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How to Save Air Conditioner Water for Plants

By Meg Butler ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.


Things You Will Need

  • Cheese cloth
  • Bungee cord
  • Plastic trash can
  • Bucket or cup

About the Author


Based in Houston, Texas, Meg Butler is a professional farmer, house flipper and landscaper. When not busy learning about homes and appliances she's sharing that knowledge. Butler began blogging, editing and writing in 2000. Her work has appered in the "Houston Press" and several other publications. She has an A.A. in journalism and a B.A. in history from New York University.