When you begin to notice a damp, mildew-smelling odor in your home, you most likely need a dehumidifier. These machines are able to pull the moisture from the air. This moisture is then collected in a bucket inserted inside of the unit.
So, it is safe to drink water from a dehumidifier? While this water deposit may look clean, and you may want to conserve water use, do not drink the water from a dehumidifier.
How the Dehumidifier Works
A dehumidifier and an air conditioner are both machines that can reduce the humidity levels in your building or home. They both will dry the air and improve personal humid climates inside of a structure or home.
With the reduction of moisture from the air, there is also a reduction in the growth of mildew, mold, and other organisms that love growing in moist environments.
A dehumidifier is the best suited for milder humid climates where it is damp but not too warm. These machines can also work well in hot, humid climates where an air conditioner cannot remove all the humidity in the air.
You may have noticed how moisture forms on a cold drink from the air in the room. In the dehumidifier, there is a cold metal tube that turns water vapor from a gas to a liquid. This ‘condensate’ is what is collected in a bucket inside the machine. Some units have a tube attached so the water can drain directly into a floor drain.
Your dehumidifier has a lot of benefits. By removing the moisture from your living space, it will:
- Prolong the shelf life of food in your home
- Allow your household things to last longer
- Dry your laundry faster
- Improve your overall health
- Help to keep your home cleaner
Why You Do Not Want to Drink Dehumidifier Water
The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) identifies the water collected in a dehumidifier as a stagnant condensate. This condensate water can contain biological contaminants, including algae, mildew, and mold.
This collection is especially polluted if the bucket is not cleaned regularly. The water collected, or condensate can also contain metal residue such as lead from the metal parts of the machine.
Dehumidifier water is never sterilized, unlike distilled water, not even during a boiling process. No matter how thirsty you may get, do not ever drink the water collected in your dehumidifier.
Does a Dehumidifier Distill Water?
A dehumidifier can distill water, but only in the purest technical sense. The machine collects water vapor from your home through a condensing process. There are a few units which contain a UV light, but this purifying component is not available in most machines. A dehumidifier will not produce safe distilled water that you would want to drink, brush your teeth with, or bath in.
A dehumidifier is not capable of killing microorganisms that are carried in water vapor. These microorganisms carry viruses, bacteria, and mold spores unless it has been combined with a secondary purifying process. These machines have not been designed to eliminate microscopic particles from the water it collects.
Dehumidifier Water Can Be Used
You do not have to throw the water away when your dehumidifier collects it. This water is a form of what is called ‘grey water’ and still has safe uses.
Greywater is the relatively clean water from your kitchen appliances, washing machine, sinks, and bathtubs. This water comes from streams or sources that do not contain fecal contamination. Greywater is an excellent source of water for watering plants, flushing toilets, and other applications that do not require water safe for drinking. Different states and regions have various regulations on using greywater, so you should check with local authorities before installing a greywater system.
While some may suggest dehumidifier water for use in watering plants, you will not want to use it on plants you intend to eat. For the same reasons, you do not want to drink water from a dehumidifier; you do not want your edible plants infected with bacteria or microorganisms.
True Distillation Process Versus Dehumidifier Collected Water
There is an important distinction between true distilled water and water collected in a dehumidifier. These differences are why you should never drink the water from your dehumidifier.
In the distillation process of water, it is heated to the point where it becomes vapor resembling the steam from a boiling pot of water on the stove. Temperatures are maintained in the process to ensure only the water is vaporizing.
The pollutants remain in a liquid or solid-state. The collected water vapor is removed and funneled into a condenser, which will cool it back into a state of pure water.
This process leaves behind all the organisms from the water-sediment, including the contaminating liquids, mold spores, bacteria, and minerals. These are the particles you would not want in your body.
The process of collected water in your dehumidifier is different. Depending on your model, the water comes from either refrigeration or absorption. With a model that creates refrigerated water, the air which is full of water is drawn by an electric fan across a cold surface such as a grill or pipe.
The water will condense on the grill or pipe just as it does on a cold glass of water in a warm area. The dry air is the sent back into the room, and the collected water drips into a bucket inside the machine.
The absorption process is a combination of adsorption and absorption where the air is blown past a revolving cage of water-absorbing material. The cage collects the water vapor in the air and sends it relatively drier back into the room.
The area around the revolving cage stays hot by an electrical fan that blows heated air across the cage. This model dehumidifier works much like an electric clothes dryer.
The water from the dehumidifier contains all of the pollutants in it that it started with, which can contain heavy metals, odors, bacteria, and mold spores. Drinking water with this many contaminants could make you seriously ill.
Water with this many pollutants such as the heavy metal could create a disease process in your body’s systems that could turn deadly.