Dehumidifiers typically come with a bucket that serves as a water reservoir. Condensed moisture collects in the reservoir awaiting disposal. Alternatively, the water can be automatically drained as it enters the tank.
In the first case, once the tank is full, you can either drain it manually or continuously. Manual draining involves detaching the tank and carrying it to the sink to empty the water. You need to do this every time the tank is full. Fortunately, all dehumidifiers have an alarm system that sounds or lights up to alert you that the tank is full. Many models will even shut off automatically to prevent overflow and potential water damage.
Meanwhile, continuous drainage involves using a hose to drain the tank. Again, you may or may not be required to detach the tank. However, in both cases, you’re required to connect a hose to a drainage link on the tank and let the unit drain either into a sump tank or the sink.
Modern continuous drain dehumidifiers, especially larger models, may also have an electric pump to facilitate the drainage process. A key advantage of dehumidifiers with drain pumps is passing the hose through the window to drain the water outside. Placement flexibility is another advantage. You can have the dehumidifier wherever you like and drain it into the sink, a sump tank, or even outside the house through the window – without putting in any extra effort.
The process should be smooth, regardless of the drain method, especially if you’re using continuous drainage (also popular as hose drainage).
If it’s your first time using a continuous drain dehumidifier or even if you’ve used one before but are currently experiencing a draining problem, you’ve come to the right place.
Setting Up Continuous Drainage
You can drain a dehumidifier continuously in three main ways – through gravity, by relying on a built-in drain pump or attaching an external drain pump.
#1: Continuous Hose Drainage through Gravity
Gravity drainage is the cheapest way to drain a dehumidifier tank continuously. As long as the dehumidifier has a drain port, you can easily attach a drain hose and begin draining the collected water. Proceed as follows;
- Locate the drain port: The drain port is typically located near the bottom of the unit, often on the sides or at the back. It’s a small round hole. You may or may not need to detach the tank depending on the type of dehumidifier. If you must detach the tank, the drain port will be on the tank and not the central dehumidifier.
- Unscrew the drain plug: The drain port is typically sealed with a drain plug to keep the tank and dehumidifier leak-proof. You’ll need to remove the plug to attach the hose.
- Attach the house: The hose may or may not be supplied with the dehumidifier. If it’s not supplied, you’ll need to purchase one separately. Ask the manufacturer the type of hose you should buy. Sometimes the garden hose suffices.
The key to gravity drainage is that the dehumidifier’s drain port must be above the sink or drain location you’re using. This works without any problems if you’re draining into a drain hole. However, if you’re draining into the sink or through the window, you can raise the dehumidifier by placing it on a flat table.
#2: Automatic Drainage via an In-Built Pump
Several modern dehumidifiers come with a built-in drain pump to make draining the tank a more convenient process. To set up the draining process;
- Locate the drain port: Nearly all dehumidifiers with drain pumps drain automatically with the tank in place. So, you don’t have to worry about detaching the tank. The drain nozzle should be towards the bottom of the unit on the sides or the back.
- Unplug the seal: Most drain ports are sealed to keep the dehumidifier leak-proof. You need to unplug the seal to connect the house.
- Attach the drain hose: The hose may or may not be supplied with the dehumidifier. Once you have the correct hose, connect it to the drain port.
You can set the dehumidifier to automatically drain water when it enters the tank or when it is full. Alternatively, you can wait until the tank is full to turn on the continuous drain switch. Most customers prefer the former as it increases convenience.
However, always keep in mind that the built-in pump can malfunction. If it malfunctions, the tank can fill up and sometimes even overflow. For this reason, you should purchase a dehumidifier that shuts off automatically when the tank is full.
#3: Automatic Drainage via an External Pump
Finally, if your dehumidifier allows for continuous drainage (evidenced by the presence of a drain hole) but doesn’t have a pump, you can use an external pump.
Of course, you can also use gravity drainage. However, pump drainage often means you can pump the water out over a longer distance. More importantly, with a drain pump, you no longer need to raise your dehumidifier. It will pump the water out of the window even when placed directly on the floor.
Here’s what you need to do;
- Acquire a dehumidifier pump: You can get a good one for around $45 to $55. Keep in mind that some people call them condensate pumps.
- Connect the dehumidifier to the pump: You’ll need two pieces of drain hoses for this job. Connect one end of the first hose to the dehumidifier’s drain nozzle and the other end to the condensate pump’s inlet valve, making sure it fits snugly on both ends. You don’t want any leaks.
- Connect the second hose to the pump: External condensate pumps typically come with a hose for this purpose, though you may have to purchase it separately. Once you have it, connect one end to the pump’s outlet valve. The other end leads to the drainage location, whether the sink, a drain hole, or through the window.
- Plug the pump into a power outlet: Since condensate pumps use electricity, you must plug it into a power outlet for it to function. The good news is that most pumps arrive with the electrical cable and plug directly into the standard household outlet.
Now, you’re ready to go. Whenever you need to drain the dehumidifier, you need to switch on the external pump. The pumps are designed to automatically draw water from the dehumidifier tank and pump it out through the outlet valve and into the provided drain location.
What Else Do You Need to Know
First off, beware that the plug which seals the dehumidifier nozzle goes back into the same hole – except with the hose through it. So, don’t lose it. Another thing many people ask is what to do with the collected water. If you don’t want to put it out, you can collect it in a special tank and use it to water your plants. Just make sure the tank is large enough. Otherwise, it may overflow. Also, don’t drink it.
Finally, never attempt to convert a manual-drain-only dehumidifier into a continuous drain appliance by boring a hole through it. It creates a very high risk of leaks and water damage. Attempting to extend the drain hose creates the same risk. So, avoid that too.