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Troubleshooting A Dehumidifier That's Not Working

At Basement Systems, we often hear from homeowners who have tried to repair a damp, moldy basement by installing a basement dehumidifier in their home. More often than not, these homeowners are bewildered because their basement is just as musty and moldy as ever.

In most situations, simply buying a dehumidifier and turning it on in your basement will not be enough to lead to a dry, healthy space in your home. In most cases, you will also need to address the source(s) of the humidity in the first place, which can include open vents, groundwater flooding, and moisture coming through the basement walls and floors.

Over the last 20 years, we've seen hundreds of thousands of wet, damp, and moldy basement problems, and we've provided a solution to each one. We can advice you on how to stop moisture in your basement, and explain to you what makes our warranted dehumidifier systems an effective choice for your home.

Our dealers are available for free, no-obligation dry basement estimates throughout Canada and the United States. To schedule your appointment, call or e-mail us today!

basement dehumidifier estimate in Canada and the USA.
A basement dehumidifier sitting on top of two cans to keep it out of the water.

The Dehumidifier Runs Constantly

If your basement dehumidifier is running constantly, then there's a good chance that it can't keep up with the existing humidity in your basement. This may be because the basement is being ventilated with outside air, that the dehumidifier is not powerful enough, or that moisture is making its way in constantly through your basement walls and floors.

How To Solve The Problem

Install a dehumidifier with a powerful blowing motor that's rated to be able to handle 110% of the square footage of your basement or more. Close off all ventilation from outside air, and address all sources of standing water. Ideally, you should also seal your basement walls and floors to stop moisture penetration through the concrete.


An outdated crawl space dehumidifier running in a vented space.

We Still Have Mold!

Mold can't thrive unless the relative humidity of the space is 60% or higher in your space. If you have mold, then your dehumidifier is facing more moisture than it can handle or is not set high enough to do the job it needs to do.

How To Solve The Problem

Increase the dryness setting of your dehumidifier system. If your system uses a collection tray, make sure you're emptying it enough to allow the system to run constantly. Close off any vents that bring outside air into your basement, and eliminate all sources of standing water.

If this doesn't solve the problem, you may need to upgrade to a more powerful basement dehumidifier.


An old broken basement dehumidifier that's been cobbled back together with duct tape.

The Dehumidifier Shut Off

Dehumidifier systems can shut down for several reasons, most commonly when their water collection tray fills up. Alternatively, a broken humidistat system will disable the system, as will mechanical failure.

If the temperature in your basement drops below 65 degrees, some dehumidifier systems will have water frozen to their cold coils. If the system has an anti-frost sensor, it will turn off until the ice melts away.

How To Solve The Problem

Empty your water collection tray regularly. If you're having an issue with the cold coils, you'll need to make sure the average temperature of the space is higher.

If your system is experiencing a mechanical shutdown, contact either the store where you purchased the system or the manufacturer of the system to see if the system is under warranty, or how much the repairs would cost. Most dehumidifiers also come with a detailed product manual -- if your system has a digital interface, there may be an error message displayed that you can refer to in the manual. If your manual is lost or missing, many manufacturers will provide a copy for download online.

Why Install A Home Dehumidifier?

Mold needs three important things to survive: warmth, humidity, and food. To eliminate mold, you will need to eliminate one of these factors.

So which will you work on? If you've ever seen mold on food in your refrigerator, you know that mold can grow in temperatures that would be uncomfortably low for a human being. And since mold can eat virtually any organic material, we know that it's impossible to keep a home completely free of food for mold.

However, mold needs humidity levels of more than 60% to thrive, while humans can comfortably live with humidity levels of just 30%. This is where the dehumidifier system comes in.

Mold and mold rot in your basement can lead to cosmetic and structural damage to your building materials, damage to stored belongings in the basement, and mold spores in the air. And because the air in your home moves naturally upwards, any mold spores in the basement air will be pulled upwards into your living space.

Learn more about The Health Effects Of Mold

How Do Dehumidifiers Work?

If you've ever seen water droplets forming on the outer surface of a cool glass, or you've seen water dripping out of a window-mounted air conditioner, then you already have an idea how a dehumidifier works.

Dehumidifiers pull air into their system and run it over a "cold coil". As the air is cooled, its humidity condensates on the cold surface. The dehumidifier collects this water and either drains it away or deposits it in a collection tray.

Here's a few of the qualities that make a great basement dehumidifier:

A basement dehumidifier and sump pump system installed.

How Powerful Should It Be?

The power of a dehumidifier is rated by its daily ability to remove water. These ratings will often include a recommended square foot of coverage.

Some manufacturers will rate their system at a saturation of 100% humidity. It's better to consider a system that rates them under the more realistic AHAM conditions, which are 60% relative humidity at 80 °F.

Larger units are often the most energy efficient overall. It's a good idea to install a system that's a little larger than you need it to be.

Our SaniDry™ Basement Dehumidifier

At Basement Systems, we offer our customers two different dehumidifiers: our SaniDry™ XP Basement Air System, and our SaniDry™ CSB for crawl spaces.

Both systems are Energy Star Rated systems, with powerful blowing motors that are designed to keep air circulating throughout the space. Each includes an air filtration system and an optional odor filter to remove allergens and keep your space clean, healthy, and comfortable.

The SaniDry™ XP Basement Air System is rated to remove up to 110 pints of water per day, with a powerful 250 CFM motor and a MERV-11 air filter installed as a standard feature. A single SaniDry™ XP is able to dehumidify up to 2,500 square feet in an average-height basement.

Its powerful blowing motor is compatible with ductwork, so you can store it in a closet or utility area while it dries your finished basement. A digital interface allows you to set the desired humidity level from your finished basement without the need to directly access the dehumidifier.

The SaniDry™ CSB is rated to remove up to 90 pints of water per day, with a 200 CFM motor and a MERV-11 air filter included. A single SaniDry™ CSB can dehumidify a 6,000 square foot crawl space with a 3' high ceiling.

More about Our SaniDry™ Basement Dehumidifier

More about Our SaniDry™ Basement Dehumidifier

Wet Basement? We Can Keep It Dry With Our Powerful Dehumidifier!

Our award-winning SaniDry™ system is the powerful, versatile system you need to help keep your basement dry all the time! At Basement Systems, we've spent more than 20 years developing our dehumidifier systems to be the most effective in the industry, and we're confident that it's exactly what you need to solve your basement and crawl space humidity issues.

If you're interested in pricing to install a SaniDry™ system, call or e-mail us today for a free, no-obligation basement dehumidifier estimate! Our Basement Systems Dealer Network serves throughout Canada and the United States.

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Quality, Innovation, Patents, Awards

Our innovative and forward-thinking approach to designing products has solved wet basement problems that the basement waterproofing and crawl space industry has faced for decades, and our patented sump pump systems are the smartest and most reliable. Plus we listen to our customers and respond accordingly! Basement Systems Inc. has been awarded 24 Patents and 19 Innovation Prizes on waterproofing products we use every day, including a battery back up sump pump system. This approach ensures the best waterproofing systems and solutions available.

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