why is my dehumidifier working but not collecting water

Why is My Dehumidifier Working But Not Collecting Water?

Explore common issues like room temperature, humidity levels, device settings, and maintenance needs. Find out when it's time to upgrade to a more effective model and get expert tips for maintaining optimal performance.

Welcome to a common puzzle in the world of humidity control: your dehumidifier runs but not collecting water. This issue can be both perplexing and frustrating, especially when you rely on your dehumidifier to maintain optimal indoor air quality and protect your home from moisture-related problems. In this article, we’ll explore the various reasons for dehumidifier not collecting water when it might appear to be functioning, and provide you with practical solutions to ensure your device is working efficiently.

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

To effectively troubleshoot why your dehumidifier is not collecting water, it’s crucial to first understand how does a dehumidifier work. A dehumidifier’s primary function is to remove moisture from the air, creating a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment.

When air passes over the cold coils of the dehumidifier, moisture condenses into water. This water drips into a collection bucket or drains out through a hose. The now drier air is reheated and released back into the room, lowering the humidity levels. Effective functioning depends on several factors, including air temperature, humidity levels, and the operational integrity of the dehumidifier. Check out this blog for more details on functioning of a dehumidifier.

Common Reasons Why Dehumidifiers Stop Collecting Water

When your dehumidifier is not collecting water despite being operational, several factors could be at play. Here are the most common reasons why this problem occurs:

1. Room Temperature and Conditions

Dehumidifiers are generally most effective in warm conditions. If the air temperature in the space is too low, particularly near or below 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius), the coils on the dehumidifier may freeze. This prevents the unit from collecting water effectively because moisture cannot condense on frozen coils. This is especially relevant in spaces like basements or crawl spaces during colder months. 

2. Humidity Levels

A dehumidifier's effectiveness is directly related to the ambient humidity. If the air in your room or building is already dry, the dehumidifier will have less moisture to extract moisture. This situation is common in areas with seasonal humidity fluctuations or in well-controlled environments. It's helpful to use a hygrometer to check the humidity levels before running the dehumidifier.

3. Device Settings

The settings on your dehumidifier also influence its water collection efficiency. If the humidity control setting is set too high, the dehumidifier might not activate because it perceives the air as already sufficiently dry. Ensuring that the device settings align with your actual humidity control needs can resolve the issue of a dehumidifier not collecting water. 

4. Clogged Air Intake or Exhaust

Regular maintenance is crucial for keeping your dehumidifier functional. If the air intake or exhaust ports are blocked by dust, dirt, or other debris, it can significantly reduce the efficiency of the device. A blocked air flow prevents the dehumidifier from pulling in moist air and can lead to it running without collecting water. 

When to Upgrade to a More Effective Model

Despite thorough troubleshooting and maintenance, sometimes a dehumidifier might still struggle to perform efficiently. This can be an indication that it's time to consider upgrading to a newer, more capable model. Here are some signs that you might need an upgrade:

  • Age and Efficiency

If your dehumidifier is several years old, it may not be as efficient due to wear and tear on critical components like the compressor and refrigerant system. Newer models are often more energy-efficient and effective, such as the Abestorm 198 Pints Energy Star Dehumidifier, which is designed for energy-conscious performance in challenging environments.

  • Increased Humidity Demands

Changes in your living or workspace, such as renovations or the addition of moisture-generating activities, might require a dehumidifier with more robust moisture removal capabilities. For larger or more demanding spaces, consider models like the Abestorm 270 Pints Commercial Dehumidifier, which can handle significant humidity challenges efficiently.

  • Frequent Repairs

If you find yourself frequently spending money on repairs, investing in a new dehumidifier might be more cost-effective in the long run. New models come with warranties and newer technologies that provide peace of mind and reduced maintenance needs.

  • Specific Features for Specialized Applications

    Certain spaces, like crawl spaces or large commercial areas, might require dehumidifiers designed specifically for those environments. For detailed insights into choosing specialized dehumidifiers, consider reading our guide on Best Crawl Spaces Dehumidifier which highlights models tailored for unique environmental conditions.

    Upgrading to a more effective dehumidifier can enhance your ability to control humidity precisely, ensuring a healthier and more comfortable indoor atmosphere. Whether you're dealing with a residential setup or a commercial facility, selecting the right dehumidifier plays a crucial role in maintaining optimal air quality and protecting your space from moisture-related issues.

    Maintenance Tips to Ensure Optimal Performance

    Regular maintenance is crucial for maximizing the efficiency and lifespan of your dehumidifier. By adhering to a few straightforward practices, you can ensure that your device operates effectively and continues to improve your indoor air quality. Here are essential maintenance tips for your dehumidifier:

          1. Clean or Replace Filters Regularly: The air filter in your dehumidifier plays a critical role in ensuring clean airflow. Dust and debris can clog the filter, leading to reduced efficiency and potential health hazards. Clean your filter every few weeks or replace it as needed to maintain optimal performance. 

           2. Check for Proper Airflow: Ensure that your dehumidifier has enough space around it to allow for unrestricted airflow. Keep it at least a few inches away from walls and furniture. This setup helps prevent overheating and ensures more efficient operation.

           3. Regularly Empty the Water Bucket: Do not allow the water bucket to become too full, as this can cause the dehumidifier to shut off automatically or even leak. Regular emptying also prevents the growth of mold and bacteria in the collected water, which could circulate back into the air.

           4. Inspect and Clean the Coils: Over time, the coils in your dehumidifier can accumulate frost or ice, especially if they operate in cooler conditions. Keep the coils clean to ensure they effectively condense moisture from the air. This practice is particularly important for units like Crawl Space Dehumidifiers and Commercial Dehumidifiers that operate in diverse environmental conditions.

           5. Schedule Annual Servicing: Even with regular maintenance, it's a good idea to have your dehumidifier professionally serviced once a year. This ensures that all parts are in good working order, and any potential issues are addressed before they become major problems. Professional servicing can be especially beneficial for more sophisticated systems like the Abestorm 270 Pints Commercial Dehumidifier, ensuring they operate at peak efficiency.

             6. Monitor Humidity Levels: To ensure that your dehumidifier is working effectively, use a hygrometer to monitor the room’s humidity levels. Adjust your dehumidifier’s settings accordingly to maintain a comfortable and healthy environment. This can also help you determine if the dehumidifier is performing as expected or if adjustments are needed.

    For more detailed information on maintaining indoor air quality and dehumidifier care, consider exploring our article Best Dehumidifier Tips for Maintaining Air Quality during the Cold Weather, which provides season-specific advice.


    If your dehumidifier runs but not collecting water, it can be a sign of various issues, from incorrect settings to environmental factors or even equipment malfunctions. By understanding how does a dehumidifier work, recognizing common problems, and applying routine maintenance, you can ensure your unit operates efficiently and effectively.

    Ready to Enhance Your Indoor Air Quality?

    Don't let humidity problems dampen your comfort or health. At Abestorm, we understand the importance of reliable dehumidification solutions, whether for residential spaces or larger commercial settings. Our products are engineered with precision and care to provide superior humidity control, helping you maintain optimal air quality and prevent moisture-related issues.

    For those in need of upgrading their systems or seeking more tailored solutions, explore our collections of Crawl Space Dehumidifiers and Commercial Dehumidifiers to find a model that perfectly fits your space and humidity control needs. Remember, keeping your environment dry and comfortable is not just about enhancing comfort but also about protecting your health and property.

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