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Old 04-01-2009, 10:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I used to use a bucket to flush the toilet... skip the water holding tank altogether, because my toilet never had one. Just dump the bucket into the toilet bowl.

The toilet was an old (illegitimate number of) gallons model, but it would flush with very little water used directly into the bowl, probably a gallon or so, as long as it was poured in quickly with as little splash as possible, and at the front of the toilet's bowl area.

I rather like the rainwater ideas, and plan on getting to work on some myself, once I get settled into a house that doesn't belong to my wife's family members...

I'd really love to get them into such a thing, but frankly don't have the extra energy needed to change their mind about "treehuggers" and such. I don't care to face the arguments that things which obviously are more efficient cannot actually be... so I just wait it out. Eventually, I'll be on my own.

Fortunately, my own father listens intently when I show him ways to save money, and isn't against washing his dishes in rain water. (That's how they did it camping, so why not now?)

He's actually quite content with showering in rain water, actually, although I haven't set anything up like that quite yet. He currently pumps water from a deep well, so it's basically ground-filtered rain water anyway, probably with more crap in it than rain water would have.

My own home's water system will mostly be rain and recycled water, but there will be 4 separate water systems in use:

1. Rain water collection for all things which don't require 100% clean/filtered/pure water, such as dishes, laundry, showering, other cleaning activities.

2. Gray water re-collection system from drains of all things run on the first system, for things like watering plants, flushing toilets, etc.

3. Fresh water supply, just in case, such as shallow well or city supply line.

4. Purifier for rain water and freshwater supplies, for drinking.

For those of you who think that it's "gross" to shower in rain water, do a precip test on your "clean" city drinking water supply... then get back to me.

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Old 04-01-2009, 11:02 PM   #12 (permalink)
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rain water gross???

For those of you who think that it's "gross" to shower in rain water, do a precip test on your "clean" city drinking water supply...


I can't say that i've ever heard anyone say that in my vicinity before. I know that after showering using municipal all of my life (the last five with very heavy water), nothing beats a rain water shower. the smell is different of course, but it be the lack of chlorine 'killing the sense of smell'.

For a new house design, i really like the ideas employed by builders of earthships whereby all of your greywater is used to irrigate water loving plants inside the house before it is then used for other things. with the dirty water finally being used to flush toilets, of which the blackwater discharge is later treated by reed beds.

Alas for all of those with established homes, we can only do our best to improvise our own water saving strategies- which can be tricky on a flat block of land!
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Old 04-01-2009, 11:04 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Unused attic or upper crawlspace area can be used to partially collect rainwater in a container, then gravity feed it to the shower on the cold side.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:43 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christ View Post
Unused attic or upper crawlspace area can be used to partially collect rainwater in a container, then gravity feed it to the shower on the cold side.
That would be easy but... you really must be sure your ceiling and rafters can hold it. My friend has a 1 cu.meter (1000 liters) container for rainwater behind his house. It was standing on old bricks until the first rainstorm. The container filled pretty quickly, and 1 cubic meter of water weighs 1 (metric) ton. One brick crumbled, the over got driven into the ground.
Moral: Estimate how much weight your attic can take, both total and per unit of area. Having a ton water standing on an area of about one square meter might give you a bigger shower than you expected.
Also, there should be a drain out of the tank in the attic in case it gets full but the rain doesn't stop.
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Old 04-03-2009, 10:52 AM   #15 (permalink)
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I'm getting pretty intruiged by the idea of rain water collection. I'm in an EXTREMELY rainy place now compared to where I grew up. There's good reason, i suppose, that this Ontario town was named "London". I think we get the same weather patterns as the "original" London.

When i was younger we used to go to a trailer park on weekends. If it was raining, we'd angle down the trailer's awning and shower under the corner of it where the water poured off. It was great. Your hair never feels better than under rain water. i think it might be a little ambitious to try to convince the wife that it is a good idea.

How do you ensure you don't get algea growth and general filth/bugs in the system? I don't want to use a bunch of energy running it through a purifier - that would defeat the purpose.

What about winter?
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:00 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Designing an "eco" water system for an existing house is very different than one for new construction.

For mine, I am working around the constraints of the original building, which is a nice, but small house, and I don't want to mess up the drywall, and there is no attic or basement.

I designed the equipment to be hidden in the crawlspace, and how the water connects to the toilet, the system is more or less invisible.

If you come to my house and use the toilet, you may notice that the toilet water looks a little different. That's it. You don't have to go outside, or pour a bucket down the drain or anything like that.

My philosophy to get people to do ANYTHING - save money, conserve, etc. - is to make it as easy as possible!

Right now, my "graywater tank" is only a 30 gallon trash can. It can only hold one load of laundry water. That's enough for the toilet for 2 or 3 days. That is not long enough for the water to "go bad" or smell weird or anything. It works great.
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Old 04-30-2009, 11:11 PM   #17 (permalink)
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saving $267 ANNUALLY!

Now saving $267 annually on water!!!!!

REALLY!!!!

go to Ben's DIY Graywater System - Page 3 - EcoRenovator for details!
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:39 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Rather than messing with the toilet, I'd attach the fill hose to the greywater holding tank. If that tank ever gets empty, a float attached to a fill valve always keeps about an inch of water in the bottom of the greywater tank. The water gets pumped from there into the toilet tank.
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Old 05-21-2009, 08:41 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Re using grey water from your clothes washers, kitchen sink, showers etc to water garden is an effective way to conserve fresh water. Similarly, we can also install a rain barrel to collect rain water and use it later. As many of us know, fresh water shortage is a growing concern across the world. Therefore, water conservation at home and work places is very essential. Moreover, it also reduces the water bill...
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Old 05-21-2009, 12:24 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Re using grey water from your clothes washers, kitchen sink, showers etc to water garden is an effective way to conserve fresh water. Similarly, we can also install a rain barrel to collect rain water and use it later. As many of us know, fresh water shortage is a growing concern across the world. Therefore, water conservation at home and work places is very essential. Moreover, it also reduces the water bill...
Indeed. My co-worker just bought 5 acres out in the middle of the desert and is getting ready to build a house. A well out there costs about $17,000 because of the drilling depth required, so for the first 6 months to a year or so he's having water trucked in biweekly. He was ecstatic when I showed him this thread, and is now planning out his plumbing to do this by default. We figure that he'll save a truck a month or more.

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