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Old 06-28-2005, 07:54 AM   #1
skids
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Default dehumidifier water

Is the water you get from a dehumidifier distilled? I was thinking it would be suitable then for radiator usage. I have read the various posts about antifreeze, and using distilled water. Living in the country, I have well water, which goes through two filters, then the water softener, so I imagine If I would use my tap water for the rad, which could be either softened or not, could create some of the scenarios JohnZ explained about. But if I flush every two years, it probably wouldn't matter. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-28-2005, 08:30 AM   #2
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I'd bet dehumidifier water would contain oxides of aluminum and dirt from the air.
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Old 06-28-2005, 12:23 PM   #3
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I agree. Commercial distilled water only costs a buck a gallon. That's what I use to mix 50/50 with Zerex G-05 antifreeze.

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Old 06-28-2005, 06:23 PM   #4
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Well ya convinced me! Now the wife gets the water for her plants, about three gals. a day.
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skids
Is the water you get from a dehumidifier distilled? I was thinking it would be suitable then for radiator usage. I have read the various posts about antifreeze, and using distilled water. Living in the country, I have well water, which goes through two filters, then the water softener, so I imagine If I would use my tap water for the rad, which could be either softened or not, could create some of the scenarios JohnZ explained about. But if I flush every two years, it probably wouldn't matter. Any thoughts?
I always heard the same thing that the water taken in a dehumidifier is distilled but I can't prove it. I hope someone knows for sure on this forum. I have thrown alot of it away and it would be good to keep some around in a couple of empty gallon containers especially for your battery or to mix with certain antifreeze like you mentioned previously for those antifreezes that call for it. I also have well water in my house.
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Old 06-28-2005, 10:29 PM   #6
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Distilled water is water that has been boiled and then recondensed (that is, the water vapor is turned back into liquid water on a cold surface).

I know the dehumidifier does not boil the water and in my dehumidifier there is a residue leading me to believe that the water is not pure.

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Old 06-28-2005, 10:47 PM   #7
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Most commercial "distilled water" is not actually boiled and condensed, but we still call it "distilled". It's demineralized using chemical processes and is commercially "pure" and free of mineral ions - equivalent to what distillation accomplishes.

Dehumidifier water may have dust from the air (silica) or may leach aluminum from the evaporator. Unless you have a way to test, you don't know the extent to which it is "contaminated".

Commercial distilled water is produced in an industrial process with suitable quality control and testing.

Consider that a proper replacement aluminum radiator costs about 700 bucks - and some guys are thinking what a great deal it is to save two bucks on a coolant change! Instead of changing your oil filter next time, just empty it out and reinstall it.

I find it hard to believe that this is a topic of discussion.

Duke

Last edited by SWCDuke; 06-28-2005 at 10:50 PM.
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Old 06-29-2005, 04:26 AM   #8
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Did a search on the net because this thread on distilled water got me thinking because this question about distilled water by a Corvette Forum member was a question that was always in the back of my mind everytime I emptied the water from my dehumidifier. Here are two articles I found on the net.

Is the water that a dehumidifier produces distilled water?
-- Terri T., 08/27/2002


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Editor replies:
Distilled water is created by boiling water, which releases steam. This steam is then condensed, forming liquid water that is collected in a clean container. This process not only produces pure water since any minerals or other substances in the water are left behind, but also the heat sterilizes the water so that live fungal and bacterial pathogens are not present in the distilled water.

A dehumidifier works by simply condensing water from the air (from the water vapor that is present in household air) and collecting it. Since this does not involve boiling the water, the water is not sterilized. In fact, older dehumidifiers, which may not have been cleaned out, can feature many fungal spores in the equipment and in the water that is collected (since fungal spores are naturally found in damp air anyway).

So, while the water collected in the dehumidifier may not contain problematic minerals and chemicals, such as sodium or chlorine, that might be in your town water supply, it can contain high levels of microbial contamination and it not suitable for drinking or for hydroponic systems--unless it is boiled first.

Gerry MacDonald (Gender: n/a, Age: 48) from the Internet on April 26, 1999 asks:

Q: Is water from a dehumidifier de-ionized? The owner's manual for my car suggests that engine coolant should be mixed with distilled or de-ionized water before it is added to the radiator. A friend uses water he saves from his home dehumidifier and claims it is de-ionized. Is this true? Are there any concerns with using water from a dehumidifier?

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A: Barry Shell answered on April 26, 1999:

The water might not be de-ionized, but it's probably distilled. To make it to the dehumidifier's water receptacle, it must be coming from humid air. In that case it is in the form of water vapour. The dehumidifier condenses it from the air into water in the dehumidifier, hence it is essentially the same as distilled water. This is pure water and should be excellent for your radiator. De-ionized water is another way of making "pure" water. Instead of boiling and recondensing water (distillation) to leave the impurities behind, de-ionized water is made by passing the water through an ion exchange column which removes the unfavourable ions like salts and metals and things. I think your friend is right to use the water from his humidifier in his car because it is distilled water.
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Old 06-29-2005, 09:31 AM   #9
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Instead of changing your oil filter next time, just empty it out and reinstall it.


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Old 06-29-2005, 09:47 AM   #10
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Distilled water is heated and then condensed. Heating a solution allows you to separate the components based on their boiling points. Since minerals do not boil at 100C as water does they are thereby left behind as the water vapor boils off.

Deionized water uses filters to remove ions. This is also a good method to remove minerals.

The highest purity water is deionized and then distilled.

A humidifier condenses vapors in the air. This means that any vapors in the air whether they be solvents or water will be condensed. So this water is no where near as pure as deionized or distilled water. However this water is likely to be low or free of minerals because minerals do not exist in water vapor or in the air that we breathe and so are not condensed in a humidifier. This is assuming that you keep your humidifier coils clean and the collection tank clean.

As far as microbes are concerned they will grow quite quickly in deionized or distilled water due to the absence of chlorine. Additonally anti-freeze (ethylene glycol) is toxic and would kill any microbes present in the water.

I do agree that distilled water is cheap, so why not spend the few bucks to get some.
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:55 AM   #11
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Actually I have been using the well water from my home with the antifreeze mix in all my cars from as long as I can remember. Still have the original radiator in my 73' Coupe. I guess it can't be that bad. Last year the heater core went in it though. Only got 31 years out of it maybe I should switch to distilled water next time or better yet maybe I will start using the water out of my dehumidifier. Once the engine gets hot nothing will live in there anyway.
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Old 06-29-2005, 04:27 PM   #12
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I am a controls engineer dealing specifically with water and waste water facilities and unfortunately I'm going to disagree with the concept of using distilled water in a radiator unless it it treated before using it (more on that later).

The problems people see that they believe using distilled water will prevent, is scaling and buildup in the radiator. This scaling is the result of using water that has a high calcium content. Many municipalities across the nation use the "lime softening" process. In it, lime (Calcium Hydroxide) is introduced into the water where it attaches to other impurities and sinks to the bottom of the flume where it is drawn off. Not all of the calcium is removed. Some facilities have additional filtering that helps remove the remaining but not all facilities do and not all of the calcium is removed. For drinking water, a certain MINIMUM amount of calcium is required. This is to replenish the calcium (and other elements such as iron) that the human body loses naturally. This is also why you should never drink distilled water on a regular basis. It will remove the minerals in your body and lead to various health problems. Municipal water sources are closely monitored to ensure quality for human consumption, and excess calcium, to a point, is tollerable.

Some systems do not artificially introduce calcium. They do not use the lime softening process. In my work, I deal with large Reverse Osmosis(RO)/Nano Filtration(NF) water plants (upowards of 20 million gallons per day). The difference between RO and NF is the size of the molecules removed. RO removes contaminants in the 1 - 12 Angstroms range while NF ranges between 10 - 80 angstroms. At these levels, large complex molecules, are removed along with elements such as calcium and iron. This produces water that is very near the purity of distilled water.

But now for the problems. Distilled water is an insulator to electricity. It will not conduct. Now move that "insulator" past a metal surface and a charge is built up (much like a Van De Graf generator). This charge breaks the bonds of the metal and atoms of the element are stripped off, and carried away by the water. In an open system with no recirculation, this is a continuous process. The cleaner the water, the better the insulator, the more charge, the faster the atoms are stripped. I have seen stainless steel piping in an RO plant perforated from running "too clean" of water through it. We actually have to blend back in raw water to maintain safe conductivity levels in one facility.

In a closed system, such as an automotive radiator, the stripped minerals add to the conductivity of the water, reducing the insulating properties, reducing the voltage created to the point where it can no longer break loose atoms. Essentially an equilibrium is reached where no more atoms are pulled off. But in the process, enough had to be removed to build up the conductivity and they came from the inside of the radiator. The metal becoms thin due to the atoms being stripped off. This is the concern with using distilled water.

Ideally, the best water to use would be water that is low in calcium and high in iron. If your house has a water softener, and it is in working condition, that is the best source IMO.
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:23 PM   #13
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rgs, If distilled water causes a problem I wonder why GM recommends you use it with their DEX-Cool antifreeze that is used in their later model cars?
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:35 PM   #14
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You've fallen into the trap that has led to the "distilled water is bad" myth.

You HAVE TO UNDERSTAND that we are not talking about running straight distilled water here, but merely using a form of "purified water" to dilute antifreeze, which is primarily ethylene glycol PLUS A VERY WELL THOUGHT OUT AND TESTED COMBINATION OF CHEMICALS TO INHIBIT CORROSION.

Using some sort of "pure water" to dilute commercial antifreeze merely means that you are not introducing potentially harmful chemicals (like calcium, sodium, and chlorine ions) that may reduce the effectiveness of the corrosion inhibitor package or precipate out on the cooling system surfaces.

Yes, "pure water" can strip ions from any surface it comes in contact with up to the equilibrium concentration, but a mixture of commercial antifreeze and pure water is a totally, TOTALLY different animal than any form of straight "pure water".

Your argument is irrelevent to the case at hand.

Duke
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Old 06-29-2005, 07:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ffas23
rgs, If distilled water causes a problem I wonder why GM recommends you use it with their DEX-Cool antifreeze that is used in their later model cars?
Dexcool uses a purely organic corrosion inhibitor package and the introduction of any inorganic chemicals reduces the effectiveness/life of the inhibitors more so than with the old inorganic packages or the newer hybrids.

rgs' post is the argument against using STRAIGHT DISTILLED WATER in cooling systems, which at one time was considered "good" by some, but this argument has no relevence when when distilled water is mixed with commercial antifreeze in proper proportion.

The argument for using distilled water is to not introduce any "foreign chemicals" to the final mix of water and corrosion inhibited antifreeze.

Duke

Last edited by SWCDuke; 06-29-2005 at 07:45 PM.
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Old 06-29-2005, 10:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWCDuke
Most commercial "distilled water" is not actually boiled and condensed, but we still call it "distilled". It's demineralized using chemical processes and is commercially "pure" and free of mineral ions - equivalent to what distillation accomplishes.

Dehumidifier water may have dust from the air (silica) or may leach aluminum from the evaporator. Unless you have a way to test, you don't know the extent to which it is "contaminated".

Commercial distilled water is produced in an industrial process with suitable quality control and testing.

Consider that a proper replacement aluminum radiator costs about 700 bucks - and some guys are thinking what a great deal it is to save two bucks on a coolant change! Instead of changing your oil filter next time, just empty it out and reinstall it.

I find it hard to believe that this is a topic of discussion.

Duke
Well i'm glad that some people find this topic a topic of discussion. I had this thought in the back of my mind also just as ffas23. Duke, i'm being not cocky about your last sentence, but why do you feel that this would not be a topic of discussion? Oh yeah, it's not good to reuse an oil filter. Guess I should posted this on dehumidifierforum.com.

Last edited by skids; 06-29-2005 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 06-30-2005, 12:42 AM   #17
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My comment related to the premise of saving two bucks by using dehumidifier effluent rather than commercial distilled water.

Since that comment the thread has expanded to whether or not distilled water should be used at all.

My answer is the same as the last dozen times this subject has been raised.

Duke

Last edited by SWCDuke; 06-30-2005 at 12:44 AM.
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Old 06-30-2005, 06:59 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWCDuke
You've fallen into the trap that has led to the "distilled water is bad" myth.

You HAVE TO UNDERSTAND that we are not talking about running straight distilled water here, but merely using a form of "purified water" to dilute antifreeze, which is primarily ethylene glycol PLUS A VERY WELL THOUGHT OUT AND TESTED COMBINATION OF CHEMICALS TO INHIBIT CORROSION.

Using some sort of "pure water" to dilute commercial antifreeze merely means that you are not introducing potentially harmful chemicals (like calcium, sodium, and chlorine ions) that may reduce the effectiveness of the corrosion inhibitor package or precipate out on the cooling system surfaces.

Yes, "pure water" can strip ions from any surface it comes in contact with up to the equilibrium concentration, but a mixture of commercial antifreeze and pure water is a totally, TOTALLY different animal than any form of straight "pure water".

Your argument is irrelevent to the case at hand.

Duke
In a street application, mixed with antifreeze, I agree that the conductivity is raised to where the electrolosis is reduced to a safe minimum, but it is absolutely relevent to any racing application where you don't use anti-freeze (like many SCCA racers). By using a source of water with some minerals in it, like softened drinking water, irregardless of the application, problems of both scale buildup and metal erosion can be avoided.

We also have to be careful with the terminology being used here. "pure water" and "distilled water" are not the same. Pure water is what is typically sold for drinking, it goes through various filtering and disinfection stages, distilled water has been carefully boiled and all biologicals/minerals/compounds removed. It is hazardous to drink. There is a big difference in the cost of distilled water versus purified water.

Your recommendation of using pure water is the same as my recommendation of using softened water straight from the tap. They have gone through the same treatment processes and the lab analysis results should be very close.
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Old 06-30-2005, 07:53 PM   #19
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I don't think too many of us on this forum are running SCCA or any other racing venue that doesn't allow antifreeze. If you do there are corrosion inhibitor products like Water Wetter that should be used with potable or distilled water, but Water Wetter or similar products are useless and may even be harmful if a proper mixture of antifreeze is used as it should for all normal street and highway use.

My use of "pure water" (in quotes) generically refers to some form of demineralized water whether it be by conventional steam distillation or some other process.

For most of us the easiest and cheapest form is "distilled water" that can usually be procured for about a buck a gallon at any grocery store.

Duke
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Old 06-30-2005, 09:13 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SWCDuke
I don't think too many of us on this forum are running SCCA or any other racing venue that doesn't allow antifreeze. If you do there are corrosion inhibitor products like Water Wetter that should be used with potable or distilled water, but Water Wetter or similar products are useless and may even be harmful if a proper mixture of antifreeze is used as it should for all normal street and highway use.

My use of "pure water" (in quotes) generically refers to some form of demineralized water whether it be by conventional steam distillation or some other process.

For most of us the easiest and cheapest form is "distilled water" that can usually be procured for about a buck a gallon at any grocery store.

Duke
.....I don't think too many of us on this forum are running SCCA or any other racing venue that doesn't allow antifreeze....

It's not a matter of not allowing it, we don't use it because antifreeze actually reduces the cooling efficency of the radiator.

....... If you do there are corrosion inhibitor products like Water Wetter that should be used with potable or distilled water......

Water wetter reduces the surface tension of the water and promotes heat transfer. It is not a corrosion inhibitor, and I still disagree with using distilled water with it. Pure water, OK.

......My use of "pure water" (in quotes) generically refers to some form of demineralized water whether it be by conventional steam distillation or some other process......

Since this is the industry I work in, I am very specific in my use of these terms. "pure" and "distilled" are not the same thing. Big differences.

......For most of us the easiest and cheapest form is "distilled water" that can usually be procured for about a buck a gallon at any grocery store......

I believe the softened water from your tap is much easier and cheaper than going to the grocery store and buying it, even at less than a buck a gallon.
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