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daffodil
02-23-2010, 03:20 PM
What's the simplest way to do this??? Using plastic garbage cans and pvc pipe and maybe garden hose?

How do I pump it into the house? Gravity system?

How will I heat it? Compost pile?

Not sure exactly what the water bill says. "Present reading 776, consumption 8". What does that mean? 776 gallons of water used in one month??? I'm using over 25 gallons of water a day? I'm going to need like 15 garbage cans? I don't hardly even flush the toilet (gross as that sounds). How much water does an average top loading washer use? The toilet use? Is it realistic to think I can collect this much rain water? What about winter time? And can I really be using 25 gallons of water a day?! Would it be better to use a composting toilet made out of a bucket for now (not sure where I'll put it as there's not an inch of extra space anywhere in the bath or hall way).

I'm guessing the sewer bill is based on the water useage??? So if I don't use as much water my sewer bill won't be as much either?

Appreciate any help anyone can give. Seems this should be a fairly easy project. My bathroom and kitchen are on the same outside wall at the rear of the house so I can hide things with fence if I need to. The house has a crawl space so it's up about 2 1/2 - 3 ft from the ground (the floor of it). All the plumbing is in one wall, bathroom and kitchen are back to back. The plumbing runs about 8-10 ft in that wall to the kitchen sink, bath sink, toilet, tub, hot water tank, and washer. The house is about 22 x 24ft. The peak isn't very high, maybe goes from floor to ceiling about 12 feet or a little more. Not sure how you figure that part out about how much water can be collected off it. I know we've discussed it before though. Seems simple but confusing all at the same time.

Thinking I'd leave the water left on. I'd still have a $25 water bill a month, that's the minimum. Then I wouldn't draw attention to myself and I'd still have a back up system. Is that possible?

Anon001
02-23-2010, 03:45 PM
Thinking I'd leave the water left on. I'd still have a $25 water bill a month, that's the minimum. Then I wouldn't draw attention to myself and I'd still have a back up system. Is that possible?

Not being familiar with everything involved, I have a question... Why would you be concerned with hiding a water collection system? What's wrong if people know about it?

Just curious.

Paul

daffodil
02-23-2010, 03:54 PM
Not being familiar with everything involved, I have a question... Why would you be concerned with hiding a water collection system? What's wrong if people know about it?

Just curious.

Paul

It was mentioned before that it's illegal in some states to collect rain water. I checked and it's not illegal in Ohio but I'm wondering if they work around that somehow like saying you have to have permits or you have to use the city water for in the home (maybe they don't care about for the garden or whatever) because of health safety or whatever. Kind of like it's against the law down here to not have garbage pickup even if you don't have any garbage. You're not allowed to haul it out either you have to pay for garbage pickup even if you just have 1 grocery bag of garbage. Wondering about the composting toilets too since I know they are not allowed in certain areas out here. Not sure about this area but I doubt they are allowed.

Travis
02-24-2010, 02:55 AM
Okay heres what I know about this, I an a student in energy and am taking a water class and am designing a water catchment system.

Water collection formula

Sq ft of roof(catchment area) x rain(in ft) x 7.48 = gallons

in your case you have 528 sq ft of roof, with a foot of rain you get

3,949 gallons and by my math at 25 gallons per day you use 9,125 gallons a year. I would suggest a poly tank.

most areas will require a permit if your system is over a certain size. Here we can have a 5,000 system with out a permit. Now if we tie into the city water we need a backflow preventer which is required to be inspected yearly. Also need a permit if we use the water for potable uses(drinking water).

Your average of 25 gallons a day is on par. I researched my bills over several months and in my house(family of 5) we use 28 gallons per person per day.

Depending on your appliances toliets older ones can use 3-5 gallons, new ones use 1.6 gallons per flush. Aerators on a faucet can range from 2.5 gallons per minute down to .5 gallons per minute same with your shower.


If I knew what your local rainfall was per month I could calculate what you could catch off your roof and store and use by month.

daffodil
02-24-2010, 12:39 PM
Okay heres what I know about this, I an a student in energy and am taking a water class and am designing a water catchment system.

Water collection formula

Sq ft of roof(catchment area) x rain(in ft) x 7.48 = gallons

in your case you have 528 sq ft of roof, with a foot of rain you get

3,949 gallons and by my math at 25 gallons per day you use 9,125 gallons a year. I would suggest a poly tank.

most areas will require a permit if your system is over a certain size. Here we can have a 5,000 system with out a permit. Now if we tie into the city water we need a backflow preventer which is required to be inspected yearly. Also need a permit if we use the water for potable uses(drinking water).

Your average of 25 gallons a day is on par. I researched my bills over several months and in my house(family of 5) we use 28 gallons per person per day.

Depending on your appliances toliets older ones can use 3-5 gallons, new ones use 1.6 gallons per flush. Aerators on a faucet can range from 2.5 gallons per minute down to .5 gallons per minute same with your shower.


If I knew what your local rainfall was per month I could calculate what you could catch off your roof and store and use by month.

WOW! That's interesting! Here's what I found on local rainfall

" Geneva, OH United States
Rainfall (in.) 38.8 36.6
Snowfall (in.) 38.5 25.2
Precipitation Days 124 101
Sunny Days 159 205
Avg. July High 81 86.5
Avg. Jan. Low 19.6 20.8
Comfort Index (higher=better) 50 44
UV Index 3.4 4.3
Elevation ft. 797 1,062

Geneva, OH, gets 39 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37. Snowfall is 39 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year. The number of days with any measurable precipitation is 124.

On average, there are 159 sunny days per year in Geneva, OH. The July high is around 81 degrees. The January low is 20. Our comfort index, which is based on humidity during the hot months, is a 50 out of 100, where higher is more comfortable. The US average on the comfort index is 44."

Travis
02-24-2010, 05:19 PM
Jan 313
Feb 313
March 395
April 543
May 543
June 658
July 642
Aug. 642
Sep. 625
Oct.576
Nov. 625
Dec. 543
Annual 6418

Here is the rain by month and how much you could collect using just 1/2 your roof. I was thinking your home is an "A" and this would be just the back side like you wanted. Now if you piped the front and back you could double these numbers.

Now at 25 gallons per day, you'd need 750 gallons per month. You could easily offset your water by 50%.

daffodil
02-24-2010, 05:38 PM
Thanks for the info. I will try in the next day or two to post up some numbers for you. I have an excel sheet so it's just plug and play.

.Thanks!:)

Travis
02-24-2010, 06:00 PM
.Thanks!:)


Sitting around in school and nothing to do:D The numbers are up. You are welcome.

NCLee
02-25-2010, 10:21 AM
Daf, take a look at this site and read all of the articles on water. http://drum-runners.com/

From what I remember of your previous posts, you won't be able to do some of the things you mentioned. For example, due to the structural damage you have in your home, don't believe the framing timbers will support a water tank for a gravity fed system.

As to compost heating, don't believe that you have enough access to materials to keep a compost pile HOT.

My suggestion is to first finish repairing the leaks in your water system, if you haven't done that yet. IMHO, it's better to spend money on that before spending money for the needed supplies to set up an alternative.

Especially since you're planning to stay connected to the city water system.

Oh, and find out how many gallons of water are included in their minimum billing. Don't know if it applies everywhere, but around here, there's xxx gallons of water included with the minimum. And, yes, the sewer charge is based on the water that goes through the meter.

Next, look into things you can do now to conserve / reuse the water you have. If you still have a faucet dripping, put a bucket under it. Use that water to help fill the washer or flush the toilet. Use bath water to flush, too. Save the water from rinsing dishes, vegetables, etc. Try to get a second use out of all the water you use, except dishwater. (You don't want grease and food particles going through the washer or fitting in the toilet tank.) During growing season, you can use it to water plants.

Set some buckets under the edge of the roof to collect rain water for flushing, clothes washing and such.

Look into using a 5 gallon bucket, sawdust or peat moss, and a toilet seat. Line the bucket with a garbage bag. Dispose of the bucket contents in the trash. (No different from putting soiled baby diapers in the trash.) With minimal expense, you can stop flushing almost entirely, unless you use rain or recycled water to do so.

Check into the cost of doing your laundry at a local laundrymat vs doing it at home. Especially if they have larger machines, which can cut down on the number of loads you need to do. Wear/use as many of the same types of fabrics/colors etc. so you can combine loads. If possible, dry clothing at home on clothes lines. When figuring out your costs, don't forget the sewage rate based on water usage.

Look into homemade solar water heaters. Google for lots of info and various ways this can be done with minimal to no expense.

Hope some of this helps.
Lee

daffodil
02-25-2010, 12:27 PM
Daf, take a look at this site and read all of the articles on water. http://drum-runners.com/

From what I remember of your previous posts, you won't be able to do some of the things you mentioned. For example, due to the structural damage you have in your home, don't believe the framing timbers will support a water tank for a gravity fed system.

As to compost heating, don't believe that you have enough access to materials to keep a compost pile HOT.

My suggestion is to first finish repairing the leaks in your water system, if you haven't done that yet. IMHO, it's better to spend money on that before spending money for the needed supplies to set up an alternative.

Especially since you're planning to stay connected to the city water system.

Oh, and find out how many gallons of water are included in their minimum billing. Don't know if it applies everywhere, but around here, there's xxx gallons of water included with the minimum. And, yes, the sewer charge is based on the water that goes through the meter.

Next, look into things you can do now to conserve / reuse the water you have. If you still have a faucet dripping, put a bucket under it. Use that water to help fill the washer or flush the toilet. Use bath water to flush, too. Save the water from rinsing dishes, vegetables, etc. Try to get a second use out of all the water you use, except dishwater. (You don't want grease and food particles going through the washer or fitting in the toilet tank.) During growing season, you can use it to water plants.

Set some buckets under the edge of the roof to collect rain water for flushing, clothes washing and such.

Look into using a 5 gallon bucket, sawdust or peat moss, and a toilet seat. Line the bucket with a garbage bag. Dispose of the bucket contents in the trash. (No different from putting soiled baby diapers in the trash.) With minimal expense, you can stop flushing almost entirely, unless you use rain or recycled water to do so.

Check into the cost of doing your laundry at a local laundrymat vs doing it at home. Especially if they have larger machines, which can cut down on the number of loads you need to do. Wear/use as many of the same types of fabrics/colors etc. so you can combine loads. If possible, dry clothing at home on clothes lines. When figuring out your costs, don't forget the sewage rate based on water usage.

Look into homemade solar water heaters. Google for lots of info and various ways this can be done with minimal to no expense.

Hope some of this helps.
Lee

whoo, life just ain't simple anymore, is it. Gravity fed system requires the tank to be 90 feet above the house(got that from that link)! That's out for sure!

The only thing about fixing the leaks is they don't stay fixed. So I'm spending $20 a month to fix and then it breaks again or something else leaks. AND AFTER fixing the leak and taking shorter showers and doing less laundry the dumb thing went up about $25! How does that work!!?? And we have one nasty water co. out here. They can't wait to shut the water off. I think they actually look forward to it. I got a shut off notice for like $84 one month and I asked for 1 extra day to pay it and they said I'd have to pay $213 for them to extend it!!! All I think is what goes around comes around, their day will come but in the meantime I need water.

The thing with staying connected to city water too is, not just a backup, but someone mentioned before that I think they can condemn the house or make you move out if you don't have water on??? They can think I have a toilet even though I have a composting one and dump the poo in the trash.

Now when you say collect water for washing, that means I'm going to be doing hand washing not machine washing I'm guess??? Used to go to the laundry mat. Was pretty expensive and time consuming plus the gas and wear and tear on the car, didn't seem worth it to me. I do like my washer:). I don't have a dryer. I use the drying rack in winter and clothes line in summer. Getting used to that so it's not a big deal anymore like people with dryers think it is. Just kind of becomes a way of life and you don't notice it as I'm sure many on this list can understand.

I like the idea of putting the garbage bag in the bucket! Hadn't thought of that! Would make it really easy! I'm thinking the compost toilet will take a little getting used to but after awhile would be something I get used to and wouldn't miss the convinence of a flushing one just as I've adapted to other things (no stove, etc.).

I'll check out the solar heaters too, haven't gotten that far yet.

Thanks for the advice! Others view points are always helpful!:)

Anon001
02-25-2010, 03:22 PM
whoo, life just ain't simple anymore, is it. Gravity fed system requires the tank to be 90 feet above the house(got that from that link)! That's out for sure!

Daff, you don't have to have it 90 feet. I know of people that have theirs in the attic. But... like Lee said, I don't think your attic would support the water.

About collecting rainwater. Someone said that most places require a permit. I disagree. But, you can easily check on that by calling your local planning and zoning office.

The thing with staying connected to city water too is, not just a backup, but someone mentioned before that I think they can condemn the house or make you move out if you don't have water on???

Not always. Our county has NO condemnation policies of any kind. There again, talk to your local planning and zoning office.

Now when you say collect water for washing, that means I'm going to be doing hand washing not machine washing I'm guess???

Daff, I think you misunderstood. You still use your washer but when you put in your load of clothes, pour the saved water into the washer. Also, when the washer drains, have it drain into a big bucket or barrel to reuse for the next load. Same with the rinse water. Save it until it is dirty or soapy and then use it for the next 2 or 3 loads of wash water.

I like the idea of putting the garbage bag in the bucket! Hadn't thought of that! Would make it really easy! I'm thinking the compost toilet will take a little getting used to but after awhile would be something I get used to and wouldn't miss the convinence of a flushing one just as I've adapted to other things (no stove, etc.).

I lined mine, too. I use sawdust. When I cut firewood, I cut long lengths as big as I can maneuver. I lay them on a flat trailer pulled behind the tractor. When I get to the house, I put a tarp on the ground at the back of the trailer. I cut the logs into firewood as I pull the off the back of the trailer. The last time I did it, I had about one week's worth of firewood and the sawdust from it filled a 50 pound feed sack packed.

I'll check out the solar heaters too, haven't gotten that far yet.

Solar heaters aren't cheap, but you can find plans to build your own much cheaper than you can buy one.

Daff, the only water I use in the house is rain water collected from the roof. I have one 1500 gallon tank and two 300 gallon tanks. I catch all I can for the lean days.

This last fall, I got behind and didn't catch as much as I should have. So, I've had to use pond water for the last month. ALL my water is filetered, chlorinated, and filtered again. My drinking water goes through a third filter. My filter expenses are not as much as you pay for your water bill.

Paul

NCLee
02-26-2010, 10:04 PM
Daf, couple of things.

If you pay a mimimum water bill that includes, say 1,000 gallons of water, keep in mind, that you're paying for that water, so you might as well use it. But, those leaks can easily run your water bill over the minimum amount. Don't have the number handy, but I read about something as simple as a leaking toilet can use a huge amount of water during a billing cycle.

If you know how to read your meter, you can keep up with your water usage. It can help you discover if you have more leaks than you expected. For example, you may have a hidden leak under the house.

Yes, for your washer, I meant adding rain water that you've collected. Water from the bucket that you have under that leaking faucet, etc. to fill your washer.

As to having to stay connected to the city water system. That depends on the regulations in your town, and county. In some places, they will condem or revoke the occupancy permit, if the water is turned off. In other places, it's only if children are involved. And, as Paul said, in other areas, there are no regulations regarding having running water in a home. So, it all depends on what the regs are where you live.

If your town has a web site, they may have all the info posted, so you can look at it, without letting anyone know what you're thinking about.

Re: Solar water heaters/cookers. Some of these are simply cardboard boxes, aluminum foil, and some glass. There are many plans for inexpensive ones that you can make yourself. Just be sure to do the research on how to make them and how to use them.

Hope this helps.
Lee

daffodil
03-04-2010, 07:52 PM
Daf, couple of things.

IDon't have the number handy, but I read about something as simple as a leaking toilet can use a huge amount of water during a billing cycle.




I wondered about this. If I'm catching a gallon shouldn't that be the amount I'm being charged for? The neighbor said no, that's not how it works, that the meter keeps running and that makes the bill go up really high. How does that work? Was really upset when I found out my sister's bill is only $200-300 for 3 MONTHS and there's two people living there, they take really long showers, run dishwashers, washers daily, hose down landscaping equipment and on and on.

Bones
03-04-2010, 10:31 PM
"whoo, life just ain't simple anymore, is it. Gravity fed system requires the tank to be 90 feet above the house(got that from that link)! That's out for sure!"

When we lived in Nairobi the city water pressure into our compound was not enough to provide pressure to our houses. The embassy every three days delivered water to a big water tank that was located ground level. Approx 10ft tall by 15ft long and about 10ft wide. Now from there it was pumped to unpressurized tanks on top of the four houses in the compound. This is what we used for three years for water pressure. If fact if the city water pressure was enough it still would not have been our water pressure because the city water dumped into this same tank. This was a two story building. It did take a little longer to fill the tub on the second floor but our kids took showers in their bathroom on the second floor the wife and I used the first floor bathroom for showers because the pressure was better there. But I do not remember there being a lack of pressure for showers.
Now just before we moved from there the embassy found out that the line feeding the compound was not all the way on so for I do not know how many years they had been paying local embassy employees to delivery water to our compound every three days.

NCLee
03-05-2010, 11:26 AM
I wondered about this. If I'm catching a gallon shouldn't that be the amount I'm being charged for? The neighbor said no, that's not how it works, that the meter keeps running and that makes the bill go up really high. How does that work? Was really upset when I found out my sister's bill is only $200-300 for 3 MONTHS and there's two people living there, they take really long showers, run dishwashers, washers daily, hose down landscaping equipment and on and on.

Daf, you probably have a minimum water bill to pay, regardless of how much water you use or don't use. Beyond that, increases in your water bill are due to the water flowing through the meter. You'll be billed for what that meter shows regardless of where it goes after it leaves the meter.

If you have a leak between the meter and the house, that could be where the extra water is going. If you have a leak under the house, the same thing. And, there's the possibility that you have a defective meter. If you can read the meter, yourself, you can figure out if you have a leak. Take a reading. Don't use any water for anything for a day. (Store up water to use for that day.) Read the meter again. If the meter reading changes, you have a leak somewhere.

One place you may have a leak and not know it is in the toilet, itself. Water continues to run into the bowl, after flushing, and doesn't stop. An easy way to check this is to put some food coloring in the water in the tank. Wait a few minutes and then check the bowl. If you have a problem, the water in the bowl is be turning the same color as what you have in the tank.

You've just got to be a detective to figure out why you have a high water bill, when compared to others. Once you've ruled out everything that can be going wrong on your side of the meter, contact the water company. Get them to check the meter. Don't do that until you're SURE the problem isn't on your side. If you have a problem and the meter has a problem, you have to have your side fixed, before you have any ammunition to deal with the water company. (If yours is like many of them.)

Hope this helps.
Lee

daffodil
03-05-2010, 08:29 PM
Daf, you probably have a minimum water bill to pay, regardless of how much water you use or don't use. Beyond that, increases in your water bill are due to the water flowing through the meter. You'll be billed for what that meter shows regardless of where it goes after it leaves the meter.

If you have a leak between the meter and the house, that could be where the extra water is going. If you have a leak under the house, the same thing. And, there's the possibility that you have a defective meter. If you can read the meter, yourself, you can figure out if you have a leak. Take a reading. Don't use any water for anything for a day. (Store up water to use for that day.) Read the meter again. If the meter reading changes, you have a leak somewhere.

One place you may have a leak and not know it is in the toilet, itself. Water continues to run into the bowl, after flushing, and doesn't stop. An easy way to check this is to put some food coloring in the water in the tank. Wait a few minutes and then check the bowl. If you have a problem, the water in the bowl is be turning the same color as what you have in the tank.

You've just got to be a detective to figure out why you have a high water bill, when compared to others. Once you've ruled out everything that can be going wrong on your side of the meter, contact the water company. Get them to check the meter. Don't do that until you're SURE the problem isn't on your side. If you have a problem and the meter has a problem, you have to have your side fixed, before you have any ammunition to deal with the water company. (If yours is like many of them.)

Hope this helps.
Lee

I'll have to go out and see if I can read the meter. I've never really looked at it before. I know they ran a wire to the side of the house years ago so they wouldn't have to come in the yard. So I think there is a little box or something there that they read. It would be interesting to do that and find out.

Travis
03-07-2010, 03:17 AM
On our water meter there is a little circle thingy to one side it has 2 red and two white pie shapes to it. It spins when water flows. So with every thing off in the house it should not move. Hopefully you have this also. If not call the water company and see if they will do an audit on your water. Most do them for free.

CountryGuy
03-14-2010, 03:19 AM
I wondered about this. If I'm catching a gallon shouldn't that be the amount I'm being charged for? The neighbor said no, that's not how it works, that the meter keeps running and that makes the bill go up really high.


Daf,

Like others have said, if you don't have an appliance using water and the meter is spinning, your ARE using water. The dye trick in the toilet is great. If it is leaking you can upgrade the guts real easily. Lowe's has them for $15-$30 for a kit depending on your toilet.

Also if you have an older toilet that's a high gallon per flush (GPF) model, you can this trick to reduce the water use. Place a few 2 liter soda bottles filled with stones (preferably rinsed) and pop a few holes in the bottle so it sinks. This will help to replace the amount of water in the tank and still get the float to the right level. If you notice that "things" don't seem to flush everytime reduce by one bottle or maybe replace a 2L with a 1L bottle to get it to where every flush works. Try to maximize the amount of "filler" in the tank.

On the meter, if you have a very bad leak, a quicker fast check would be to look at it in the morning before you go to work or at night before you go to bed. If no one is home nothing should be using water! If you come home or check it in the morning and that meter shows even a 1 gallon increase, you have a leak. I gather that your in a tight financial place but if you do have a leak, you need to scrape together your money and fix it ASAP. Otherwise you have basically have a slow money bleed. Look at re piping using PVC or PEX tubing instead of copper. It's cheaper and faster to install. PVC you could do yourself with a little study and reading. It's basically measure, cut, prime, glue and push together. The tubing needs to be put in by a plumber but an advantage is that there are very few joints to leak.

Keep you eyes open for some blue 35 or 55 gal food grade barrels. Sometimes farmers will have them sitting out selling them for 10 to 30 bucks. These make great water collection barrels.

Good luck.

daffodil
03-14-2010, 10:13 PM
Daf,

Like others have said, if you don't have an appliance using water and the meter is spinning, your ARE using water. The dye trick in the toilet is great. If it is leaking you can upgrade the guts real easily. Lowe's has them for $15-$30 for a kit depending on your toilet.

Also if you have an older toilet that's a high gallon per flush (GPF) model, you can this trick to reduce the water use. Place a few 2 liter soda bottles filled with stones (preferably rinsed) and pop a few holes in the bottle so it sinks. This will help to replace the amount of water in the tank and still get the float to the right level. If you notice that "things" don't seem to flush everytime reduce by one bottle or maybe replace a 2L with a 1L bottle to get it to where every flush works. Try to maximize the amount of "filler" in the tank.

On the meter, if you have a very bad leak, a quicker fast check would be to look at it in the morning before you go to work or at night before you go to bed. If no one is home nothing should be using water! If you come home or check it in the morning and that meter shows even a 1 gallon increase, you have a leak. I gather that your in a tight financial place but if you do have a leak, you need to scrape together your money and fix it ASAP. Otherwise you have basically have a slow money bleed. Look at re piping using PVC or PEX tubing instead of copper. It's cheaper and faster to install. PVC you could do yourself with a little study and reading. It's basically measure, cut, prime, glue and push together. The tubing needs to be put in by a plumber but an advantage is that there are very few joints to leak.

Keep you eyes open for some blue 35 or 55 gal food grade barrels. Sometimes farmers will have them sitting out selling them for 10 to 30 bucks. These make great water collection barrels.

Good luck.

Did the re piping thing. Had all new pipes put in. They looked like plastic or rubber if I remember right. Tried looking to see if the meter was spinning. There's nothing to look at. It's a black box with nothing on it and no way to open it. They read it with a gun type thing, like a scanner.