Thursday, June 26, 2008

Dehumidifier water


Like many people in New England, and I'm sure elsewhere that it is humid, we run a dehumidifier in our basement all summer. It collects a lot of water. Throughout my life I have seen this water dumped down the drain or in some cases the dehumidifier is connected to the main drainpipe for the house and goes out to the sewer or septic system.

We happen to have four cats, as I may have mentioned before, which means we have a lot of big buckets from buying litter. We have always saved the buckets (which come in handy for all sorts of things and have lids that fit pretty snug). So, we let the dehumidifier work its magic, then dump the water into these buckets, which conveniently hold exactly two batches of collected water, and then use that to water various plants around the yard. It's funny if you think about it, sucking water out of the air and then using it. It's kind of like a rainwater collection system except this water has never even rained down on us.

Anyway, just thought I'd share. If you are paying for the electricity to run your dehumidifier, you might as well get something free out of the deal other than just the less humid air.

edited

Here is some more information about dehumidifiers from Wikipedia

Potability
Water collected from any dehumidifier is technically distilled water in that it does contain few of the minerals and other particulates that are removed in a true distillation process. However, a true distillation process condenses the steam of boiled water, and the boiling process kills any microbes and fungi that may be present in the pre-distilled water. Dehumidifiers are also not kept to a state of cleanliness required for food-grade standards (drinking water usually has very high legal requirements). The collected water is therefore not considered safe to drink.[1] Also, as the water may sit for a while in the collection bucket, the water may be quite stale, in particular with fungus collected from aerial spores.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

great idea. it's little things like this that collectively could make a difference if we all did them. keep up the good work.

Sally's sister said...

Do you know if the water is ok for pets to drink? Since it just rained and nothing needed watered, I poured it in the animals' drinking bowl.

Ryan said...

Sally's Sister,

There are two answers to your question on Answerbag.com. I can't vouch for the reliability of what they are saying, but it seems plausible. I may be the wrong person to ask too, since we use a whole-house water filter and our cats and dog drink that filtered tap water.

xoxo said...

Sally's Sister,

I just read at

http://www.thekrib.com/Filters/dehumidifier.html

that this water may be high in zinc and copper and not suitable for fish or house plants (so I would be wary about it for any household life).

the folks on the above site had an idea about putting a snail in some and seeing how it does.. .

Anonymous said...

Water from a dehumidifier is great for car batteries and i believe for clothes irons, as many of the minerals found in tap water are removed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe if you don't care about your cats health. The aluminum parts inside and some of the tubing in the dehumidifier will have lead solder in the joints. Outgassing of these metals into the water will give it a very bad taste. I give my cats tap water. Some of them drink from the faucet if I turn it on a trickle. Be careful what you give your cats, it's hard to replace that special one that curls up on your pillow when you get into bed.

Anonymous said...

All municipal water comes from some
pond or lake or river. By that I mean that it is not distilled. Furthermore, whatever contaminates it may have including water from a heaven forbid, dehumidifier! The only thing that's done to this water of signifignance is the addition of chlorine. The addition of chlorine in itself is a debatable health issue. As I live in the country we get out drinking water from a well. That water starts out as rain I would guess and gets filtered by a few hundred of what ever makes up the earth. Mostly plain old dirt I'd guess. As for the dehumidifier water it would seem to differ little from say,rainwater. That is well water that hasn't been filtered by passing through the ground. Maybe you might want to put a bit of bleach or sodium chlorite it it to
make it like municipal water. I use it where ever I need distilled water as I have found it more pure than distilled. Recently, was testing for chlorine and found to my dismay a bottle of purchased distilled water had >1ppm chlorine. Not good for your battries but ok to drink. My guesss is a lot of folks out there are simply covering their butts by not really saying anything for fear of being sued. I might suggest you-all just use plain old common sense that's kinda rare these days.

Gabriel Thompson said...

Water taken from a Dehumidifier is De-Ionized. This means that there is no dissolved O2. Meaning it will KILL plants and is not potable! Moreover, oxygen affects a vast number of other water indicators, not only biochemical but esthetic ones like the odor, clarity and taste. Consequently, oxygen is perhaps the most well-established indicator of water quality.

Anonymous said...

Dehumidified water is a (vegetation) killer. I also thought using the water from a dehumidifier to water my grass last year was a good idea. This spring I had to plant new grass where I used the dehumidifier water.

Rico Fantastico said...

So I had the same thought as everyone else. Why am I throwing this out? So I've been using it for about a week and a half on my plants. So far so good. Now that said there are some very critical things to consider. 1) I cleaned out the resevoir very well. 2) I checked ppm. Meter read about 30ppm 3) The most critical factor. Especially when using for plants. I tested the pH. It was almost 9. Way way way too high for vegetation. Because of the low ppm using it once without lowering pH you might be fine. But repeated use will surely kill your plants. Plants in soil like a pH around 6.5. @ Gabriel... No dissolved O2? Run an air pump with an airstone in a bucket of de-hum water.

Frigidaire FAD504TDD said...

I will agree that it is a great idea. I didn't know anything about this that is why I am so happy that I found this article about this dehumidifier.

barrl said...

I just put my condensed water in the washing machine,

Anonymous said...

"The only thing that's done to this water of signifignance is the addition of chlorine."
Are you an idiot. Dont believe this people. Your town water supply is filterd a number of times then tested then treated however depending on the test. chlorine just gets rid of bacteria but sometimes other types of treatment is neaded and its not all chemical. Then before it is sent out its filterd againe. As for this post do not use dehumidifier water. It will contaain bacteria and whatever else is floating around in your house and it very easily could contain harmfull metals including lead depending on age and manufacturer specs. The amount of water you get is so small compared to what people use in a day its a rediculous discussion. Like the idiot said use common sense the device doesnt just magicly produce water it sucks in everything thats floating around in the air and all that stuff will settle on the water thats covering the coils and then fall down in to the reservoir. Also its not just the reservoir that could hold mold the filter or anyother part the moisture or air comes in contact with inside the device could too.

Anonymous said...

It can be drunk but pass it through a filter before and then ozonise it.you can buy an ozone generator that they use in fish tanks.Great in time of drought

xiofrankia said...

I started using the water to water my plants outside and unfortunally, my evergreen plants are changing color. I'm afaied that they are going today. Can someone tell me why is that. I asked a few science teachers and they were not able to tell me.

xiofrankia said...

sorry for the typo. I'm afraid my plants are going to die. I need some ideas as soon as possible.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't rationalize just dumping water from my dehumidifier but have been using it for years on my shrubs with no problems at all.

Anonymous said...

Whoever said the aluminum pipes were soldered with lead solder obviously doesn't understand that aluminum can only be welded with aluminum welding. Lead or tin will not bond to aluminum.

As for the water, most if not all mineral content would be removed as it became water vapor. It's likely going to pick up bacteria if left standing for any length of time but these would not survive in an Iron or Battery, and Nouseplants or shrubs wouldn't be affected.

Probably not great to drink but should be fine for household Irons, Plant watering and Lead-Acid batter refilling. Most any non drinking situation where distilled water would be used.

Anonymous said...

For 2 years I've used water from a dehumidifier on potted plants with no problem: philodendrom, christmas cactus, spider plant, jade tree, dumb cane, norfolk island pine, and a couple others with no problem. For MANY years I've dumped it on day lilies, azaleas, hosta, ivy, and other ground cover without problem.

Anonymous said...

I have used water from a dehumidifier on plants in pots for years and they are thriving. My dehumidifier has a hose and drains directly into a bucket or watering can I use. And, my cats love the collected water and often drink from the bucket or watering can. Just tested the pH and it is below 6.8 so very low.
V.

Max Mingus said...

Well, just come across your posts. Thought I'd look it up thinking I'd be the only one wondering the same.... Doh! Don't tell any one but for the last few months I've been 'living' in a VW camper. Despite being insulated, condensation is a big problem inside a metal box during cold winter months and lumbering bottled water around is a pain. So, to my point, I've been drinking boiled dehumidified water, brewed up for a cuppa tea or coffee. I'm making soups, rice and pasta dishes too. I do wonder about little floaty bits but if there appears to be too much I'll sieve the pre-boiled water through a kitchen towel. Water tastes fine. I might be put off drinking real ale if they had to advertise what was in it: probably not. Watch this space.

Praveen G said...

Keep sharing..Good research!
Commercial Dehumidifier

Julio Rolon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coco said...

I use 5 pints of water from dehumidifier to water plants. It's pure because it condenses from the air but it has no minerals.

Anonymous said...

I have started using dehumidifier water to flush the toilet. I flush the toilet and pour a bucket of water into the tank..This way you get rid of the dehumidied water and save good water for someone else on this earth .

Anonymous said...

just place the dehumidifier in a sealed box with a hepa filter so that all the air going in or out will trap the spores from bacteria and fungi. place a small air pump inside aerating the water for proper oxygen content. clean the humidifier regularly and only buy one that won't have poisons leaching out of it. then you can finally you can pass the water through an activated carbon filter (aka high purity charcoal) as well as a uv light/sunlight and at the end off all that you would have potable water. and also a dehumidifier depending on the model and air humidity can produce easily 4 liters a day of water. I work in a museum and one of my jobs is to empty the dehumidifier every day. but most houses with central air will have dryer air. So now that you know all this do a bit more research and prove the naysayers wrong :D also there are commercial models of this very idea available so those on a high horse get off it.

Anonymous said...

Please be very careful with water from your dehumidifier. I cleaned mine out one summer, on my carport. Didn't wear goggles and didn't notice that water droplets were spattering off. I got an infection in my left eye. I thought I had a bout of dry eye syndrome and used eye drops. Long story short, I had keratitis. This is extremely painful - your cornea breaks down. I could see only dark and light - no detail at all. I went to Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Clinic every day for a three weeks and could not work. . Four different drops in my eye every hour, on the hour for 2 weeks. I was very afraid of losing my vision. They were never able to culture or identify what was growing in my eye. Johns Hopkins saved my vision. I returned to work after week 4Please be careful around dehumidifiers and the water they produce. Do not assume it is (a) distilled, (b) deionized, (c) drinkable by humans or animals, (d) safe for fish.

Gilles Lefebvre said...

I've always wondered this myself so I conducted my own experiment. I watered one of my small apple trees with captured rain water and the other with the dehumidifier water. The tree watered with captured rain water is doing very well but the tree watered with dehumidifier water is now dying and I can't seem to be able to save it no matter how much "safe" water I pour in the roots. Might just be coincidence but those are my observations. If you don't want to waste the dehumidifier water, another idea is to pour it in your clothes washer.

michael reeb said...

Tttthhaank you! That dude just thinks he's special cause his water come from a well. Fact of the matter is, u could have somethin happen 5 miles away that will affect the quality of your well water and there's not much u can do about it. Also well water has an astonishingly high level of TDS (total dissolved solids) which means it is full of iron, aluminum, rock, salt, and a rediculous amount more.
My advice if u want clean water get a reverse osmosis whole house filter and for your drinking water add a mini one under the sink.

michael reeb said...

Sssssooo in other words you've never left your country bumpkin backwoods shack aaaaanndd ur pretty much an ignorant hill billy and over all a stain on american society? That about sum it up?
Nice...

Anonymous said...

I have used distillers for quite awhile to distill water for my ultrasonic humidifier. I have to clean them quite often due to the lime content in our water. I just started using a dehumidifier this year and was wondering about using the water from it in my distiller. I have also used some of my excess distilled watter this summer for my Hummingbird feeders. I was wondering about distilling the dehumidifier water and using it for that too. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

http://safewater.supportportal.com/link/portal/23002/23015/Article/19431/Is-water-that-comes-out-of-a-dehumidifier-safe-to-drink.


The EPA website RE: Drinking dehumidifier water.

Anonymous said...

I think Rico Fantastico and xiofrankia post valuable experiences. Evergreens yellowing is plausibly consistent with a ph = 9. I found this post wondering if I could sanitize my dehumidifier and drink the "distilled" output with a little flavoring. Now I see I wouldn't fill my hot tub with the stuff without neutralizing it. Poring it down my toilet sounds like a fine and perfectly conscientious idea. Now for the right bucket for my undersea decor.

Anonymous said...

Better than a bucket in the bathroom, I could just turn off the water supply to the toilet, which likes to moan on full pressure anyway, and dump the dehumidifier water into the toilet tank itself. I'll have to store water covered elsewhere so as to not be stuck in an evaporation loop. :-)

Anonymous said...

Just curious...I also started using dehumidifier water for my toilet. I live in the country with a well and septic system. My well water is great as I live over the aquafer. I live in No. Central Florida and get a lot of water in the dehumidifier, dumping tank 2-3 times a day. Curious if dumping this into septic will have negative effect.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Florida, so my dehumidifiers run year 'round. Worst-case scenario from the spec sheets shows that my central AC's dehumidifier can pump out almost 30 gallons of water a day. ACs are typically left to drip onto the ground outside the house, but figuring that up to 30 gallons a day might come out of that pipe, we ran a 4" French drain along the back of the house.

That was 5 years ago. In the dry season, the grass in the back yard is nice & green near the house and slowly fades to a not-so-attractive dull green at the property line. It's obvious the grass likes it.

At another home I use a standalone dehumidifier. We use the water from that to wash clothes, wash floors, wash the car, etc. I wouldn't ever consider drinking it unless I boiled it thoroughly first. Actually, I think I might try running some of this through my distiller and see what its left in the heating chamber. It can't be any worse than all of the solids & rust I find in Florida tap water.

Luke Wilhelmi said...

Disinfo agent, do not respond to him. He is trying to take a serious issue and take it off topic.

The NSA employs these people to jump into the middle of honest discussions about our liberties and then sidetrack us. Look up "fusion centers" that is where they operate from and monitor all remote comms. ie net cell and gps. They intercept any keywords that could lead to discention, and divide those involved. Keywords; fusion center, disinfo, cointelpro, project prism. Chris Geo, Ramallah. tchkung,


Flame away I know who you are. Agents; Matthew Reynolds, Amanda Green, and I thought it sounded fake but Charles Thunder.
Go fuck yourselves, Where am I now?

Luke Wilhelmi said...

I state this to Gabriel Thompson from 3 years in the future, "We as a civilization have found "all" water contains disolved oxygen. Just to ensure you are not mentally disabled can you repeat back to me the molecules that define water?
Since Im never coming back here and all the oceans dead and your ecosphere on your plane has left you gasping for to breathe. Ill tell you; ALL water is two parts hydrogen and, take a deep breath, one part oxygen.

IF YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND, then don't sell it as truth.

aguavert said...

WOW! I will never run a dehumidifier again. I have an EZ Breathe unit in my house and I love it. It takes care of the humidity throughout my whole home and other air quality issues like allergens, voc's, radon, and smells. No MAINTENANCE! No filters or buckets of water. thanks for sharing :)~Sonya Reynolds

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tried dehumidifier water in a Shark steam cleaner? Our local hard water plugged up our Shark after about 6 uses.

Anonymous said...

First, if you're citing the EPA as a reference, you might as well just walk into traffic now because you obviously don't understand the larger issue.
Secondly, if you examine all sources of water for consumption, only high-altitude mountain spring water is likely to be any more pure and free of harmful substances than condensate. Remember, the native Americans didn't have water treatment plants or reverse osmosis filtration. They drank from streams and rivers, wells and rain water that they collected. With all the environmental contamination today, we have to filter and treat our water supplies; and our modern intestinal tracts have adapted to this 'cleaner' water supply; such that we can no longer stomach the natural contaminants in natural sources. However, we have also adapted to better tolerate the poisons that the government dumps into our treated water (though adapted is not really the best term here...since it is still very harmful, just on a longer timescale). So; in an emerengcy situation, would you rather drink water from the local retention pond, or from a dehumidifier? Hmm...I'll take the condensate please. Now yes, there are still contaminants in the condensate; and the quality of the parts used in your dehumidifier need to be taken into account to ensure you aren't getting high-doses of chemcial or metal toxins passed into your water due to some coating used on the condensor coil or something. Also, your location will determine the PH of the water you collect, as rain water is heavily polluted in some areas and cleaner in others. As a general rule, don't trust rainwater these days because it absorbs the contamination from the chemtrails and is often noticeably radioactive (especially in AZ). But unless you were desparate, what idiot would stick a straw into the collecting tank and start sipping away? Just like our tap water is filtered (ironically, BEFORE being spiked with poinsons like chlorine, flouride, and--interestingly enough--an assortment of trace amouunts of SSI inhibitors and other drugs), you also would want to filter your condensate before drinking it if you have the option. If you were going to make this a life long practice, I would recommend distilling your condensate, then filtering it, then oxygenating it. Chances are, if your filters are good enough, you will get rid of almost all impurities; even if you had a toxic coating of chemicals on your condensing coil which was made in China.

Travisty7 said...

I use a Humidifier in my home recording studio because the winter humidity levels drop to 10%-15%. This adversely affects my guitars. I cannot use tap or rain or spring water because the humidifier will create white powder from the minerals. Based on what I've read here, using my basement's summer Dehumidifier water will solve that problem without my having to buy distilled water. I can only hope the Dehumidifier water kills plants, I'll use it on my corner sidewalks and driveway cracks that I'm tired of d-weeding.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line: sure, in an emergency I would choose 'distilled' humidifier water over pond water...but if I'm not drinking it on a regular basis, neither is my pet.

Anonymous said...

Distill your urine and you will taste some pure water.

Anonymous said...

My healthy potted flowering plants died after being watered with dehumidifier water.