Freon composting

So the air conditioning on the second floor leaks a not-inconsiderable amount onto my scutilagium. The devil's ivy actually grows toward the drip, like an athlete straining to catch a ball. I have a bucket that catches the water. I hate to throw water out (guess where I live); so I've watered the parlor palm with it recently. If you compost bananas its basically like putting potassium in the soil.
Any organic chemists out there to say exactly what freon in measured quantities would do to the flora? Good, bad, good how? AIUI, air conditioning was developed when the toxicity was kept to a minimally acceptable dose. If no one can say perhaps I will be reporting back on my experiment.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Mike wrote:

The refrigerant is a sealed system. What is "leaking" is condensate -- distilled water. I wouldn't necessarily drink it (could be contaminated with traces of lead, aluminum, and copper, plus whatever it picks up from dust in the air), but it is great for plants.
Best regards, Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If Freon was leaking out, it would quickly evaporate, and your a/c would soon cooling the air. As the previous poster pointed out, it's just water. Sort of like how water drips off of the a/c unit under the car.
The water may pick up some heavy metals from the ducting, and whatever nutrients it picks up from the dust, both of which are probably minimal, and don't produce a health hazard to you or the plant, and are insignificant as far as a fertilizer is concerned.
You seem to suggest that the upstairs' a/c is window a/c unit, or atleast I hope it is. If the water is dripping out of the register for the house a/c unit, you need to consider periodically cleaning the ducting out. Mold and other bacteria can grow in the damp ducting, and produce a funky smell, and occasionally become a health hazard.
-S
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

drip,
the
the
The water is unlikely to have any refrigerant in it, freon is a gas a normal temperature and pressure and would dissipate, and if there was a trace in the water it wouldn't do very much as freon is quite inert under normal conditions. Just because it harms the ozone layer (high altitude UV bombarded O2 and O3 are not normal condtions) does not mean it is a deadly poison. Freon was originally adopted as a refrigerant, in part, because leaks were fairly harmless. I would have no problem using this water on plants that I was not going to eat.
David
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
David Hare-Scott wrote: [...] Freon was originally adopted as a refrigerant, in part, because

It makes no difference, since (as you point out) at our levels of the atmosphere, Freon(tm) is inert. It needs a great dollop of energy to react with anything. In the upper atmosphere, that energy is provided by intense UV radiation (hence the problems with the ozone layer.)
BTW, you've been breathing the stuff for years. Old refrigerators and A/C systems leaked, and when dumped (as most of them were), the condensors broke and Freon vented into the atmosphere.
If you want to exercise your paranoid tendencies by worrying about the veggies from your garden, worry more about pathogens. You have no control over the beasties that use your garden as a toilet. :-)
Have fun!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 04 Nov 2005 07:10:08 GMT, "David Hare-Scott"

Actually if the air conditioner is an older unit it is probably using R-12 as a refrigerant. If it is a newer unit then probably R-406 of a mixture of several refrigerants (chlorinated fluorocarbons). However, without a lot of boring science. Refrigerants have a low vapor pressure and a low boiling point. Any leak from your unit will vaporize when exposed to atmospheric pressure and or average room temperature. Most refrigerants are notorious for reacting with ozone. Most are also quite toxic if exposed to high temperature. They will "break down" forming phosgene gas. There will be no refrigerant in the drip water. The only contaminant you may pick up is a very slight bit of lubricating oil. If there is any it will be visible floating on the water.. The liquid you are collecting (provided this is an air cooled machine) is condensate water. This is water that has condensed on the evaporator from the atmosphere. This water is as good as distilled water. You can use it for refilling auto batteries, irons anything that requires distilled water. I don't know a hell of a lot about plants. But I would imagine plants would do well. There would be no chlorine, fluoride or anything associated with treated water. Interesting experiment.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.