Even in dry climates store water in the air. With the right device, you can coax that water out. You can do this passively by collecting the condensation that builds up on transparent surfaces like greenhouse walls, but this is a slow process. If you have access to power, you can accelerate things by augmenting a dehumidifier to treat the water it pulls out of your home's air.
In this article, we'll describe how to construct a basic atmospheric water generator (AWG). Setting one of these up, especially if you already use a humidifier, can help you save money on household water consumption.
Atmospheric Water Generator Savings
As of this writing, the average American home pays over $800 per year for water. For just over $300 you can start making your own. You're not going to fill an in-ground swimming pool with it unless you have a year to kill, but it can defray costs a bit, and it could come in handy if an emergency leaves you cut off from regular utilities.
These devices pull moisture out of the air by passing it through a cooling process, which condenses water vapor. This forms droplets on the sides of the AWG, which can then be collected in a catch basin. The dehumidification produces water that's generally considered safe for human consumption, provided it's used right away, but if you have concerns about pollutants or bacteria, you can boil it or filter it further to be safe.
Constructing a Condenser
Remove all of the covers and the filters from the humidifier. The unit should be new for best results and the longest possible service life. Once the covers are removed, rinse the humidifier thoroughly with gently running water from a hose or other water source. Do not use pressure to clean the unit or you'll cause damage to the condenser's cooling flanges and reduce its effectiveness. Wipe it down gently and allow the unit to stand until it is completely dry before you power it up again or you could be in for a shock.
Next, remove the knock-out for the hose that's located on the back cover of the humidifier, run the clear tubing in through the knock-out hole and attach it securely to the hose connector located inside of the unit. This will allow you to bypass the humidifier's internal reservoir.
Once the tubing's clamped in place, cut the green scrubber pads to the same size and shape as the original air filters located in the front of the humidifier as they will replace the factory filters that are insufficient for the purposes of this custom application and allow the passage of too much dust if not upgraded in this manner. Once the new filter is fitted, attach the holder and filter back to the humidifier securely.
Setting Up The Water Filtration System
You will need to thoroughly, and carefully wash and dry your chosen water filter unit prior to hooking it up to the AWG and using it for the first time. The Extreme Water Filter System we'll use here, for example, has a one-micron ceramic filter in the top, and it uses a second, five-stage filter that's located on the bottom of the unit.
Using your drill and bit, drill a 1/2 inch diameter hole in the top of the upper filter unit and insert the other end of the clear tubing into the filter. Take all caution not to crimp the tubing while installing it or this too will have an adverse effect on your AWG's efficiency.
Powering Up Your AWG
Plug the power regulator in and make certain it's operating correctly. If so, then plug your AWG into the power supply and energize it. If it trips a breaker or starts to smoke shut it off and find out why. Otherwise, allow the AWG to operate for six to eight hours uninterrupted until the upper filter tank is full. The time will vary according to the RH level around it.
You may also opt for hooking your AWG to an alternative power source such as a solar panel and keeping it outdoors jus be sure to use a voltage regulator to keep the AWG from accidental power surge damage.
Water From Thin Air
The water going into this unit will be neutral 6.0 pH and it should produce clean potable water from the bottom filter at around 7.4 and 8.0 pH depending upon the type of filtering you choose to employ with your AWG.
If you choose to use your AWG or a store-bought model indoors, you must take the humidity levels in your home into consideration. For this, you will need to utilize a Hygrometer which is quite inexpensive and shows you the percentage level of the humidity in whatever room it's placed in.
The ideal level of relative humidity (RH) in any given room is 30 to 50% for the optimal level of health and comfort. An AWG is exceptionally useful and productive for homes in areas that have high humidity.