Can a Peltier cooler be used to extract moisture from the air using off-the-grid power?

I was wondering how to get water if my local water utility company failed to provide safe and clean water.

In the video above, I also show how you can salvage a 12V fan from a dead computer’s power supply unit.

Salvaging a 12V DC fan from a PSU

Salvaging a 12V DC fan from a PSU

Parts used in experiment:

  • Peltier cooler (also called TEC or Thermo Electric Cooler)
  • liquid CPU cooler
  • portable 12V battery
  • temperature gun
  • 12V cooling fan salvaged from computer power supply
  • thermal paste

Water dripping from a Peltier cooler as the ice melts.

My conclusion after testing this is that yes, Peltier coolers can extract water out of the air.  However, I question if this way of getting water is practical or economical.  In my area, my time would be better spent getting water in other ways:

  • Digging a well
  • Capturing the water from an air conditioning unit
  • Distilling water from the lake across the street from my house
  • Distilling water from the creek that runs through my property
  • Capturing rain water

Because water is abundant where I am located, I will stop testing Peltier coolers for the purpose of capturing water.  (Not sure why exactly I felt compelled to do these tests anyhow… was mostly curious.  Oh yeah, I did have an idea that maybe I could set up a drip irrigation system with these in my garden with a solar panel attached to them.  No need to run pipes and plumbing if the Peltier coolers could drip water directly over plants on my property.)

More Water Condensation

One idea that could improve this design is to attach a metal plate as a heat sink to the cold side.  The cold temp would be distributed over a larger surface area.  If the plate is big enough, we would see no ice because the temperature would not fall low enough.  We probably just need the temp of the plate to be at or below the dew point to begin the condensation.  This would result in no ice, but probably more water flow.


Anyway, it works and I had fun with this experiment.  Next, I’ll try generating electricty with these thermoelectric devices.

Related Posts:

Peltier Cooler Generates Electricity


  1. Majid Majeed says:

    I am looking for Solar Dehumidifier ,for outside use to irrigate plant or tree .

  2. Sandbird says:

    Hi, I’ve done something similar with a Peltier cooler.

    but i cant get it to freeze like yours did. I use my CPU power supply to power the fan and the peltier and i use an old AMD heatsink to cool it down.
    Is it cause you used a liquid cooling systems that you got the peltier to make frost ? Or is the peltier itself that is crap :/ ?
    Mine is a 12v 91.2 Watt.

  3. Earl says:

    Well, the liquid cooling system certainly would make the Peltier more efficient at keeping the cool side at or below a freezing temperature. So you may have answered the question already. I’m not sure if my Peltiers would make frost if I used a simple aluminum heat sink.

    Another issue might be electrical current. I wonder if your PSU provides enough current to get your Peltier running all the way to 91 Watts.

    In one of your pictures, you show a glass of ice water on top of the Peltier. If you flip the Peltier upside-down and let the ice water dissipate the heat from the HOT side of your Peltier, that would be as good or better than my liquid cooling system. If you could keep part of the COLD side exposed to the air, then you could look for frost. If you then see frost, you know that you need a better heat sink for the HOT side. That could be a way to test your Peltier without having to purchase any other materials.

  4. Sandbird says:

    Thanks :) i’ll give a try as well.
    Probably you are right though..the heatsink isnt providing the proper cooling.
    I am pretty sure the psu is sufficient enough since its 12v. Not sure about the amps but it cant be that low :/
    I’ll try to freeze it better and let you know.
    Thanks again

  5. Earl says:

    Alright, good luck with your experiments and I’ll look forward to your update.

  6. Jing says:

    Hello, I am using 12v 6amp i also use heat-sink from my intel CPU with thermal paste on it but still it didn’t get the frost ice, how many ampere did you use?

  7. Earl says:

    I don’t remember how much current it was, but I connected a 12V battery directly to the Peltier, so the Peltier consumed as much current as it wanted. Did you measure the temperature of your Peltier?

    On a side note, I hope you know that Jesus Christ is alive and will return at the end. I hope you have accepted his free gift of salvation.

  8. walter says:

    i am working on thermoelectric module. but m not getting below 22 c. i am using 12 v laptop adapter for power supply. can you tel me which TEC MODULE you have used. i have used TE12706

  9. Patrick Sweetman says:

    Any news about a stand-alone solar-powered peltier-cooled water condenser for isolated drip irrigation use, as proposed above by Majid Majeed?

Leave a Reply