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Rainwater harvesting


superdiy
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Another recent project of mine - rainwater harvesting. The 2 x 2500l tanks were installed on 22 Dec 2016 and we got some rain on the 23rd, but only enough to fill about 300mm on both tanks - not sure how much that would be in liters, but no rain since.

I've also bought a JoJo pump kit which still needs to be installed. The water will be used to irrigate my small garden, a lawn of about 20m2 and maybe to fill up the toilets after flushing.

01_shuttering.jpg02_reinforcing.jpg03_slab.jpg04_leaf_deflector.jpg05_inlet.jpg06_tanks.jpg07_outlet.jpg

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Lekker man!

I tried. 

Wanted a 25 000l one, we have the roof so use it I thought. Just as I wanted to place the order, Wife asks: So how are you going to get it to the back?

You should have seen my Vloermoer!

Then I thought, to catch the washing machine water, a FloBin. So the wife asks: So how are you going to THAT into the house?

Another Vloermoer ... with a back-flip on top of it! The doors are not wide enough.

EDIT: Updated: So I ended up with a Wheelie Bin to catch the washing machine water. Out of a family of 6 ... sug ... the wheelie part is only for the fittest of the fittest to move it through he house to the front garden. That is ok, doing my part to try and save the garden.

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9 minutes ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Lekker man!

I tried. 

Wanted a 25 000l one, we have the roof so use it I thought. Just as I wanted to place the order, Wife asks: So how are you going to get it to the back?

You should have seen my Vloermoer!

Now I am trying to catch the washing machine water, FloBin, again the wife said: So how are you going to get it into the house?

Another Vloermoer ... with a backflip on top of it! Doors are not wide enough.

So, at the moment, I have to re-consider it all for I do not want it anywhere near the front of the house.

 
 

My neighbours lifted their JoJo tank up and over the roof to get it in the back yard. Had a lekker laugh.

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1 minute ago, The Terrible Triplett said:

Wanted a 25 000l one, we have the roof so use it I thought. Just as I wanted to place the order, Wife asks: So how are you going to get it to the back?

Now I am trying to catch the washing machine water, FloBin, again the wife said: So how are you going to get it into the house?

The 2500l tanks were the biggest I could fit onto my tiny property - the base of the 2500l tank has a diameter or 1.42 m and the next size up, the 5000l has a base diameter of 1.82 m iirc. I almost ordered 2 of those when I realised that I will not be able to get them from the road to where the needed to be installed.

I'm also catching the washing machine's water, but into a combination of buckets and containers and then we carry it to the garden - even the kids eagerly help with that. I am still trying to figure out a way to get it to the garden by means of a pipe, but the problem is that the pipe will always cross doorways or walkways if I want to use a gravity flow option...

I also have a bucket in the shower, had 2, but the wife complained - she is OK with 1. :D

 

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7 minutes ago, HeinTheTerrible said:

My neighbours lifted their JoJo tank up and over the roof to get it in the back yard. Had a lekker laugh.

My wife and I had to move ours - about a meter up onto a terrace and then about 5 meters further - luckily she is used to do physical work. She also helped when we did the slab for the tanks - to be honest, I think she might have worked harder than me that day. It was a really hot Saturday and we started mixing by about 15:00 and I finished floating the last concrete by about 19:00 - we mixed by hand, just the two of us.

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The smaller tanks I had an idea of 20 x 1000l flowbins, one slightly higher than the previous one, that as one fills, it overflows to the next ... then wife said: So where are we going to walk ... ? (facepalm)

Shower water goes to the toilet. I like that chore. If someone draws a bath, 1 per year allowed :D, that water also goes to the toilet.

Same problem here, IF the flowbin does get inside - I have a plan(!), the pipes are also an issue. So I told wife that 10 washes is +-800l so for that once every 2 weeks the hosepipe will have to go through the house on watering days.

She said "Fine ... ".

Not sure if it is or is not fine but will give it a go and see where it lands.

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  • 2 months later...
18 minutes ago, superdiy said:

rainwater to fill the toilets

The most difficult part about this is installing the plumbing. In theory it is easy enough, without even chopping any walls. But it involves going through tiled walls, twice over. Preferably without damaging the tiles too much. And I know what happens when I go through a wall with a large hammer-action drill... like a bullet it leaves a nasty exit wound!

I've been wondering for some time now if there is some kind of device, some kind of directional electromagnetic/radio signal thing that you can place on the one side of the wall, walk over to the other side, and mark the spot? Then you can presumably prepare the area where you intend the drill to exit.

If I can do that, then I can have a second feed next to each toilet. Switching to rain/well point/gray water is then a matter of unscrewing the flexible pipe thingie from the one feed and onto the other.

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18 minutes ago, plonkster said:

And I know what happens when I go through a wall with a large hammer-action drill... like a bullet it leaves a nasty exit wound!

I've been wondering for some time now if there is some kind of device, some kind of directional electromagnetic/radio signal thing that you can place on the one side of the wall, walk over to the other side, and mark the spot? Then you can presumably prepare the area where you intend the drill to exit.

I'm not aware of any such device, although something like that might be available. Best would be to start off with a pilot hole, much smaller (6mm or 8mm bit) than the final hole and to go slowly to avoid a sudden exit on the opposite side of the wall. Once the pilot hole is right through the wall, use a bigger size and drill from each side.

18 minutes ago, plonkster said:

If I can do that, then I can have a second feed next to each toilet. Switching to rain/well point/gray water is then a matter of unscrewing the flexible pipe thingie from the one feed and onto the other.

Mine was easy. I re-did all the plumbing, electrical, ceilings etc. etc. room-by-room after we've bought the house a few years ago. Both the toilets are next to each other (in separate bathrooms :) ) and both are fed from the ceiling where the feeds were connected together and fed by one pipe. I just had to install 2 lever valves next to the manhole, which is used to select the source of either municipal water or the pumped rainwater.

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1 hour ago, superdiy said:

Both the toilets are next to each other (in separate bathrooms

Mine is the same, but my plan was to go through the outside wall into the smaller guest toilet, and then tee off from there and go through the dividing wall to the kids/family bathroom, which is right next door. That wall (between the two) is tiled on both sides.

But now that you mention it... I know that the water supply for the bath/shower is a balanced supply running across the top of the roof from the geyser on the other side of the house. So it's possible that it can be intercepted on the roof level... though I have to tell you... with my low pitch roof I'll do anything not do to THAT!

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On 13/01/2017 at 3:41 PM, superdiy said:

Another recent project of mine - rainwater harvesting. The 2 x 2500l tanks were installed on 22 Dec 2016 and we got some rain on the 23rd, but only enough to fill about 300mm on both tanks - not sure how much that would be in liters, but no rain since.

I've also bought a JoJo pump kit which still needs to be installed. The water will be used to irrigate my small garden, a lawn of about 20m2 and maybe to fill up the toilets after flushing.

01_shuttering.jpg02_reinforcing.jpg03_slab.jpg04_leaf_deflector.jpg05_inlet.jpg06_tanks.jpg07_outlet.jpg

Very cool!

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Connected 1 toilet in my house to the pressure pump of the borehole about 6 weeks ago. I was lucky: My outside tap was connected together with the toilet after the toilet stop tap (i.e when you close the toilet tap, the outside tap does not work). So closed the toilet tap, removed the outside tap and connected the water to it. No further plumbing required.

Previously we used around 350l/day between 2 people. This has dropped to around 250l/day between 2 people.

It is scary on the amount of water is being used by flushing a toilet 10 times a day.

 

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1 minute ago, Louw said:

It is scary on the amount of water is being used by flushing a toilet 10 times a day.

Very true; we're a family of 4 and now since the pump kicks in every time a toilet is flushed, I started to notice how often the toilets are flushed.

I take my own water and electricity readings and phone them in. Our water consumption was usually between 20kl and 25kl (rounded to the nearest kl) per month but it gradually came down since were we informed about the water shortage towards the end of last year.

  • Usage Sep 2016: 17kl
  • Oct 2016: 16kl
  • Nov 2016: 15kl
  • Dec 2016: 13kl
  • Jan 2017: 11kl
  • Feb 2017: 8kl

I can't wait to see what impact the rainwater usage in the toilets will have.  :D

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@superdiy You may want to look into installing a pressure tank.  It reduces the amount of time your pump needs to kick in

Picked up a 24lt tank from Brights for R660 - Result is that my 1.1Kw pump only kicks in every 2nd time the toilet is flushed.  The 1st time it runs from the pressure tank.

It has an added benefit for me. I have around 70m of pipe that are pressurised running to 3 points on my property where my 8 irrigation taps and 3 extra manual taps are. With a small amount of leakage on the pipe/connectors/taps the pump would kick in every 15minutes to pressurise the pipe. With the pressure tank it has stopped doing it.

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On 3/16/2017 at 9:33 AM, Louw said:

@superdiy You may want to look into installing a pressure tank.  It reduces the amount of time your pump needs to kick in

Picked up a 24lt tank from Brights for R660 - Result is that my 1.1Kw pump only kicks in every 2nd time the toilet is flushed.  The 1st time it runs from the pressure tank.

It has an added benefit for me. I have around 70m of pipe that are pressurised running to 3 points on my property where my 8 irrigation taps and 3 extra manual taps are. With a small amount of leakage on the pipe/connectors/taps the pump would kick in every 15minutes to pressurise the pipe. With the pressure tank it has stopped doing it.

I am thinking about adding a pressure tank. There are no leaks on my system but what does happen is when the toilet's cistern is almost full the float valve only lets in a very small amount of water, the pressure builds up and the pump switches off, but the small amount of water still seeps into the cistern and after about 10 seconds the pressure has dropped enough and the pumps kicks in again for about 10 seconds. Sometimes this happens a third time before the float valve closes completely.  

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  • 9 months later...

I thought I might add something about pressure tanks.

Pressure tanks are made for household use when you mainly use small amounts of water. 

The pressure tank is meant to prolong the life of the motor and pump as it switches on less frequently.

Some pump manufactures specify the number of times the pump should switch on per hr.

A pressure tank also has to be pressurised and kept pressurised to work efficiantly.

You will need or borrow a small compessor to do the job as the system will loose pressure through the bladder over time.

You also need to check the pressure gauge on the system to see if the pessure control is working correctly

when the system is working.

The on/off pressure can be set for your own needs.

Typically  asbout  2bar to 4bar.

The larger the pressure tank the less amount of times the pump needs to switch on.

 

I use a pressure tank system fed from a jojo tank in parallel with my municipal water as the water pressure is bad.

This system helps to boost the pressure when it is low.

The new  pump systems that use flow to switch on a pump should still be used with a pressure tank to help motor lifetime.

 

 

IMG_0749.JPG.ccbae44ccc0a853f753d93f550b5b44f.JPG

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  • 2 years later...

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