Saturday, June 29, 2019

Free Water - Part Deux

Our testing found that the main HVAC unit on our house in the middle of June and July was producing 10 gallons of condensation a day. I picked up a 90 gallon tank and with some help from my daughter's boyfriend, have it now catching the condensation from the main system. In theory, this tank should store 9 days of condensation from that system. If we find we need more storage (I usually shoot for 14-21 days worth), I will find a second tank and plumb them in line.

I used the same overflow configuration as on the wine barrel, it has a 6 ft garden hose coming off the top edge of the tank leading down to a female how barb screwed on to the hose containing a screened washer like used on washing machines to keep out the mosquitoes. 

I riveted aluminum window screen wire in the center of the lid to allow filling and keeping out mosquitoes and leaves.

The tank had a 1 1/4" fitting in the bottom, so I installed a ball valve and then reduced to a 1 inch Tee. On one side of the tee, I reduced to 1/2" and installed a hose bib. On the other side, I installed a 3/4" ball valve. Plans are to run 3/4" PVC pipe under the house to provide a hose bib on the other side of the house.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Free Water?

We've experienced a few drought periods that last anywhere from three weeks to a couple of months. It can be frustrating when you've planted new trees or shrubs or watching your lawn die. The alternative to watching it all die is to water, but that can quickly get expensive if you don't have a well or access to reclaimed water. In the past, we remedied this by diverting a gutter downspout to a rain barrel. But without gutters and during a drought that doesn't even help. Another source to consider is your HVAC. During the hottest days, the HVAC system displaces condensation through a drain line. You might be very surprised at just how much water that produces in a day's time.

Our home, the "Charm House" has a main system with an air handler in the attic and a mini-split in the master bedroom. I elected to determine how much water each system was producing. So, I cut the drain line off on each one just high enough to place a 5 gallon bucket under the drain line, but high enough that when the bucket filled and overflowed it wouldn't back up the drain line. I was pleasantly surprised to find the mini-split produced 1/2 - 3/4 of a 5 gallon bucket of water a day (2.5-3 gallons). The main system produced closer to 10 gallons of water a day. That spells out to me a pretty good source of water that could be collected and used for watering during drought periods.

I just completed the collection system for the mini-split. Here is what it took:

(1) 55 gallon used wine barrel ordered from ($99.99 w free shipping)
(1) 1/2 inch MNPT brass hose bibb
(1) 3/4 inch black steel close nipple fitting
(1) 3/4 inch black steel 90 degree elbow
(1) 3/4 inch threaded male hose adapter to 3/4" pip thread
(1) rubber washer with screen diverter washer garden threads
(1 ) 3/4" barbed barb to garden hose female adapter fitting
(1) 6ft garden hose
(1) screen door repair patch 5 inch x 7 inch

Used 55 gallon wine barrel (as it arrived from

Drilled and 1/2 inch hose bib installed

drilled and 3/4 inch close nipple installed, 3/4 inch elbow installed, 3/4 inch hose adapter and 6ft hose installed for overflow

The screened hose washer goes in the 3/4" barbed barb to garden hose female adapter fitting and the the adapter screws on the hose (this prevents mosquitos getting in the barrel thru the overflow drain line)

3/4 inch hole drilled in top of barrel, screen wire cut and stapled over the hole to prevent mosquitoes from getting in the barrel. Mini-split HVAC drain line cut and draining over the hole in the top of the barrel.