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#404854 - 28th Apr 2010 8:02pm Water butt toilet flush & solar project
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
Doing my bit to save the environment, I mean cut down on my water bills. I devised a system that uses the rain water off my roof to flush the toilet.

The pump is powered by a solar panel array that also provides power to my laptop.

I've put this thread together to go over what i've done and to help anyone else if they want to do similar.

The rain water is diverted from the down pipe by a divert/filter that sends the water into two large butts. A small electric submersible pump operates to pump the water into a header tank in the loft.

Float switches and relays are used to ensure the pump doesn't overflow the tank or pump the butts dry.

Solar panels charge a lesuire (deep cycle battery) to provide power for the pump and my laptop. A pure sine wave invertor regulates the solar charge and provides mains power. Found modified sine wave inverters (cheap ones to be junk) and not work with many appliances.


Attachments: Viewing Permissions May Apply. Click Me
butts.jpg

Description: water butts and rain diverter

solar.jpg

Description: solar panel array

battery charge.jpg

Description: deep cycle battery and power regulator to prevent damage to the battery if the charge falls too low.

inverter.jpg

Description: 240v/400 inverter and solar charge regulator. Provides power for 240v appliances and regulates the solar charge to prevent battery damage.

tank.jpg

Description: loft tank with float switch and mains cold water feed. Water butt feed is higher than level of overflow to prevent contamination of drinking water.




Edited by Neil_c (28th Apr 2010 8:09pm)

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#404856 - 28th Apr 2010 8:04pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
water butt plumbing


Attachments: Viewing Permissions May Apply. Click Me
diverter.jpg

Description: rain water diverter & filter

stopcock.jpg

Description: mains stopcock and water butt feed inside house. Two pipes carry the water to the tank in the loft. When rain water is exhausted, the system automatically uses mains.



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#404858 - 28th Apr 2010 8:07pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
water butt and pump


Attachments: Viewing Permissions May Apply. Click Me
butt.jpg

Description: water butt and pump



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#404859 - 28th Apr 2010 8:09pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
Wheels Offline
Wiki Veteran

Registered: 4th Jan 2005
Posts: 8795
Loc: Tranmere
Thats fantastic!!! How much was the set up? I'd love it as I'm on a water meter.

smile

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#404861 - 28th Apr 2010 8:14pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
scoops Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Oct 2008
Posts: 531
Loc: Lurking
Nice system Neil smile
Have you considered using your grey water from the bath/shower, washing machine and sink (obviously not the kitchen) for the toilet flush? Would be especially useful when it hasn't rained for a while wink
_________________________
If it's stupid and it works, it ain't stupid.

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#404863 - 28th Apr 2010 8:15pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Wheels]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
Butts about £25, b&Q
pump = £7, eBay
tank = second hand off old heating system (loads being thrown out with Combi now)
inverter = £100 ebay (more expensive as pure sine wave)
charge controller = £15, ebay (you might not need it if inverter has charge controller)
float switch = £7ish each, ebay
solar panels vary in price, but all ebay. That lot of mine are a 40w, 60w, 18w & 10w = 128w altogether.

Thinking of investing in a "grid tie inverter" to do away with the battery and sell the elec back to Manweb.

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#404866 - 28th Apr 2010 8:21pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
We tried the grey water but it starts to stink after a few days so had to use a lot of bleach. you can get a grey water diverter kit on ebay but it depends on the level of your bath compared to the butts as you wouldn't really want to pump it.

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#404867 - 28th Apr 2010 8:26pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
if you wanted to do it cheap raising the butts above the height of the toilet would be good as gravity would fill up the toilet cistern. Quite good if you have downstairs lav.

Just to power the pump, if you needed it, you'd only need a tiny solar panel for about £20. I've got so many because they power the laptop all day.

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#404869 - 28th Apr 2010 8:45pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
bobi1 Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 5th Dec 2009
Posts: 572
Loc: wirral
Great idea but I suppose it only works if you have a flat roof to put the waterbutts onto.

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#404870 - 28th Apr 2010 8:47pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: bobi1]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
you can put the butts on the ground. The little pump I have will pump water up to 6m high which should do for most houses.

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#404893 - 28th Apr 2010 10:29pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
Nigel Offline

Wise One

Registered: 26th Mar 2010
Posts: 850
Loc: Wirral
Hi Neil,Wow thats amazing, I know what you look like, but may one be forgiven for thinking that you wear a white lab coat, have large round glasses and a rather large amount of curly grey hair?

Lol ! well done mate - looks good!
_________________________
O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever ...

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#405042 - 29th Apr 2010 6:45pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Nigel]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
Reaping the benefits off it today matey, free toilet water is falling from the skies!!

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#405228 - 30th Apr 2010 9:06pm Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: Neil_c]
PeteC Offline
Member

Registered: 14th Jul 2009
Posts: 80
Loc: Birkenhead
V.impressive - can't see me doing anything like this tho

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#405260 - 1st May 2010 12:49am Re: Water butt toilet flush & solar project [Re: PeteC]
Neil_c Offline
Smartchild

Registered: 27th Sep 2009
Posts: 417
Loc: birkenhead
it's quite easy to build it up. I started with the water butts/diverter first then the pump and connection to the loft header tank came afterwards.

When I move house and do it again, i'll probably supplement with 1000 litre tanks and try to divert water from both the front and back of the house. My mate has 3*1000L tanks connected in serial which drain water off four sheds he has at the end of his garden. It's all filtered by a big pond filter. I'm not quite ready for such dizzy heights yet.

See you actually pay twice if you're on a meter, for the cold water which then gets doubled for the waste (they assume the water you use will eventually end up in their sewers).

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