Texas homeowners harvesting water from air conditioners
McKinney, Texas (CNN) — It's something most people probably haven't thought much about: air conditioning condensation. But maybe you should. That water dripping off your A/C unit is the focus of a water conservation program in Texas. It's happening at Pat Lobb Toyota in McKinney. A nearly 9,000 gallon water tank provides all the landscaping water for the property. Over the years it has collected not just rain water, but also thousands of gallons of condensation coming from the air conditioning units that keep customers cool inside the showroom. In the seven years the dealership has been in business, they've estimated they've saved about $600,000 in what would have been water bill charges.
All the condensation that runs from the air conditioner comes through a pipe and directly into the tank. Just in the past week, the 300 gallon tank is about a third full already. At the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension in Dallas, they teach people how to configure barrels to capture water from home A/C units. You might be surprised how much water your unit pulls out of the air and drips out, usually down the sewer drain as you're keeping cool inside: five to twenty gallons a day depending on the size home and unit you have. Harvesting those drops could provide up to 600 extra gallons of water a month for your flower beds. That won't cut your water bill enough to save for one of those new cars back at the dealership, but it just might save some struggling spots in your landscape. The stifling heat in Texas, the ongoing drought, and the water restrictions because of it, make this water conservation program a great way to save water and money.