How to Save Air Conditioner Water for Plants
Once the temperature starts to climb, utility bills follow suit. Your family needs the air-conditioning unit running to keep them cool indoors, and the plants in your garden need extra water to keep them from drying out in the sun. Luckily you can offset one part of your energy bill by saving the water that your air-conditioning unit produces to water your plants. Every type of air conditioner drains water and since it comes from condensate it is pure and there is no need to sterilize it.
Cover the opening of your plastic trash can with a layer of cheese cloth or other mesh material. Press the center of the mesh down until it is slightly lower than the lid of the trash can. Then secure it with a length of bungee cord.
Locate the point where your air-conditioning unit drains its water. It may come out through a condensation pipe or a drainage hole. Either aperture will likely be located somewhere on the underside of the outermost edge of the unit. The easiest way to spot it is to look for draining water once the unit is turned on.
Place the trash can under the drainage point. As water leaves the air-conditioning unit it will collect in the trash can, which will collect and store the water.
Use a cup or bucket to scoop water out of the trash can and use it to water your plants as needed.
Periodically clear the trash can's mesh covering of debris.
Run An Air Conditioner
Even if you’ve replaced your old central air or room air conditioner with a brand new model with an SEER 13 energy rating, there are ways you can ensure that it works as efficiently now -- and in future -- as the day it was installed. Give your AC a rest during periods you’ll be away. Rather than running the fan in your air conditioner to circulate cool air, invest in a box fan to move air between rooms and improve ventilation and leave the air conditioner fan on the “auto” setting. A digital thermostat with a day and night programming capability can save energy by cutting back on cooling when it’s not needed -- such as while you’re sleeping, out of the house at work and school and off to the cabin for the weekend -- without having to remember to change it manually. The less freely air circulates around the condenser and compressor coils, the harder the blower and fan have to work to send cool air into the building’s interior and vent hot air away from it. Vacuum or replace filters and clean delicate aluminum blades with a soft brush.
- Cheese cloth
- Bungee cord
- Plastic trash can
- Bucket or cup
- Curbly: How to Use Air Conditioner Condensation to Water Plants
- American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers: Top Ten Things About Air Conditioning
- Environmental and Energy Study Institute: Air Conditioner Efficiency Standards: SEER 13 vs. SEER 12
- U.S. Department of Energy: Tips: Air Conditioners
- U.S. Department of Energy: Room Air Conditioners
- U.S. Department of Energy: Energy Savers: Heating and Cooling
- Oregon Department of Energy: Energy Tips