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Old 03-29-09, 02:17 PM   #21
bennelson
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Nope I mean gallons. The garbage can is three feet tall, two feet across and 16 inches wide. There's not much scale in the photo, it does kinda look small from the angle I can take the photo from.

Everything is bigger here in the U.S., which, unfortunately means a lot more waste.

The washer and dryer are both White/Westinghouse brand with the washer being a Frigidaire, a name brand of the Westinghouse manufacturer.

It is still VERY hard to find water usage of appliances here in the U.S. Electric appliances always have listed their rough electric use, and natural gas appliance have their gas use listed as well, but water appliances almost NEVER have their water usage listed!

It would not surprise me at all if Canadian appliances used less water than U.S. appliances, just as European and Japanese appliances do.

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Old 03-31-09, 09:56 AM   #22
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Today is Tuesday morning.

Saturday night, I did one load of laundry. The graywater from that wash has just run out right now.

Being able to run the toilet for 2+ days for free off laundry water doesn't sound too bad. I would think this would be even better during the week when we are home less often.

Also, I think I have been flushing the toilet more and longer than I would usually just to test everything out.

If I eventually connect the shower to the graywater system, I will need a much larger graywater storage tank. Then, the problem won't be too much graywayter, but rather, WHEN I have to pump away the extra!
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Old 04-01-09, 10:11 AM   #23
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I added a "lint-sock" to both the discharge hose of the washing machine AND the garden hose intake to the pump.

By no means has the lint been a problem at all so far, but I figure that if I can keep some of the bigger bits of it from going through, I should.

I'll check those lint traps after the next few loads of laundry and see how they are doing.
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Old 04-10-09, 10:41 PM   #24
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The lint sock on the output of the washer seems to help.

It does not good on the intake garden hose, because It just gets sucked in and gunked up, so I took that one off.

Overall, the system seems to be working well, other than the garbage can only holds about one laundry load worth of water.

That means, do a load of laundry, wait until all the water gets used up, do another load of laundry.


SO, I DO want to upgrade my graywater storage container to something bigger. But to do that, it has to fit in the crawlspace. What is no more than 22 inches high, and can fit through the access hole to the crawlspace?

The best suggestion I have heard so far is..... A WATERBED MATTRESS!

I actually think it's a pretty good idea. A waterbed mattress is designed to hold all the weight of the water, and it's the right shape. It can also be squished up to fit down into the space.

I would need to have a good filter system, as it would be a huge pain to try to clean out the inside of a waterbed mattress!
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Old 04-23-09, 01:15 AM   #25
Hugh Jim Bissel
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A waterbed mattress sounds like a very good idea! Also, seems to me overflow wouldn't even need to be an issue: have a hose/pipe running from the mattress up to a container on the countertop: when the mattress has room, the water goes from the washer hose into the container, down another hose/pipe into the mattress. If the mattress is full, the water level will be up in the container, so additional water flows out the container's overflow into the utility sink.

Then, if you slant the mattress (or dig down a touch at the drain point) so the drain/fill is at the lowest point, and tee the two hoses (to container by sink and to pump) there, you won't get any air in the system unless you're almost completely empty. (how much room do you have? you could fill your whole crawlspace with mattresses!)

Sounds like a theory, anyway!

edit: If you want to get really ambitious, since you'd be storing water in the crawlspace, you could put that sort of diverter on any drain you wanted. (I assume a: you have access to your drain lines in the crawlspace, and b: they are pvc or something easily modified vs cast iron or the like) It wouldn't even need to be a container: just a tee of some sort where the water drains into the waterbed leg unless that leg is full of water: then it has an out to the regular drain (ie sideways tee: source at top, storage at bottom, and drain at side)

edit2: if you went that direction, you wouldn't even need the container by the sink. just mod the washer drain, or mod the sink drain and put the washer hose in the sink.

edit the third: And once you've got your crawlspace filled with water coming from all your drains, don't forget to tee off after the pump and put in a hose bib so you can water your garden & lawn with all your free water! (since your objective is to keep it out of the sewage tank)

Last edited by Hugh Jim Bissel; 04-23-09 at 12:51 PM.. Reason: more water storage insanity
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Old 04-25-09, 01:40 PM   #26
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Default Info overkill!

After thinking about it more, heres my thoughts on the matter (AKA take or leave as much as you want.)

First two thousand words on the subject, and then some more words about those two thousand words:



This drawing is the proof of concept idea I mentioned about having a 5 gallon bucket on the counter. (beginning of previous post)





This drawing is the all out "pimp my graywater" system. (one drain tie-in and one mattress shown for simplicity. Add as many of each as you can for the "super pimpified" system)

Notes regarding 2nd drawing:

A: These elbows are to keep air from getting into the bottom horizontal pipe if the water level in the bucket drops too low. This will keep air out of the mattress(es), maximizing the storage space available. That horizontal pipe is also where you'd tee off to add more drains and/or mattresses

B: Float valve in the bucket turns on city water to keep the system from running dry when the mattress(es) get emptied. The contraption on top of the bucket is just a pipe going above the max water line to act as a vent, and a place to add city water (better to have water pipe at entrance to other pipe: don't have to worry about putting a backflow preventer on the water pipe.

B.2: Not quite sure how the valve would work. probably easiest would be a toilet valve? (then you'd have city water piping inside the bucket, and need a backflow in case it leaked, even if the pipe went back above the water line?) Maybe toilet valve is above max water line on end of pipe, but float at min water line is connected by a rod going through the pipe?

C: Pump inlet at the very bottom of the bucket . If there's more capacity in the bucket below the min water line than in your toilet tank it might be good to have a float switch here to keep the pump from running dry. Otherwise, probably not a big deal.

D: Mattress really needs to be on some sort of platform to allow maximum water storage (otherwise, the pump will be sucking air when the mattress is still 1/2 full). Height really depends on how high you can get your drain diverters: top of highest mattress should be below lowest diverter (which determines max water level). but bottom of lowest mattress should be as high as possible to keep the pump inlet under water.

Material notes:
-For the horizontal pipes I was thinking 2" PVC, probably wouldn't go smaller than 1&1/2", though I'd likely keep the vertical piping the same size as the existing drain line. (and maybe even the whole system)

-Was thinking 5 gallon bucket for pump inlet. Could use almost anything you could fit into crawlspace (though you'd want a couple of gallons between pump inlet and min waterline). If it was tall enough to be above the max waterline, that would be a serious bonus: the only hole you'd need to make would be inlet (A) and you wouldn't have to worry about waterproofing the lid and riser pipe. City water and pump feed could both go over the top edge, and you'd have a lot more room to mess with a toilet valve for the city water. (could cut that 30 gal container to fit)

-I don't see a good way to avoid needing a riser for the mattress(es) since I believe you said the floor is concrete (can't dig down). Wouldn't have to be too high (6"? depends on lowest drain diverter), and could be almost anything: bricks, wood/plywood, build a frame and fill with dirt... just put an old blanket or something over to be sure there's no sharp edges!

-A washer hose would probably be the easiest way to hook up the mattress into the PVC (rather than using PVC the whole way to the mattress; PVC would be sure to keep the mattress valve at the lowest point, but if you had to detach the mattress, you'd have to cut the PVC to unthread the fitting from the mattress)


Well that was longer than I expected! Take into consideration that I do MUCH more brainstorming than putting into practice, so by even doing as much as you've already done you are awesome in my book! Looking forward to seeing the next step of the project, no matter what direction it takes.

Feel free to leave positive comments. Criticism can be e-mailed to b.obama at whitehouse dot gov ..... er, I mean, all questions and comments welcomed!
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Old 04-28-09, 02:24 AM   #27
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Excuse me, as I've not read the whole thread, so this may have already been discussed:

Why not use a branched-drain greywater system? Uses only a surge tank, perhaps a plastic garbage can, of ~40 gallons, to briefly detain the sudden discharge from the washing machine or bathtub. The greywater then goes out through ~1.5" tubes arranged with a downhill slope so there is no pooling anywhere along the line. Goes through a series of Y branches, dividing the flow at each, ultimately into plenums below grade, preferably at the bottom of a tree. Each plenum is made with an inverted plastic plant pot or bucket, such that the inlet is at least a few inches higher than the sand/gravel at the bottom, and no roots can reach up and block the inlet. This way, the greywater never pools or collects in a septic tank, which would give it time to go septic and become blackwater. The ~1.5" pvc pipe is too wide for blockage, and hair, etc. is filtered as it comes out of the washing machine or bathtub: Nylon stockings make a good filter. The plenums/inverted buckets are below grade to keep the flow away from kids and pets, going directly to tree roots, which then use it and disperse into the atmosphere via evapotranspiration.

Plants, btw, will dissipate such water ~1,000 times faster than simple evaporation. You would not want to use this to irrigate tomatoes, but fruit or other trees esp. willows would be fine.
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Old 04-30-09, 11:59 AM   #28
bennelson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto View Post
Why not use a branched-drain greywater system?
They are great for new construction, but not for my situation. I would need to do a lots of retro-fit plumbing work, I already have drainage issues on my property, my house is already practically on the lot line, I would have greywater pipes crossing buries power and cable TV lines, etc.

Also, winter is a major consideration. Pipes need to be buried deep to prevent freezing, but near the surface to dissipate water.

By just reusing water inside the house, I don't have to deal with winter (It's a year-round system) I don't have to dig up my yard, and I don't have to deal with the neighbors, zoning and permitting, etc.

In Hugh Jim Bissel's drawings, the first one is more or less what I plan on doing next.

So far the system has worked well, with the exception of of toilet use driving when we do the laundry!

Also, my wife wakes up about an hour before I do. One morning I woke up to hear the greywater pump running. I asked her how long it was making that noise, and she said "I don't know...maybe an hour?"

The pump was hot to the touch. I'm lucky it didn't burn itself out. It turns out that the garden hose used as the pump inlet pipe wiggled enough loose to be still in the 30 gallon garbage can, but NOT down in the water - so the pump just ran and ran and ran and ran.....

In the long run, I would like to connect the shower drain to the greywater system, but I would need a really good filter system and overflow on it. Also, having only about 26" of vertical space in the crawlspace makes it difficult to design for filters and all the other things needed for a "pimped-out" system.

I think the next step is to upgrade to a waterbed mattress holding tank in the crawlspace (on some sort of a basic angled platform to create a low point) and design a combination filter/overflow in the laundry room.

I would like to design that with a 5-gallon bucket for size, cost, and simplicity. I would need to make sure that a filter could handle the speed/volume of water that comes out of the washing machine.

Does anyone have a suggestion for filter design? I need something that can be easily washed/replaced (preferably NOT just thrown away though) catch the lint, and NOT get clogged up too quickly.

If that doesn't work well with just a 5-gallon bucket on the counter, I could use the 30 gallon trash can, but it would be harder to design the overflow, and is big enough that I sure can't just set it on my counter!

My blackwater holding tank alarm just went off this morning. It's a 2000 gallon tank. When we first moved in the house, the tank needed emptying about every 5 weeks. When we got the front-loading washer and dryer, it went to 6 weeks. Now, using the front-loaders, and the homebrew greywater toilet system, it has been 50 days since the last holding tank pumping.

In my area, it costs $90 for a sanitation company to come pump out the 2000 gallon tank.
5 weeks = 10.4 times per year
6 weeks = 8.6
7 = 7.43

10.4 times $90 = $936
7.43 x $90 = $668.7
Annual Savings = $267.30

I paid $150 for the used washer and dryer, and about $180 for the pump, pressure tank, PEX line, and all other parts.

That's roughly a 15 month time period for a return on investment if we are purely talking money. If you also have concerns about how much water we pull out of the ground, that's just a bonus!

I figure that electric use will be nearly identical. Every watt that I saved from my well pump running is now running the greywater pump instead.

While the pump which I purchased (NEW) was not inexpensive, and at this point, a bit overkill, it does carry a warranty, and allows for expansion of the system in the future.

I have a nice brass "pump-T" on the pump which has additional plumbing connections available on it. To add an outdoor spigot to a garden hose would be a simple job.

If I eventually connected the shower waste drain to the greywater system, I would consider adding a series of "filtering plants" outside, which could be watered with the excess water. These would be "rain garden" type plants, and again, only useful in the non-freezing months of the year.
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Old 04-30-09, 02:05 PM   #29
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You might want to consider the following:

-bigger than 5 gallon holding tank, perhaps a larger plastic bucket or somesuch, as the discharge from the washer may overwhelm or overflow the 5 gallon version

-separate & independent branched drain system for the shower stall

-since water is not pooled anywhere in the lines of a properly installed branch drain system, and since the lines should be buried below the frost line, winter weather should not be a problem. Just to be safe, maybe bury the lines another ~6" below the frost line in your area.

-used women's nylon stockings have been found to be good filters for lint, hair, etc..

- read Art Ludwig's books on branched drain grey water, et al, available from Amazon.com or probably at your local library or via inter-library loan

-these systems are amazingly inexpensive, no moving parts, gravity powered, and failsafe if done right
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Old 04-30-09, 02:19 PM   #30
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Just guessing, I think the 5-gallon bucket may not be big enough for the filter/overflow, but I think I will still start there for experimenting at least.

6" below my frost line is the water table! I live right down the street from a lake. That's why my house doesn't have a septic system in the first place!

I'll give the ladies stockings a first run for filter expermentation. (Maybe my wife has some with a run in them? Otherwise the next time I am past Walmart...)

I'll see if I can get Mr. Ludwig's book through the library.


[EDIT] I found four books by Art Ludwig through the interlibrary loan! I placed a reserve on them! Thanks for the tip.

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Last edited by bennelson; 04-30-09 at 06:46 PM.. Reason: library books
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