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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The drain line for my AC exits the house about 3 inches off the ground. During the hot summers here in Texas, it's putting out at least 10 gallons a day into the yard. I would like to devise a system to pump this water into a rain barrel next to the drain line. I've googled and googled and been to Home Depot a bunch of times to try to research and come up with a sound design, but I'm just coming up against a lot of roadblocks and I need some help/input.

First of all, is this just a waste of my time and money? I could obviously just reroute the runoff into a garden, but I don't like the lack of flexibility there. Storing that water and using it for whatever I want is much more appealing.

The biggest obstacle is what kind of pump to use. Even the smallest sump pump seems like a lot more power and size than I need. A fountain/waterfall pump might be more appropriate, but can I piggyback a float switch on a fountain pump? How big does the reservoir on the ground need to be to house a float switch?

Has anyone seen a setup for harvesting/storing AC condensate?
 

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I wouldn’t use a condensate pump outside without a cover. But a condensate pump is perfect for what you need. I would just install it inside and run the clear plastic hose through your existing pipe that comes out the wall and into your drum


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Naildriver
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You have two worlds. One where gravity takes the condensate to the lowest point outside. The other is where you may be below grade and must pump the condensate up and out. It would be perfectly fine to reroute your condensate into a pump and use clear tubing to take it wherever you want. I am not sure how the water will act with plant life, as it surely has some chemicals in it leeching from the coils, etc. May be fine, but I'd check it first.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You have two worlds. One where gravity takes the condensate to the lowest point outside. The other is where you may be below grade and must pump the condensate up and out. It would be perfectly fine to reroute your condensate into a pump and use clear tubing to take it wherever you want. I am not sure how the water will act with plant life, as it surely has some chemicals in it leeching from the coils, etc. May be fine, but I'd check it first.
Thanks for the info. From what I've read, the condensate is relatively pure H2O with little to no chemical residue from the coils. But if anybody has heard different, please share.
 

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Why can't you just re-route the condensate pipe directly into the rain barrel, or is the barrel top higher in elevation than your air handler?
 

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I am not sure how the water will act with plant life, as it surely has some chemicals in it leeching from the coils, etc. May be fine, but I'd check it first.
in certain ways it's better than tap - it''s practically distilled minus the crap in the air, brazing material and aluminum.

should be okay for plants, even garden hoses have bad chemicals.
 

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retired framer
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I would seal the condensate pump in a five gallon pail it could be lowered to ground level with an inlet pipe and a discharge hose. The water will be mixed with rain water.
 

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Naildriver
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My client had not ever used bleach in their trap, and asked why it was backing up. I pulled the trap and forced water through it. I thought she would puke. Snot looking stuff came out. I had to explain to her how to keep it free running. I wouldn't EVER use snotty condensate water for anything.
 

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Water quality issues aside.

I would use this, https://amzn.to/2JpO9Kx sink a bucket into the ground under the condensate drain and let this pump it to where you need. Maybe adding the cover to the bucket making holes as needed, as well as any other modifications to keep anything but the condensate out.

Perfectly fine for plants, especially landscape plants.

Vegetables?

Not sure how it would affect them but, you DO breathe the air that the condensate is made from......INCLUDING the dirt that washes off the coil, AND any of the mold and bacteria that COULD be on the coil is also being put into the air. Transfer from the metals is negligible unless someone used lead anywhere on the drain.

Only time to REALLY worry is when service is done and the coil, pan, and drains are treated with chemicals to clean them.

Good luck,

CC
 

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Water quality issues aside.

I would use this, https://amzn.to/2JpO9Kx sink a bucket into the ground under the condensate drain and let this pump it to where you need. Maybe adding the cover to the bucket making holes as needed, as well as any other modifications to keep anything but the condensate out.

Perfectly fine for plants, especially landscape plants.

Vegetables?

Not sure how it would affect them but, you DO breathe the air that the condensate is made from......INCLUDING the dirt that washes off the coil, AND any of the mold and bacteria that COULD be on the coil is also being put into the air. Transfer from the metals is negligible unless someone used lead anywhere on the drain.

Only time to REALLY worry is when service is done and the coil, pan, and drains are treated with chemicals to clean them.

Good luck,

CC
Yeah, that was the thinking for a long time. Many years ago. Then some people got Legionnaires' disease. So anytime is a good time to worry about it.
 

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Naildriver
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I think for the most part people are praising the purity of the water as it comes off the coils. From there is where the problem(s) start. Condensate lines are akin to running your household drinking water through a filter made of slime. No matter how pure the condensate is, it is degraded once it leaves the coils and enters the pipes, especially the trap.
 

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I think for the most part people are praising the purity of the water as it comes off the coils..

Its not really coming off the coils clean either.


Think of it as washing your dishes by just running tap water over the plate. And then when the water runs off the plate clear. Capture it in a glass, and drink it. Don't actually do that.


The coil is dirty, so any water running off of it is dirty.



 
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