Will a Dehumidifier Always Fill with Water?

Will a dehumidifier always collect water or will there be a time when it will stop?

Well, the long and short of it is that a dehumidifier will collect water until:

  • The bucket becomes full
  • If it is a dehumidifier with drain hose for basement until the humidity is lowered
  • The filters and the bucket become too dirty and it stops
  • The coils get frosty or get too dirty

So, a dehumidifier will not keep collecting water all the time. It will stop automatically when the bucket is full.

If the dehumidifier stops running after a few minutes without having lowered the humidity to the set level, something needs checking because something is wrong.

Will a dehumidifier ever stop collecting water?

will a dehumidifier always collect water

If your home in Florida has high humidity, your dehumidifier can run for hours on end, dehumidifying, filling the bucket, and then dehumidifying some more!

In this case, you could wonder: Will a dehumidifier ever stop collecting water? Indeed, it will. But to do that, it has to lower the humidity appropriately.

A place like Seattle has high humidity throughout the year. Thus, when buying a dehumidifier, get a high-capacity one. That way, you won’t have to empty it too often. It will also work for several hours and then stop.

To lower humidity in a damp room, your dehumidifier can run on and on. If there has been flooding, you might even need to run it for 24 hours straight!

If it runs extensively for many hours on end, check it. If there is a burning smell from the unit, stop it for some time. You can run it again after it cools down.

The dehumidifier has a built-in humidistat. It senses when the humidity level has been lowered to the set level, and then the unit switches off automatically.

If you are wondering how long you should run a dehumidifier, it will shut down on its own automatically when it accomplishes its task.

Why is my dehumidifier still collecting water?

Why is my dehumidifier still collecting water

We could say the reason why the dehumidifier is still collecting water is because that is what it is supposed to do. But there is more to it than this!

Here are some reasons why your unit keeps running for extended periods of time:

The humidity is still high

The 70-pint Frigidaire dehumidifier keeps on running because the level of moisture in your indoor air is still high.

If you are in doubt regarding this, you can check the humidity level using your hygrometer. Of course, even in continuous mode, you will see the humidity level displayed on the panel.

This should tell you when the dehumidifier has lowered the humidity to the set level, and then you can shut it off.

The dehumidifier is too small

If the dehumidifier is small, it will have to run longer than an appropriately sized or bigger dehumidifier. It will take longer to lower the humidity level.

In the Frigidaire dehumidifier instructions article, we said you should use the unit for the space it is rated for. Otherwise, if it is too small, it will have to overwork to do its job.

By the way, the same applies to humidifiers. This is why you might experience a Honeywell humidifier burning smell, if you overwork your unit.

Here is a rough guideline for your dehumidifier capacity in regard to room size:

  • 30-pint dehumidifiers, 500 to 100 square feet
  • 50-pint dehumidifiers, 1000 to 1500 square feet
  • 70 pint dehumidifiers for mold, over 1500 square feet
  • 70-pint and larger dehumidifiers (2500 square feet and over)

If your dehumidifier is too small, it can work for days and not lower the humidity appropriately. High humidity causes mold growth.

This can cause warning signs of mold toxicity among your family if not removed as soon as possible.

The dehumidifier is faulty

If the dehumidifier keeps on running even when the bucket is full of water, it is faulty. If it keeps running but is not collecting water, it is faulty!

In our posts on Levoit humidifier not working, Crane humidifier instructions and others, one constant in all of them is that the unit might need resetting.

Do the same for a dehumidifier that runs and does not collect water or continues running even when the bucket is full.

To reset it, just unplug it from the power and let it stay for a few hours. When you plug it back in, it should be working, unless there is another problem with it.

Other basics you should check include dirty filters. To access the filter, remove the bucket and then pull the filter down. Clean it in running water, air-dry it, and return it.

Why is my dehumidifier not collecting water?

Does the dehumidifier run, but there is no water in the bucket? Something is wrong, or perhaps not!


1. The bucket needs emptying

Why is dehumidifier not collecting water

The dehumidifier is not collecting water because the bucket is already full. If there is high humidity in the room, or if you are using a dehumidifier to dry clothes, a 30-pint or lesser capacity unit can fill up fast.

You may consider using dehumidifier water for your plants, but don’t drink it!

Apart from that, there are a few other reasons why the unit stops working as it should:

2. The coils are dirty or frozen

Thankfully, we have a whole post discussing how to clean dehumidifier coils. If they have frost, the refrigerant will not work appropriately.

So do check the coils to see whether they need a proper cleaning.

3. Check the filters: dirty, clogged

Yet another reason for dehumidifiers failing to collect water is dirty filters. If they are due for replacement, order new ones as soon as possible.

We have experienced the problem of Danby dehumidifier not collecting water because of clogged filters. If the filter is clogged with dirt, air will not pass through.

It is recommended to change the filter a few times a year, so you should check the unit’s user instructions.

4. The bucket is not fixed properly

If the Frigidaire dehumidifier bucket is not fixed properly (which can happen to any dehumidifier; I just used Frigidaire as a sample), the unit will not collect water.

After all, it does not sense the presence of the bucket, which holds the water it collects.

5. Incorrect humidity settings or low humidity

How long before dehumidifier collects water

If you have set the humidity settings on the dehumidifier to 40% and the humidity level in the house is 38%, the unit is not going to collect water.

If the humidity level is low, the unit is not going to draw any more water from the air.

6. Dead circuit board

If this is the case, well, the dehumidifier is as good as gone. Unless the unit is under warranty and the manufacturer is willing to replace the circuit board free of charge, the cost of replacing it is too high. It makes more sense to discard that unit and buy a new one.

A humidifier fails to work when water leaks into the circuit board. That is different from the dehumidifier board frying and dying on you.

How do you know that the circuit board of your Danby dehumidification unit is dead? Well, in this case, the unit fails to work completely. It won’t run, and so it won’t lower the moisture content in your indoor air.

Some of the things that could fry your circuit board include power surges and overheating. Watch out for that burning plastic smell.

7. Dead or dying compressor

The dehumidifier compressor is a complicated part, and it is also costly to replace. When it is dying, you will hear a buzzing sound that goes on and off.

This means the compressor start parts are dead or dying. The unit can be running, but it will not draw any water from the air.

The work of the compressor is to make sure that the water goes from the coils to the reservoirs. Therefore, if it is not working correctly, it means the water is not being transferred around the dehumidifier correctly. This is one of the reasons for the dehumidifier failing to collect water.

Without the compressor working correctly, the water stays in the dehumidifier coils and eventually, it starts to leak. It also causes the unit to start overheating.

If you have isolated the compressor as the main cause of your dehumidifier failing to fill the tank, replace it. This could be costly—both the buying and labor costs. Thus, you might need to buy a new unit altogether.

How long before the dehumidifier collects water?

If the dehumidifier is new, it can take up to 10 hours before you can start to notice any changes or get a good humidity level in the bedroom. It needs to acclimate to the conditions in the room first.

If it takes too long to start, check a few things, like:

  • Whether it has a filter
  • The bucket is fixed properly
  • Whether there is high humidity in the air
  • Others

After you switch the unit on, it will start to work immediately. However, if the humidity is high, it will take some time before it is lowered enough to reduce the dampness in the air.

When the unit is not new, it will work faster. The reason for this is that it kicks in automatically as soon as the humidity level exceeds what you have set.

Please note – not all dehumidifiers have automatic start/stop features. Order one such as Waykar 2000 Sq. Ft Dehumidifier which has auto restart and stop feature on Amazon.com.


A dehumidifier will not always collect water. But this does not mean something is wrong with it. Do check whether the dehumidifier blows too cold air because then it will not be collecting water.

Also, while it is okay if the dehumidifier is blowing hot air, too hot is also not good. It indicates some defect with the unit.

Overall, dehumidifiers do not have many issues if you clean them and change the filters on time. They are perfect workhorses that can lower the humidity appropriately over a long period of time.