Too much humidity in the house poses serious risks to your health and potentially damaging effects on your belongings. Luckily, constant humidity control is made simple with modern residential dehumidifiers. Dehumidifiers come in different types and sizes and most of them produce condensate from the excess moisture in the air. This condensate can be collected in a tank for manual emptying or drained automatically through a hose or built-in pump.
Most dehumidifiers offer continuous draining options through a drain hose. Although the hose may not be included with the unit, a standard garden hose is usually all you need for a regular refrigerant dehumidifier.
Gravity drainage is most commonly used for high-capacity dehumidifiers in extremely humid spaces and it can be a serious problem if the drainage doesn’t work as intended. If your dehumidifier is not draining through the hose, it can cause water to collect in the water tank or leak around the dehumidifier. If left unattended, it can become a breeding ground for mold, pests, and bacteria. It can also damage carpets and flooring, especially wooden structures. Before any of this ever happens, you must understand the possible reasons your dehumidifier is not draining properly and how you can fix it.
How to Drain a Dehumidifier
Depending on the type and size, a portable dehumidifier offers multiple draining options to make regular maintenance more convenient for you. For a complete guide on how to drain a dehumidifier, check out our separate guide here.
Portable dehumidifiers come with a water bucket or tank to hold the moisture collected until the container is full. For standard dehumidifiers, the size of this bucket is usually about a quarter to a third of the capacity of the unit (or around 12 to 15 pints for a 50-pint dehumidifier). The actual bucket capacity varies between brands and models, but usually, a higher capacity dehumidifier has a larger tank than a smaller dehumidifier within the same brand.
Most dehumidifiers feature an automatic shut-off that turns off the unit automatically when the water in the bucket reaches a certain level that triggers the float switch. The full bucket indicator light lets you know when you need to empty the water.
Depending on the dehumidifier capacity and bucket size, manual draining may be the easiest draining option. Just remove the tank and empty the water or save it for later use, and then place it back into the unit. However, if you want your dehumidifier to run continuously, you may need to empty the water multiple times a day. Not everyone has the time for this, especially if you’re using the dehumidifier in the basement or any other humid space in the house that you don’t frequently visit. If this is the case, then you should look into continuous draining systems.
Automatic drainage through a hose is the most common dehumidifier water removal option for large, humid spaces. It is also very easy and simple to use. Just attach the hose to the dehumidifier outlet and let gravity do its job. Instead of collecting in the tank, the condensate flows out through the hose and straight to the drain area.
To do this, you must first locate the drain port outlet and find the right size drain hose for your dehumidifier – check out the linked article for help on this. The hose outlet is usually on the back or side of the unit. Some models may need an adapter to attach the hose onto the dehumidifier drain outlet, while a few may require you to remove the bucket and reach from under the unit to secure the connection.
Once the drain setup is secured, position the hose downwards without any kinks or knots that can disrupt the water flow. Direct the other end of the hose to the drain location. Make sure the dehumidifier is placed on a steady surface higher than the nearby drain. Most people use a floor drain, sink, or any drain lower than the unit.
Another convenient way to drain water from your dehumidifier is through a condensate pump. It can push the water up higher than the unit so you don’t need to worry about the drain location and elevation of the dehumidifier. Most condensate pumps can push water up to 15 feet vertically. This way the hose can run up into a sink or basement sump pump, out of a window, or another suitable drain location.
Most high-capacity dehumidifiers (40-pint or 50-pint and above) include an internal pump. Simply attach the provided hose to the outlet and activate the pump function. Note that this hose is different from the garden hose for gravity drainage. For high-capacity units that do not include this feature, you can purchase an external condensate pump separately.
Why a Dehumidifier is Not Draining Through the Hose
If you notice your dehumidifier is not draining through its hose, it’s critical to find the cause and solution immediately before it leads to more serious problems. Below are a few common reasons this could be happening.
When you attach a drain hose to your dehumidifier, it can become disconnected or loosened over time. This happens when you move the unit across the room or if the hose is used in fluctuating temperatures.
Another possible reason for this is the improper installation of the hose adapter. If your dehumidifier hose requires an adapter but it’s not connected properly, it can keep the water from flowing out through the hose. Check the drain hose connection and make sure that all pieces are secured and the end of the hose is directed towards the drain.
Another possible reason the water is not flowing through the drain hose maybe because it’s blocked. Dust and dirt from the dehumidifier can contaminate the water and flow out through the hose. Debris can also enter from the other end of the hose, especially if it’s 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 hose from the outlet. Take it outside or in the bathroom and pour water through the length of the hose until you see it coming out the other end smoothly. If the hose is still blocked, try soaking it in warm soapy water, then flush it again with water to see if the blockage has been removed.
Bent or Vertically Coiled Hose
If the drain hose is bent or coiled sound itself, the water cannot flow down smoothly. Instead, the water will back up into the collection bucket, causing the dehumidifier tank to fill and then leak water. Remember that the drain hose must lead directly to the drain without any twists or sharp turns. Check your drain hose, untangle any kinks or bends, and reposition the hose so that the water flows down correctly.
Additionally, if the hose is coiled or wound vertically, you may need to secure the hose flat to the floor below the unit to ensure that the water only flows downward. Elevate your dehumidifier on a table or counter or simply raise it a few inches off the ground on hollow blocks or wood planks. Just ensure that the item below the unit can handle its weight.
Too Long Drain Hose
If the hose is too long, you may not notice the water flowing out since it takes a longer time to reach the other end. You may also have to wound the hose around if it’s too long for the distance between the drain and the dehumidifier. This can cause the hose to get tangled with itself or the end to get submerged in the water around the drain. Some dehumidifier models indicate a limit to the length of the drain hose you can use with the unit.
Higher Drain Area
This continuous drain setup relies on gravity and cannot drain water uphill. If the end of the hose is higher than the dehumidifier drain outlet, then the water won’t be able to flow down through the hose. It may simply drip into the tank until it fills up. If this is the case, make sure that the end of the hose is placed on a lower level with respect to the dehumidifier, or simply raise your dehumidifier to allow gravity to work.
If there are no problems with the dehumidifier, its location, the drain connection, or any other components but the hose is still not draining, the cause may be the drain itself. If the drain location is clogged or blocked, then water may build up around it.
If you’re using a floor drain that is blocked, it may cause water to pool around the end of the hose. And if the hose is in standing water, the water from your dehumidifier cannot flow out. To avoid this, raise the unit or the hose itself so that the end isn’t submerged in standing water. Remove any clogs in the drain to let water flow down correctly. If the drain is still blocked, try to run hot water through the drain. If this doesn’t work, call a plumber to unclog your drain.
Dehumidifier not collecting water
Don’t forget to make sure that your dehumidifier is working and collecting water from the air in the room. If it’s not collecting water in the first place, it obviously won’t be able to drain the water out. Here’s how to check if your dehumidifier is not collecting water.
How To Get A Dehumidifier To Drain Through The Hose
Firstly, to make running and draining your dehumidifier easier for you, it’s important to get the right capacity for the space. Then, find the best location to install the unit and keep it a few inches away from walls and other items.
To utilize the automatic draining function, make sure you have the right drain hose and an appropriate drain location within the room. Get the right drain hose fittings or drain adapter if necessary. Some drain hoses allow you to cut it to the length you need.
Before running the dehumidifier, place it above the drain on a stable and level surface to prevent leaking. Ensure that the hose and adapter are both installed and connected securely. Position the drain hose straight down toward the drainage area. Remove any blockage like coils and twists in the hose that can disrupt the water flow. Make sure the drainage is clear and the end of the hose doesn’t sit in water.
Most dehumidifiers require little maintenance, but you must still provide proper care and regular cleaning. Even if you’re not using the bucket to collect water, remember to check it and remove any stagnant water as soon as possible. Empty the water, clean the tank with mild soap, then rinse it with fresh water before you put it back into the unit.
If you’re using a drain hose for automatic drainage, wash the hose with liquid soap or white vinegar diluted in warm water and flush the solution through the entire hose. If not in use, detach it from the unit and dry it before placing it in storage.
Automatic gravity drainage is perhaps the most common and convenient draining option for high-capacity dehumidifiers in extremely damp spaces. Again, remember that when using gravity drainage, water must be flowing freely from the dehumidifier outlet through the hose and down to the drain. To allow gravity to work, you need to place the dehumidifier higher than the drain without any obstructions to the hose. These are only some basic tips you can follow in case you find your dehumidifier not draining through the hose properly. If you have specific concerns, check your unit’s manual or contact the manufacturer.