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Monthly Science: Basement Humidity Step Changes

Can you tell when our dehumidifier failed?

Basement Temp Humidity - 2015-05 to 2015-07

Basement Temp Humidity – 2015-05 to 2015-07

The step change in Week 22 shows when the replacement took over. After some poking around, Amazon Prime FTW.

The square-ish pulse starting in Week 26 marks a change from 55% RH to 60%RH and back again, to see how the front panel meter compares with the low end lab-grade hygrometer in the other side of the basement near the Hobo datalogger on the water inlet; they’re all off by a bit, but well within their expected tolerances. The 5% RH height of the step suggests a good match between their incremental calibrations.

It seems dehumidifiers last a few years, no matter which Brand Name you’ve decided to trust, so there’s not much point in developing a deep emotional attachment.

For the record, the old dehumidifier sported a GE label:

GE Dehumidifier label

GE Dehumidifier label

The new one says Frigidaire on the front, but the label says Electrolux:

Fridgidaire - Electrolux Dehumidifier label

Fridgidaire – Electrolux Dehumidifier label

As it turns out, Electrolux bought Frigidaire a while ago, then absorbed GE’s appliances in 2014, so they’re all one big happy family now.

The various names notwithstanding, a recall notice suggests Gree Electric actually makes all the dehumidifiers badged with Brand Names you might think represent something significant.

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  1. #1 by RL on 2015-08-01 - 16:48

    My current dehumidifier is a Samsung, which has been going strong for about 7 years now. It needed to have the humidity sensor chip replaced earlier this year, but that has been the only repair it has required. Alas, Samsung seems to have abandoned the dehumidifier business and let the Chinese have it.

    Prior to the Samsung, we had a Kenmore which lasted 20+ years. Ahhh, for the good old days.

    • #2 by Ed on 2015-08-01 - 19:08

      the humidity sensor chip replaced

      I didn’t think they had any “serviceable” parts inside; RepairClinic has a few parts, like filters and floats, and nothing electronic.

      How much did that adventure cost?

  2. #3 by RL on 2015-08-01 - 21:21

    There’s some stuff that is serviceable, if you are inclined to do it. The control board, fan, humidity sensor and a few other parts are all easy to replace. You can even get a new compressor, but at 60% of the cost of a new humidifier, I’m not sure it would be worth it.

    The humidifier was nice enough to give me an error code that called out the humidity sensor. A new one cost $29 from one of the online parts outfits. An absurd price give that it consists of a 3/4″ x 3/4″ circuit board with a humidity sensor chip and a couple of SMT caps and resistors, plus a foot long 4-wire harness. But such is the nature of the replacement parts business. Overall, it was a bargain compared to $200+ for a new humidifier.

    After removing the old circuit board from the small plastic case that it’s enclosed in, it looked like moisture and corrosion is what did it in. I briefly thought about cleaning the crud off and seeing if that was all it would take to get it working, but since I already had the new part in hand, I just replaced it. If it dies again, now that I know, maybe next time I’ll try cleaning it up first.

    • #4 by Ed on 2015-08-02 - 07:59

      it looked like moisture and corrosion is what did it in

      You’d never expect that in a control board a few inches away from a running stream of water, but, after all those years, anything can happen and usually does. [sigh]

      I suppose I should poke at the most recent corpse, just to see what killed it.

  3. #5 by Andrew on 2015-08-03 - 01:24

    In the UK their slogan was “Nothing sucks like Electrolux.” I think it has since been retired.

    • #6 by Ed on 2015-08-03 - 06:39

      With electrical fittings subcontracted to Lucas, The Prince of Darkness, I presume…

      • #7 by Red County Pete on 2015-08-03 - 16:26

        My “favorite” electrical company. I still remember the Lucas headlight switch that failed to protect the 30A fuse in my old MGB. (They used metal cable straps, with expected results after vibration.)

        Never did figure out what caused all the insulation to burn off a short length of wire in a TR3A. I was lucky–the wire was in mid-air, so I made it to work, then home to do the repair. Two British cars per lifetime is my limit. [grin]