If you run an air conditioner, you have a source of water, as a result of dehumidification in the AC. Considered grey water, the condensation dripping from the a/c drain hose is free of chlorine, fluoride, salt and chemicals found in tap or pool water. This condensate is a hidden boon that has many household uses. It’s not good to drink though.
Condensate from air conditioners or A/C is essentially distilled water, and is low in mineral content, but it may contain bacteria. Air conditioning cwater can amplify Legionella bacteria and other airborne bacteria, and it has been shown to be the source of outbreaks in hospitals, motels, and cruise ships. So think twice about drinking it. But it doesn’t mean it should go to waste.
In hot, humid areas, an air conditioner can produce 18 gallons (68 liters) of water a day – although in arid areas the gain is much more modest, maybe only one liter daily. But most often it goes to waste, dripping down the side of buildings and evaporating away.
A/C drip water isn’t safe for drinking, as you can’t determine how pure it is when it leaves the A/C unit. Being basically distilled water, it lacks the essential calcium, magnesium, and potassium obtained from ordinary water sources. If filtered and sterilized, it could theoretically serve for emergencies, but wouldn’t supply the minerals humans need. But you can still use it. Why not?
Gather the condensate in a bucket or even a barrel, if you have one.
Air conditioner water can be used for:
- Washing windows and tiled floors. A/C condensate is also the logical choice for outdoor chores like washing patio floors and garden paving, your car, and garden furniture.
- Flushing toilets.
- Washing clothes, especially delicate hand-washables.
- Steam ironing. No need to buy distilled water for your iron; you can get it free.
- And plants like it. Whether you have a few potted plants on a sunny windowsill or an entire vegetable garden, go ahead and water your plants with a/c condensate. We have several of our units dripping right into the garden.
Sort of like getting water out of thin air.
Using A/C condensate, you’ll save money on your water bills and conserve earth’s dwindling water resources. Pretty green of you, I’d say. Want more tips for a healthy, sustainable home? Read these 5 reasons why you need to air our your house.
More sources for creating fresh water: