With the current drought in the Western Cape, mandatory water conservation rules are restricting water usage to 50 litres per person per day. While this is a tough call, you should always try to save water. Thus, taking advantage of unconventional water sources such as cooling system condensate, can provide you with water for a variety of applications and decrease your usage of potable water. Greywater is one such source.
What exactly is greywater?
Any household wastewater – water from washing machines, baths or dishwashers – is considered greywater and shouldn’t be wasted. Another source of greywater can be accessed right from your cooling system in the form of condensate. Many people don’t even realise that this water source can be recycled for reuse as long as it’s not for human consumption.
How can I harvest water from my cooling system?
Whenever warm air is chilled by your cooling system/aircon, humidity in the air produces condensation. Generally, this water is drained and wasted. When it’s really hot and humid, your cooling system could produce anything from 20 – 75 litres of water per day. That’s a lot of water to waste when you can easily capture it in a bucket.
What can aircon condensate be used for?
Since this greywater source doesn’t contain chlorine or any other additives present in drinking water, it can be used to water indoor or outdoor plants. You can use a collection system or have it drained directly into your garden if so inclined.
2. Outdoor Cleaning
Cooling system condensate doesn’t contain chemicals and soap found in other greywater sources. This means you can use it to wash outdoor furniture, rinse windows or even wash your car.
3. Water Features
While you might need to filter it before using it in water features, it can be done. Marsh plants can assist with the filtering process to create a nearly clean and stable water source for a fish pond.
4. Flush Toilets
Depending on your toilet, flushing it uses roughly 9 litres of water. By using condensate to flush toilets, you can easily decrease your potable water usage on a daily basis.
Air Conditioner Condensate should not be used for the following
It is not safe to drink cooling system condensate without special filtering and proper treatment.
2. Fish Tanks
Condensate carry contaminants like algae. Most domestic greywater is alkaline but condensate is neutral. It shouldn’t be used for aquariums or fish tanks where the pH balance of the water is crucial.
Some businesses and public buildings are recycling condensate on a massive scale. With the current water restrictions in the Western Cape and DayZero close by, this method of water preserving should be seriously considered. Why not join in and save even more water by using cooling system condensate.