Can You Drink Water From a Dehumidifier

As utility prices go up, many people are looking for ways to save money in any way possible. Dehumidifiers, for example, contain tanks of water where you could put it to good usage. You may even be wondering if it is possible to drink dehumidifier water or if it is even safe.

Dehumidifier water is not safe for drinking. The water collects mold and mildew and also contains heavy metals from the coils within the dehumidifier, which you cannot get rid of even by boiling it.

In this article, we will explain why you should never drink water from a dehumidifier and give ways to use it.

Why is Water from a Dehumidifier Not Safe for Drinking?

The Environmental Protection Agency says that stagnant condensate provides a conducive environment for the growth of biological contaminants such as algae, mildew, and mold. Besides, water from a humidifier may contain toxins such as lead and other metal residues from the dehumidifier.

Therefore, it is not safe for drinking as it contains contaminants and can expose one to health risks. More so, contrary to distilled water, condensate water is not sterilized through boiling.

Dehumidifiers collect water from the environment by condensation method. In this process, they use cold metal tubes to convert moisture into liquid water. The condensate then collects in the dehumidifier and can be drained out using a hose.

The process does not involve sterilizing the water. Also, you cannot get rid of some contaminants such as lead and other metals by boiling.

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

A dehumidifier works using two principles, refrigeration and absorption.

  • Refrigeration stage: In the refrigeration stage, humid air goes through the cold coils with the help of a fan. Water condenses upon hitting the chilled surface, and the clean air is sent back into the room.

    A dehumidifier has a drip chamber that collects condensed water. Though the moisture becomes liquid water through the condensation process, it is not clean. It contains mold spores, bacteria, and other impurities that the condensation process cannot remove.
  • Absorption stage: In the absorption process, the dehumidifier absorbs most of the humidity in the air making the air less humid. The electrical fan then blows warm air.

    When the air passes through the fan, drainage of extra vapors in the atmosphere takes place. Lastly, the dehumidifier releases clean air into the room.

Dehumidifiers Do Not Purify Water

Though through the two principles, dehumidifiers perform their functions exemplary, they do not clean the water. Hence, in the end, the water collected still has impurities which could lead to a health hazard if you drink the water.

Many people do not differentiate the condensation process from the distillation process of water, making them think that since dehumidifiers use a condensation process, the water is safe for drinking. Below is the difference.

Difference Between Condensation & Distillation Process of Water

Distilled Water

The distillation process purifies the water. The process brings water into boiling through heating. The water evaporates, leaving behind the impurities. The evaporated water in the form of vapor is transferred to another cold container, converting the water into liquid water.

Condensation Process

On the other hand, the condensation process involves passing water vapor into cold coils, which convert it into liquid. In this process, the water exposes itself to metal impurities.

At the same time, the water vapor does not remove mold spores, mold, and algae before the condensation process takes place.

Takeaway

Overall, the difference between the two processes is water evaporation leaves behind impurities and transfers the water in vapor form into a cold container for cooling. A dehumidifier does not evaporate water before condensing. Therefore, the water collected from it is unsafe and undrinkable.

How Do I Make My Dehumidifier Water Drinkable?

Though water from a dehumidifier is unsafe, you can make it drinkable by passing it through some water purification processes.

Distillation

The distillation method works by evaporating water, leaving impurities, and transferring the water in vapor form into a cold container for condensation.

Hence through the process, you can remove microbes making the water drinkable. The missing process in dehumidification is evaporation, and if you figure it in, the water can be safe for drinking.

Reverse Osmosis Process

Reverse osmosis uses a semi-permeable membrane to sieve water leaving behind impurities. Though these methods are efficient for water purification, it is not recommended for water from a dehumidifier.

The materials used in the drip chamber of a dehumidifier are not safe for consumption. Hence, unless there is entirely no other alternative, do not drink water from a dehumidifier.

Can You Drink Water From a Dehumidifier if You Boil it?

It is unwise to drink water from a dehumidifier after boiling. The reason being is because the condensate contains lead and other metals which make up the dehumidifier parts.

Hence, unlike distillation, you can’t purify water from a dehumidifier through boiling. In no case you should not drink water from a dehumidifier.

Can You Purify Water From a Dehumidifier?

No, you cannot purify water from a dehumidifier, and hence it is always unfit for drinking. Purification involves getting rid of all potential impurities from water.  

Some people argue that one can use the Black Berkey purification method to eliminate the elements present in water from a dehumidifier. However, no one has established the safety of this method yet. If it is an emergency situation, your best bet would be to use tap or rain water.

Can Dogs Drink Water From a Dehumidifier?

Just like humans, dogs cannot drink water from a dehumidifier. The impurities present in the water collected from a humidifier are hazardous to the health of dogs. 

Toxins such as lead and other metal impurities from the dehumidifier are hazardous to humans and dogs’ health. Hence that water cannot meet the standards of commercially distilled water.

Apart from dogs, human beings keep other pets that are of the same family. Also, for these pets, water from a dehumidifier is not safe for their drinking. It can result in serious health concerns. 

How Can I Use Dehumidifier Water?

We cannot afford to throw it away but find ways to use it safely. These include watering plants, household cleaning, flushing toilets, and ironing. 

1. Water Plants

You can use dehumidifier water for irrigation. You need to drain it into a watering can and begin watering your lawn or garden.

As we had said earlier, this water has traces of lead and other metals from the dehumidifier components. Therefore, only water plants you are not growing to eat.

The food crops can absorb metal toxins, and you finally eat them and intoxicate your body. You can irrigate flowers and all other inedible plants in your garden. 

2. Household Cleaning

This water is safe for your daily household cleaning. You can use it to clean your car, floors, sink, clothes, and dishes. All you need to do is mix the dehumidifier with soap to kill microbes present and go about with your cleaning.

3. Flush Toilets

Using a dehumidifier in flushing your toilet is a perfect method of using wastewater. Pour it into your toilet tank until it fills, and then flush the loo.

4. Ironing

You can use dehumidifier water in your steam iron. Water from a dehumidifier does not contain minerals like tap water, so it is appropriate for use in a steam iron. The water will not cause minerals to build up in your iron and deposit on your clothes.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dehumidifiers

Do I Need a Dehumidifier in My House?

If you live in an area that experiences high levels of humidity, then you highly need a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will get rid of the excess water in your house, making your air safe for breathing.

 Also, if you reside in a basement, you could have noticed a damp smell, algae, and mold growth. Dehumidifiers would get rid of them. You need a dehumidifier if you live in such surroundings.

Can a Dehumidifier Help Prevent Allergies?

Yes, dehumidifiers can prevent allergies. After moving into your new house, you may have noticed unending allergies in your family members. Having these sensitivities may indicate that you are living in a very humid area, and you need a dehumidifier.

The reason you need to dehumidifier is to get rid of excess water in the air you breathe, which will eventually get rid of your recurring allergies. 

Can Dehumidifiers Help Prevent Growth of Molds? 

Yes, dehumidifiers get rid of excess moisture in the air, which could facilitate mold growth. It is also a result of excess water in the atmosphere that you experience musty odors in your house. Hence, using a dehumidifier in your space won’t allow mold growth, and the musty smell will disappear.

Can a Dehumidifier Be Used in Drying Clothes?

You can most definitely use a dehumidifier to dry your clothes. Remember, a dehumidifier’s function is to get rid of the excess water in its environment. The outward flowing air from the unit, if directed to your clothes, can help dry them. 

All you need to do is keep the dehumidifier at a distance of 50 cm from the clothes. Also, make sure the doors and windows are closed for effective drying. Drying clothes with a dehumidifier is more economical than using an electric dryer.

Can the Water Bucket Overflow in Case I am Not Home?

The bucket can’t overflow. Once the collecting bucket is whole, the dehumidifier automatically goes off. However, you need to frequently empty the collecting bucket to avoid the growth of microbes.

Should I Buy a Power Surge for My Dehumidifier?

It would be best if you bought a power surge for your dehumidifier. Typically dehumidifiers are high-power consuming appliances that may cause a blow in the breaker. Without a power surge, it may blow up.

Can a Dehumidifier Increase The Temperature of My Room?

A dehumidifier can increase the temperatures of your room by some degree. However, this will depend on the type of dehumidifier. For example, a compressor or desiccant dehumidifier can increase the temperature of the room significantly.

Besides, if you have ample space, you may not feel the effect of the dehumidifier on the room temperature.

What is the Meaning of a Dehumidifier Capacity?

Dehumidifier capacity is the amount of water the device can remove from the environment in 24 hours. For example, a 40-pint dehumidifier can only withdraw 40 pints of moisture from the atmosphere in 24 hours.

However, this does not mean the collecting bucket of the dehumidifier can hold 40 pints. Hence you will need to remove the collected water frequently.

If you do not empty the bucket, it will automatically go off if the bucket is sufficient, and hence, it will not collect 40 pints of moisture in a day.

If I Have a Large Space, Do I Need to Have a Whole House Dehumidifier?

If the airflow in your house is okay, you can have one big dehumidifier unit for your whole home. However, if there is no adequate airflow in your home for the dehumidifier to perform well, you will need a ceiling fan.

The fan would increase airflow between the rooms in your house, making your dehumidifier function as you want it to. You can also opt for smaller dehumidifier units for every space to increase the general performance.

Are Dehumidifiers Noisy?

Compared to portable air conditioners, dehumidifiers are less noisy. The unit will only produce sound when in operation. Hence you can choose to place the system away from your bedroom or sound systems.

Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Dehumidifier

Not everyone needs a dehumidifier in their space, and all people do not need the exact size of dehumidifiers. Below are factors to consider when purchasing a dehumidifier.

Do I Need a Dehumidifier?

The need for a dehumidifier depends on the area you are living in. If you are living in a high humid area, then you need a dehumidifier. Also, if your space is in the basement, you need dehumidifiers to get rid of molds, algae, and a musty smell.

In addition, after moving to your house, if you have noticed unending allergies, you highly need a dehumidifier. Dehumidifiers would give you much-needed allergy relief.

Space Needed to Dehumidify

Different sizes of dehumidifiers work differently on different space sizes. For example, if the space that needs to lessen the humidity is ample, you need a device that is large enough to do the job.

Therefore it is essential to choose the appropriate size of dehumidifier for the best results. Otherwise, the unit would not remove significant moisture from the environment. 

Besides, it can waste a lot of energy working harder than recommended to get rid of moisture in the air. Check the size of your space and ask for a dehumidifier size fit for your area. 

Indoor Temperature & Humidity Level

The humid level and temperature influence how a dehumidifier works. For example, if the temperatures in your space are shallow, you need to make sure the dehumidifier can work at those temperatures. Otherwise, the dehumidifier coils can freeze, interfering with their functioning.

How to Get Rid of Dehumidifier Water

As discussed earlier, you cannot drink water collected from a dehumidifier, nor can you give it to dogs and other pets to swallow.

Hence, due to water scarcity, you need to know how you are using the dehumidifier water. It would be best if you used it while maintaining high safety standards.

Besides, whether you are home or not, a dehumidifier must be emptied for it to continue functioning. If you do not empty the bucket, it will automatically go off and stop working once the collecting bucket is full.

To aid frequent emptying of the collecting bucket, you can connect to a bigger tank where the water will be draining.

Is There a Need for Special Features?

Different dehumidifiers come with various features, such as ducting features. This specific feature enables you to dehumidify multiple spaces at the same time. Ducting also allows you to hide the dehumidifier in a closet or a separate room.

Other notable features are not present in every dehumidifier. These include digital control, humidistats, remote controls, and wheels or handles for easy mobility. It is good to consult with the manufacturer for a type of dehumidifier that suits your needs.

Conclusion

At no cost should you drink water from a dehumidifier; this water has toxins that are hazardous to your health and that of your dogs and other pets. You should also not water food crops with water from a dehumidifier as the toxins can find their way into your body.

However, don’t waste this water. Water collected from dehumidifiers can be used safely, such as toilet flushing and washing floors and dishes. You can also water garden plants that you can’t consume. 

Sources

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting home inspections for 17 years. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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