Saturday, February 01, 2014

Fred's Water Idea Flops

I brought up my idea of using dehumidifiers to provide water the other day on the Lost Coast Outpost. At least a few people commented and an interesting discussion ensued. One of the guys, puff n tuff, had a dehumidifier and decided to test the idea.

It didn't work. I believe he tried it during the afternoon, too. Apparently the coils froze over soon after he started the experiment. So much for an easy way to test the viability of the idea. Not that it wouldn't necessarily work. After all, these guys claim to be using dehumidifiers to provide water in Africa.

Shame, as if we could have shown an at least partly workable operation with one of the home sized units, maybe some organization with more assets and equipment might have been able to develop a fully functioning outdoor model.


At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The commercial type dehumidifiers that they use in the desert to extract water from the atmosphere are of much better quality and different design of the normal dehumidifier that you or I would purchase at say Target or Walmart the commercial types usually run on 240 and at higher amps so they're more efficient for the power they use Most dehumidifiers I've seen take about 1500 watts and over a course of eight hours might pull two gallons of water I wouldn't consider this water potable because you're also collecting a lot of yucky s*** from the air as is filtered through the dehumidifier whereas in an emergency if you have the power and we're very desperate you can probably pull enough water out of the air to survive on without some more filtering it's going to taste god awful but if you're trying to extract enough water to run your house or irrigate with your going to use way too much energy

At 9:24 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

...over a course of eight hours might pull two gallons of water.

So, maybe 6 gallons a day, although that would depend on humidity and such. I was wondering what would be the minimum acceptable yield to make it feasible.

I figured five gallons a day might make it worthwhile to give it a try, although that's nowhere near enough of a single household's average daily needs. I thought I read somewhere the average household uses something like 180 gallons a day, but I'm not sure that's right.

Still, 5 gallons, if you're in a water pinch as they are down south, isn't something to ignore. You could always filter the water, too, although that ads more to the expense and effort.

And, of course, it comes back to how much power vs. water collected as the big issue.

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Julie Timmons said...

Well, good for you for trying. So many people just bitch and have NO positive ideas.

At 10:40 AM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Well, I think it still has potential, but thanks.

I am a bit disappointed at the lack of interest in some circles. I actually sent the idea to the Willits News a few days ago suggesting it might be fodder for a story of some kind- Willits being one of the earliest towns to get into water restrictions. I never received a reply, although I suppose maybe a story will show up in next week's paper. Maybe some townsfolk would like the idea and try to make it work?

I sent the idea to a reporter with the Press- Democrat yesterday or the day before and didn't receive a reply, either. Maybe they've already been there, and tried that?

I still think it might make a pertinent story for the parched areas of the state: Alternative water ideas. And not just mine.

At 1:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey fred, make sure you pay attention to the operating temp of the dehum. Some will freeze over in anything below around 55 degrees f. I always get low ambient temp dehums and they will freeze up way less depending on model. The last I got was at Costco and about 200 bucks. Works down to about 38 degrees. So look for low ambient and then read the fine print because that temp varies by model and brand. Hope this helps your idea.

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Fred Mangels said...

Thanks. I wondered about that.

Dehumidifiers have probably gotten less expensive over the years. I seem to recall paying around $150 for the one I got from Sears back in the late '70s. Now I see them for $200 to $350. That's probably cheaper than the one I had when you consider I got mine around 35 years ago.

What surprised me back then is the sales guy at Sears didn't seem to know what I was asking about. He kept telling me they didn't have humidifiers in stock. I kept telling him back I wanted a DEhumidifier. You'd think dehumidifiers would be fairly popular up here but he'd apparently never heard of them.

They didn't have dehumidifiers in stock, either. Had to order it through their catalog. It sure made my house seem a lot warmer.


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