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Old 03-25-09, 09:20 PM   #11
bennelson
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I have the system working.

Right now, the PEX runs across the hallway, from the utility room, down the hall, straight to the toilet.

It's just set up like this to test out first. I don't have a drill bit that will go through tile, so I will do that when I get the tile bit and a little more time.

Overall, it seems to work pretty well. I think my pressure tank is a little undersized. That's only 2 gallons, and I think my toilet tank is more than that. Perhaps I can store more pressure with a length of 4" PVC pipe with end caps on it.

The pump runs for about 25 seconds when I do a full flush of the toilet tank. The pump internally has a pressure switch which kicks on at 30 psi and off at 50 psi.

For some reason, I have a leak between the 3/4" to 1&1/4" adapter, and the 1&1/4" pipe going into the pump. It looks like they are straight on to each other, so I don't think they are cross threaded. I used teflon tape (wrapped the right direction!)

Not sure why it's leaking. Maybe I just need to buy a new set of adapters and start over!?

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Old 03-26-09, 07:43 AM   #12
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Sounds great Ben. Where are our pics???

Any estimates on how many gallons of flushing this will save you?
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Old 03-26-09, 10:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Any estimates on how many gallons of flushing this will save you?
All of them.




Photos are coming.
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Old 03-27-09, 07:24 AM   #14
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Let me rephrase that. How many gallons a day/week/month?
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Old 03-27-09, 09:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daox View Post
Let me rephrase that. How many gallons a day/week/month?
That's a bit difficult to quantify because:
Unlike municipal water supply houses, I have no water meter.
My toilet uses varying amounts of water depending on how long you hold down the flush handle.

So, the best way to measure is actually going to be based on how often the 2000 gallon holding tank has to be emptied, then compare that to the frequency of tank emptying before the graywater system.


So, I basically got the system up and running last night. I am still running off a "temporary graywater tank", but the system is complete otherwise.

On to the photo show!

To see the entire photo album of graywater system construction go here: MobileMe Gallery

To start with, I bought a big pile of stuff from the store.

The expensive part was the shallow well jet pump. It was $140, but it produces plenty of pressure, is big and fast, and leaves me lots of room to expand my system.



I also bought a basic water filter system, to keep laundry dirt from clogging my pressure tank and toilet valve, and a 2 gallon pressure tank. ($5 on clearance!) 25' of 1/2 inch PEX plastic water line was nice and inexpensive. I can also snake it around through the crawl space however I want, without having to solder in 90 degree elbows!

I started off by assembling the pump and filter system. Later, I figured out that the one-way trap valve would have to go between the two, so I would have to pull it apart, add that, and put it all back together.



The pump comes with a built-in pressure switch, which turns the pump on at 30 psi and off at 50 psi, but it does NOT come with a power cord.
I cut off the female end of a spare computer power supply cable, and connected it to the power under the cover of the pump. Some pumps are 120v/240v switchable. This smaller pump was 120V only, so no worries about getting it wrong.



My Laundry/Utility room is really more of a walk-in closet than anything. The only place you can stand is the trap door, which is the access to the crawl-space.

I connected the pump to the pressure tank with a "tank-T", a cast brass connection with several different outputs of various sizes. That makes it real easy to add a pressure gauge, prime the pump, connect the PEX, and leave room for future expansion.



I have one bathroom in the house, and the toilet is on an outside wall. That means the water supply comes straight up through the tile floor to the toilet.

Rather than connect valves and a T under the crawl-space, where it is very hard to get at, and tight working space because of the toilet drain, I am simply going to run the graywater line right up through the floor behind the toilet as well. Later, I can add valves on the 1/2" lines behind the toilet to conveniently switch from graywater to line water as needed.

How do I drill through tile? Good thing I have a friend who is a tile-layer. He loaned me a porcelain bit, which is basically a diamond hole-saw.

I decided where I wanted to drill, checked to make sure I wouldn't hit anything below, and then started drilling with the tile wetted with a sponge.


It took a while, but made a very nice, clean, hole. I did still manage a chip out of the tile right at the end. I think it actually may have happened when I pulled the drill out! Oh well, a few daubs of white paint will fix that.


Now through the tile, I used a 5/8" spade blade to drill through the wood of the floor.

That done, I crawled into the space below and fed the 1/2" PEX up through.


The 1/2" to toilet connection then just slides right onto it. The PEX connections are really easy to work with.


Here's what the pump looks like in the crawl-space.

It's 20 inches from the concrete floor to the floor supports. The section down the middle of the house has the big heating vent, which comes down another 8". I can just squeeze under that on a mechanics creeper.

Waste-water from the washing machine has been re-routed to a sump-pump hose.


This feeds over to a big black barrel, which supplies water to the pump by garden hose.


Obviously, this is not the ideal setup. For one thing, the trapdoor has to be open at least a little for the garden hose to run through. Both hoses run through the walking area. Also, the washer discharge puts out rather high pressure. I had to squeeze the washer hose and sump-pump extension hose together as hard as I could during the rinse cycle just to keep water from spraying everywhere! The final version of this will have some sort of nice glued, high-pressure, pipe to connect to the graywater storage.

So, still to do is:
Design and build a real graywater holding tank.
Make it automatically discharge to regular drain line if tank is full.
Have a way to monitor how full the graywater tank is.
Make sure there is always water in it so I don't have to re-prime the pump.
Look to expanding system to possibly include shower waste water?

I'll post some more as I work on any of those things.
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Last edited by bennelson; 03-27-09 at 10:04 AM.. Reason: typos
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Old 03-27-09, 12:33 PM   #16
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Default Filter clog!

I can't believe the filter clogged up already!

I have had the graywater system running for less than a day, when the pump started running without stop.

I checked the pressure guage, and sure enough, the gauge was LOW, and the pump was cranking away.

I pulled the filter cartridge out, and it did look all linted up.

Mostly, I just was too keep anything from going through that will gunk up my pressure tank, shut off valve, or toilet valve.

I put the filter unit back together, WITHOUT, the actual filter, and everything runs great again!

Maybe I just need to replace the stock filter with a course one so that it only filters out the big stuff.
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Old 03-27-09, 01:49 PM   #17
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Is the garden hose pulling water from the top, bottom, or middle of the barrel? Perhaps moving it around will pickup less lint?

Looking forward to a finished system. It looks great so far.
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Old 03-28-09, 08:40 AM   #18
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My mom's laundry room is set up much the same Ben.
The difference being, Her washing machine discharges into the utility basin.
My dad used to tie an old sock around the outlet hose to keep lint from plugging the drain in the basin. One flooded basement was all it took for him to figure out how to prevent further mishaps.
Perhaps you could use a sock or some other method for catching the lint at the end of the discharge hose, before it gets to the main filter and pump?
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Old 03-28-09, 07:53 PM   #19
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Default More Advances on the system!

Did a little more work on it.

I bought a 30 gallon rectangular garbage can. It fits neatly under the counter, allowing everything to be on one side of the room. It has a much smaller capacity than the black barrel did, but I can actually open the door all the way now!

I drilled a 7/8ths" hole in the floor behind the washer, and ran the garden hose down through it. Now I can close the trap door. Yea! Almost a normal room again!

No more tripping on the partly open door and falling in a hole!

I am running a load of laundry right now. I expect the waste-water of one load to fill the garbage can about 2/3rds full.

That means that I can't do two loads of laundry in a row. It might be good for one load of laundry every other night.

A larger holding tank in the crawl space would eliminate the capacity restriction, but then I also need to design a way to switch to the regular drain if the graywater is full, and also have a way to add line water if there isn't any graywater left.

As it is right now, I can always add fresh water to the garbage can with a short section of hose connected to the utility tub just to the right of the garbage can.

So far, the system is passing the WIFE TEST.
My wife uses the bathroom, and there is nothing "weird" about it. She's happy, and will be happier the farther we can put off our next water bill.

Here's the trash can neatly tucked under the counter.


Here, you can see both the black discharge hose from the washer, and the green garden hose running through a new hole in the floor to feed the graywater pump.


Here's both hoses in the garbage can.


The garden hose pulls water from near the bottom of the can. That way it doesn't quit sucking when the can is still 1/4-full of water. The end of the hose is about 2 inches from the bottom.

I think a "sock" or something over the end of the discharge hose isn't a bad idea. It's simple, and still easy to access.

As a kid at my parents house, we always had the discharge hose going to the utility tub, but all that had to happen was to get a sock or t-shirt dropped into the tub and it wouldn't drain! I can't tell you how many times we flooded the basement because of that!

While it isn't living space beneith my laundry room, I still don't want to repeat that!
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Old 03-29-09, 10:42 AM   #20
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I bought a 30 gallon rectangular garbage can. It fits neatly under the counter, allowing everything to be on one side of the room. It has a much smaller capacity than the black barrel did, but I can actually open the door all the way now!
Er, I thing you mean liters, not gallons. At least that's what it looks like in the pictures. I have the same GE/Kenmore/$BRAND washing machine and IIRC, it's rated to use 18-22 liters per load. Strangely, I think I also have the same plastic bucket.

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