One way of environmental conservation is the utilization of scarce resources in the most prudent way possible. Water is a rare commodity and must be conserved for the sake of maintaining a sustainable environment. Conservation of water ranges from avoiding spillage on the tap to restoring water harvesting habitats.
A common method of water conservation is reusing water in the domestic and industrial setup. In the former, utilizing water collected from a dehumidifier is one of the gestures by an environmentally sensitive individual. However, you can only use this water for limited purposes. So, is drinking this water one of the purposes?
- Types of Dehumidifiers & How They Work
- The Purity of Dehumidifier Water
- Grey Water
In some cases, a homeowner may feel the need to reduce the moisture content of the air in the house to enhance comfort. Furthermore, minimizing moisture in the air prevents the growth of molds and algae on walls or under the furniture.
Mold can grow on clothes, making them develop black spots that do not go away even after using the most potent bleach. Mold and algae are saprophytic, meaning that they dwell on feeding dead and decomposing matter. Wood in the house is an example of a dead matter. These organisms, therefore, extract nutrients from the wood, making wooden doors, windows, cabinets, and beds weak and prone to breakage.
These organisms are destructive, and eliminating the conditions on which they thrive is the best solution. The moisture in the air is commonly called humidity. Therefore, removing this humidity is what is termed dehumidification. A dehumidifier works by converting the moisture in the air to liquid water through the process of condensation.
You can recall this term from Chemistry or Physics classes. However, the term is not as complicated as it appears in the academic context. It simply refers to the process in which a gas is converted into a liquid. In other words, a substance that exists in the gaseous form becomes a liquid through the process of condensation.
Typically, condensation occurs through the lowering of temperatures of the gaseous substance. In the case of water, exposing the water vapor to cold temperatures will lead to condensation, that is, converting gaseous water into liquid water.
A common experience of this process is when you expose a soda from the refrigerator to the air. After a few minutes, water begins to drip from the surface of the bottle containing the soda. This means that the cold surface reduces the temperature of water vapor in the air and, in the process, converts it to liquid.
Similarly, the formation of a misty appearance on the bathroom mirror while taking a hot shower on a cold morning is through condensation. In sum, condensation is the principal method of dehumidification.
Types of Dehumidifiers & How They Work
There are two common types of dehumidifiers, depending on the mode of operation. They are refrigerant and desiccant dehumidifiers.
In the refrigeration type, humid air is blown by a fan through a series of cold grills that facilitate condensation. The cold grills trap the moisture while the dry air is recirculated back to the source. The condensate is collected in a holding bucket or piped away to a reservoir. Refrigerant dehumidifiers have an automatic switch that is called by the room’s relative humidity.
When the humidity is above the trigger point, a switch activates the equipment to begin the process of dehumidification. When the desired humidity is achieved, the machine goes into standby mode until the moisture content rises again. In other words, the activity of a dehumidifier depends on the rate at which moisture accumulates in the air.
Some of the factors that can increase moisture in the air inside the house include damp walls, washing activities like laundry, plants in the house, and poor ventilation. High relative humidity in the environment also translates to high moisture content indoors.
In this type of dehumidifier, the moisture in the air is trapped by the cage while the residual air, which is now dry, goes back to the room. Among the two, the refrigeration type is the one that creates liquid water. The moisture absorbed by the desiccant may be resorbed to form liquid water and make the desiccant reusable.
A desiccant is a chemical compound that can absorb water from the air. A common encounter with desiccants is when a person purchases items prone to liquid damage like watches or mobile phones. The small pouch labeled “silica gel” is the desiccant that helps to absorb any moisture that may destroy your valuable item.
The desiccant in the dehumidifier is now designed for commercial use and made in bulk. The advantage of the desiccant type of dehumidifier is that it can operate in very low relative humidity. However, this type uses much more energy than the refrigerant type.
Also read: How Does a Dehumidifier Work?
Is dehumidifier water safe for human consumption?
It is convincing to conclude that dehumidifier water is fit for drinking due to its physical appearance. Usually, dehumidifier water is sparkling clean, especially if the cooling coils on the machine and the collection reservoir are kept clean.
However, these looks can be deceiving. It is strongly advised that dehumidifier water is not used for drinking. Considering the main aim of dehumidification should deter you from harboring the thoughts of drinking this water. Most people resort to dehumidification after observing the growth of molds in the house. Therefore, the moist air in the home already contains mold spores suspended in it. It is, therefore, likely that these spores would accompany the condensate, rendering dehumidifier water unsafe for drinking.
In the same vein, the mold may already have lodged on the cooling grills even before condensation begins. It follows, therefore, that the condensate is contaminated by fungal spores that may precipitate digestive or respiratory problems. Moist air also suspends pet dander, fiber threads, and myriad other material that can trigger an allergic reaction. Drinking dehumidifier water brings these contaminates close to the respiratory system, which is dangerous, especially for people allergic to some of these materials.
Further, it has been noted that some dehumidifiers collect water through the use of desiccants. Usually, manufacturers of silica gels advise end-users to avoid ingesting the desiccant pouches. In other words, desiccants are toxic chemicals that may cause harm to the body when eaten. Water resorbed from desiccant-type dehumidifiers contains chemical residues that can harm the body.
Dehumidifier waterfalls into a class of water termed greywater. This class includes all water that comes from domestic activities like bathing, dishwashing, and laundry. Thus, drinking this water is akin to gulping down a glass of water from the washing machine. This thought is sickening, meaning that you should not use dehumidifier water should for drinking.
What is the difference between distillation and dehumidification?
Distillation is a process whereby water is heated to temperatures that allow it to turn into vapor. This vapor is then subjected to a cold surface that converts it back to liquid water. Distillation is a controlled process that ensures that impurities present in water are left behind while pure water evaporates into the gaseous form. Since the process is targeted at water purification, the condenser is regularly cleaned, serviced, and inspected to eliminate all chances of water contamination.
Can boiling water from a dehumidifier make it safe for drinking?
Some of the substances that collect in the water during dehumidification include biological matter like algae and heavy metals from the cooling grills like iron, lead, and copper. Boiling water collected from a humidifier will suffice to kill the biological contaminants present in the condensate. However, it will not eliminate any heavy metal contaminants like copper, mercury, or iron.
How can I use dehumidifier water?
You can put dehumidifier water to various uses. For example, this water may grow vegetables in the backyard or water the grass on the lawn. You can also use the water to wash the car or other items at home. It can also be used to clean the clothes, especially if it is not visibly dirty.
How much water will a humidifier collect in a day?
Is it safe to use water from a dehumidifier in a CPAP machine?
Since the water from your dehumidifier is still ‘hard’ (contains minerals such as iron, magnesium, and calcium), long-term use may leave deposits, which may eventually ruin the CPAP machine.
Conclusion; can you really drink Dehumidifier Water?
Dehumidification of air in homes is a common practice in many places. In effect, the question of the utility of dehumidifier water arises typically when this process is discussed. Dehumidifier water is sparkling clean and attractive to the eyes.
However, it is essential to remember that this water may contain mold spores and suspended algae harmful to the body. There are also dissolved hard metals and chemicals gathered through the process of dehumidification. Unlike distillation, dehumidification does not get rid of contaminants. Therefore, dehumidifier water is unsafe for drinking.
Must read: Benefits of a Dehumidifier in Your Home