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
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.
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.
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 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. :-)
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
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.
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