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Flushing the Toilet with Greywater

3/8/2011 11:15:51 AM

Tags: water, greywater

When we first moved into our house almost 5 years ago we were told the shower in the master bathroom had a leak, but that it had been fixed. The inspector checked it out and it looked good. For a while. Slowly, over the course of months and years, the drip returned.

We tried a number of different solutions to slow the drip, some more successful than others. Short of tearing out all the tile and replacing 50-year-old plumbing, we chose to ignore it as we had other, scarier stuff completely eclipsing our lives. The little drip (along with other home projects) went unattended.

Things around here have since stabilized, more or less, and in order to avoid expensive repairs we started collecting the dripped water in a bucket. During the summer months, this collected water gets dumped into the rain barrel. It's clean drinking water and can be used for whatever needs watering. During the wet season which, in Seattle, is most of the year, the collected water is used for flushing the toilet.

We don't flush the toilet a tremendous amount of times during the day since we off and on use cloth wipes and practice the mellowing yellow mantra. But, when it's time to flush, using saved water makes me feel like it's canceling out the drip.

For those who haven't tried using greywater (saved shower water or bath water or, really, any used water) for flushing your toilet, you just lift the toilet seats and pour it in. The volume of water causes the toilet to flush. It's like freaking magic, I tell you. But, then again, I'm easily amused by all things related to the potty.

Anyway, over the last month or so, that slow drip has increased to a more moderately paced drip. And now we are collecting far too much water to sanely ignore this issue any longer. I'll be calling a plumber this week to see what damage is required to resolve the problem and, in the meantime, I've been sort of feeling forlorn about not having as much water for flushing the toilet.

So, this morning I tried an experiment. Instead of just collecting the shower warm-up water (which I'm more apt to do during the dry summer), I took a shower with the bucket in there with me. It doesn't take up much space, but it does collect quite a bit more water. Since we use biodegradable soap, anything that splashes into the collection would be relatively harmless. As a result, I'm thinking that once the shower is fixed, I can still have a goodly amount of greywater for flushing or watering plants or whatever.

Do you use saved water or greywater for flushing your toilets? Tell us about it in the comments section below.



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Post a comment below.

 

birder98
3/26/2014 1:45:19 PM
I have been collecting warm-up water from the shower for years, as well as shower water, for flushing the toilets. I learned it from my mother when we were up north and had no running water we could flush with buckets of lake water. Now I do it to conserve. I also collect kitchen sink water like that for hand washing, rinsing veggies, washing dishes, etc. and use it to water pots and plants near the house. Rain barrels collect water for my veg and flower gardens as well. The township was shocked how little water my family of 5 uses!

peacepuffin
1/1/2014 4:15:58 PM
We plug the tub during a shower then collect the water in two 10 gallon water cannisters with screw on lids (can find in stores which sell products for RV's). The lids help to avoid excess moisture in the bathroom which is a problem during the winter. We then pour the water in the cistern, as I have found putting it in the bowl does not flush the waste as efficiently. With the yellow mellow method and attempting to stagger showers three of us use as much water as one person.

melissa
12/28/2013 3:53:41 PM
I collect shower and bath water. I put the bucket on a towel no probs with mold. Just started so excited to see 1st water bill. Family of 3 bill is over 350.00 or higher every 3 months .

P L
3/11/2011 12:38:04 AM
We went off city water, so we HAVE to save water for flushing the toilet! I do the laundry in the tub right now because the laundromat it just kind of expensive. When that is done, I carry out the greywater to a storage bin I rigged up with a tarp, and that goes on my garden. I make my own soap, so chemicals aren't an issue. We have a rainwater collection system that is still in the works so we are hauling buckets, but soon to become run with an RV pump to start with. The coolest part is that later I can run it off batteries or solar I hacked from those cheapo Walmart solar yard lights... or right now, I have a dc inverter on it that you use to charge your car battery. NO wiring. Way cool. A work in progress

Jo _4
3/8/2011 5:57:47 PM
We used to collect the shower water for flushing as you are doing, but I had trouble with mold growing under the bucket. I got tired of having to clean it every other day.







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