Meg’s Guide to Gardening: Save on Your Water Bill

Summertime is the worst for utility bills. The air conditioner runs all day long and the plants need more water than ever. But by combining the two problems you might be able to save on your water bill. Your air conditioner creates a considerable amount of condensate as it works. Collect that water as it sheds and you can recycle the clean waste water. Your plants can drink all they want while your water bill savings add up.

Locate the Air Conditioner’s Drain
Every air conditioning unit has a drain. Usually there’s a hose or PVC pipe connected to the back of the unit. Follow it to its end point outdoors where all that useful water is draining into the ground and keeping you from saving on your water bill. This is the collection spot. If the drain is made of PVC pipe and low to the ground, attach a flexible rubber hose to the end of the pipe that is long enough to stretch up and into the container and recycle the water.

Create the Drain Catcher

Start with a large plastic container. A trash can or storage container is ideal. Scrub the container with soapy water if it’s used to make sure it’s safe for your plants. Next, place a layer of cheesecloth over the container’s opening to keep leaves and debris out. Secure it in place by wrapping bungee cord around the top of the container.

Put the Drain Catcher in Place
Place the drain catcher onto the drainage spot, directly underneath the air conditioner’s drain in a spot where it can easily catch the draining water. If necessary, place the drainage hose onto the top of the cheese cloth or right underneath it. Once the drain catcher is in place, it will work independently to catch and recycle the draining water.

Save Money on Your Water Bill
Whenever your plants need a drink, access the drain catcher’s recycled water instead of going to the hose. Keep a smaller container in the drain catcher at all times. Connect it to the inner lip of the container with an “s” hook. Use the container to fill up your watering can. Transfer the water to your garden or houseplants without putting a dent in your water costs.

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