Failed Dehumidifier

Failed Dehumidifier

PostBy: qbwebb On: Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:46 am

I have one of these sanidry units http://www.basementsystems.com/dehumidifier.html

that supposedly retail for over $1700. I would never spend that on a DE-humidifier, it came with the house when I purchased it. In summer 2010 I noticed it wasn't producing any condensate, so I took it too the company to avoid the service call fee for trouble shooting, they could not find the problem and just recharged it for $100. It worked somewhat last summer and at the beginning of this summer I noticed an evaporator cylinder on the unit had frost on it so I assumed it was still working. Sunday I popped the cover off and noticed the compressor was too hot to touch and the cylinder that had frost on it was hardly cold.

The company says the only thing on the unit under warranty is the compressor, everything else is only 30 months. I don't know very much about AC systems, but wherever the leak is it must be only leaking when the unit runs. When AC systems are charged, is the pressure is greater than an atmosphere?

This unit is a 1 ton system, I figure I pretty much have no hope at finding the leak myself with an air compressor and soapy water since it is only leaking while the thing runs. The company said they would diagnose it and stop if its going to be more than $500 to fix. Seeing as they couldn't find the problem last time I don't have too much faith.

Anyone have any clever techniques for finding leaks in one of these? thanks
qbwebb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000

Re: Failed Dehumidifier

PostBy: AA130FIREMAN On: Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:12 am

I believe most of the refrigerants you need a liscence to buy r12 r134, so if you find the leak ,how will you recharge it. I have a dehumidifier in the basement, but find burning coal and keeping the windows open for ventilation helps the problem,dehumidifiers seem to take alot of electric.
AA130FIREMAN
 
Stove/Furnace Make: axeman anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 anthratube

Re: Failed Dehumidifier

PostBy: Yanche On: Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:51 am

You do need EPA refrigerant licenses. It's the only way to buy refrigerant legally. In addition most wholesale HVAC houses also require a business license.

The procedure to repair your unit would be to remove the refrigerant with a recovery system, basically a vacuum pump that pumps the refrigerant in a tank. Then pressurize the system with nitrogen or a nitrogen with some refrigerant mix to find the leak and make the repair. Then vacuum pump the system. Next pump the old stored refrigerant back in or replace with new refrigerant. Since many (most?) dehumidifiers don't have service valves they would have to be added. First a line piercing type to recover the refrigerant then a brazed in style to recharge it. It's all time consuming and requires a skilled tech. It will likely be costly. There are some shortcuts but they are dependent on a prayer of not having an un-found leak.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea


Re: Failed Dehumidifier

PostBy: qbwebb On: Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:03 pm

Thanks guys, there is a service port that they added at the last recharge. My hope was to open the port, pressurize and find the leak, repair, then take it in for the recharge. I think I will call the company again and see if I can talk to the tech directly to see if there are any common leak points with these units. I hate to throw it away as its not that old and such an expensive unit. During a humid day last summer, its failure caused all the paneling in my basement to unglue from the Sheetrock and bow out.

Coal boiler in basement is nice, but it adds unwanted heat to the house, I have mine in an insulated outbuilding putting away for DHW. Basement is finished with white carpet, wife did not want ashes/CO in the house.
qbwebb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000

Re: Failed Dehumidifier

PostBy: steamup On: Tue Aug 30, 2011 4:46 pm

I spent one summer fixing refrigeration equipment for a Hotel during my college years before all of this EPA stuff.

Finding a refrigerant leak is easy. Fixing it is expensive. Most refrigerant leaks are so small you need special leak detectors to find them. Refrigeration techs usually have electronic detectors. It's not like a tire that you can hear the hiss.

I had a leak in my car's refrigeration system. It was from a failed "o" ring in the lines to the rear air conditioner. "O" rings = $1.00, Refrigerant = $45.00, Labor = $250.00, Total bill just under $300.00

My recommendation for small refrigeration unit such as residential refrigerators, freezers and dehumidifiers not under warrenty is to throw it away and get a new one. They are mass produced and not designed for service or repair. You got a lemon that will become a money pit.

Expensive you say based on the units web site. I bet you can get a large 1st rate stand alone dehumidifier for $300 to $400 dollars. I say the unit is overmarketed just like the EdenPure electric heaters.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: Failed Dehumidifier

PostBy: qbwebb On: Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:56 am

Thanks, a 70 pint/day unit can be had for $300, this one at $1700 + for #110 pints/day is a huge ripoff, not sure what the original homeowners were thinking. Guess I will just haul it to the dump....
qbwebb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: VF3000

Re: Failed Dehumidifier

PostBy: titleist1 On: Wed Aug 31, 2011 12:57 pm

Not the dump.....scrap metal!! Get at least a few $$ for it that will offset the cost of the smaller unit a little.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite