Can the water from my AC drain be used for watering?
As California is currently experiencing a serious drought, a customer posed the great question “Can I use the funneled water from my Air Conditioning/Heating Unit to water my plants? Trying to conserve.”
The answer is YES!…with a few exceptions.
The water that you may have noticed coming from a drain on the exterior of your home comes directly from your home’s HVAC system. This is either condensate water produced from your system’s air conditioning evaporative coil in the cooling months or condensate produced from your gas furnace system in the heating months. The water produced form the air conditioner is purely condensate water like that from a cold glass of ice tea on a hot summer day and is totally safe to use and harvest in a bucket outside of your home to water your plants. The only time you would want to shy away from using this water is after you have had a chemical coil cleaning performed on your indoor or evaporative coil. After this type of cleaning you should allow for a period of 14 days for the chemicals to flush out of your condensate drain before using this water. After this time period it is safe to use.
During the heating months if your home is equipped with a high efficiency furnace it will produce levels of condensate out of this same drain in the heating months. This water, while it may look the same, is highly acidic and is not safe to use for watering.
So, the verdict… In Summer use and harvest the water produced from your condensate drain, which can be up to 2 gallons of water an hour! This is based upon the humidity in the air and the overall tonnage of your air conditioner and avoid this water in the heating months.
It’s all of our responsibility…good luck doing your part to conserve water!