Is Your Dehumidifier Leaking Refrigerant? How to Detect and Fix It

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Compressor or refrigerant dehumidifiers use a basic refrigeration system to capture moisture from the air and store it in a water tank/drain it from a hose in order to dehumidify the local environment.

This process requires the use of a refrigerant gas such as freon, and if this refrigerant gas is leaking from your dehumidifier then it will not be functioning at its full capability.

In fact, if the gas has all leaked out, it is possible your dehumidifier is not actually dehumidifying at all!

But how do you tell if your dehumidifier is leaking refrigerant? Here are a few ways to test for a leak, and possibly fix the problem.

dehumidifier leaking refrigerant freon

How To Verify a Refrigerant Leak in Your Dehumidifier

how a regrigerant dehumidifier works

Let’s take a look at the main ways to test for a leak. Take a look at the above image, as you will need to know the common parts of a dehumidifier to be able to effectively test for a leak.

Check The Cooling Coil / Evaporator

Directly behind the intake filter of your dehumidifier should be the cooling coil (also known as an evaporator).

When the dehumidifier is running, this cooling coil should be cool to the touch. If it is not cool, then it is very likely that the refrigerant has leaked out of the system.

Use a Refrigerant Leak Detector

There are numerous refrigerant leak detectors available, some are actually quite affordable too (such as this model).

These leak detectors can be used to scan around the components in the dehumidifier and they will sound an alert of a leak is detected.

Of course, if the refrigerant is already all gone then it won’t detect anything – but they can be useful in identifying the source of the leak if you catch it early enough.

Use Soapy Water Spray

Safety note: water and electricity don’t mix – do not spray electrical components!

This method is very simple, but only effective if there is still some freon gas in the system and it hasn’t leaked all out.

Simply mix up some soapy water in a spray bottle and spray it onto joins and pipes in the dehumidifier (being careful not to spray any electrical components). Look for bubbles forming on the sprayed areas – If you do notice bubbles forming then this is where there is a leak.

Can You Smell A Freon Leak?

Freon and other common refrigerants do have a smell, but you should not rely on your nose to detect a leak.

If you notice a musty or chemical-type smell near your dehumidifier, then it is probably time to check for leaks more thoroughly or to get the unit serviced.

What Causes a Refrigerant Leak?

Usually, a freon leak is caused by general wear and tear from normal use of the dehumidifier.

A damaged pipe, faulty seal, or corrosion can all be causes of refrigerant leaks.

If your dehumidifier is still under warranty and you suspect you have a leak, then get in touch with the manufacturer asap – they should be able to assist with replacing the product or getting it repaired.

How To Fix a Refrigerant Leak in Your Dehumidifier

appliance repair man with multimeter

If you have confirmed that you have a freon leak in your dehumidifier, then you have a few options:

  • attempt a repair yourself (not recommended)
  • Call a technician to assist
  • replace the unit

Attempting to repair the leak yourself is generally not recommended as you are dealing with dangerous and toxic gasses as well as electronic parts.

So my recommendation is to work out if it is more economical to repair the unit or to replace it.

If it is a cheaper dehumidifier, I would advise just purchasing a new unit. The cost of repairs on such a model will be prohibitive.

Do you have any questions relating to this article? Email us at [email protected] or call us on +1 (310) 961-4908

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Aaron is the founder of and Essential Home and Garden. With over 15 years of hands-on experience in home ownership, lawn care, and gardening, Aaron is a seasoned expert in areas like lawn care, DIY, HVAC, and pest control.

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