattmia2 Not sure where the refrigerant is on this unit, probably near the top. The unit is probably 7 years old, so refrigerant loss is possible. Unit is really not made for servicing. I guess I'll find out going forward. I'm hoping the explanation lies in Jamie's comments.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    You usually can see and feel the evaporator behind the intake grill , usually after you take the filter out.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    If the water that's collecting in the semi-enclosed bucket is somehow evaporating, then the dehumidifier isn't doing anything useful other than warming the space. I mean, the evaporated water is just going back where it came from.

    That said.
    Mine will produce condensate even when the temperatures are in the high 60s and the RH is in the mid 40s. Enough that my Little Giant condensate pump was pumping it out every 3 hours.

    I have it set to maintain 35% (good luck) so it runs pretty much non-stop all summer. I've tried raising it to say 45% but then it just turns off for only a few minutes at a time which in my opinion is worse than it just running continuous. The few times I've checked it with external thermometers etc it seems to run low 40s most of the summer so I'm happy with that.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    edited June 7
    Having observed this now for a few days, it's starting to run mostly with just the fan, even if I set it to continuous. Room readings are 70º and 55-60% humidity. Had if off all night, when I turned unit on this morning humidity went down from 59% to 55%. I have a feeling the fan circulation alone is slightly lowering the humidity. Even though basements are cooler than above ground rooms, I can't believe those numbers are too low for a dehumidifier to function in or would cause coils to freeze. Refrigerant must be gone or unit is malfunctioning. Looking at buying the FFAD5033W1 Frigidaire, very highly rated. And unlike with sizing AC, from what I understand even if the unit could handle 1500 sq ft and my basement is only 500sq ft, the unit should work well, perhaps on low fan speed.
    (I just turned it off and started it again, the condenser started and ran for five minutes, and now it's fan only again even though humidity is still 55%, though set to continuous. Five minutes later compressor comes on again. Perhaps that thermostat is toast.)
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    The fan alone isn't going to lower RH.
    My dad had one that kept icing up if it was in the 60s and it got worse over time so I'm sure it was leaking.

    I have a Frigidaire from 2011 that's still going strong, so far. It'll run fine if it's in the 60s from what I've seen. I've got a feeling it'll be going in the next few years though, the fan made some noise when I first started it this year.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    I turned off the unit and replaced it with a large fan; humidity holds at 55% when outside humidity is 67%. I'm now wondering if I need a dehumidifier if I can keep humidity @55%. not ideal I know.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    D107 said:

    I turned off the unit and replaced it with a large fan; humidity holds at 55% when outside humidity is 67%. I'm now wondering if I need a dehumidifier if I can keep humidity @55%. not ideal I know.

    Depends on what the outdoor and indoor temperatures are and how much infiltration there is.

    If it's 68 outside and 67% and it's 75f inside it's going to be real easy to keep it at 55% if there's enough infiltration. Of course, if it's 90F and 70% outside the results will be very different.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    How rainy has it been? I mainly need a dehumidifier in my basement when it has been rainy and a combination of humidity from outside collects in the basement and the foundation has some minor weeping and moisture from the ground migrate through it.

    The running for a few minutes then shutting off the compressor could be a low pressure switch on the suction side combined with low refrigerant. Does the evaporator get cold before it shuts off?
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    @mattmia2 had rain last week but I probably wasn't paying attention to this then. At night outside humidity has been 90%, then goes down by mid-day. Inside I've only seen humidity go up from 55 to 60 max when the dehumidifier was on. Can't say evaporator's getting cold--there's a lot of heat coming from the bottom, probably the motor. The air coming out of unit is blowing very mildly warm, kind of room temp. I think I would be wise to just get a new dehumidifier. Even if I could keep RH @60% that might encourage mold over time. In the past the basement has had effluorescence on a brick wall and at near 60% RH you get that musty feel. I hate burning the electric for this but probably no choice.
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 750
    Your dehumidifier sent you a message, retire me.

    Although electric is expensive in NY removing mold or mildew can be very expensive, I know this from personal experience.

    Before I moved from Staten Island 21 years ago and before the sale of my house I had a certified structural engineer come to my house to test for mold and mildew. This was done over three days with his sniffing equipment where I came up positive for mold ( opened up several walls in ground floor 4 rooms of my high ranch to prepare for the test.)

    Bottom line I had to take all the sheet rock walls down and remove all the carpeting and have my remediation contractor remove all the mold and get rid of the debris.

    The cost $5500.00. The restoration cost $22,000. My engineer came back and retested the whole house and the result was negative, he provided a report from the first day to the completion.

    I had an amazing break, I put a claim in to my insurance and recovered $26,000, the limit on my policy.

    My house was sold to the second buyer because I gave the report to broker and he used that and the new four rooms as the selling point for the house.

    Look for a unit sized to your space, severe over sizing will cause short cycling and eventually cause the unit to breakdown long before the life cycle is reached.

    Jake
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    @dopey27177 Sorry to hear of your problem. I agree, already ordered a unit. FFAD5033W1 Frigidaire. Though it can probably handle 1500 sq ft vs my space of 530sq ft, I was advised by dehumidifiers buyers guide that this 50 pint unit would work. Not many small units around; I would keep mine on low speed. Also the basement is open to a small landing and first floor half bath, so probably 650 sq ft.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    edited June 8
    The low fan speed probably makes the evaporator cooler and give the air more contact with the evaporator and makes it remove more moisture.
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    @mattmia2 so you’re saying it’s oversized?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    Probably not the size is so much of an issue as circulation or being able to remote the humidistat or adjust the differential or both so it is reading more the whole area than just the area near the dehumidifier
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    edited June 17
    @mattmia2 I doubt these units come with a movable humidistat. If circulation is an issue in this three room basement, then perhaps a well-placed fan will assist. These people from the Dehumidifier Buyers Guide have come up with their own ideas on sizing if you go to this url and then scroll down to or search for: "What Capacity Dehumidifier Should You Buy?" I don't think they answer the short cycling issue, though. Curious if you all think they're thinking is sound. (or if they're a group that is simply telling everyone to buy the biggest unit possible.)

    https://www.dehumidifierbuyersguide.com
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    See in this freidrich you can look in through the grill and see the evaporator and that it is cold and condensing moisture out of the air:





    You can similarly see the evaporator in this LG that isn't running. The tubing without the fins is easier to see the condensation on:



    D107
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,775
    edited June 9
    Get a good April air 8000 series and duct it though out the basement . Problem solved ,you for pay what you get
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    Big Ed_4 said:
    Get a good April air 8000 series and duct it though out the basement . Problem solved ,you for pay what you get

    Is that 7 times better than a stand alone unit?




    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    ChrisJ said:


    Big Ed_4 said:

    Get a good April air 8000 series and duct it though out the basement . Problem solved ,you for pay what you get

    Is that 7 times better than a stand alone unit?






    yes. but there still seem to be some reports of them eventually leaking.

    https://www.aprilairepartners.com/

    has the installation manuals and technical info and also a video where they take one partially apart.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    mattmia2 said:
    Big Ed_4 said:
    Get a good April air 8000 series and duct it though out the basement . Problem solved ,you for pay what you get

    Is that 7 times better than a stand alone unit?




    yes. but there still seem to be some reports of them eventually leaking. https://www.aprilairepartners.com/ has the installation manuals and technical info and also a video where they take one partially apart.
    How's it 7 times better if they still leak?!?!
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,775
    They work so much better . I add ducts to distribute air to the other side of the basement . They make several models and sizes . Once the basement to dried out . They shut off and then checks the air now and then to maintain the humidity level . I use them in very damp basements ...
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    Big Ed_4 said:

    They work so much better . I add ducts to distribute air to the other side of the basement . They make several models and sizes . Once the basement to dried out . They shut off and then checks the air now and then to maintain the humidity level . I use them in very damp basements ...

    I'm not going to lie, I am considering it.
    But the issue I have is the 2011 Frigidaire I have rated 50 pints a day that I put a condensate pump next to keeps my basement in the low 40s%.

    Without it, my RH was in the high 80s. Before the condensate pump I think I figured out I was hauling out roughly 5 gallons a day.

    I'm not sure how anything could work better than that, other than perhaps shutting down and not restarting almost immediately due to how close the sensor is to the wet evaporator. That part sucks but if I really cared I could modify it.

    So from my point of view, I'm seeing 7 times the cost and the likelihood of it still leaking seems very high due to manufacturers all using heavy aluminum foil to make evaporators.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    edited June 10
    ChrisJ said:

    Big Ed_4 said:



    So from my point of view, I'm seeing 7 times the cost and the likelihood of it still leaking seems very high due to manufacturers all using heavy aluminum foil to make evaporators.

    Most use very thin copper, that is why they leak.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    edited June 10
    ChrisJ said:

    Big Ed_4 said:



    So from my point of view, I'm seeing 7 times the cost and the likelihood of it still leaking seems very high due to manufacturers all using heavy aluminum foil to make evaporators.

    It seems that they leak a lot less frequently and after a much longer period of time but there isn't great data on that for any of them.

    They are built with components that appear to have been designed for motors loads and the cabling is dressed in a professional manner so their chances of catching fire is much lower.

    They have the ability to remote the humidistat control and the humidistat itself built in. They have connections for the auxiliary switch from a condensate pump or pan built in.

    They have the ability to connect ductwork to the inlet or outlet or both to get better circulation.

    I think the coils are copper but I'm not positive.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    Copper was used for coils for a very long time without problems of leaking.

    How long did the typical copper and steel evaporator go without leaking in the 70s-90s?

    I'm sorry but I'm still not buying the "Copper is the reason they leak" anymore than the "Aluminum is the reason they leak" excuses.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    ChrisJ said:

    Copper was used for coils for a very long time without problems of leaking.

    How long did the typical copper and steel evaporator go without leaking in the 70s-90s?

    I'm sorry but I'm still not buying the "Copper is the reason they leak" anymore than the "Aluminum is the reason they leak" excuses.

    Copper got much more expensive in the mid 2000s or so and it got much thinner so the minor surface corrosion it always suffered suddenly became pinholes.
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    Interesting discussion. Got my new 50 point Frigidaire FFAD5033W1. Fan makes about the same noise as the 7 year old GE unit, but new coils are much quieter, no big hum. Like white noise. Perhaps hard for me to hear when coils are on, but usually can hear them kick in. Pleasure to have a working unit again, though, as expected warm air is coming out the top. Two of the three rooms maintain pretty much same humidity--down from 55% to 45% in 40 minutes. Boiler Room --about 15 ft total perpendicular brick walls--is about 5% higher. Seems like if it was an issue I could put a little fan pulling from the boiler room towards the dehumidifier, or would that we wicking more moisture out of the brick? Note that fan front faces away from boiler room; exhausts out the top, and rear of unit is intake, sort of towards the boiler room.



  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    fan to circulate isn't a bad idea but you have to be careful that you don't cause either negative draft down the vent or disrupt the burner.

    I have found the compressor gets louder when there is little refrigerant in the system.
    D107
  • D107
    D107 Member Posts: 1,777
    edited June 11
    @mattmia2 Thanks--good thought on the burner. Actually after this thing has been running awhile, discrepancy is only 1 or 2%, so probably not a concern. For now I just keep a little fan on low pretty near me for the heat--about ten feet in front of the unit. I would consider a condensate pump if I find emptying the bucket cumbersome, but given the location I'd have to run a hose up to the ceiling then through the doorway--or drill through the sheetrock down into boiler room slop sink, not the most attractive thing, but it could probably be a half-inch or 3/8" tube. If I empty bucket once a day that's not bad, good exercise. Right now enjoying the dry air. Interesting thing occurred to me: The unit raises temperature in a room a few degrees, which then permits a higher RH level. Is it inherently fighting itself a little? Bottom line, RH is down from 55 to 40, though outside right now it's 55%--on the dry side. If I get 5 years out of it I'm happy.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    Dewpoint is probably a better measure of the absolute amount of moisture in the air and engineering uses. The RH is just more relevant to what humans perceive. 3/8" or even smaller is usually fine for a condensate pump.
    D107
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    mattmia2 said:

    Dewpoint is probably a better measure of the absolute amount of moisture in the air and engineering uses. The RH is just more relevant to what humans perceive. 3/8" or even smaller is usually fine for a condensate pump.

    The condensate pumps I have all use 3/8" hose but air conditioners typically call for 3/4 if draining by gravity.

    I'm fine with RH as long as the temperature is stated.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • woobagooba
    woobagooba Member Posts: 132
    edited June 16
    Good luck with the new Frigidaire. I've got a year old unit that failed (F1), and one that has been going strong for years.

    I am interested in a AprilAire or equivalent. Will AprilAire honor warranty if I am not an industry pro? I am hearing they do not.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977


    I am interested in a AprilAire or equivalent. Will AprilAire honor warranty if I am not an industry pro? I am hearing they do not.

    I suspect that is at their discretion, if they think you know what you are doing or if they think you broke it. I suspect they wouldn't cover some acts of stupidity of the installer that they end up eating from their dealers.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,976
    mattmia2 said:


    I am interested in a AprilAire or equivalent. Will AprilAire honor warranty if I am not an industry pro? I am hearing they do not.

    I suspect that is at their discretion, if they think you know what you are doing or if they think you broke it. I suspect they wouldn't cover some acts of stupidity of the installer that they end up eating from their dealers.
    It appears if you're not a licensed contractor there is no warranty.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,977
    I'm not a lawyer but the Apriaire warranty says in part:

    "THIS LIMITED WARRANTY IS VOID IF DEFECT(S) RESULT FROM FAILURE TO HAVE
    THIS UNIT INSTALLED BY A QUALIFIED HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING CONTRACTOR. IF THE LIMITED WARRANTY IS VOID DUE TO FAILURE TO USE A QUALIFIED CONTRACTOR,
    ALL DISCLAIMERS OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES SHALL BE EFFECTIVE UPON INSTALLATION."

    If I am reading that correctly it is stating that they won't cover warranty repairs if it was broken due to installation errors by someone other than a "qualified contractor". There is also an argument that in a jurisdiction where a homeowner can pull a trade permit for their own property that a homeowner is a qualified contractor for that work.