New portable dehumidifiers - what's the deal?!

Old 09-06-22, 07:09 AM
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New portable dehumidifiers - what's the deal?!

I've been researching portable dehumidifiers and overwhelmingly I've found that really any brand of new models these days simply are garbage as they typically last only a few years before failing. Seems that most failures boil down to failed refrigerant systems, probably due to leaks in the system.

So what's the deal? I mean cmon - the old style square box dehumidifiers of the past lasted one heck of a lot longer than two to four years! My late parents had one that never failed over twenty plus years! And after all. typical central air conditioners last a heck of a lot longer too. So why do all these newer portable dehumidifiers fail so soon? Is it just poor engineering, poor quality parts and manufacturing, newer refrigerant types like R410a, mostly manufactured with cheap a$$ Chinese components - what?!

I am really put-off with the idea of purchasing a new portable dehumidifier. It's not like they're inexpensive and growing on trees ya know. About the only way I can see doing so would make any financial sense would be to purchase somewhere like Amazon and get the three of four year extended warranty for $30 to $40 bucks. Or do I search for a used old school dehumidifier on Craigslist like my parents had that lasted forever? I'm ready to just blow off the whole idea of putting a dehumidifier into my home at this stage as I don't have a massive need for one, rather more just an intermittent need to bring slightly higher humidity levels down a few times during the Summer months. I'm really questioning the financial sense of doing so.

I'd appreciate hearing from fellow forum members about your thoughts, impressions and experiences with portable dehumidifiers.

jeweler voted this post useful.
Old 09-06-22, 09:05 AM
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Similar post with information.

Basement killing dehumidifiers?
Nortonics voted this post useful.
Old 09-06-22, 09:26 AM
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I'd actually suggest checking through the local thrift shops when you can. Also check out the smaller auctioneers who often do home cleanouts for estates or real estate sales.

We had a 1970s dehumidifier in the basement, dripping into a covered sump-pit. That finally stopped working, (and my garage-turned rec room flooded in the 2 hurricanes to hit Philly area) so I've actually picked up a Frigidaire 50-pint roll-around dehumidifier. Just checked prices, I got new at $230, used is now available at $180. (Wasn't gonna quibble about $50 between new/used, as it's going into 'business expense' to keep the office dry (although I DID move all the paper files to the upstairs).

So far - 50-pint is working well, I have noticed that it does double-duty in keeping humidity down so that we don't have to run the A/C.

One concern is that when running, the dehumidifier puts out VERY warm dry air- so if it's 75 ambient, the exhaust is 100. Found a simple solution- dehumidifier goes at the bottom of a spiral staircase that leads to a 4-window attic storage / library area, so the hot dry air simply rises, cools, and vents out the attic windows.

As to the water, turns out that 50-pints of water IS a bit awkward to walk around with, but disposing of the condensed water ALSO has a simple solution- 50-pints fills a standard toilet tank, so close the toilet fill valve on the downstairs utility bathroom, remove the lid, dump in the water from the dehumidifier.

From the energy ratings, it's 1.8-liters / 1.0 kWH, so around 13 each time it empties - not bad compared to the 240v 20A deep well-pump's draw.
Old 09-06-22, 07:09 PM
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You can buy quality, reliable, long lived portable dehumidifiers. Just expect to pay more, a lot more. A search for commercial and/or industrial dehumidifier would be the place to start.

Or you can keep buying the cheap ones at the big box stores, knowing you will likely be buying another one in a couple of years. Keeping the filter clean can improve your chances.

As to the warranty idea, check the terms. Often you will have to return the unit to a service center at your expense and that isn't going to be cheap.
Old 09-11-22, 11:44 AM
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FYI, in case anybody is interested.

I decided to take a chance on a regular old portable dehumidifier purchase. It's a TCL TDW40E20, 40/50 pint Energy Star compliant model. Consumer Reports rates it as a higher quality unit, and customer reviews are mostly favorable. Comes with a standard 1-year warrant by the manufacturer.

Amazon has it available from a seller known as Electronic Express. I bought it directly from this seller rather than Amazon because the seller does not charge sales tax and Amazon does. They shipped via UPS and it was at my door in 2.5 days. Full unopened retail packaging (absolutely not a open box or used item) and sustained no visible damage during shipping. To my door price was $119.99 ($99.99 plus $20.00 for shipping). Along with my municipal utilities rebate of $30 for a Energy Star compliant dehumidifier purchase my final net price comes to $89.99. A pretty darn good overall price!

After unpacking the unit I allowed it to sit upright for 24 hours before plugging it in to allow any refrigerant oil to seep back down into the sump, because who knows how many times it may have been laid horizontal during its journey to my home. Is working just fine at this stage and I'm hopeful it will last longer than the typical 2-year period that we often read in portable dehumidifier purchase reviews.

- Tom

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