Has it ever crossed your mind that your dehumidifier might be a good source of drinking water? Sure, it makes sense. You run your dehumidifier, and you end up with a tank full of water.
But can you really drink the water from your dehumidifier?
Dehumidifiers are a really handy tool if you’re camping in an area that has high humidity. Your camper air conditioner may be able to help a little, but if you really want to knock down the humidity in your camper, a dehumidifier is a must have.
If your dehumidifier is working well, you’ll likely be surprised at how much water it can collect during the day.
But what should you do with the water? For some people the idea of throwing out “good” water is upsetting, so finding a way to put the water to use makes them feel better.
If you are looking for a way to use the water in your dehumidifier, and you’re wondering if you can drink that water, here’s what you need to know about the water in your dehumidifier.
Can you drink water from a dehumidifier?
Perhaps the more relevant question is, should you drink the water from a dehumidifier?
The short answer here is no. You should not drink the water from your dehumidifier. There are a number of reasons why you shouldn’t drink the water from your dehumidifier, and we’ll cover them in the next section.
Water from your dehumidifier is not a clean or safe source of drinking water. It’s not even a safe source of water for your pets.
However, this doesn’t mean that you have to dump that water down the drain. Your dehumidifier water can actually be used for other domestic activities in your camper.
Not many of us have plants in our camper, but if you do, you could use your dehumidifier water for your plants. The more practical use of your dehumidifier water is for things like mopping or cleaning. The water is safe for these sorts of activities, just not drinking.
Why you shouldn’t drink water from a dehumidifier
As we mentioned, there are a few reasons that you shouldn’t drink the water that is collected in your dehumidifier.
First, remember that even though you can’t see them, the air is full of bacteria, dust, and mold spores. Even the cleanest of campers will have these natural materials in the air.
When your dehumidifier condenses water from the air, and collects it in the tank, the dust, bacteria and mold are not removed. And if you’re not cleaning your dehumidifier or it’s tank on a regular basis, there’s going to be plenty of mold and bacteria growing in your dehumidifier. Drinking water with bacteria and mold can make you sick.
Additionally, because dehumidifiers use internal parts that are made of metal, there is the potential for the metal to pass into the water condensed in the dehumidifier. Drinking the water may increase your consumption of some metals that are harmful for your body.
How does a dehumidifier work?
Your normal dehumidifier is a lot like a refrigerator or air conditioner in how it works. However, the main difference between a dehumidifier and the other two appliances is that it collects water instead of cooling air. Here’s the basics on how a dehumidifier works.
Dehumidifiers use a fan to pull air from the surroundings. The fan allows the air to pass over chilled coils within the dehumidifier. When the air hits the cold coils, any humidity in the air condenses on the coils.
The water stays in the dehumidifier, while the air is warmed and then passed out of the dehumidifier back into your camper.
The condensation builds up on the coils, and eventually drops off of the coils into the dehumidifier’s storage tank. When the tank is full it should be emptied down the drain.
Is dehumidifier water distilled?
While the process of condensation is similar to distillation, they are not the same, and this is the reason that you should not drink the water from your dehumidifier.
Distillation works by boiling water so that it creates steam. The steam rises or evaporates through a vessel that has chambers at different levels. As the steam cools and turns back to water, it drops through the vessel and chambers.
Each chamber is designed to pull out a different contaminant. When the water reaches the bottom of the vessel it is free of contaminants and is safe to drink. Also, since the process of distillation starts by boiling water, any bacteria, molds, or microorganisms are killed in the boiling water. Distillation creates the cleanest water.
Your dehumidifier on the other hand condenses water. Think of the process like watching a glass of ice water sweat on a summer day. Humidity from the warm air comes in contact with the cold glass, and the water from the air becomes heavy and sticks to the outside of the glass.
This is what happens with humid air inside of your dehumidifier. The warm, humid air passes over cool coils allowing the humidity to condense on the coils.
Unless the water dries on the coils, any minerals or microorganisms drop off of the coils, into the holding tank. If you drink the water, you’ll be ingesting all of the junk that was in the air, and in the dehumidifier.
Also, because the water isn’t boiled, microorganisms are able to live in the water, and can continue to reproduce. The result is water that is unclean, and not terribly safe to drink.
Can you water plants with dehumidifier water?
So, now that you know that the water in your dehumidifier isn’t safe for you to drink, you’re probably wondering if there is beneficial use for the collected water.
Lots of people will use the water from their dehumidifier to water their plants. Now, like we mentioned before, you might not have a bunch of plants in your camper, but this is really a good use for your dehumidifier water.
Potting soils usually have enough minerals to make up for any that may be lost in the dehumidifier. And most of the microbes that you’ll find in dehumidifier water won’t cause you harm if you water vegetables or herbs with it.
6 other uses for dehumidifier water
Since most of us don’t have plants in our camper, it’s good to know other ways that you can use the water from your dehumidifier.
Here are six other ways you can put the water from your dehumidifier to good use.
Empty the tank of your dehumidifier into a mop bucket with a bit of hot water and soap. The cool water will mix with the hot, and give you nice, warm soapy water for cleaning surfaces, washing walls, or scrubbing your camper’s bathroom.
If you have a steam iron or clothes steamer in your camper, the condensed water from your dehumidifier will have a slightly lower amount of minerals than tap water. If you don’t have distilled water for your iron, waste from your dehumidifier can work in a pinch.
Running low on water in your camper water tank? Save that for drinking and cooking. Your dehumidifier water can be used to flush the toilet in your camper.
Your dehumidifier water can be used with art supplies like acrylic and watercolor paints. Use the water to dilute your paints, or to clean your brushes.
5. Cut Flowers
If you want to enjoy some cut flowers in your camper, use the water from the dehumidifier for filling vases.
6. In Your Vehicle
Surprisingly, in a pinch the water in your dehumidifier can be a lifesaver in your vehicle. Use it in your car or truck’s radiator tank as a coolant. Or fill the windshield washer tank with dehumidifier water if you’ve run out of washer fluid and need to clean your windshield.
While it may be tempting to consider using your dehumidifier water for drinking, it really isn’t a good idea. The process of condensation is similar to distillation, but they’re not the same.
Distillation creates a very high quality, clean supply of water. Your dehumidifier gives you water with all of the crud from the air. Water from your dehumidifier tank isn’t safe to drink and probably isn’t very tasty either.
If you’re looking for ways to put your dehumidifier water to use, consider it for domestic tasks, plants or your next art project.