Friday, September 5, 2008

retrofitting the suburbs

Just because you asked.......!

For a number of years we have been looking for a good way to harvest our grey water. The hose from the washing machine is redirected out the laundry window and onto the kiwi vines - which will take as much water as they can get.

But, what about all that shower, basin, bath water?

I looked at LOTS of grey water systems - expensive ones, cheap ones, complicated ones, simple ones. Our productive garden is uphill from the house, which meant we were going to need a pump of some type.

In the end, elegant frugality and serendipity won out when we happily came across an add for the "Flo to Go" system in RENEW magazine. Designed and made right here in Australia by a very clever and handsome young man called Callam.

The clever thing about this unit is that it takes about 10 minutes to install! The system is designed to drop into the standard grey water access pipe vented thingy situated outside your house. If you can find the little vented grate thingy, then you could probably use this unit I suspect. The sucky thing you drop down the pipe has a sensor and when the little reservoir fills up with enough water to trigger the sensor, the little pump turns on and you can pump the water just about anywhere. The pump has a 16 meter vertical capacity.

Above is a photo of the sucky thing that goes down the pipe.

Between the pump and the sucky thing is a filter, which needs to be cleaned out periodically. At them moment, we do this every couple of weeks.

The pump lives in this little blue box!

It is powered by a normal 12 volt transformer thingy that just plugs into a normal power point. Luckily for us, there is one just near where the pump is.

Instant water!

I guess you could get pretty sophisticated about your watering system, but at this stage, we just move the hose around the garden and naughtily stick a little sprinkler on the end (council's like grey water to be irrigated strait onto or under the ground) and it is working very well thank you very much.

The whole unit costs around $1,000 and depending on how handy you are, or if you need a licenced plumber to install the unit so you can claim a rebate (which DOESNT happen in ONC) should be free or fairly low cost to set up. This is a bit of an investment - but HEAPS cheaper than many of the other grey water systems on the market. Now, every drop of water we use in the bath, shower or basin ends up on the garden. Ditto with the washing machine.

The ducks very much like playing in warm shower water - especially on those frosty mornings. It s very cute watching them squeaking over a steaming puddle in the frost.

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