Step 37: Dehumidifiers

Picture of Dehumidifiers
Dehumidifiers take the humidity out of the air, and give you fresh water! I use ours during the summer, and the amount of water we produce is amazing!

But please note that this still uses energy, almost as much as an air conditioner. I added it because it is another way to receive water, without taking it from wells/public water supplies.
triska5 years ago
I've been fascinated with dehumidifiers this entire summer. My air conditioner is not very good and the humidity level in my house is about 57%. The temp max in the house peaks at around 84% but I think if I reduce the humidity, and with the use of fans, my comfort level would be greatly enhanced. Also, I saw an exciting product last year that looks like a big dehumidifier, with the addition of a water purifier module. Then the outputs are 2 spigots with drinkable water, hot and cold! Bad thing, to me, is the cost is over $2,000. My cheapo solution to this is would be to use the dehumidifier water, like some of the other commenters mentioned, other non-drinkable uses in the home and garden. For example: Use it for the washing machine for the initial washing cycle. Also, for watering the garden, washing the car, etc. I remember years ago, a problem with dehumidifier water was mildew. How about adding a little vinegar or a little bleach to the water tank. Would that help, do you think? As for the drinking of distilled water discussion: I've been drinking distilled water for over 30 years and my teeth are great, hair healthy, skin clear and I feel pretty good. I do use a good multi-vitamin supplement and a calcium pill daily. Thanks for the stimulating post and the helpful comments.
Nyxius triska3 years ago
using a dehumidifier to lower the apparent temperature is a really effective strategy. Water has one of the highest specific heats of any substance known to man (which is why is is used everywhere for thermal management). Dropping your humidity by 1/2 would give the effect of dropping the apparent temperature by about 20 degrees (depending on actual temp). The actual temperature would stay the same, but sweat can now easily evaporate from your skin thereby cooling your skin.
However, you should only pursue this strategy if you can prevent the humidity in your house from rising again. If you can do this your house will stay "cool", if no you will have about as high of an energy bill as if you were using an air conditioner.
Generally it is easier to seal a house from moisture than to keep heat out, so overall I would recommend dehumidifiers.
gbaughma6 years ago
Using the water for such things as watering plants, or filling your clothes iron is great. But I wouldn't drink that water. The water that a dehumidifier generates is DISTILLED water. Not good for drinking.
From my understanding of distillation, that water is not distilled, it is condensed. Agreed that this water is not good for drinking because a dehumidifier is not a food service certified product and is likely to leach heavy metals and other nasties. and What makes distilled water bad to drink? Distilled alcohol is generally fine to drink.
In biology, I was shown that distilled water "over-inflates" cells (I know that's not the correct term)... but I actually saw cells burst... something about the distilled water gets over-absorbed into cells, causing cells to burst. Now granted, in a human, there's a lot more cells... but that's the demonstration my biology teacher gave me for the reason NOT to drink distilled water.
If I'm not mistaken, it has something to do with osmotic pressure.
Nyxius belkorin5 years ago
This is correct, the real danger here is that ion content of the blood drops causing brain cells to absorb water & swell.  This causes a rise in pressure in the skull and can lead to organ failure. The medical term for the condition is called "Hyponatremia".  This can lead to a very painful death.

Common symptoms include:

  • Abnormal mental status
    • Confusion
    • Decreased consciousness
    • Hallucinations
    • Possible coma
  • Convulsions
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasms or cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
This is why I don't recommend drinking distilled water.
sbarton2 Nyxius3 years ago
Regardless of anything you are all saying, there are now commercially available dehumidifier/water coolers which have been purchased at my work and I haven't seen anyone dropping dead from over inflated cells...
Nyxius sbarton23 years ago
a 150 lb person would have to drink about 2 gallons of distilled water over one or two hours in order for hyponatremia to be a medical threat. That or eat nothing and drink nothing else other than distilled water for more than a day. In the second case I'd believe you'd experience other symptoms before low salt content was an issue.
Even tapwater will almost surely have the same effect on raw cells.

There is a MASSIVE difference between drinking a substance and taking cells from your body and immersing them in that substance. The human body has all sorts of regulatory mechanisms (think urination) for keeping the osmotic pressure of our blood within certain limits.

Tapwater and distilled water are going to have negligible differences if they enter the body in a normal manner (drinking). The only real difference will be that proper distilled water will have zero minerals and will taste funny (plus a certain level of certain minerals in water can be good for you.)

In the case of dehumidifier water, it will be indistinguishable from distilled water EXCEPT that it was distilled using a non-food-grade device. I wouldn't drink it due to the possibility of contaminants from the dehumidifier.
belkorin6 years ago
A big problem with running a dehumidifier in the summer is that if it isn't very efficient, it uses a lot of energy and puts out a lot of heat.
Minion716 years ago
I drank distilled water all my life from childhood to now and i didn't burst yet because all the mineral and salt in our body compensate :P so i don't believe its bad since most of the salt and mineral come from the food we eat
osgeld7 years ago
and get one thats energy star complient, which means anything thats old enough to be wood grained and you can see the nut holding the switches on IS NOT
So, if you want to use a dehumidifier and still be enviromentally friendly, use a source of renewable energy to power your humidifier.