Dehumidifier Water Removal Options

Is water removal a problem that prevents you from using a dehumidifier?  Does the following scenario sound familiar to you?  To empty your dehumidifier, you have to carry a bucket of water from your dehumidifier across the room and pour the water into a corner drain or the laundry sink. Or even worse, you have to carry the water upstairs and to your kitchen sink. This is a messy and time consuming process. Then, once you put the bucket back in place, you may have to repeat this operation two or more times that same day!

This scenario plays out every day for people who need a dehumidifier and during the rainy, spring months, our customer service representatives are asked on a daily basis, "What can I do to make removing the water more convenient?"

You always have the option of purchasing a dehumidifier that has an internal condensate pump, like the Aprilaire 1710A dehumidifier or any number of Ebac or Dri-Eaz commercial grade dehumidifiers. But if these are simply more than you need, don't fit into the decor of your home or are simply too expensive, there is another alternative. At, the best solution that we recommend is to "port" the water from your dehumidifier. Most people associate the word "porting" with computers and something a ship may do, but porting is an important feature of most of the dehumidifiers that we offer. Porting is the process of using an exterior drain line to continuously drain your dehumidifier.

Dehumidifier Gravity Drain Options

Direct Drain a Dehumidifier Hook a hose up to your dehumidifier. Run the line down to a drain. Hose MUST Be on a Decline to Drain The drain hose can not be above the drain fitting. This will cause flooding of your dehumidifier.

Porting and Water Removal Options

The porting process is fairly simple and works best when gravity is on your side. The dehumidifier needs to be placed in a position that is higher than where you want the water to end up. If this is not possible due to a grade or a lack of a nearby drain, you can still port your dehumidifier, but you will require a condensate pump to push the water up the grade or over a longer distance.

As mentioned above, most room size dehumidifiers, like our Danby 50 pint, have a condensate bucket that must be emptied by hand. A float switch turns off the dehumidifier when the bucket is full to prevent overflows. Many dehumidifiers provide a threaded spigot to connect a water hose for drainage. If you have a floor drain or basement sink, you can port the water to the drain by using gravity. Water is continuously being removed from the air, then into the unit, and then down into the drain. You have very little day to day up keep or maintenance.

Typical Installation Steps and Advice

  • The first step is to decide where the dehumidifier will go and how you want the water to go out of it. If you want to use the lower cost of gravity you need to get the dehumidifier off the floor and up at least a 6 inches off the ground. Take 30 minutes to an hour to figure out the placement of your dehumidifier and the final destination of your drained water. Make a quick diagram of how you are going to transport the water from point A (the dehumidifier) to point B (the drain).

  • Place your dehumidifier on a level surface. You probably need to place it on a wooden skid or concrete block to elevate the unit for proper drainage. You might also build a small shelf to elevate the unit. Use the adjustable feet and a level to make sure your dehumidifier is level.

  • Most dehumidifiers have a small hole about an inch or smaller that can attach to a hose. Some units may have a fitting or adaptor included to attach a hose. Use this to drain the tank by taking the end of a standard garden hose and screw it onto the drainage pipe of your dehumidifier. Run the hose down to your drain, sump pump, condensate pump, or HVAC drainage line.

  • Instead of a garden hose you also can use PVC pipe. Cut and dry fit your PVC pipe to garden hose adaptor. You can make a 90 degree elbow towards the ground and another 90 degree elbow at ground level to funnel to water to your drain. When you are satisfied with the look of your drainage system, glue the piping together. Working with the PVC pipe and the glue requires some trial and error, but the stuff is easy to work with and reasonable in cost.  If you use PVC, the biggest thing you have to worry about is how fast the glue sets. When you apply the glue to the joint and push the pieces together, you have only a few seconds before the glue sets.
  • Plug in your dehumidifier and you should be ready to go! Make sure that when you plug in your dehumidifier that you do not use small or cheap extension cords. The dehumidifier will use a lot of power, so you need to use a heavy duty extension cord.

  • Fill the tank with water to test the setup and ensure it is draining properly--do not pour water through the dehumidifier. Testing the porting system might sound funny, but you want to make sure it works properly before you leave it alone for any length of time.  It would be frustrating to leave it and find out later that there is a small leak. If you see water leaking from a clamp or connection, water proof the joint. If it is a fitting that was glued, apply some more PVC glue to maintain a better seal.

Dehumidifier Drain Option with Condensate Pump

Dehumidifier Gravity Drain Keep Drain Lines Flowing with Gravity
Hook a hose up to your dehumidifier. Run the line down to a condensate pump. The drain hose nor the condensate pump can be above the drain fitting. This will cause flooding of your dehumidifier.

Dehumidifier Placement, Operation, and Safety

Your dehumidifier must be raised to use gravity for proper drainage. Put it up on a cement block or build a shelf for the unit. Make sure that the unit is level. The next step is to determine how far off of the ground you must place the unit to allow for effective drainage.  The unit must be placed higher than the drain to allow the water to flow downward and away from the unit.  This is referred to as a gravity drain. 

Most dehumidifiers have top-mounted air discharge and can be placed against walls, but if you do not have top-mounted discharge, make sure the dehumidifier is located away from walls and furniture. By placing the dehumidifier away from the wall, air can circulate freely around the unit. Always locate the unit away from sources of dust and dirt which can clog the coils and grills. This will result in better and more efficient operation of the unit.

While the dehumidifier is running, the doors and windows to the space being dehumidified should be closed. Keeping the room closed ensures that the space is dehumidified as efficiently as possible.

Observe all manufacturer warnings regarding electrical safety. Never set up water drainage or disposal near electrical circuits or devices. Make sure the dehumidifier is connected to a properly grounded outlet. Keep drain hoses away from electrical cords and connections.

If you are planning to use a hose to drain the dehumidifier's water bucket, make sure the unit is located near enough to the floor drain or sump to avoid the need for a long and unwieldy hose. Do not create a tripping hazard!


There are many other reasons to use a dehumidifier. You might want to eliminate the chance of rust on tools in your garage or basement workshop. You might want to dry out an area in your home that has been saturated by a water leak. For many allergy sufferers, you want to control your environment and limit exposure to mold, mildew, and dust mites.

A dehumidifier extracts moisture from the air and is a great way to lower the humidity in any space. Some people quit using their dehumidifiers, because of the work involved in emptying the water collection bucket. However, the benefits for allergy sufferers, property, and air quality are to important not to run your unit. Porting is a way to make running a dehumidifier a more efficient and more enjoyable process.

Compare All Dehumidifiers or return to the Dehumidifiers Homepage.

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