March 18, 2008
A grey water solution for someone with no plumbing skills
For a few years now I’ve not had a washing machine. It’s called for the occasional trip to my folk’s house to use their machine, and to the dry-cleaners for silks and delicates. But on the whole it’s called for a great deal of hand-washing. Lots and lots of hand-washing in a small bucket or the bottom of the bath. It’s been a little slow and laborious at times, but on the whole not too bad, save for jeans and woolly jumpers. And all those buckets of grey water were easy to cart out and pour onto the garden.
However, as soon as the option of installing both a water and energy efficient machine became possible, I welcomed it with open arms. Yay! I cried, no more 18th century washerwoman for me.
Even though my new machine is super efficient it still uses a fair bit of water. The green solution was easy, even easier than carrying bucket loads of water out to the dry, struggling garden beds. It is a grey water solution perfect for someone with no plumbing skills. Perfect for me, and perfect for you, too, I suspect.
It goes a little like this…
Walk down to local hardware shop and purchase a grey water diverter hose, 10 metres in length (minimum).
Connect the grey water diverter hose to the washing machine's drainage hose (of the same diameter). The diverter hose has a flexible plastic end to it which stretches tightly over the end of the washing machine's hose so that it doesn’t leak or separate once the machine starts a-swirling. If you’re feeling extra handy, screw on a clasp to this join to make it extra strong.
Unravel the full length of the grey water diverter hose, extending it from the washing machine, over the laundry floor, out the back door and onto the garden.
Turn Machine on and watch the grey water drain out onto the garden… you can almost catch sight of the trees and plants smiling quietly with relief.
If you have a flat garden, as I do, then you wont have the benefit of gravity to help you drain the pipe completely once the washing cycle is finished. In this case, simply disconnect the grey water diverter hose from the washing machine's drainage hose and hold this end of the grey water diverter hose up high. This will drain out what water remains in the hose.
I think the only trick is to be aware of the basic dos and don’ts of grey water usage, and more importantly what washing powder or liquid you use as this will be going onto your garden. I’ve been using this one and it seems great thus far, but there are many more eco friendly ones on the market.
There’s so much information about grey water recycling and systems, just look to your favourite green info source and I’m sure you’ll find all the details you need.
(Originally published elsewhere.)