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Newer Version - Works Great ... So Far
on July 1, 2011
I owned the previous version of this dehumidifier (Frigidaire Dehumidifier, 70-Pint Capacity, FAD704TDP) and the compressor failed in just over 1.5 years. I was disappointed by this, but it was not unexpected. My previous research of customer comments on both amazon.com and Consumer Reports indicated that failure in 1.5 years is now the norm for dehumidifiers! (I wonder whether the new government regulations have anything to do with this - FYI, they now prohibit the use of FREON and the failures in a couple of years started after that; previously dehumidifiers lasted 10 or more years). Note that everyone who wrote reviews in 6 month or less after purchase was very pleased with the dehumidifiers in general (as was I), but reviews written 6 or 12 months after purchase started to complain about failures (compressor mostly). Very disppointing since all my previous dehumidifiers lasted well over 10 years; and one of them is still working fine. But I needed a dehumidifiier and this one semed to be the best of a not very good set of choices, so I ordered it. I was very pleased with it when it arrived and it worked great until if failed. I rated it 5 stars and updated my review several times until it failed whereupon I downgraded it to 4 stars. You can see my full review of that model on amazon.com.
But now I needed another one. I redid much of my research of customer comments and came up with the same conclusion that failure in 1.5 years was the norm and that this model was the best of the lot. So, I decided to get the same one again. When I looked at the model on amazon.com, there was a note that said "Would you like to see a newer version of this model?". I clicked on it and THIS model came up. Everything in the name and model number was the same (it even looked the same), except the "TDP" is replaced by "DUD" (I got a chuckle out of this given my previous experience with it's failure). So I odered it ... and I've now had it for about a month.
And here is my review to date: In summary, I give it 5 stars again, and I'll try to update this review in about 6 - 12 month intervals regarding the compressor and/or other failures.
Most noticeable are differences from the previous model which indicates some very significant improvements:
FIRST, it is amazingly quiet! In fact it was so quiet that I wondered whether the compressor was even working. I disconnected the drain hose (I use a gravity drain) to see whether the bucket would fill up. It did so in just a few hours! I would support the claim for 70 pts in 24 hours. The old model was quite noisy and, although in a different part of the basement, interfered with listening to the TV in the basement rec room. Not the case for this model.
SECOND: The exhaust for this model is out the TOP! Not out the back as in most older models, or the side as in the previous version of this one. How novel ... very unlikely to have an obstruction out the top and that also significantly aids in the air circulation. I wonder why no one ever though of this before. The squirrel cage fan now exhausts directly up and that may have something to do with it's quiet operation.
THIRD: The hose attachment for the gravity drain is now outside of the case and very easy to get to. It was very difficult to attach the hose in the previous version.
FOURTH: It was less expensive than the older model, which is also still available on amazon.com.
Overall, I am very pleased with this model ... I just hope it lasts.
I'll update this revew periodically, indicating whether the compressor is still working or when it finally fails.
UPDATE (4/23/2012): It is still working! Actually, it was OFF most of the winter. There seems to be an "unadvertised feature" that turns the unit completely off when the humidity is well below the desired setting. I did not see this descibed anywhere in the manual (maybe I just missed it). If the humidity is only a little below the desired setting, the compressor is off, but the fan that circulates the air is still on; when the humidity drops further, that fan also turns off (I have not been able to determine how much lower). This is a nice feature and probably makes the entire unit last longer. On the previous version of this model, the compressor cycled off and on all winter long and the fan ran contantly.
Some people have commented to me that the gravity drain does not work and the bucket fills with water. You have to make sure that the unit is LEVEL since there is a very small lip at the back that allows the water to go over it into the gravity drain. When the water cannot go over the lip, it goes into the bucket - a very nice feature to keep it from flooding your floor. But if the unit leans even slightly forward, the the water cannot go over the lip and into the gravity drain. So level it carefully or put some shims under the front until it drains correctly.
It has gotten a little noisier now; but not objectionable.
And I checked the label: it is made in China.
UPDATE (4/30/2013): Another year has gone by and it is still working great! All the above comment still apply. I did not touch the humidity setting and the unit turned itself off last fall and was not running all winter (not the compressor nor the fan). About mid April it turned itself back on. I really do like this feature!
UPDATE (6/20/2013) - WELL, IT FAILED!! Purchased 6/15/2011, put into service 6/21/2011 - almost exactly TWO YEARS; I was really hoping that my analysis of the life expectancy of dehumidifiers was wrong. Here are some details about the failure. As I stated on the 4/30/2013 update, the unit turned on just fine as the humidity rose earlier this spring. I had set the humidity to 55% and it kept it there for a number of weeks. In early June, I noticed that the humidity reading was 70% even though it was still set to 55%; but the unit seemed to be running OK. I detached the gravity drain to catch the condensate in the bucket to determine if it was still working. It filled 1/2 of the bucket but no more. I emptied it and it never again collected any condensate. I determined that the fan was running and the compressor turned on when the humidity setting was below the humidity level in the basement. This seems to imply the refrigerant was not working, maybe there is a leak. If so, this would be hard to diagnose and fix.
UPDATE (6/25/2013: FALSE ALARM - IT STILL WORKS! [I left the above comment in case anyone runs into this].
This morning I intended to get the serial number of the unit to call customer service. I while doing this I heard a water drip - how can that be if it is not working? I examined it carefully and found that the evaporator coils were completely frozen over - when I looked into the front of the unit thru the grate, all I could see was white. I turned the humidity setting up so that only the fan ran and quickly melted all the ice. I then lowered the humidity setting and it now works fine; filled the bucket in less than a day. Will reconnect the gravity drain.
I'm not sure how to prevent this from happening again without checking the unit regularly and shutting off the compressor until the ice melts. I will try setting the humidistat to just lower than the ambient humidity in the hope that it does not ice up. Once it gets to THAT humidity level without icing up, I'll turn it down one notch (ie, 5%) and repeat. Hopefully that works.
I also found a note I had written on the manual which I had completely forgotten about. Here it is, written on about 6/26/2011), since it is may still be relevant: "When it arrived via FEDEX (they left it by the garage and left before I came out to see it). The package was SEVERELY DAMAGED, so bad that I did not open it, but took several pictures and called FEDEX to complain. They suggested that I open it and see if anything was damaged. I did, examined it all carefully and nothing was amiss." So I forgot to even mention this in the original version of this review.