Informational Guide

How To Drain a Dehumidifier Outside

Draining a dehumidifier outside is an easy task. We teach you all the dos and do nots in this comprehensive guide.

by Josh M

Sick of having to manually empty your dehumidifier every day? Then it might be time to attach a drain system which automatically removes the water as the dehumidifier runs.

Installing a drainage mechanism to a dehumidifier may seem complicated, but it’s actually very simple and over the years I’ve fitted several different water removal options to dehumidifiers so they can run more effecitvely. In this guide I’ll explain why a drainage system is important, what the options are, and give you a step by step guide so you can set one up yourself.

Do Dehumidifiers Need A Drainage System?

Most dehumidifiers gather excess moisture into a water bucket or condensate bucket which is then emptied by hand. However, this isn’t the only dehumidifier water removal option, and you can connect up proper drainage so the water is automatically removed outside.

So, while most dehumidifiers don’t need a drainage system, there are some key benefits to connecting drain hoses:

  • There’s much less effort needed because it will automatically drain condensate out of your home
  • The dehumidifier won’t shut off if you forget to drain the dehumidifier water by emptying the tank
  • You can leave the dehumidifier running for longer even if you aren’t home
  • Prevents potentially harmful bacteria from forming in the standing water in the machine [1]

If you have a lot of moisture and you’re constantly on dehumidifier draining duty at home then you should definitely consider connecting it up so it can drain outdoors.

4 Simple Ways To Drain A Dehumidifier Outside

There are several ways to make your dehumidifier automatically drain, but they all require some kind of drain hose or drain line. This can be a PVC pipe, or a hose acting as a drain pipe, which can transport the excess moisture out of your home.

Here are the most common methods used to drain dehumidifier water:

Garden Hose Draining

When to use this method: This is the cheapest and easiest method which can be used with a gravity drain technique or with condensate pumps. It works best for those who only use their dehumidifier seasonally and don’t want to buy any specialist equipment. The standard garden hose you use shouldn’t really go further than 16ft, so your dehumidifier needs to close to a window, door, or laundry tray drain.

  1. Find the hose connector on the back of the dehumidifier and open it up
  2. Connect the standard garden hose and ensure it’s securely fitted
  3. Make sure the dehumidifier still has fresh air flow
  4. If using a gravity drain technique, make sure your dehumidifier is on a raised platform with the hose pointing down.
  5. If using condensate pumps then you’ll need to connect a second hose to the pump
  6. Make sure your hose drains outdoors
  7. Test the unit to make sure the water drains as it should.

Gravity Draining

When to use this method: Gravity draining doesn’t require any power or pumps, as gravity does all the work, so it’s great for anyone who owns a dehumidifier without a built-in condensate pump and doesn’t own a separate condensate pump. However, it only works if your drain line is going down and it won’t be able to push water up and out of your home. It’s often used in basements with a floor drain, corner drain, or laundry sink.

  1. Locate the drain port on the back of your dehumidifier
  2. Unscrew the plug there
  3. Attach a hose or PVC pipe to the drain port and check it’s secure
  4. Set up with a floor drain or wherever you need to direct the water
  5. Test to make sure there’s no leaking and that it’s draining properly

Built-in Pump Draining

When To Use This Method: This method is quick, convenient, and can be used anywhere in the home – but you do need to make sure there’s an internal condensate pump in your dehumidifier. A dehumidifier with an internal condensate pump is literally set up for automatic draining so it’s very simple. This drainage is often used in basements or cellars where water needs to be pumped upwards.

  1. Locate the drain port on the back of your dehumidifier
  2. Unscrew the plug there
  3. Make sure your hose or drain line is compatible with your dehumidifier and attach it securely to the drain pump.
  4. Connect the other end to a nearby drain or somewhere outside where water won’t seep back in
  5. Test the device to make sure you pump condensate outside without issues.

This is the simplest method to set up a dehumidifier drain system because most of the components are in the machine. Just make sure you read the manual you’re given so that you know exactly how the built-in pump works.

External Condensate Pump Draining

When To Use This Method: If you don’t have an internal pump on your device but gravity draining won’t work for you then you should use an external pump for automatic drainage. Most condensate pumps are inexpensive and simple to use and will switch on and off as needed. They are most useful in areas where your dehumidifier runs frequently to improve the air quality – like a basement, cellar, or garage.

Dehumidifier with a Black Hose for Draining

Why Is My Dehumidifier Not Draining Through The Hose?

The connected hose should be draining water from the unit without you having to do anything. If it’s not, then it’s usually one of three things:

  • Your drain hose isn’t connected properly
  • Your drain hose is blocked and can’t provide proper drainage
  • Your dehumidifier or condensate pump is malfunctioning and won’t push water as it should

Here’s how to fix it:

  1. First, make sure the garden hose is connected properly. It can become loose, so you may need to tighten it.
  2. If it still won’t work, remove the drain hose and check for any visible blockages. Your hose might be backed up with water that hasn’t reached outside or your floor drain. If the hose is old, you may want to consider replacing it.
  3. Check the condensate pump (if using one) and the connection on the other end using a leak detector. Check that the external pump is receiving power so it can drain your dehumidifier automatically, and then check that there are no clogs. If it won’t switch on then it may need to be replaced.
  4. Once the drain hose and condensate pump are working properly, unplug the dehumidifier, then plug it back in, and finally restart it. Doing so resets the dehumidifier, which could help it correct any issues that it was having internally.
Dehumidifier Continuous Drain Option

Can I Drain My Dehumidifier Into a Sump Pump?

You can drain your dehumidifier into a floor drain or outside, or you can drain it directly into a sump pump. Sump pumps are found in the basement and work like a regular floor drain to remove water from your home. The only difference is that they use a pump to actively force water up and out. The pumps determine the water levels and drain the moisture out of the home.

Here’s how to set up your dehumidifier to drain into your sump pump:

  1. Turn off the dehumidifier and unplug it
  2. Place the unit on a concrete block or shelf in your basement. It must be higher than the sump pump under the floor drain
  3. Locate the floor drain port and attach the hose
  4. Position the hose so it’s above the sump pump and water can flow into it naturally
  5. Check that water is flowing properly to drain dehumidifier condensate out of your home

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Can I drain a dehumidifier anywhere outside?

Your dehumidifier needs to be plumbed into some kind of external drain. If you just let it pool outside then you won’t drain the water properly and the collected moisture could end up back in your home. You should also keep the dehumidifier drain water away from any plants which are going to be eaten (carrots, potatoes etc.).

Can I drain a dehumidifier into a toilet?

You can manually drain the dehumidifier water into a toilet’s tank and it’s a great way to save water. The collected water can be used to activate the float switch and saves you using fresh water when you flush.

How long does it take to drain a dehumidifier?

It generally takes 10-15 minutes to drain a dehumidifier manally, but if you have a dehumidifer connected to a hose then it should drain the water instantly. If you use an external condensate pump it can take a few extra minutes for the pumping mechanism to get it out of the house, but it’s a fast process.

How often do you need to drain a dehumidifier?

You should empty your dehumidifier every 1-2 days and more often if it’s very humid and your dehumidifier is dealing with a lot of moisture.


Attaching a dehumidifier to a drainage hose makes the dehumidification process completely automatic. It won’t take any time and effort to drain the collected water, and it will allow the dehumidifier to do its job effectively.

Fitting a drainage hose is easy too, and hopefully this guide has shown you exactly how to do it.



Last Updated on January 25, 2023

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.