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161 of 165 people found the following review helpful
Two Units, Two Leakers
on November 29, 2013
This unit dehumidifies...right onto the floor, unfortunately. This is my second unit from Amazon in a week, and they both have/had the same problem: water flows from the bottom of the case in the back and onto the floor, instead of into the bucket. While possibly being a neat "Inception" situation, where the dehumidifier is dehumidifying the water spilled from dehumidifying, I can't say I find that too compelling.
I called Frigidaire--just to be certain they didn't have a hidden "shipping only" plug somewhere, or a piece of tape I missed, but no such luck. (Interestingly, Frigidaire sells no parts for these aside from buckets and filters, something to keep in mind if you buy one with the idea of servicing it in a year or two.)
One thing you may not know, or want to know: if your dehumidifier is going to be in a location where is will run relatively constantly, you're eventually going to have to open it up to clean the accumulated gunk (some sort of black algae or something similarly yucky) out of the water collection tray. This black slime will eventually block the drain holes and cause the unit to leak. I get about six months of service from a Danby (which lives in a similar location) before I have to disassemble it to get to the water collection tray and de-gunk it. No manufacturer seems to make this job easy, and if you have to do that cleaning job on this unit, it will be a tedious few hours, with the strong possibility of breaking something if you're not careful.
Home dehumidifiers seem to share the same basic design: two condensing radiators sit above a "tray" (really just a molded bit of the very elaborate, single-piece plastic inner skeleton, not a separate bit which can be removed for cleaning). The condensers have refrigerant pumped through them by a compressor, which lives in the base, and that entire system is sealed. There is a panel on top for controls, a box of minor electronics, a power supply, a fan unit, a bucket, and various case pieces. My Danby and this Frigidaire have detail differences, but they're the equivalent of the differences between two small sedans, not a jet airplane and the Wright Brother's Flyer.
Cleaning is a huge pain because not only does everything need to come off the outside, but to do a thorough job the condensers need to be lifted off the tray. Because the entire refrigerant system is sealed, this means the compressor and condensers need to come out as a unit, a job requiring about six hands and a delicate touch. On the Danby this is a fraught operation, and I suspect you get to do it only a few times before some of the plastic pieces won't snap/unsnap and decide breaking is a better idea. (I've cleaned the Danby three times in two years, so far.) The Frigidaire definitely is not an improvement in this department. Maybe I'm the only guy who tries to clean a dehumidifier which otherwise works fine, dunno...
Because this is the second of these units I've bought that leaked immediately, I thought I'd take a quick (but careful!) peek inside to see if it was something obvious, like a "thingymabobber" knocked loose during rough shipping or something obviously missing or broken. (Plus the waste really bugs me, talking to Frigidaire's people make it sound like returned units just go to the scrap heap if they don't work. That's just kind of gross, if true.)
To make this long review shorter, at the end of the day, I discovered no really obvious reason why this unit leaks by examining the innards...nothing was disconnected, cracked or broken, though I have a couple of theories...how likely they are, who knows? I think the first one is the likely cause, but can offer no real proof.
1) The back of the water tray, where it runs beneath the fan motor, is quite warped on this unit--there is a big bow in the long, unenforced plastic "back" of the water tray. The bow isn't low enough to allow water to just flow over the top, but it may provide the right shape for water to be drawn upwards by the fan, and once it's outside the tray, it will flow down into the base and eventually out the back. There doesn't seem to be a better explanation, as the water tray was free of cracks, and pouring large quantities of water directly into the tray without the unit running saw all of that water flow properly into the bucket. My first example of this model, which I did not investigate the innards of, had evidence that water was getting to the fan blades...and this is the only place that could happen.
2) I'm not thrilled about the design of the fan mount, as it sits both inside and outside of the "wet" areas of the water tray. It seems really unlikely, but it might be possible that where this mount closely fits against the wall of the water tray on the wet side, capillary action could draw water out of the tray and into places where you don't want it. But capillary action isn't that strong, I don't think: on my first unit, I would estimate that at least 3/4 or more of the water collected went into the guts of the unit, compared to what made it into the bucket. If this capillary idea has any merit, I would think ALL of these Frigidaires would leak from day one, and clearly that's not the case. That said, I really hate this part of the design, along with that long, thin back to the water tray. On the Danby, for all its own foibles, nothing sits in the water area except the condensers, other parts screw to the top of the tray.
So I don't know. I just hope I'm not out the $240 paid. I hate returning stuff and I can't imagine Amazon is going to be thrilled to get another one back from me in less than a week. I will not be buying another of these, in any case. There is no way in the world I can trust it.