Informational Guide

Is It Safe To Drink Water From a Dehumidifier?

With plenty of water accumulating in the base of a dehumidifier, it’s commonly asked if one can drink this water? We don’t recommend this, here is why.

by Josh M

Looking to be a bit greener and reuse your dehumidifier water? That’s great, but don’t just start pouring it into a glass to drink! It’s important to carefully monitor what you put in your body if you want to stay healthy, and that means really understanding what’s in your dehumidifier water.

We’ve taken a closer look at the science behind dehumidifier water and in this guide, we’ll explain whether or not it’s safe to drink, the potential risks, and what else you can use it for.

Glass of Water

Is The Water From Dehumidifier Distilled?

No, water from a dehumidifier water is not distilled. This is a common myth and it’s part of the reason why some people think that dehumidifier water is safe to drink. The distillation process and dehumidification process have some similarities, but the key difference is that dehumidifier air has not been boiled.

A refrigerant-style dehumidifier works using a hot electrical fan that blows warm air over refrigerant-cooled coiled. As the air cools, condensation occurs as moisture is extracted from the humid air. The water from that process is then collected inside the dehumidifier.

How a Dehumidifier Works

Distillation happens when boiled water becomes water vapor, and then the vapor condenses (to a water form once again). The process removes minerals and toxins from the water, which is one of the reasons distilled water is recommended for humidifiers.

Though the two processes have some similarities, dehumidifiers never boil the collected moisture, and therefore the water is not pure like distilled water.

Can You Drink Water From A Dehumidifier?

No, you should not drink water from a dehumidifier. The liquid water in the dehumidifier tank can contain mold spores, dust mites, and other impurities which have been taken from the warm air. These micro-organisms are often present in the water so drinking dehumidifier water can be hazardous.

Regular cleaning of your dehumidifier can minimize the number of bacteria and impurities a dehumidifier collects. However, if you’re using a dehumidifier at all it probably means that your indoor air quality isn’t right, and as the humid air passed through the appliance and changes into condensed water it will take these airborne particles with it.

Why Isn’t Dehumidifier Water Safe To Drink?

1. Dehumidifier Water Hasn’t Been Boiled

The safest way to purify water is to boil it, “Boiling water kills or inactivates viruses, bacteria, protozoa and other pathogens.” [1]

The boiling process means that water evaporates, and as it does so the impurities are left behind. Once the water passes back into liquid form it’s pure, and therefore safe to drink.

Dehumidifiers never reach a boiling point and aren’t designed to boil or purify water as they reduce the humidity level. Therefore, the bacteria present in the damp air will not be removed through the dehumidification process.

2. Dehumidifier Water Contains Air Pollutants and Allergen from High Humidity Droplets

Dehumidifiers help you to control the humidity in your home and prevent mold, mildew, and dust mites. However, if these are present in the air already then it’s likely they’ll be drawn into the dehumidifier as the air passes through.

Dehumidifiers aren’t designed to filter these out, so if you are drinking water from a dehumidifier there’s a high likelihood it will contain these pollutants.

3. Dehumidifier Water Can Be A Breeding Ground For Bacteria

The water in your dehumidifier is confined to the tank and so has no ventilation. Unlike tap water, which is exposed to air and flows, this means it can become stagnant.

Stagnant water can become full of bacteria and even if you empty and clean your water tank regularly it’s not suitable as drinking water.

4. Dehumidifier Water Can Cause Legionella

Legionella is a dangerous bacteria that can be formed when bacteria are allowed to grow and spread. It’s usually found in freshwater environments like lakes, but can also be found in dehumidifiers, humidifiers, hot water heaters, and other water features – particularly if little air passes through them. [2]

Being exposed to too much Legionella can lead to Legionnaires’ Disease or Pontiac Fever. It’s really important that you empty the water in your dehumidifier and clean the tank, chilled coils, vents, and other components frequently. You should also never risk drinking dehumidifier water.

50 Pint Dehumidifier Feature

What Can You Use Dehumidifier Water For?

You should never drink dehumidifier water, but here are 4 easy ways you can make use of that old dehumidifier water:

  • Watering Plants

Dehumidifier water isn’t safe for you or your pets, but plants can deal with it just fine. Just don’t use it on any plants or crops you’re going to eat as some bacteria may transfer across in the water droplets.

  • Flushing The Toilet

It’s estimated that 30% of our water consumption is used to flush the toilet and that it can cost 3.8 cents every time [3]. You can save money and be greener by using the water your dehumidifier collects instead. Just pour the condensed water straight into the bowl (not the toilet tank) and you shouldn’t need to flush.

  • Ironing

Dehumidifier water works just as well as tap water in a steam iron. The liquid water is boiled into steam by the iron anyway, so any pollutants or bacteria are removed.

  • Cleaning Your Floors

Dehumidifier water isn’t dirty, it just contains unwanted pollutants and bacteria. By mixing dehumidifier water with soap or a cleaning agent in a mop bucket you’ll destroy these bacteria so it’s perfectly safe to use.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Do you need to use distilled water in a humidifier?

No, you don’t need to use distilled or bottled water in your humidifier or dehumidifier. However, you do lower the risk of releasing biological contaminants into the air if you used distilled water rather than tap water. Check out our full guide on what water to use for humidifier.

Is dehumidifier water safe for plants?

Yes, dehumidifier water is safe for plants, but shouldn’t be used for any plants you intend to eat. Dehumidifier water shouldn’t be used as the only source of houseplant water as it lacks the minerals, nutrients, and heavy metals needed to keep your plant healthy.

Can you use dehumidifier water in the washing machine?

Yes, you can use your dehumidifier water in the washing machine providing it hasn’t been left for a long time and become stagnant. Make sure the water is mixed with detergent and if it looks dirty, or smells, then use clean water instead.

Can you use dehumidifier water for cleaning?

Yes, dehumidifier water can be used in cleaning as long as it is mixed with soap or a cleaning agent.

Conclusion

Is dehumidifier water drinkable? No, it’s not safe to drink because it can contain some dangerous impurities.

However, dehumidifiers are an extraordinarily useful household tool and while you can’t drink the water they collect, it can still be helpful for some things such as watering houseplants and flushing your toilet.

Hopefully, this guide has helped explain why you can’t drink dehumidifier water, and what you can and do with it safely.

References:

1 https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/water/drinking/boilwater/response_information_public_health_professional.htm

2 https://www.cdc.gov/legionella/about/causes-transmission.html

3 https://www.epa.gov/watersense/residential-toilets

Last Updated on January 23, 2023

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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