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The goal of the LEAF Network is to connect people with the benefits of edible trees, and to connect edible trees with the stewardship of people.

Harvest Condensate​ Water

​Click Here for a PDF of Harvest Condensate Water​

Moisture in humid air condenses on cooling coils inside air conditioners, ice machines and other cold-producing machines and must be discharged from the machines. This discharged condensate water can be harvested to support plants. 

Sometimes condensate water it discharged through inaccessible pipes to the sewer or another discharge point. However, if condensate water is discharged to an accessible location, determine if this water can be routed to support a nearby tree. 

The volume of condensate water produced is higher when air is humid. This volume will change month-to-month depending on humidity and how often an air conditioner or other cold-producing machine is operated. To find out potential condesate production at your site, use a measuring cup and watch to measure the volume of water released nwithin a set period of time and convert this to gallons per day.  

Many people have air conditioners that are operated many hours a day in hot months. Check your AC unit to see how condensate water is discharged. If you can access this water stream, see if you could put this to beneficial use. One simply way to use water at a residential site is to reroute and/or extend the AC condensate drainpipe using a fitting and pipe or hose to drain is using gravity flow to a nearby edible tree. ​CAUTION: DO NOT ALLOW WATER TO BACK UP IN THE CONDENSATE DISCHARGE PIPE—THIS COULD DAMAGE THE AIR CONDITIONING UNIT.

Condensate is distilled water, so it is best used in combination with other water sources when applied to the soil of edible trees. ​

Air conditioning condensate and rooftop runoff are harvested in an 11,000 gallon tank at University of Arizona, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (CALA) building Underwood Family Sonoran Landscape Laboratory. Tanked water, along with tank overflow and greywater from a drinking fountain is directed into the landscape to support a lush native tree garden, as shown in the photos above.

ABOVE: Using a measuring cup, this AC unit was determined to yield about 2 cups of water every five minutes on a humid August day. This equals around 36 gallons every 24 hours in these conditions. 

BELOW: Water dripping from an ice machine condensate outlet fills a water glass.

CAUTION: Never eat anything that is not properly identified. It is your responsibility to ensure that all fruits, nuts, seeds, pods and other edible products of trees and shrubs are correctly identified and safe to eat before eating them or serving them to others.

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LEAF is under the fiduciary stewardship of the Arizona Community Tree Council, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

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