Basement Dehumidifiers with Drain Hoses: Pumping & Draining Solutions

By: Evan Scoboria, Last updated: June 27, 2023

In many homes, the air is circulated between the basement and living areas by design or through poorly sealed floors, doors, and framing. In my house, I've installed vents to allow air to circulate between my basement and kitchen to create a single air envelope. When this happens, any moisture that collects in the basement of your home becomes available to the dry air in your living areas and will be pulled up, raising the ambient humidity level in your house. 

Dehumidifiers are a popular solution for controlling this basement moisture. Models with built-in drain hoses offer added convenience by eliminating the need to empty a water collection tank manually. In this article, we'll explore basement dehumidifier options with drain hoses, focusing on different pumping and draining solutions to help you choose the best system for your needs.

Gravity Drainage Systems:

Gravity Drainage Systems

Gravity drainage systems rely on the force of gravity to move water from the dehumidifier to a suitable drainage point, such as a floor drain or sump pit. These systems are generally the simplest and most cost-effective option, but they require the dehumidifier to be positioned above the drainage point. Critical considerations for gravity drainage systems include:

  1. Hose length and diameter: Ensure the included drain hose is long enough to reach your desired drainage point and has a suitable diameter to handle the dehumidifier's output.
  2. Elevation: Ensure the dehumidifier is placed on a stable surface above the drainage point for adequate water flow.

I prefer to use this method of wastewater disposal in a basement only if there is an available floor drain that leads to the public wastewater system. Too many times, I've seen buckets overflowing onto basement floors or water left in these receptacles to evaporate. If you choose to use a gravity drain dehumidifier, please ensure the water has a dedicated location to drain to. 

Built-in Pump Systems:

Built-in Pump Systems

Dehumidifiers with built-in pumps can actively pump water to a drainage point, even if it's located above the dehumidifier's position. This offers greater flexibility in positioning the unit and allows water to be pumped vertically, making it ideal for basements with limited drainage options. Critical features of built-in pump systems include:

  1. Pumping height: Check the maximum pumping height of the built-in pump to ensure it can reach your desired drainage point. Most consumer-grade dehumidifiers have tiny built-in pumps that can only lift water a few feet. Be sure to read the specs on your dehumidifier closely before purchasing. 
  2. Automatic shutoff: Opt for a dehumidifier with an automatic shutoff feature that turns off the unit if the pump fails or the water container becomes full, preventing water damage.

External Condensate Pumps:

External Condensate Pumps

If your preferred dehumidifier has no built-in pump, you can still use an external condensate pump to move water to a suitable drainage point. These pumps connect to the dehumidifier's drain hose and actively pump water. Factors to consider when choosing an external condensate pump include:

  1. Compatibility: Ensure the pump matches your drain hose and the output capacity of your dehumidifier.
  2. Pump capacity and lift: Verify that the pump can handle the water output of your dehumidifier and has a sufficient lift capacity to reach your drainage point.

I have used this method in the basement of my home, where I installed a Santa Fe Compact70 dehumidifier suspended from the floor joists. The wastewater is drained into a detached external condensate pump of the type you find on most central air furnaces, and this pump routes the water through an airlock into the sewer system. Not all municipalities allow water disposal this way, so contact your municipal government for information before proceeding with an installation like this. 

Read my article on the best basement dehumidifiers to find examples of basement humidifiers with built-in pumps or external pumps. 

Choosing the Right Dehumidifier:

In addition to pumping and draining options, consider the following factors when selecting a basement dehumidifier with a drain hose:

  1. Dehumidification capacity: Choose a unit with the appropriate capacity (measured in pints per day) to remove moisture from your basement effectively. High-quality commercial dehumidifiers can remove as much as 70-80 pints per day, enough to positively affect even the soggiest basement. 
  2. Energy efficiency: Opt for an Energy Star-certified dehumidifier to reduce energy consumption and lower operating costs.
  3. Noise level: Consider the noise output of the dehumidifier, especially if it will be placed below a living area or near bedrooms. Many larger models can be suspended by rubber to mitigate vibration and noise. 


Basement dehumidifiers with drain hoses offer convenient solutions for removing excess moisture and maintaining a dry and healthy living space. By understanding the different pumping and draining options available, you can choose the best system for your needs. From simple gravity drainage systems to built-in or external pump solutions, a dehumidifier setup can help you achieve a dry and comfortable basement environment.