Are you wondering why you can’t drink the water collected in your dehumidifier despite knowing that the process of dehumidifier water collection basically revolves around the concept of condensation of moisture from your indoor air?
Although the water in your dehumidifier might seem like clean, purified water, it is far from safe and should not be consumed by you or your family members.
Simply put, you cannot drink water from a dehumidifier because of the potential negative health implications associated with drinking stagnant water. Although the water from your dehumidifier is drawn from the surrounding air in your home, the longer the water stays in the dehumidifier’s water tank the higher the risks of mold growth and accumulation of unpleasant microorganisms.
In this article, we’ll delve into the science behind dehumidifiers, their functionality, and why the water they produced during the dehumidification process is not fit for human consumption.
From the potential risks of mold and bacteria growth to the presence of chemicals and pollutants, we will cover all the facts you need to know.
Here are the highlights of what we have addressed in this article:
- How dehumidifiers work
- Common types of dehumidifiers
- Why can’t you drink water from a dehumidifier?
- Health risks associated with drinking water from a dehumidifier
How Dehumidifiers Work
There are a few different types of dehumidifiers available on the market, but the most common are portable and desiccant dehumidifiers.
These devices use a combination of air filters, refrigeration coils, and fans to remove moisture from the air.
Here is a step-by-step explanation of the workings of a portable dehumidifier:
- Air is drawn into the dehumidifier through a fan or blower.
- The air is passed through an air filter to remove dust, dirt, and other particles.
- The filtered air then comes into contact with the refrigeration coils, which are cooled to a temperature below the dew point.
- As the air comes into contact with the cold coils, water vapor in the air condenses into liquid form. This is similar to how water droplets form on the outside of a cold glass on a hot summer day.
- The condensate (water collected) is then collected in a reservoir or container within the dehumidifier.
- The now-dry air is then heated by a heating element and re-circulated back into the room.
One important aspect linked to dehumidifiers to note is that they remove moisture from the air around us through a process called “adsorption”.
These dehumidifiers use a desiccant material, typically silica gel or similar material, which absorbs water vapor through the chemical attraction of the water particles in the air. Once the desiccant becomes saturated, it is heated to release the collected water, allowing it to continue adsorbing moisture.
It’s important to note that while a dehumidifier can help to improve indoor air quality, it’s not a substitute for proper ventilation. In order to maintain healthy indoor air, it’s important to also make sure that your home or workplace is well-ventilated to allow for fresh air exchange.
Additionally, it’s important to regularly maintain and clean your dehumidifier to ensure it is functioning efficiently and effectively.
Common Types of Dehumidifiers
- Desiccant dehumidifiers: These dehumidifiers use a desiccant material, such as silica gel, to adsorb moisture from the air. Once the desiccant becomes saturated, it is heated to release the collected water, allowing it to continue adsorbing moisture. They are more effective in low temperatures and are less energy efficient than mechanical dehumidifiers.
- Whole-house dehumidifiers: These are larger dehumidifiers that are typically installed as part of a home’s HVAC system. In most cases, these dehumidifiers are designed to remove moisture from the entire house. They are more powerful than portable dehumidifiers and are typically more expensive as well.
- Portable dehumidifiers: These are smaller, freestanding units that can be easily moved from room to room. you can easily travel with your portable dehumidifier. They are a great option for people who are looking for a more affordable and flexible solution for removing moisture from the air in hard-to-reach areas like the corners of a closet or a small attic.
- Commercial dehumidifiers: These are typically larger than home units and made for industrial use, like heavy humidity areas in factories, warehouses or other large commercial spaces that require dehumidifiers to absorb excess humidity in their establishments.
Why Can’t You Drink Water From a Dehumidifier?
The water collected in a dehumidifier is not safe to drink because it can contain a variety of contaminants and pollutants. Here are 10 reasons why you should not drink the water in your dehumidifier.
- Mold and bacteria growth: Moist environments are the perfect breeding ground for mold and bacteria. If the dehumidifier’s reservoir or container is not cleaned and disinfected regularly, mold and bacteria can grow, contaminating the water.
- Pollutants and chemicals: The air in our homes and workplaces can contain a variety of pollutants and chemicals, such as dust, dirt, and cleaning products. These pollutants and chemicals can collect in the water collected in a dehumidifier, making it unsafe to drink.
- Lack of filtration: Most dehumidifiers do not have a built-in filtration system to remove impurities from the collected water. As a result, the water can contain sediment and particles that can be harmful to drink.
- Absence of disinfection: Water collected in a dehumidifier is not disinfected and can contain microorganisms that can cause illnesses.
- Pesticides: If the dehumidifier is used in an area that has been treated with pesticides, the collected water may contain traces of the chemical which can be harmful to ingest.
- Improper storage: The container in the dehumidifier might not be properly sealed, making it easy for dirt, dust, and other foreign materials to seep in.
- Impurities in the coils: The coils inside a dehumidifier can become dirty and clogged over time. This can lead to the buildup of impurities such as dust, dirt, and bacteria in the collected water.
- Presence of pollutants: Dehumidifiers can also collect pollutants from the air, such as pesticides, volatile organic compounds, and heavy metals. These pollutants can be present in the collected water, making it unsafe to drink.
- Risk of leaks: Dehumidifiers can develop leaks over time, which can lead to water contamination. If a dehumidifier has a leak, the collected water can become contaminated with mold, mildew, or other pollutants.
- Type of desiccant used: In desiccant dehumidifiers, the type of desiccants like silica gel are not usually safe for human consumption. As such, ingesting the water that has come into contact with the desiccant can significantly increase the risks of health issues.
It’s important to note that even if the water appears clean and clear, it may not be safe to drink. The water collected in a dehumidifier should always be considered non-potable, and it is recommended to use it only for non-drinking purposes such as irrigation or cleaning.
Health Risks Associated With Drinking Water From a Dehumidifier
Drinking water from a dehumidifier can put you at risk of contracting various water-borne diseases. Some of the most common include:
- Gastrointestinal illness: Drinking water that is contaminated with bacteria or viruses can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and fever.
- Legionnaires’ disease: This is a severe type of pneumonia caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila. The bacteria can thrive in warm, moist environments, such as a dirty dehumidifier reservoir, and can be contracted by breathing in contaminated water droplets.
- Leptospirosis: This is a bacterial disease that can be contracted by coming into contact with water contaminated with the urine of infected animals. If the collected water contains leptospirosis, it can cause a range of symptoms including fever, headache, muscle pain, and jaundice.
- Other potential water-borne illnesses: Other potential water-borne illnesses that can be contracted by drinking water from a dehumidifier include Hepatitis A, Giardiasis, Cryptosporidiosis and Cholera.
- Lead poisoning from lead metals that might have leached from the components of the dehumidifier. A dehumidifier is not made with food-grade material, which means that the water can be contaminated with metals like lead and microplastics.
If you or someone in your home accidentally drinks the water from your dehumidifier, you should monitor the person for signs and symptoms of a stomach bug for a few days to determine whether they need to be taken to the hospital.
Additionally, you should consider seeking professional healthcare assistance from the nearest healthcare facility, especially if it is a child that has drunk the water.
Recommended Article: How to Dispose of Your Dehumidifier Water Correctly
It is important to understand that the water collected in a dehumidifier is not safe to drink, as it can contain a variety of contaminants and pollutants, such as mold and bacteria growth, pollutants and chemicals, lack of filtration and absence of disinfection.
It’s important to take proper safety measures when handling and disposing of the water collected in a dehumidifier.
The best way to ensure your safety is to not drink the water collected in the dehumidifier. Instead, you can use the water for irrigation, cleaning, industrial use, laundry, recharging air-conditioners, or washing cars or pets. It is important to filter and disinfect the water before using it for any purpose.