Dehumidifiers reduce the amount of moisture in the air and collect the resulting water in a tank. If you live in a particularly humid region, you’ll find that your dehumidifier can collect a lot of water in a day. Since water is a scarce resource for a large portion of the world’s population, it’s only reasonable to not want to waste your extra water by literally pouring it down the drain.
However, depending on the air quality and the state of your dehumidifier, this water may contain microorganisms that make it unsafe for some uses. If you don’t want to waste your dehumidifier water but are not sure what to do with it, these questions may have popped up in your mind. Can you drink water from a dehumidifier? Is it safe? How about for your pets? Your plants?
We’ll answer all of these below. But first, you must understand how dehumidifiers work to remove moisture in the air.
How Does a Dehumidifier Work?
There are different types of dehumidifiers based on the method of dehumidification they employ.
This is the type that most people think of when they hear the word dehumidifier. It uses a compressor to power the coils that remove moisture and warm the air. A fan draws the humid air and passes it over the cold coils. As the air cools down, water vapor condenses and drips down into the tank or out through the drain hose.
The other type of dehumidifier is called a desiccant. Instead of refrigeration, it uses a hygroscopic chemical that absorbs or adsorbs moisture from the air. The desiccant wheel continuously rotates to take in moisture. The circulated air is then reheated and passed over the saturated desiccant. This warm and moist air goes through the condenser and the condensate is collected in a tank or drained through a hose.
Another method of dehumidification which is commonly used in mini dehumidifiers is called the Peltier effect. It works similarly to a compressor dehumidifier, but instead of a compressor, it uses electricity to create a temperature difference on the Peltier module. Humid air is drawn by a small fan through the cold side of the unit where moisture condenses. The cold and dry air passes through the hot side heat sink, then warmer and dryer air is released.
Is Dehumidifier Water Distilled?
While the process of dehumidification seems almost similar to water distillation, dehumidifier water is not distilled. There are some similarities, but there are several differences in the processes and their products.
During distillation, water is heated to the point that it forms steam. The resulting steam is collected in another container while impurities that do not boil with the water remain in the original container. When the steam cools down, you get pure water free from any contaminants.
On the contrary, water from dehumidifiers results from condensation or adsorption only, as we discussed above. A dehumidifier simply draws out the moisture from the air, it doesn’t boil the water or turn it into steam. Since the water doesn’t go through filtration, it may still contain disease-causing microscopic particles.
Can You Drink Water from a Dehumidifier?
As we have established in the previous section, water from a dehumidifier is not pure and therefore not safe to drink. Drinking water undergoes different purification processes to remove any and all impurities.
Dehumidifier water, on the other hand, is simply condensed and collected. All the pollutants in the air remain in the water, such as spores, bacteria, and viruses. Moreover, the air passes through metal coils which can further contaminate the water.
Hence, water from a dehumidifier is NOT safe to drink. Likewise, it’s not safe for pets. However, it still has some uses that you’ll find out below.
Can You Filter Dehumidifier Water to Make it Drinkable?
Technically, you can perform any filtration or purification process to clean the water from contaminants. This includes distillation, which we discussed above, reverse osmosis, and deionization.
Of course, it still depends on the quality of the air in your home, as well as how often you clean the dehumidifier coils and collection tank. The easiest way would be to filter out any large particulates then boil the water to kill remaining pathogens. You can test the water with a TDS (Total Dissolved Solids) meter to see if it’s safe enough.
While this is totally doable, it requires too much effort on your part. Unless there’s a real shortage of clean water in your place, you’re better off drinking from the tap or other commercially available drinking water.
Where Can You Use Dehumidifier Water?
Even though dehumidifier water is not considered safe for drinking, it’s not totally useless. The most practical way to benefit from the collected water is for plant irrigation. Since it may still contain trace elements, use the water for inedible plants only.
However, dehumidifier water may lack the minerals that plants require. If necessary, use tap water with dehumidifier water for your indoor plants. Dehumidifier water is also ideal for use in a hydroponic garden.
Another use for your extra water is for ironing clothes. Tap water contains minerals that may build up in your iron and deposit onto your clothes. Areas with hard water may have issues with limescale which can damage your iron beyond repair. To avoid this, use dehumidifier water in your steam iron instead of throwing it away.
Toilet flushing consumes a huge amount of water, from 1.25 gallons to 3.5 gallons per flush, depending on how old the toilet is. To help save water, you can use the condensate from your dehumidifier. Just pour the collected water into the bowl or bucket. This may not be enough for everyone’s use but it still puts the water to good use instead of throwing it directly down the drain.
If you need to clean some windows, mop floors, or wash your car, then you can use the condensate from your dehumidifier instead of tap water. You can use it with detergent, or mix it with bleach or vinegar to make a disinfectant solution.
Other Uses for Dehumidifier Water
For artists, you can find many other uses for dehumidifier water. You can use it for painting, or later for washing your brushes. This water may also be used to fill flower vases for decoration in your home. If the air (and consequently, the condensate) is clean enough, you may also use the water for your laundry.
Dehumidifier water undergoes processes that are much different from purification systems that ensure its safety. While there are ways to make dehumidifier water safe enough to drink, it’s still not recommended to do so. However, it doesn’t have to go to waste when you can use it for different household needs. Collect the water in a tank and use it in your garden, for ironing clothes, flushing the toilet, or for cleaning the bathroom floors, windows, or cars.