April 16, 2009

Greywater

I've been wanting to post about conserving water, since gardening season is coming up. I'm amazed too that in our area, our rainfall levels are lower than usual, which makes me a little nervous going into the summer with water deficits.

This year, to save on water, I'm going to turn to greywater for some of my watering. Greywater is household water that's been collected from laundry or kitchen use (no toilet water here!) and used elsewhere, like in the garden. A simple way of doing it is to use a bucket in your shower to collect water as you're waiting for the water to warm up. Then use the water on your plants.

Another method is to take water from your washing machine, via the overflow hose. You can set up contraptions to automatically send greywater from your home into a sistern outside, however I'm lazy and just not motivated financially to do this. This is the cheater's method!
My machine conveniently has the overflow hose located in a panel on the front.
To collect the greywater, I unscrew the hose and direct it into a bucket during the spin cycle. This yields a few gallons of water. I'll admit that it takes some time to empty, but I can see myself occassionally doing this in the summer.

I should also mention that I use phosphate-free detergent, so it's not too hard on the garden to use the rinse water for plants. And of course, water from loads of dirty diapers is NOT used!

One other method I want to pursue this year is a rain barrel, which collects rainwater from the roof of your home or garage.

I found a post from HGTV on how to build your own...

but you can also purchase them from places like Gardener's Supply Company, but they run a minimum of $100.
We've wanted one for a few years now, so I'm going to see if we can make our own, using some clean, food grade barrels. I'll keep you posted!

7 comments:

  1. my post next week is actually on rain barrels, since i live in a homeowners neighborhood i was worried about HOA not allowing me to have one so I bought a nice one for the front and in the hidden back, going to make my own.

    i think your laundry method works just great and i would use that cause its easier and cheaper!

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  2. I like the shower/washing machine collection idea...I had no idea you could save water from the washer! I always learn the coolest things from you. :)

    I would love to use a rain barrel, but something tells me the landlord would take it. >:( Either that or my alcoholic neighbors would mess around with it on weekend nights in between beating each other up right outside my bedroom window.

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  3. Oooh, thanks for the video about making your own rain barrel! We've been meaning to get one, but haven't wanted to shell out $100!

    By the way, I’ve posted an Earth Day Challenge on my blog, so if anyone is interested in joining, come on over and post your plans for celebrating Earth Day with your family! I have a toddler, but all ages are welcome!

    http://paintingpinkpajamas.blogspot.com/2009/04/celebrating-earth-day-with-toddler.html

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  4. I never even thought of the water coming from the washing machine, now I will have to investigate where mine goes to. Each summer I collect air conditioner condensation water in a bucket to water my garden with - this year I want to try to build something more efficient like this: http://www.instructables.com/id/Self_Watering_Garden_Using_recycled_water_from_a/
    Should be interesting.

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  5. You are so clever. One of my twins did a science day project using grey water. I am trying to get over your beautiful laundry machines.

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  6. Great idea. The water from my washing machine automatically goes into a big sink . . . so I could simply stop the sink up and use the water for my garden in the summer.

    Thanks for the Thrifty Green Thursday contribution!

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  7. I was so excited about expanding my vegetable garden this year that I totally forgot about the water issue. We've done buckets in the tub before but I never knew about the washing machine. Great tip! Thanks for being a part of our Thrifty Green Thursday!

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