Saturday, March 2, 2013

Using water TWICE!

Summer is right around the corner which means higher water bills. I've been setting aside the difference between my utilities and my assigned budget throughout the winter months while my bills are lower. I'll use the savings towards the higher bills this summer.

 I continue to catch the beginning water from the tap  while waiting for it to turn hot. I throw it on flower beds or use it to flush. I have a shallow container under the faucet in the bath and catch that water when we wash our hands. Any extra water is thrown into a nearby bucket.

I've carefully examined any chance of water waste.  One day I noticed how much water was flowing down the drain from the washing machine rinse water. I researched online to find out a way to capture the water and use it to water the flowers. I also emailed my city officials to make sure there was no ordinance against it in my city. Thankfully there wasn't.

A hole cutter was put on the end of the drill to make this hole in the wall.  (A jigsaw could also be used to cut a hole).   PVC  1 1/2 " pipe was used to drain the water from the washing machine hose to the water container outside.




You can see the drain coming out of the wall into the large garbage can below. A piece of rubber from a mud flap off an old truck was used to guide the water from the PVC pipe into the garbage can.

 It's not shown in this picture but a piece of stone was later put under the opposite side of the can so the rainwater will drain into the hole on top of the lid.



I picked up a free coffee table off of FREECYCLE a while back intending to use it for a stenciled sign (which never happened). The coffee table was cut down to make the smaller table fit for the garbage can.

A hose faucet with a 3/4 inch pipe-to-pipe fitting were used at the bottom of the can where a garden hose can be attached.  The hose can be moved to any area of the garden. I had to make sure that the hose was at a slant so it would drain easily.  The garbage can will not hold an entire washing cycle of water so be sure to have it ready to drain before you start your machine. 

 I did some research to make sure my homemade laundry detergent wouldn't kill plants. I read a good article on how homemade laundry detergent is  safe to use on plants. I'm choosing to not use it on my vegetable plants but only on my flowers. I've been using it for weeks and my flowers are doing just fine. Of course.. I'm not an expert so use your own judgment! I'm not sure if it would harm animals or no so be careful if your animals have access to the water. 

This water.. that would have gone down the drain... is now keeping the plants on the side of my house nice and wet and alive.


11 comments:

  1. Good work! We are on a well but I'm still sickened at the thought of all the water that is basically wasted because it runs to the septic without its full potential being exhausted. How do you limit the collection to the rinse water but not the wash water? Or are you using both?

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    1. We use both. The article put my fears to rest about the soap harming the plants since it's such a small amount.

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    2. This really makes me want to rethink grey-water collection. Between the kitchen sink and the laundry, I could keep garden beds and fruit trees fairly well supplied. I hadn't thought about this much since we didn't end up building a home from scratch on our new property.

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    3. Good morning! Did you read the article? Just make sure you do your research and are comfortable with the chemicals going on the food you eat. The article I read was ONLY for homemade laundry detergent. Do you make your own?

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  2. This project would be so above my pay grade. Congratulations! Looking forward to your garden.

    Hugs and prayers,
    Carol

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  3. This is very interesting and I'm sure worth the effort to capture and recycle water. This reminds me so much of how we used water when we lived in Africa, Seems like one time i counted five uses. But the situation was probably desperate as we often did not have water. I think you learn to be creative and do the best you can.

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    1. I'd love to hear more about the difference between how people live in Africa vs. the US. It helps spark contentment when I think of how others live compared to the abundance in the US.

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  4. We in the U.S. just don't know how good we have it, just as the above post says about the lack of water in Africa. I was watching a documentary and a young man who had been a refugee from Iraq said that he sometimes only took a shower every six months because there was simply no water available where he was. I cannot even imagine.

    My biggest project right now is reducing our food bill. Yesterday I bought ground turkey rather than ground beef, bc it is $1.00 less per pound. I used to use turkey a lot, but I really don't care for how it smells when it cooks, so I had gotten away from it. I will just have to deal with that. The taste really is okay, and after it is cooked it smells fine. Also trying to be diligent in turning off lights, and I hope to start hanging out at least some of our laundry again soon.

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    1. I wish ground turkey was cheaper here than ground beef but it is usually a dollar more a pound. Have you tried mixing it with regular ground beef? It will still keep your cost down. I hang up my laundry even in the winter. I have 2 laundry racks I use in the garage for large items and I also have a line hung. I have 4 Amish Hangers (we sell those through Etsy) that I use both indoor and outdoors to hang socks, undies and washcloths which make my job much easier. :-)

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  5. This is a really great idea! I can't alter my place and can only do what I can but even catching the water that goes down the drain is such a great idea! I've RSS'd your blog and will read all your posts!

    thanks!

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