Air conditioners are great appliances that make summers more enjoyable and more bearable. Because they run during the summer when it’s hot and humid, they produce condensation which comes in the form of water while in operation. Many homeowners often question whether or not the water from their air conditioner is safe to drink or if it has a viable use.
Water produced by your air conditioner isn’t safe to drink for humans. It’s the result of warm air inside your home coming into contact with the ice-cold air conditioning coils above your furnace. Water forms and gets redirected to a condensate drain pipe attached to your furnace. Because these coils and pipes are often dirty, the condensation from air conditioners shouldn’t be ingested.
Although air conditioner water isn’t safe for human consumption, there are a few ways to put it to use. In this article, we’re going to look at how to best utilize the condensation from your air conditioner as well as if it’s safe for your pets.
Is Water from an Air Conditioner Safe to Drink?
Water from your air conditioner contains many potentially harmful substances and shouldn’t be drunk by humans. Because the water is being pulled from inside your home, it contains whatever impurities are currently inside your home. This includes chemicals, heavy metals, and dirt particles. The air turned to condensation is also passing through your air conditioning coils and drain pipes which means that it will contain anything that those pipes and coils contain.
This can include bits of metal or copper, as well as dirt particles and impurities found in your condensate drain pipes. The water from your air conditioner will likely be worse than tap water and will definitely be worse than bottled or purified water.
If you’re looking to make your water less acidic, read this article about condensate neutralizers.
Is Air Conditioner Condensation Safe to Drink for Dogs?
It varies from homeowner to homeowner about whether or not their air conditioner condensation is safe for dogs to drink. The water will contain trace amounts of chemicals and metals, but dogs have a heartier constitution than humans do. It’s a safer bet not to allow your dogs to drink air conditioner condensation, simply because you don’t know for sure what’s inside of it.
If your home is clean and you keep your air conditioner and indoor coils cleaned regularly, then the water will be fairly clean. Using a quality coil cleaner occasionally will go a long way in cleaning up any dirt and debris in your coils.
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If you don’t make a good habit of keeping your house and air conditioning coils clean, then the water will likely be too contaminated for dogs and pets to drink. If your dog happens to drink water from the air conditioner and starts to show symptoms of sickness such as vomiting or diarrhea, you should take them to an emergency animal clinic immediately.
People often make the mistake of thinking that because their dogs drink water from a multitude of sources such as lakes, ponds, puddles, and anything else they have access to, that condensate water is safe for them. However, there’s no telling what the other sources of water are actually doing to their dogs.
Dogs can contract diseases such as giardia from drinking contaminated water. This contaminated water can come from anywhere, even from sources that your dog has drunk from before. If your dog has the habit of drinking from mud puddles, for example, it might be perfectly safe one day but unsafe the next. The longer water sits in the same place, the greater the chance that it has become contaminated.
Water can sit in the same place for only one to three days before it runs the risk of contamination. Bacteria, mold spores, chemicals, and particles all start to develop or form the longer water sits in the same place. So, while a fresh puddle of rain is safe to drink from, that same puddle of rain might be contaminated a day or two later.
For this reason, it’s always best that you only let your dogs and pets drink the fresh or alkaline water that you have personally given them. Air conditioner condensation might be safe to drink as it’s coming out of the condensate pipe, but as it sits and pools, it becomes progressively worse for your dogs.
Is Water from an Air Conditioner Safe for Plants?
While humans and animals shouldn’t consume the water from an air conditioner, it’s perfectly safe for plants. Watering your plants with AC condensation is actually a great way to save money on your water bill. It’s also a great way to save and preserve water for when you and the people around you need it the most.
Whether you’re planting new plants or have older and more developed plants, condensation is perfectly safe for them. The chemicals and metals found in your AC condensation pose no threat to plant life and is, therefore, a viable option to keep your plants watered and nourished.
Is Condensate Water the Same as Distilled Water?
Condensate water is, essentially, the same as distilled water with one major difference. Distilled water found in stores and groceries, usually undergoes some form of purification if the intention is to use it as drinking water. If distilled water is bottled and is intended only to be used for things outside of drinking, it doesn’t always undergo purification and is the same as condensate water.
For this reason, you should always check the distilled water that you buy to make sure it’s been purified. Drinking unpurified, distilled water can have the same effect as drinking condensate water since they’re basically the same thing.
You also shouldn’t make a habit of drinking distilled water on a regular basis. Even after purification of some sort, there’s still the chance that distilled water contains the same chemicals and metals as condensation.
FAQs about condensate water
Can I use condensate water for cleaning and washing?
Yes, condensate water is perfectly safe when used for cleaning windows, furniture, floors, and anything else that needs good washing. You can even use condensate water to wash your clothes if you’re washing things by hand.
Can I use condensate water for steaming and ironing?
Condensate water is perfect for steaming and ironing and can save money that you would normally spend on distilled water. Condensation can also be used for things like diffusers and humidifiers inside your home.
Does AC condensate water contain chlorine?
One of the big benefits of condensation from your AC is that it doesn’t contain chlorine and other chemicals often found in city or tap water. This lack of chlorine is one of the reasons that AC condensate is great for so many things and isn’t deadly to you or your pets. Despite this fact, AC condensation still shouldn’t be ingested.
Nick Lopresti is the founder of YourH2Home and a home improvement expert. He has years of experience writing about various home improvement topics, mostly as it pertains to water systems.