Before I say anything else, let me say that your dehumidifier might be fine even after it froze. There is a chance it is broken, and I’m going to walk you through my own experience with this. Now, odds are, if you’re looking at this article, your air dehumidifier froze, just like mine. There’s a chance you didn’t even realize that it was frozen for the first few days just because you didn’t think to look.
I know I didn’t realize mine was frozen until I went to empty its water basin and I thought it was leaking.
As it turns out, that was ice that was melting and dripping onto the ground from inside my dehumidifier!
Where Did My Dehumidifier Freeze if the Water Basin Didn’t Freeze?
Believe it or not, the water basin itself did not freeze, it didn’t even have ice on its surface. Where my dehumidifier froze was on the little metal part where the water is condensed and pulled out of the air!
Sadly, I wasn’t able to take my air purifier apart to take good pictures of the part that froze and the ice that had formed. That being said, I did snap a few pictures and I hope you can see the ice well enough. It was hard getting my phone in there to get the pictures.
On the left side, you can see a picture of my dehumidifier that’s laid down on its front. On first glance, nothing looks wrong, minus the fact that a puddle of water is forming under it!
In the second picture (the middle one) you can see some of the ice. I had to look pretty close to see it!
And on the last one, you can see another shot of the ice and where it in in the dehumidifier.
The big hold in the dehumidifier is where the water basic goes, I’ll share more on that in a bit. For now, I’ll just say that the basin is supposed to come out (as I’m sure you all already know).
Before I say anything more, though, I’ve got a bit to say about this dehumidifier that froze. The dehumidifier is made by a company named Aiho that I hadn’t heard of before I bought this unit for a year and a half as of the time of writing this.
Here’s a picture I just snapped of it working on my kitchen counter today (a month after it froze).
It’s still going strong and I love it.
If you think this dehumidifier is cute, or if you think you’re in need of one, you can check this machine’s current price on Amazon here.
I usually have it working in my basement, but I’ve been hesitant to put it back down there since it froze. I’ve put it in bedrooms and even in my bathroom (where it really did a lot). But my basement is where it has spent most of it’s life.
My basement is a finished basement, so this dehumidifier is actually in a room that’s against my home’s foundation and not in a crawlspace or anything like that.
Ok, but why did this dehumidifier freeze if it was in my finished basement?
Well, that’s a long story. To put it simply, I had it running in my car outside for a couple of days because my car got a leak in a heavy rainstorm and it was getting mildew-y. It wasn’t even in my basement. There was condensation on the inside of my car’s windows and I could even see some mols starting on my seats. (I know, ew.) Suffice to say, I might have put the wrong kind of dehumidifier in my car, especially for winter time, but it’s all I had.
Since my dehumidifier froze, I’ve moved it inside and got this dehumidifier for cars and RVs for my car instead. This new one is a lot easier to work with in a car since you don’t have to plug it in! Hahaha
Besides being easier to stick in a car, this dehumidifier is actually made for cars. Imagine that, it’s easier because it’s made for it. *Sigh* I know, I feel dumb for not using it sooner.
Check for this cheap moisture absorber’s current price on Amazon here.
Alright, I’m sure that most of you didn’t have the same problem I did with your dehumidifier freezing in your car, but the end results will be very similar. Read on to see how I checked to see if my dehumidifier was broken.
How Do I Check to See if My Dehumidifier Broke After it Froze?
Alright, I’m sure you all know this already, but electronics like dehumidifiers run on electricity and electricity can be dangerous. As such, be sure careful when you check to see if your dehumidifier stills works after it freezes.
For me, I’ve played around with enough electronic things that I felt confident to give this a go and it was surprisingly hands-free.
And, before I go on, let me say that this is all my own experience with thawing and checking on my dehumidifier. You might have a different situation and you probably should reach out to the manufacturer of your dehumidifier to make sure you do things as safe as you can!
For me, I figured I knew the risks and I knew what precautions to take. Here are the steps I took to save my dehumidifier from ice
1. Unplug Your Frozen Dehumidifier.
As with just about every problem in the realm of electronics, unplugging the thing might help. In this case, I unplugged it for a few reasons. One, I wanted to move it back inside. Two, I was dealing with water and water and electricity don’t do well together. I didn’t feel like getting electrocuted, so I unplugged my dehumidifier before I moved it.
2. Move Your Frozen Dehumidifier Somewhere Warmer and Put it Right Side Up.
Yeah, I know, that’s another obvious one. But it’s worth saying still. Why? Because someone out there might get it in their heat to put a hairdryer on the ice or to light a fire by it.
That’s most likely a bad call for a few reasons. For starters, a lot of dehumidifiers have a lot of plastic on them and plastic melts. Just moving your dehumidifier inside should give the ice the chance to thaw without melting your plastic.
Additionally, electronics are fragile. We all know someone who’s dropped their phone in a pool and never got to turn it on again. By moving your air dehumidifier inside and letting it sit upright, you’re ensuring that whatever water is frozen inside of it will most likely drain down into the basin like it ought to. Don’t lay it on its side! I just did that for the photos. If you lay it on its side, water might get on some of the electronics that aren’t supposed to get wet! That can either hurt you or hurt your dehumidifier.
3. Leave it Off and Unplugged.
This is for safety reasons for you, your home, and your dehumidifier. Water and electricity should never mix!
4. Let it Thaw Slowly and Check the Water Basin Regularly.
My dehumidifier took almost a whole day to thaw. Yes, I know, that’s a super long time.
Do not try to chip the ice away. Electronics, again, are fragile. Your chipping away at the ice might just break something. Let the ice melt and check the water level on your basin every hour or so if you can, depending on how fast the ice is melting. The melting ice can fill your basin to overflowing and that can also hurt your dehumidifier.
Please note, you should still have your machine unplugged at this time. Additionally, you should have your dehumidifier on the ground and somewhere that it can spill a bit. My dehumidifier leaked out of the front as it thawed, but a lot of the water still ended up getting in the basin still.
5. Check if Your Now Thaw Dehumidifier is Totally Dry.
I can’t say it enough, electricity and water are not friends.
Make sure that your dehumidifier is totally dry before you consider plugging it in. I mean it! Bone dry. Nothing short of it.
Once you’re confident that it is dry, and if it’s possible, give your dehumidifier a shake. Since mine is about the size of a loaf of bread, I picked it up and shook it. I was listening for the sound of loose pieces or splashing water. If you’re like me, you’ll hear nothing and feel ready to move on.
I wasn’t able to get into my dehumidifier to check on things, so this was all I could do on my little inspection. If I could have, I would have opened it up and taken a closer look at things.
6. Plug Your Dehumidifier in and Wait.
Once I was at the point that I knew my dehumidifier was dry and that I was pretty sure nothing was broken (after about two days since I found out that it was frozen), I took the leap of faith. I plugged it in and put it on my kitchen’s tile countertop.
I wasn’t sure if everything was working, so I was ready for it to burst into flames. (With electrical fires, always unplug the electronic first.)
When nothing happened, I turned it on and waited for a while. When I got bored, I left, but stayed close enough that I could hear if anything happened. I let a few hours pass and I check on its water basin.
It had some water in it.
Satisfied that nothing was amiss, I gave the unit a little jiggle, emptied its basin, and put it back to work.
All my dehumidifier really needed was to get out of the cold and warm up! 🙂
Can a Dehumidifier Freeze During the Winter?
Yes! As my experience that I just shared on explains, dehumidifiers can definitely freeze during the winter. From the little bit of Googling that I’ve done since my dehumidifier froze, I’ve learned that some dehumidifiers freeze other times of the year too–it doesn’t have to be below freezing outside for it to happen!
Something that I learned through all this is that the water basin is not the first thing to freeze in a dehumidifier too. What freezes first is the “condenser” that condenses the water in the air and turns it into tiny droplets.
Tiny droplets that freeze a lot faster than a bunch of water in the water basin.
Most of the stories I’ve heard all say that the dehumidifier started working again once the ice thawed, but all those people did about the same things that I did to get my dehumidifier working again.
Can a Dehumidifier Break if it Freezes?
Yes, a dehumidifier can break when it freezes, or as it begins to thaw.
Most stories that I’ve heard all show that the dehumidifier that froze was able to start working again after it thawed, but a few didn’t. In those instances, the actual damage to the dehumidifier seemed to occur only once the ice began to thaw–not from the actual water freezing.
I personally expected that the condenser would crack from the ice freezing and expanding, but I haven’t seen anyone report that as a problem. Instead, all the problems come from the thawing ice getting things wet that shouldn’t be. If your dehumidifier froze, then I think you’ll be able to do what I did and get it working again, but you might want to just contact your air dehumidifier’s manufacturer too, since they know their machines better than I ever could.
However you go about saving your dehumidifier, I wish you the best!
Interested in reading more on dehumidifiers? Check out some of our other posts on these remarkable machines!