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Dehumidifier Revamped for the IoT Era

Written by Brian Millier
Wireless Control When his dehumidifier stopped working, Brian decided to take a crack at repairing it. In this article, he explains how dehumidifiers function, and shares his journey as he replaces the old control system with a modern electronic controller. The new controller enables several IoT-era features like Web-based control via smartphone, efficiency monitoring and time-of-day scheduling. I’ve been using a dehumidifier in the finished basement of my home for more than 25 years. Modern units are probably more efficient than this old one, though I haven’t investigated this. However, some friends owning modern units have mentioned that their units died after only a few years. The modern units have an electronic control PCB, and the average consumer is hard-pressed to get these units serviced. My dehumidifier stopped working late last summer. Given its age, I initially just rolled it into a storage closet and let it “rest in peace.” Later, when I had some spare time, I took a closer look at it to see what had gone wrong. Even after it had stopped dehumidifying, I could hear the compressor start up when I plugged it in, and the fan was still working. I have some refrigeration repair experience from early in my career, and the above symptoms often mean that the CFC refrigerant (Freon 12) has leaked out. This generally involves an expensive repair. Also, in our Canadian province, you can’t simply throw out a refrigerator—or anything else using a CFC refrigerant. You must pay an HVAC repairman to have the Freon removed before it will be accepted for curb-side waste pickup. In this case, even if the Freon had already leaked out, I would still need to pay an HVAC repairman to put a sticker on the unit, stating it had been drained of any CFCs. One more reason to try to repair it. After removing the covers and examining the unit while it was running, I determined that the evaporator coil was cooling down and frosting up properly. So, the Freon
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Dehumidifier Revamped for the IoT Era

by Brian Millier time to read: 25 min