How Dirty is the Air Coming Out of my Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifier releasing air into the air, is it clean or dirty?

Maintenance is a common concern of individuals with dehumidifiers. Yes, you need to clean the device often to ensure it functions well and is safe to use. Not doing so, results in putting yourself and your home at harm.

Since the device almost always has water in the tank, it becomes an ideal location for bacterial growth. Which makes one wonder, how dirty is the air coming out of the dehumidifier?

The air coming out of the dehumidifier is only as dirty as the device. The unit contains an air filter that filters out pollutants from the air. But, that is only if you keep the filter clean. The air travels through various other parts of the device, and if those are infested with bacteria, the air will pick them up. So, cleaning the whole device regularly is a must. 

We highlight what happens to air inside the device and briefly explain how you can clean it. 

What happens to air inside the dehumidifier?

The primary purpose of dehumidifiers is to extract water vapor from the air. So, the unit does that through the following process:

  1. A fan in the unit pulls in air through the vents. 
  2. The air travels to the evaporator coils. The coils cool the air down, and the vapors turn into liquid. 
  3. Next, the water drips down into the water tank. 
  4. The coils heat the dehumidified air to room temperature. 
  5. At last, the air exits through the vents back into the room. 

The unit continues to cycle humid air and dehumidifies it until it’s turned off. Unless, the water tank is full, at which point it automatically shuts down. 

Is the air coming out of the dehumidifier dirty?

A kid covers his nose, surrounded by dirty air

Keep in mind that cleaning the air is not a priority of a dehumidifier. However, most devices come equipped with an air filter. 

So, when the air first enters through the vents it goes through the filter. The effectiveness of the filter depends on the type. You commonly find 2-inch pleated or charcoal filters in the device. These are not as effective as HEPA filters found in air purifiers. 

With that said, the air cycled through a dehumidifier is only as dirty as the unit. So, keeping the device clean is important. 

A dirty dehumidifier is a breeding ground for bacteria. Since bacteria need water to grow, the device has plenty available in the tank. Bacteria spread to every part of the unit. So, when air cycles through it, it picks up bacteria. In such cases, the air coming out of the device is dirty. 

How do I keep the dehumidifier clean?

With use, a dehumidifier will get dirty. Parts like the air filter, evaporator coils, and tank need regular cleaning. Otherwise, harmful microorganisms will make the device their home. 

To keep the microorganisms away, you should clean the unit once a month. But, drain the tank once a day. So, you don’t leave stagnant water for bacteria to feed off. 

Cleaning the device is a simple process. It consists of the following:

  1. Wiping the exterior and vacuuming it. 
  2. Draining the water tank and scrubbing it down with soap and water. 
  3. Rinsing the air filter and cleaning it with soap and water. 
  4. Scrubbing the evaporator coils and cleaning them with a coil cleaner. 
  5. Wiping down the unit’s body with a wet and dry cloth. 

For safety purposes, you should wear a face mask and gloves when cleaning the device. These will protect you from coming into contact with dirt, dust, and bacteria that may be on the device. 

The overall cleaning process should take you around 10-15 minutes. But, you will need to set out parts like the air filter and evaporator coils to dry. Which can take another 20-30 minutes. 

Final thoughts

As long as you regularly clean your dehumidifier, the air coming out of it should be clean. The device may harbor harmful microorganisms if not regularly cleaned. Thus, making your home unsafe for people that suffer from asthma and allergies. The bacteria may also promote mold and mildew growth. So, make sure you clean your unit at least once a month. 

About the Author Belal

Belal Rizvi enjoys writing about home improvement and do-it-yourself projects. He is an avid learner of the mold removal and dehumidifiers industry and provides insightful information about it to the readers.

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