Condensation is formed when water vapor meets a colder surface and changes from a gas to a liquid which then collects on the cold surface. In the central air process of cooling, warm air passes through cool coils that serve to cool the air and recirculate it. During this process, condensate is formed and removed. Depending on the type of unit, this condensation is generally easily collected and utilized as distilled water.
Water collected from air conditioners is never to be consumed as drinking water due to the potential for heavy metal content from contact with the cooling coil and HVAC equipment. Even though air conditioner condensate water is basically distilled water, there is still potential for contamination. Use condensate water as you would collected rainwater as an irrigation for plants. Large commercial buildings can actually capture enough condensate to supply irrigation for surrounding landscaping.
A portion of the water from cooling towers is dumped periodically throughout the day to remove built-up minerals. This water needs to be replaced in the system, depending on how much water is dumped. Collecting the condensate and using it to replace dumped water allows for less mineral buildup due to its low mineral content and, consequently, less overall system dumping of water with mineral buildup.
Commercial and Industrial
More than 15,000 gallons of condensate water is produced by a 10,000 square foot commercial building, according to Alliance for Water Efficiency. Commercial buildings find that collecting the condensate from their cooling systems is beneficial to use for water-cooled equipment. Other uses include in decorative fountains, laundry operations, rinse water for washing equipment and vehicles and in evaporative coolers.
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