Dehumidifier was source of 'dirt' or mold smell

domesticahAugust 10, 2008

I am writing as a warning for people who might make the same mistake we did regarding hooking up the drainage of their dehumidifier to a basement drain pipe (I bet most people know this, but we didn't). We redid our basement 3 or so years ago and bought a sears dehumidifier. On his own initiative, our contractor hooked up our dehumidifier to a drainage pipe that feeds into our cesspool. About a year ago I started noticing a "dirt" smell. I had a lot of theories for the source of the smell but ruled them out one by one. I had a plumber come in and he couldn't find any leak or moisture anywhere. Finally a second plumber came in and identitied the problem as the dehumidifier -- it was blowing nasty pipe air into our basement (you couldn't really smell bad air while it was working)! We we tossed the sears humidifier and bought another that just drains into a sink. The smell went away. I can't believe I was so stupid!

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sniffdog

Was it a bad dehumidifer design, or was it not installed right?

I just put one of these in - a good one made by Sante Fe. I noticed that they advise putting a p-trap in for the drain tube (they provded a metal strap with holes in it to make one) and to elevate the unit at least 4 inches off the ground to make sure there is good drainage. Was that done? Or was the Sears unit just junk?

Thanks for the info - good to know.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 7:47AM
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domesticah

I can't say for sure whether the humidifier was defective, but I think we were also to blame for the way it was draining:

The Sears humidifier was elevated and the drain tube was pitched down into an opening in the drain pipe. At some point I think there was an obsruction in the tubing (mold? I am not sure). The second plumber said it should not have been connected directly to the drainage pipe, but allowed to drain in to a sink or drain.....So I cannot blame the humidifier entirely for the problem but rather faulty drainage (btw, I've had other troubles with near new sears applainces (washer, stove) and am steering clear of Sears in the future.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2008 at 9:43PM
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noplacelikehome

You should clean it or have it cleaned at least once a year. Dust collects with the water, and can stop up the drain. It also reduces efficiency. The way mine's designed I just remove a cover and carefully shop-vac the interior of it.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 1:59AM
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