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Basement Floods When Dehumidifier Stops Working: Why?

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Kayla in Iowa, you’ve got The Money Pit. How can we help you today?

    KAYLA: Just got married and moved into a new home. And it already had a whole house dehumidifier installed in it. And it seems like a dream come true. I thought it was going to be amazing.

    But we have 100-amp service and every now and then, our breaker will trip and I – you don’t even know downstairs unless you’re down there. And I have gone down a couple times and it was – the basement is flooded. And it floods over into the other room, like into the – where I eventually want to lay carpet and have a family room.

    TOM: Is that because the dehumidifier condensate pump stops working?

    KAYLA: I’m not sure what it is. There’s like an overfill thing for it and I’m assuming it’s supposed to lead to a drain. But the drain is in the laundry room, which is in the opposite direction.

    TOM: OK. So when everything is working correctly, this dehumidifier is going to take moisture out of the air, drop it into a reservoir, which you either have to empty or it will pump out somewhere.

    Usually, if it’s got a condensate pump associated with it, it could pump up sort of against gravity and there’s a clear, plastic tube that goes out and leads to a drain somewhere or even outside the house. If you have a power failure, you know, it’s not going to work and it might actually start to leak maybe back into that room where you are. Of course, the dehumidifier is not working at that time, so it’s not going to leak for long. But I could see how it could create a bit of a puddle. So your problem is not so much with the dehumidifier but while you’re having a problem popping these breakers.

    Now, 100-amp service is actually a pretty darn good service and it frequently doesn’t get the respect it deserves. When these breakers pop, it’s not usually because you’re pulling more than 100 amps; it’s because that whatever circuit you have this particular dehumidifier on is – needs to be improved, perhaps by adding an additional circuit. But the service for the house should be fine.

    KAYLA: OK. It does have a clear hose that leads outside.

    TOM: That’s what’s going on. When your power goes out, the pump stops working and that’s why it’s leaking, OK? So focus on getting this plugged into a circuit that is a little bit bigger than what you have right now. An electrician could help you sort this out but it’s not a big deal to add an additional circuit just for that device.

    KAYLA: Alright. Sounds good.

    TOM: Alright? Good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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