Making Water For a Humidifier

Q. I love your newsletter and was wondering if anyone knew of a way to make "homemade" distilled water from tap water.  Possibly boil, then strain through a coffee filter?  We have hard water and must use distilled in our humidifier.  Any hints will be appreciated!  Thanks, LCR

LCR needs water that has the dissolved minerals removed.  While it might be possible to set up a still on her stove, the cost of the fuel used would probably be greater than buying the same amount of  demineralized water in a store.  (If her family uses a stove for heating, a still would not increase the cost appreciably.)

If they have a reverse osmosis water purifying unit for drinking water. That water should be OK for a humidifier.  Otherwise, I would recommend buying demineralized water.  In our area this costs $0.35 a gallon if you bring your own container to the store. Allen – Decatur, IL

If you live in a humid climate and use a dehumidifier in the summer, the water that is pulled out of the air is distilled.  I live in Massachusetts and if I bottled all of the water I collected in the 3 months I use the dehumidifier, I would probably have enough to drink for an entire year!  Running it through a coffee filter won’t do anything, distilling is "reverse osmosis" (don’t ask me to explain that, it’s the only think I remember from HS Chemistry!).  Love the newsletter! Leslie

Well, first you can just use regular water in the humidifier and periodically descale it by filling with vinegar and leaving it to sit over night. Rinse before you refill the humidifier. (Reuse the vinegar in a marked jug, or use for cleaning only). My parents did this for years and have the softest humifier drum "sponges" and cleanest ultrasonic humidifiers you ever saw.  But if you want distilled water, it is easy to make too.

Distilled water is regular water that has been turned to steam and recondensed. Particles do not turn to water vapor and so are left out in the bottom of the boiling vats.  It would likely cost a fair bit to boil away the teakettle into a slanted receptacle….would warm and humidify the house of course.

MUCH CHEAPER – FREE after you build it – and MUCH SAFER are SOLAR POWERED WATER PURIFIERS. Even a klutz like me, with substandard house tools, can make one in less than an afternoon using plans available FREE on line at places like kids science/survivalist sites. Their basic design is simply a shallow trough (or even a kiddy pool) with angled or A-frame glass or even heavy mil plastic over them. The heat of the sun evaporates the water and it condenses on the glass. The glass is angled so that when the water condenses on it  and builds into droplets gravity runs it over to the lower side into a clean gathering area (another trough, a jug set under under a drainhole or whatever). You can use any type of water for this, because the impurities are left on the dirty side. If all you are using is regular tap water, you can just periodically clean out the source side. The same principles are now used in some developing countries for potable water. You can even use these in the winter. The water will go straight from frozen to vapor, and it will all be liquid in a surprisingly short time after the sun starts hitting it in the morning. (Even in Saskatchewan Canada, which has a Siberian climate). — Cathy, in Texas now.

11 thoughts on “Making Water For a Humidifier

  1. G.L. says:

    In reply to a previous post stating that water from a dehumidifier is distilled – no, it definitely is NOT. The instructions very clearly state that the dehumidifier water is not even potable, much less distilled.

      • Hugo says:

        It is. But is not. The metal and plastics in home dehumidifier is not food grade. And the air parti les arn’t filtered so it is easy to spot cotton and synthetic fibers in the colected water. I bet that if you use an microscope on it you’ll find even worst.

        It is: specifically designed equipments do make potable water from air moisture. I saw one in a tech institute (just for demo) and you can see some alike if you visit the ISS.

  2. Toni Semanskee says:

    If one just descales the humidifier from time to time, it won’t solve the issue of minerals being released into the air to breathe, right? So one would be breathing it? That sounds exactly like what I don’t want to happen, as we have allergies and asthma.

  3. Sandra says:

    I use to keep water from our dehumidifier in gallon water jugs and it would develope mold on it before we would be ready to use it. Would the jugs have something in them to cause this? What do you use in the humidfier when you use tap water? It takes a lot of distilled water or boiling a lot of water(not keep up with that).

  4. Stan says:

    We are getting another humidifier soon.
    Can we use filtered water from the store? Or do we need to use distilled water in our humidifier?

  5. Rob says:

    Does anybody know what is in the cool mist Humidifier filter cartridges? I never hear that mentioned. Why couldn’t a person just get this substance and build a very large economical filter that you pour water through before putting it into the humidifier?

  6. Mirek says:

    I think I found the best source of good distilled water for our room humidifiers, for us who heat our house with gas heaters that drain condensed water. In my case, a small pump drains this water into a laundry tub. There I can collect it in a bucket and use it for the portable humidifier. The bucket can overflow in the tub whenever I don’t empty it. Am I right that this is much better water than from dehumidifiers? The advantage: there is no need to store this water for later.

    • Steve Waclo says:

      Water from condensing furnaces is acidic and will corrode any metallic parts of an ultrasonic humidifier. There are also precipitates that form the dreaded white dust. I was able to neutralize water from my furnace but the white dust remained so I stopped using furnace condensate. Still looking for an alternative to buying distilled/purified water. The solar distiller sounds promising.

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