If you have an air conditioner, you’ve probably noticed that condensation builds up on the unit. That water tends to drip off the unit and onto the ground beneath it. When air conditioners run during hot, humid periods, they can produce a lot of water. What’s in this AC water? Can you water your lawn or plants with it?
As air conditioning water is simply excess vapor from outside air taken from the environment, the liquid is not considered toxic. And you don’t have to worry about the appliance mixing gas or any other chemicals in that water.
On the other hand, this water passes through copper tubes that form the cooling coil in an air conditioner. This may sound worrying, but no evidence suggests it causes contamination. The two big disadvantages of using air conditioning water for plants are the lack of essential nutrients and the possible growth of bacteria in the unit.
What happens if I water the plants with water from the Air Conditioner?
The first thing you should know is where the valve that expels the excess water from your air conditioner is located, in order to be able to place a container that collects it. Once the container is full, you could reuse that water for other tasks like washing the car, as long as it’s not too dirty.
- Regarding whether or not you can water the plants with it, the experts at Your Air Conditioning indicate that, although you can use it irregularly, it is not the ideal water for them.
- This water lacks nutrients so you should add them yourself, for example by mixing it with liquid humus or using a specific fertilizer for the plant.
- On the other hand, its pH is slightly acidic, so it would only be valid for watering acid-loving plants such as camellias, gardenias or azaleas. Forget about plants that like calcareous soils such as roses, lilacs, brooms or boxwood.
What type of water is safe for plants?
Each plant is different and that is why it is so important to know what its irrigation needs are, in fact, there are some that hardly need water and excess could be fatal for them. In addition to keeping in mind the frequency and the amount that usually varies between seasons, it is important to understand that not all water is suitable for them.
Lack of nutrients in Air Conditioning water
As mentioned earlier, the water produced by the air conditioner is distilled, and the external moisture in the air is transformed into steam. The unit’s cooling components condense the vapor back to liquid. This may seem clean and beneficial, but the nutrients the plants need are lost because the water is not mixing with the other elements of the Earth.
Plants need minerals for photosynthesis to occur properly. If you water your plants with tap water, they will get these minerals. However, tap water is also not ideal for watering plants, as this water contains a lot of minerals and chlorine.
A great solution to this would be to water your plants with air conditioning water and use a fertilizer of your choice as said early. With this solution, your plants can have pure water without harmful additives from tap water and receive the proper nutrients from the fertilizer. Even with the fertilizer solution, there can still be some issues with the possible growth of bacteria in the air conditioning water.
Bacteria in air conditioning water
If you have a window unit, there is likely a small hole in the bottom of the unit that allows water to drain continuously. This is great because it avoids the possibility of water flowing back into the unit and worse, standing still causing bacteria to grow.
Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria and some types of insects, such as mosquitoes. This is exacerbated if you allow air conditioning water to accumulate in buckets for a long time.
Plants are more resistant to bacteria than animals, but an overabundance of bacteria can harm plants. An even bigger problem with bacteria in stagnant air conditioning water is when it is used for plants inside your home.
You are allowing harmful bacteria and pathogens to grow inside your home, which can be dangerous to your health. Therefore, it is important never to allow the water in the air conditioner to gather for too long.
Using AC water on Outdoor Plants
Distilled water is in many ways similar to rainwater. Since most outdoor plants and foliage do not have people to provide water conveniently, rainwater is the main source of water for plants.
This may seem contradictory to the argument against distilled water, but outdoor plants can absorb all the minerals carried by rainwater through their roots.
So while rainwater may not be ideal on its own, minerals are replaced through soil collection. So if you have plants under a window air conditioner or near an outdoor unit, the distilled water will mix with the soil and no nutrients will be lost.
There could be a problem with too much water if the unit is constantly dripping water on plants or grass, so be aware of this.
Using AC water on Indoor Plants or Vases
Using air conditioning water to water potted plants that are grown indoors may not be entirely safe. Unlike outdoor plants, indoor plants do not have the advantage of having the surrounding outdoor environment to compensate for the mineral loss.
Potted plants have less soil distribution than outdoor plants. For this reason, watering plants with air conditioning water only satisfies the basic hydration of indoor plants. Mineral loss is not severe for outdoor plants, but there can be some problems with indoor plants.
However, it’s not the ideal type of water to support healthy plant growth, so buy a fertilizer of your choice to help supply the nutrients your plant needs. Remember that it is not recommended to water your plants with air conditioning water that has been stagnant for a long time; this promotes the growth of bacteria.
Is AC water harmful?
Pure condensate water, like that from a refreshing glass of iced tea on a hot summer day, is what the air conditioner produces, and it is completely safe to use and harvest in a bucket outside of your house to water your plants.
Is AC water acidic?
On the pH scale, it ought to be neutral. If a person lives in a polluted region, such as an industrial neighbourhood, their AC water may be slightly acidic. Condensation from the ambient water vapor produces the AC water.