Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Rainwater usage report

Earlier this month I attached the toilet in my powder room to my high pressure rain water system.  At the same time I installed a flow meter to measure how much rainwater I was using.  I checked tonight, and after 10 days I used 206.1 gallons of water.
The top number shows how much water was used since the pump last ran.  It gets reset by pushing the left button, or after 30 minutes of inactivity.  The bottom number is cumulative.  It gets reset with the right button, otherwise it just keeps counting.  The biggest drawback is that it only measures up to 999.  After that it goes back to 0. 

The other noticeable thing is the 1.8.  My toilet clearly says "1.6 gpf" right on it.  That's either a lie or the meter is wrong.  I guess since the water is free I shouldn't worry too much about it. 

I should also note that not all 206 gallons was due to the toilet.  I did wash my cars the other day.  I checked the meter then and had used about 30 gallons. 

I'm happy with the result, but it doesn't tell the entire story!  The flow meter only measures the high pressure water going through the pump.  It doesn't measure the low pressure drip irrigation system.  I'm saving water there too!  I just don't know how much.  I connected the flow meter to the drip irrigation line, but the flow was too slow to register. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Using rain water to flush a toilet

I've wanted to use rain water to flush toilets for quite some time.  I got a notice from my water company the other day saying that they were raising my rates.  That motivated me to plumb the toilet into high pressure rain water system sooner rather than later.

I started by drilling a 5/8" hole in the floor behind the toilet.  I hated to put a hole in the hardwood floor, but this was a lot easier than opening and then repairing the wall.
 Next I went into the crawlspace and pushed the reclaimed PEX pipe through the hole.
Then I had to go back to the powder room and connect the valve to the pipe.  I love these Sharkbite push-to-connect fittings.  They're expensive, but so easy to work with.  You just push the pipe into the opening and you're done. 
 I used a braided hose to connect the valve to the toilet.
Then it was back to the crawlspace.  I used another push-to-connect fitting to tie the new line from the toilet into the existing line.
Finally I added a warning tag to the supply line and opened the valve.  I'm pretty sure the tag is required by code, although I doubt too many people would attempt to drink toilet water.  I wanted it more for a means of advertising the fact that the toilet is being flushed with rain water.

Everything works fine.  The toilet fills more slowly than it used to, but that's not a big deal.  (The pump gets the water to 55 psi and the city water is 80 psi.)
Lastly, I added a flow meter to the pump.  This will give me some idea how much house water I'm saving by using rain water instead. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Garden Update -- August 2016

Here's the garden update for August.
Here are all of the raised beds.

I need to not grow so many jalapenos next year.  Each plant produces a lot more than I can eat.
The tomatillos have taken over this entire bed.  The other stuff I had in here can't be found.

Tomatoes and dill.
The cucumbers are going like crazy, but aren't producing a lot.
The pictures below are some of what I've harvested.