Instructables

What is the water that comes out of an AC unit?

I do work for a lady, and she seems to have a hoarding problem.  She has 100's +  bottles, gallons, AND trash cans of this "water". What is it? AND what is it safe to do with?

Picture of What is the water that comes out of an AC unit?
Burf2 years ago
It's just water. It condenses out of the air, accumulates in the drip pan of the A/C and is drained away by the condensate line. It is fine to use for watering plants, trees your lawn, etc. I wouldn't recommend it be used for human or animal consumption because of the contaminants it could pick up while in the A/C drain system. Otherwise, it is safe to use for most other purposes.
onrust (author)  Burf2 years ago
This lady swears it is pure distilled water. Is this not true? I agree that it is not.
LOL , it seems like distilled because of the process , but distilled means water from which impurities, such as dissolved salts and colloidal particles, have been removed by one or more processes of distillation; chemically pure water. But this isn't a closed system the water condenses on the outside of the coils that may have some lead in the solder as it's not meant to be used as drinking water . If you look in the pan you will see a surprising amount of dirt , of course there is the possibility of just about anything in there . Our dogs used to like to pee on our outside condenser . " boy did the cover rust " There are many bad things that others have listed for you . Like Burf says it's fine for watering the plants but not for people or any animals you like .
onrust (author)  randomray2 years ago
You hit it ray. BUT it is silver soldered and no lead.
Vyger onrust2 years ago
It is distilled water and if you made a clean system for collecting it it would be perfectly fine. Its condensed from the water vapor in the air which is by definition distilled.
It's been done. That is to say there are commercial products that extract drinkable water from air using this principle.
http://www.islandsky.com/
http://www.airqua.com/
http://www.aquasciences.com/
Burf onrust2 years ago
It is distilled water but because the interior surfaces of the A/C that the water comes into contact with aren't pristine clean and free of; dust, pollen, mold, insecticides, lead solder,chemicals, etc, they can contaminate the water.
frollard onrust2 years ago
it is distilled water, but as others say it didn't come from a closed system, it came from regular air -- and if the water could condense on the cold cooling coil, then other impurities in the air could too, particularly bacteria and dust.
It sounds like it's distilled to me.  I mean it used to be vapor, and then it condensed on a cold surface.  That's what distilled means.  Maybe it could pick up some impurities from the condenser surface, or from the container it is put in.  Maybe dust from the air,  but other than that it should be pretty pure.  It won't have the same soluble salts that tap water has.
randomray2 years ago
This isn't an answer , but a question . Where on earth is she keeping this water ? In her house ? I hope her house is on a slab or the weight from all that water will crack her foundation . Then the neighborhood goes bad because of the crack house .
onrust (author)  randomray2 years ago
OMG! Its horrible. She has water bottles, milk jugs, 2 liter bottles, trash cans, buckets, even wine bottles stuffed with plastic bags as corks! Lets just say there is a hording issue here!........ Now tell him what he wins!
Normally, it horrible to answer a question WITH a question. YOU, sooooo hit the nail on the head, I'm sending a patch! I''m thinking Monte Hall
seandogue2 years ago
It's simple condensation from the coils. I'm not all that sure it's safe to drink, due to the intrusion of corroded fin material that is likely dissolved into the water.
David972 years ago
The warter is just removed from the air (like a dehumidifyer). It is fine to tip in the garden.
The warter is collected in a tray at the bottom of the indor unit and drained so it doesn't fry eletronics or go back in the air.
I wouldn't recomend drinking it but any dirtness would just be from any dirt trapped in the unit. It would be no diffrent than drinking from a dirty glass.
iceng2 years ago
Like a dehumidifier in a moist room collects water.
Would you drink it ?
Probably if the city water failed.
Older people can get legionnaires disease.
John Rush iceng2 years ago
iceng is 100% right. legionnaires loves to live in AC condensation (and chillers, and fountains). Even otherwise healthy people can catch it. She should pour the water on her garden or lawn.
iceng2 years ago
Keep in mind the cold AC surface that water vapor condenses upon
was not made of materials safe to drink from. The solder used to
join coils of tubing could dissolve heavy metals into the drain.
The coating paints of pans to prevent rust could be carcinogenic.

Insects that frequent these pools of water, yes pools because some
are collected until a level is reached and then an auto pump motor is
used to remove the evaporated water to a higher drain.

Distilled water implies a still to first heat and cause known water to
evaporate in a closed system before condensing back to a liquid under
the supposition that the undesirable materials in the water have a higher
boiling point and will not travel with the water to condense in the distillate.

Similarly materials in the water like alcohols must first be fractionally
boiled out of the water and pre removed as part of a true distilling process.

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