As droughts are becoming more of a concern many people are looking for a sustainable source of water – and one solution that can be implemented in virtually every home across the world is atmospheric water generators.
The air is full of water.
Even though we’re not able to see it, oh, it’s there, and there’s a lot of it.
I am, of course, talking about humidity. Anyone who’s lived in the southern part of the United States knows a thing or two about humidity, but even in more arid environments, there’s still moisture in the air.
And that’s where atmospheric water generators come in – they extract that moisture and turn it into potable water.
Sounds a little too good to be true, right?
Well, it’s not.
Dehumidifiers use the same kind of technology, which we’ll talk about later in the article.
Atmospheric water generators have a lot going on, so let’s go over the top things you ought to know about them!
1. What Are Atmospheric Water Generators?
Atmospheric water generators are machines that pull moisture out of ambient air and turn it into potable water.
Sounds great, but how do they work?
These machines suck in humid air and direct it across coils that turn cold using refrigerant.
Cold doesn’t allow air to retain as much water, causing the moisture to squeeze out and drip into a reserve (the point at which the air is cold enough for water to escape is called the dew point).
Users can then activate the pump, which pushes the stored water through two filters and an ozone generator before finally being expelled out of the hose or nozzle.
Did your eyebrows shoot up when you read ozone generator?
Well, the ozone generator is a part of the purification process.
When ozone is introduced, it oxidizes the water and destroys harmful toxins or contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, and metals.
Once the water comes out of the machine, it is immediately safe for consumption–no further filtering or purifying is required.
Atmospheric water generators, depending on the model, vary in size.
Models designed to be inside a home are about the size of a standard water dispenser, while more industrial models can be the size of an A/C unit and beyond.
2. Are Atmospheric Water Generators Sustainable?
Atmospheric water generators are considered to be sustainable products.
But what are the qualifications for being sustainable?
In general, a sustainable product produces something without causing destruction or harm.
You could argue that these machines are not 100% sustainable if they rely on electricity, which is produced by fossil fuels.
That’s a valid sentiment, but many homeowners choose to hook up their atmospheric water generators to solar panels.
In that case, these machines are completely sustainable by running off a renewable energy source.
Even without using solar panels, it’s easy to see just how practical these machines are.
Many cities across the world are hundreds of miles away from adequate water sources to supply their populations.
Atmospheric water generators allow every person, as long as the environment has enough humidity, to have direct access to water.
In places like California, which is extremely vulnerable to droughts, installing these machines in homes and buildings would save countless lives if the water crisis ever became severe.
3. Is It Safe to Drink Atmospheric Water?
Atmospheric water is safe to drink as long as it has gone through a filtration system.
Even if the water is being taken from polluted air, the standard process of ozonating the collected water takes care of any particles and toxins it may be carrying.
The nice part about collecting water from the air is that there shouldn’t be any traces of pesticides or heavy metals–two toxins that can wreak havoc on the human body.
Between the filters and ozone generator, the water these machines produce is safe and pure to drink.
Owners should check and clean the filters in their atmospheric water generators once a month.
Depending on how contaminated the air containing the moisture is, the filters will need to be changed every six to twelve months.
People should be diligent in monitoring and servicing their machines, as ingesting unfiltered atmospheric water could cause health issues–we don’t want that to happen!
If you’re not sure how to properly clean your model, contact the seller or manufacturer for assistance.
4. What’s the Difference Between Atmospheric Water Generators and Dehumidifiers?
If you’ve ever used a dehumidifier before, you may be thinking atmospheric water generators sound awfully familiar.
Well, that’s because the two machines are very similar.
In fact, dehumidifiers essentially work in the same way as atmospheric water generators (by directing humid air across cool coils to squeeze out the water); however, atmospheric water generators are designed with purification systems and a way to dispense the water.
The water dehumidifiers collect is not filtered, meaning it’s not potable.
If someone were to drink the water from a dehumidifier, they would risk exposing themselves to bacteria, viruses, and other toxins.
The only way for water from a dehumidifier to be drinkable is if it were boiled or run through your own filter, but that takes much more time and effort than an atmospheric water generator.
So, don’t think that you can save a few bucks by buying a dehumidifier to produce potable water–the risk of getting seriously sick isn’t worth it.
5. Do Atmospheric Water Generators Work in Dry Climates?
For atmospheric water generators to work, there clearly needs to be moisture in the air.
Does that mean they won’t work in dry climates?
You may be surprised to learn that some atmospheric water generators can even work in climates with humidity levels of 20%–though most distributors say that 50% allows for optimal performance.
Even the driest and most arid states, such as Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, can experience enough humidity for these machines to work. The air in these places might not feel packed with moisture, but it’s there…it’s there.
It is also worth noting that states with low average humidity will see an increase in levels during the winter. Just using these water generators in certain parts of the year could save the state an enormous amount of water.
Of course, the lower the humidity, the longer it will take for the machine to produce water.
But hey, when you can magically produce water out of the air, who’s complaining? (Not me).
6. What Are the Advantages of Atmospheric Water Generators?
Atmospheric water generators seem to do the impossible by pulling water out of thin air.
As climate change and global warming continue knocking on the door, finding reliable sources of water is more important than ever, making these machines extremely beneficial. But that’s not their only benefit.
So, let’s take a look at all the advantages of atmospheric water generators to understand how pivotal they could be.
Provide Access to Clean Water
In 2014, when reports of contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, were released, it was a blow to the country.
Even the most affluent country to ever exist couldn’t provide its citizens with clean water.
Well, atmospheric water generators eradicate part of that problem and give direct access to clean water.
People who use them will know the water they’re consuming is safe and pure.
For what these machines do, they are quite affordable.
The price depends on the size, but for about $2,500, you could find a reliable machine that produces enough drinking water for a family.
The price of commercial-sized atmospheric water generators can get up to tens of thousands of dollars, but those won’t appeal to the average person.
Maintaining atmospheric water generators is as easy as one-two-three.
Their filters only need to be checked and cleaned once a month and changed every six to twelve months.
Owners are more than capable of maintaining their machines by themselves and won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars hiring a professional.
Contribute to Drought Relief
Droughts are becoming a bigger and bigger issue.
When people use atmospheric water generators for drinking water, less water from reserves will have to be used, helping lakes and other natural bodies of water refill during the rainy season.
If millions of people were to have access to these devices, the results could be stunning.
Can Be Used Off-Grid
Since these machines can be powered by solar panels, they can be used completely off the grid.
This could be greatly beneficial for people who inconveniently rely on wells, rainwater, or faraway sources for drinking water.
If an emergency were to ever happen that impacted these off-grid water sources, atmospheric water generators would be there to save the day.
7. What Are the Disadvantages of Atmospheric Water Generators?
What about the disadvantages?
Surely using a machine to pull water out of the sky has a few pitfalls, don’t you think?
It’s true these devices aren’t perfect, but they’re getting there.
Let’s take a look at a few of their drawbacks.
Although newer models are becoming more efficient, atmospheric water generators require a significant amount of energy.
If the machine’s power isn’t being generated by solar panels or any other form of renewable energy, it can’t technically be considered a sustainable product.
Additionally, if the device is being used in an environment with low humidity, the energy-to-water ratio could be poor.
A standard atmospheric water generator costs around $2,500, which is likely not in the budget of many people.
If the machine is going to be powered by solar panels, that’ll add a big chunk of money to the total price.
So, unless customers are financially stable, these machines won’t be for them.
Environments with low humidity won’t allow atmospheric water generators to perform at their best.
And lower levels of humidity will force the machine to work harder to produce water.
Additionally, the machines need temperatures to be above freezing to function.
It may only make sense for certain owners to use their atmospheric water generators during certain parts of the year.
Newer models are designed to produce as little noise as possible, but even so, they still aren’t silent.
Larger atmospheric water generators can be quite noisy when operating, which could be a bother to nearby neighbors.
8. How Long Do Atmospheric Water Generators Last?
Atmospheric water generators aren’t built with an array of fragile components.
In reality, the technology inside them is fairly straightforward, which does wonders for their expected life spans.
Atmospheric water generators can last between ten and fifteen years–it’s possible they can even last beyond fifteen years.
The consistency of maintenance and how often the machines are used are the two biggest factors in determining their lifespans.
Luckily, keeping the machines clean and running well takes minimal effort, so everyone should be able to get the maximum lifespan out of their atmospheric water generators.
9. How Much Water Can an Atmospheric Water Generator Make?
If you’re going to spend a few thousand dollars on an atmospheric water generator, they better produce a significant amount of water, right?
Devices made for homes produce around 1 to 20 liters each day– some devices can produce more, but largely the amount of water is determined by humidity levels.
That means a household could extract more than 5 gallons every day of the week, which should be all the drinking water a family needs (on average, a person drinks half a gallon of water per day).
Commercial-sized atmospheric water generators can produce 1,000 to 10,000+ liters of water per day, equating to around 250 to 2,500 gallons per day–a lot of water, huh?
These impressive numbers show just how significantly the devices could help prevent serious droughts in the future.
Who knows? Maybe one day, a majority of the world’s drinking water will come right from the air.
10. Why Aren’t Atmospheric Water Generators Used More?
Do you know anyone who uses an atmospheric water generator?
If you don’t know anyone, well, you’re not alone.
These devices still haven’t made it into the mainstream.
But why not?
They seem to check all the boxes for a safe, effective way to produce water.
Money is, of course, an issue.
People aren’t inclined to spend thousands of dollars on a machine that makes water when they can just go to their sink or fridge.
Another reason is that atmospheric water generators require specific humidity conditions to make sense.
If temperatures fall below freezing, the machines won’t work.
If humidity levels are below 30 to 40%, the amount of energy required to produce a gallon of water isn’t worth it.
So, until these machines become a bit more efficient or cheaper–or if there’s a massive water crisis–they likely won’t be adopted by millions of people.
Water, water, water.
It’s the most valuable resource on Earth, and there just doesn’t seem to be enough of it.
Even though atmospheric water generators might not be found in every home, they are an excellent way to ensure your house always has access to water.
As long as the price is within your budget and you live in a humid environment, these machines can produce enough water for the whole family.
If you have further questions, talk to your local retailer or contact a manufacturer for more information.
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Disclaimer: we are not lawyers, accountants or financial advisors and the information in this article is for informational purposes only. This article is based on our own research and experience and we do our best to keep it accurate and up-to-date, but it may contain errors. Please be sure to consult a legal or financial professional before making any investment decisions.
2 thoughts on “Atmospheric Water Generators: 10 Things (2023) You Should Know”
loved the information, but how to build or where to buy would be most helpful. I’m sure a google search or YouTube search would yield results. I hope some others who have built one, or bought one will chime in. But with that said, Thank You for the blog!
Thank you, Dianne. I will look into adding more information on how to build/where to buy an atmospheric water generator.