kw: home maintenance, dehumidifiers
We have a Frigidaire dehumidifier, the 50 pint-per-day model, in our basement. It is about a year old. It has a "convenience feature" of a connection for a hose for continuous draining so you don't have to empty the drip bucket. However, on two prior occasions I've had to clean gunk out of the hose, some kind of mold or bacterial stuff that gradually builds up.
Just before midnight last evening I heard its "bucket full" alarm ring. I thought it strange, because I just cleaned the hose and drain connection a few weeks ago. I decided to "bite the bullet" and took the mechanism apart. Then it was clear what was happening.
Because of the hose connection, there is a drip pan below the coils, and this pan was full of mold, which was blocking the outlet to the hose. The mold feeds on dust that gradually collects from air passing through the unit. The coils had some dust buildup, not much, because there is a pre-filter that gets most of it, and we keep that clean.
The outcome: it took about an hour and a half for my wife and I to get all the mold out of there. Though in general the unit is well engineered, there is no provision for cleaning mold out of the drip pan without removing the side panels, which is no simple task. In fact, it is clear that mold buildup was never thought of when the unit was designed. It required a lot of fishing with a bent wire to get chunks of mold that were under the coils. The drip pan is less than a half inch below the coils.
Just putting this pan one inch lower would have made the unit much easier to clean, and for added convenience, some tubing and wires that block part of one side could be re-routed. A side panel that opens, even if it unscrews, would make it simpler to get inside for cleaning. And it ought to be possible to make the pan removable by sliding out when the side panel is removed.
Hey, Frigidaire engineers, just a word to the wise, OK?