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Can You Drink Dehumidifier Water? Is it Safe For Drinking?

Last updated January 20, 2022

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Author
Author avatar Danny Ashton

Danny as been writing about air purifiers for 10+ years. He is a major fan of home technology, which makes him the perfect person to test and evaluate products for HouseFresh

Our verdict: Not recommended due to the risk of bacteria or viruses fo from the water bucket and potentially trace metals from the internal components.  However, this could be a useful way to generate water in an extreme situation but the water would not be safe to drink and would need the addition of a water filter to clean it before it would be safe to drink.

What do the experts say?

For the detailed answer, I would refer to Joe Schwarcz Ph.D. from McGill Canada who says that water created by a dehumidifier is drinkable but there are risks associated with the growth of bacteria if it’s left for some time in the tank.

Andy Martin from Stanford Mag says you shouldn’t drink it, due to the fact that mildew algae and mold could form in the bucket and mentions that that metal residue from the dehumidifier could contaminate the water but doesn’t link any specific research. 

A similar technology is being used in drinking water devices

In 2018, UC Berkeley released information on a device that uses a condenser similar to how a dehumidifier works to generated drinkable water when combined with a carbon filter.

I then came across this story about the Mayo Group Peru for the University of Engineering and Technology that created a device using advertising billboards to create drinking water that use a dehumidification process combined with a carbon water filter to produce 96 litres per day.

Next, I saw this exact technique in practice over on Youtube of using a standard consumer dehumidifier the team from Canadian Prepper. He combines a dehumidifier with a portable power station connected to solar to create a device for creating water when main lines are not working.

He does use a water bottle filter as he had concerns about viruses and bacteria similar to our experts Joe and Andy.

Based on his video I then discovered the company Nube which creates commercial units that use this dehumdifiing process to create drinkable clean water.

As of 2022, you can buy devices called Atmospheric Water Generators from Nube that use a dehumidification process with a reverse osmosis cleaning process which can provide 8 gallons or 64 pints of water per day but do come at a hefty price tag north of $1,800.

When a standard commercial dehumidifier can remove up to 30 pints of water per day it will also cost a lot less than $300 and could be a way to generate water in an emergency situation as long you are aware of the risks of bacteria from the water sitting in the container.

Lets put this to the test

This isn’t something I would recommend but I wanted to see for real if I could drink the water from my dehumidifier.

dehumidifier glass of water

I reduced the risk of contamination by using the water that had been left for only a few hours and took the precaution to look at the dissolved solid content and also do a water test normally used for well water to look for signs of bacteria, pesticide, and lead.

To start this test I used my Ebac 3850e dehumidifier, and use a fairly simple TDS meter that measures the conductivity to see how much-dissolved solids are in the water. I compared this with tap water and filterered tap water.

Tap water: 054 PPM

Filtered tap water from the fridge: 045 PPM

From dehumidifier bucket: 007 PPM

Based on the TDS meter, this water is very close to containing no dissolved solids in the water. This does mean that the water is safe to drink as a TDS meter doesn’t know exactly what is in the water as it could still contain things like bacteria, lead, and pesticides but it’s much closer to distilled water than normal tap water.

For the next step, I bought a well water test kit that would allow me to be confident that no bacteria, lead or pesticide was in the water before I took a gulp.

The bacteria test after 48 hours showed a negative result:

I also got negative results for the lead and pesticide:

If you were to do this your self I would always recommend filtering the water when drinking from the dehumidifier bucket although I was happy with the negative test results to take the risk to taste the water for science.

So, how did it taste?

Kinda weird.

The low mineral content in the water gave it a strange distilled taste with no clear flavor that you would find with tap or filtered water.

I wouldn’t want to be drinking it regularly but I could see myself using it in an emergency with the use of a filter like the Big Berkey as I would always be concerned about bacteria in the bucket.

One thing worth mentioning is that the water generated through dehumidification has no trace minerals that you would normally find in drinking water such as calcium it could create an issue if you had a defenciency in your normal diet.

I hope you never have to drink the water from your dehumidifier but at least you know it could be possible if you have a way to clean it.