Why is my Dehumidifier Leaking Water?

If you often notice droplets dripping from your dehumidifier or a pool of water around the unit or hose, there are a few different reasons that could cause this. It’s important to identify it right away and find the appropriate solution, or potentially risk damage or even safety for your family.

Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air by absorbing or condensing it into water droplets. This water is then collected in a tank or drained through a hose. If for whatever reason this water starts leaking from your dehumidifier, it can cause excess dampness in the area — the exact same problem you’re trying to solve.

Standing water becomes a breeding ground for mold, pests, and disease-causing bacteria. It can also damage furnishings like carpets and flooring, and cause wooden structures to rot. In addition, mold can cause unpleasant odors as well as allergic reactions or other respiratory problems. Before any of this happens, you may be asking, why is my dehumidifier leaking water onto the floor? Here are a few possible reasons and how you can solve each of them.

Misaligned Water Bucket

Portable dehumidifiers use an internal bucket to collect the water removed from the atmosphere. When this container becomes full, you will need to empty the water into the drain or wherever else you want to use it. Most units come equipped with an automatic shut-off function to prevent water overflow. It’s important to throw out the water as soon as possible since standing water can attract mold and mildew.

If you have leaking water from your dehumidifier, the first thing you must check is the water collection bucket. If this bucket is not placed correctly, it can cause the unit to leak. Remove the bucket and empty the water. Wipe down any water that may have accumulated inside the unit. Also check to see that the container has no damage like holes or cracks where water may leak. Once it’s clean and inspected, replace the bucket into the unit and make sure it’s aligned properly. Refer to your manual for directions.

draining the water bucket picture

Disconnected Hose

If your dehumidifier is connected to a drain hose, one of the most obvious reasons for leaking water is when the hose becomes disconnected or loosened over time. This likely happens while moving the unit across the room or if the hose is used in fluctuating temperatures. Before anything else, always check the drain hose connection at the back of the unit and make sure that the end of the hose is directed towards a low level drain, sink, or outside.

Blocked Hose

Another possible source of your leak may be a blocked hose. Debris can enter from the other end of the hose, which becomes more likely when you have it draining to the outside, where rodents and bugs can reach it. 

To check if you have a blocked hose, unplug the unit and detach the drain hose from the outlet port of the dehumidifier. Take it outside or in the bathroom and flush water through the hose until you see it coming out the other end smoothly. If it’s still blocked, try soaking the hose in hot soapy water, then flush it again with fresh water to check if the blockage is removed.

drainage hose picture

Bent or Vertically Coiled Hose

If the drain hose has kinks or bends, water will not be able to flow down smoothly. Instead, it will back up into the bucket and cause your dehumidifier to leak water. The drain hose must lead directly to the floor drainage or outside without any sharp twists or turns. Check your drain hose for kinks, remove the connection, and reposition the hose so that the water flows correctly.

Additionally, if the hose coils vertically, you may need to secure the hose flat to the floor and elevate the unit so that the water only flows down. Use risers for your dehumidifier or simply raise it a few inches off the ground on hollow blocks or place it above a table, counter, or shelf. Just ensure that whatever you place it above can handle its weight.

Jammed Pump

If your dehumidifier is attached to a condensate pump but is still leaking from inside the water bucket or through the drain hose, it may be due to a jammed pump. Your pump can get jammed or blocked if there is debris inside, which may cause your dehumidifier to leak.

To check your condensate pump, unplug and remove all connections. Clean the pump as instructed in its manual. Reinstall the pump properly and plug it back in. Many condensate pumps feature a safety switch which automatically shuts off your dehumidifier or alarms you when there’s a threat of water overflow. Another reason your pump may be malfunctioning is disconnected wires or a faulty component. Check for loose wires and put everything in its proper place as instructed in the manual.

Frozen Coils

If you operate your dehumidifier in temperatures below 65 degrees Fahrenheit, the coils inside may start to freeze over. Ica can damage the coils and ultimately affect your unit’s functioning. Most dehumidifiers have auto defrost which stops operation periodically when frost is detected. The compressor will stop while the fan continues to melt any ice buildup.

When it’s particularly cold, the unit may have to defrost for longer periods and cause water leak as it melts the ice inside. To avoid leaks, and frozen coils in general, try to operate your dehumidifier only in warm temperatures. Inspect the coils and shut off the unit if you see frost beginning to form. If absolutely necessary, find a unit which is designed specifically for colder conditions. You can also use your heating system in tandem with your dehumidifier to ensure a balance in temperature and humidity levels.

Malfunctioning Overflow Switch

Another probable cause of water leaking from your dehumidifier is if the overflow switch has stopped working. Most dehumidifiers (even mini Peltier units) have a built-in auto shutoff function which prevents water overflow. It will automatically stop operation and notify the user (with visible and audible alerts) when the collection bucket is nearly full.

The bucket has a float switch that senses the water level and signals the compressor to stop until the water is emptied. The problem is often the floating switch not being properly installed after the water bucket is replaced. Refer to your owner’s manual for correct placement of the float switch. It is also possible for this switch to break. In this case, you will need to find a replacement part from the manufacturer. Or, simply purchase a new dehumidifier.

Blocked Drainage

If you find no problems with your unit or any of its components but you still have a leak, the cause may be outside. If the drain where your hose leads to is clogged or blocked, the water may build up. When using gravity drainage, water needs to flow freely from the dehumidifier outlet down to the drain at the end of the hose. 

If the floor drain is blocked, it may cause water to pool around the hose. And if the end of the hose is submerged in standing water, the water from your dehumidifier will not be able to flow out. To avoid this, raise the drain hose (or the unit itself) so that the end doesn’t sit in stagnant water. But if the drain is still blocked, the simplest do-it-yourself solution is to run hot water through the drain. If nothing works, you’ll need to call a plumber to unclog your drain and fix your leak problem once and for all.

Conclusion

There can be a lot of reasons for your dehumidifier leaking water. You must understand how your chosen drainage system works so that you’ll know the potential problems you may encounter. The usual causes of water leaking from your unit is easy to find and solve. It may be a collection bucket improperly installed, or a drain hose slightly bent upon movement.

However, in some cases the cause may be harder to fix. Most dehumidifier brands offer replacement parts in case a broken component is the cause of your leaking dehumidifier. In other cases, your problem can be fixed with proper installation and placement of your unit and the drain hose or pump. Whatever the reason, it’s important to get your dehumidifier fixed as soon as you notice the problem before it can cause permanent damage.