Can I Lay a Dehumidifier Over?

You are installing a dehumidifier in your basement. The unit is sort of bulky and you are trying to get it down the basement's stairs. A appliance dolly is not going to fit on the stairs. You wonder can you lay the dehumidifier over on its side and slide it down the steps. The answer is no. Dehumidifiers are similar to refrigerators and freezers—they both contain compressors that have oil in the bottom of the units. This oil keeps the dehumidifier's compressor lubricated and it has to remain in the bottom of the compressor.

Oil, Compressor & Refrigerant Tubes

Dehumidifiers consist of a compressor, oil, refrigerant, refrigerant tubes and valves. The oil keeps everything in the compressor lubricated. When a dehumidifier is turned on its side, the oil in the bottom of the compressor runs into the unit's refrigerant tubes. Once you turn the dehumidifier on, the compressor will try to compress the oil instead of the refrigerant and it can't.


Possible damage to the dehumidifier includes the compressor stalling and/or blowing an internal valve and damage to the dehumidifier's refrigerant tubes. Oil and refrigerant mixing can cause the dehumidifier to not do what it is suppose to do—to remove moisture out of the air in a room or other space. Even if you hurry and sit the dehumidifier upright, there is no guarantee that all of the oil will drain back into the compressor. Also, the owner's manual and fact sheet that came with your dehumidifier warns against laying the dehumidifier on its side. By doing so, you are voiding the warranty on the unit as well.


To move a dehumidifier into a space, use a small dolly or solicit help from friends or family in getting the dehumidifier down stairs or into a space. Try not to bump the dehumidifier into the walls or drop it. Once you have the dehumidifier in the basement or other room, leave it unplugged for 30 minutes so the oil in the compressor can settle from the move. After the allocated time, plug in the dehumidifier, turn it on and follow any instructions and recommendations provided with the unit.