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How to Install a DIY Rainwater-Flushing Toilet System (Video)

How to Install a DIY Rainwater-Flushing Toilet System (Video)

 

Written by Sami Grover

From safe and legal greywater recycling to urban humanure toilets, Treehugger has featured plenty of DIY plumbing aimed at more efficient water use.

But this DIY rainwater flushing toilet from the UK is about as low-tech and effective as it gets. Using an upstairs balcony to house a barrel cistern; a simple gauze filter system; some charcoal for purification, and then some gravity-fed piping to a downstairs toilet cistern, the system automatically feeds the toilet cistern with rainwater whenever it’s available. When rainwater runs out, the homeowners simply switch back to the mains water.

Simple, huh?

This post was originally published by Treehugger.

 

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77 comments

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6:25AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

That tee in the pipe looks like it would fail plumbing regulations in the UK. If the mains water pressure in the house fell for any reason (disconnect, stopcock turned off for maintenance elsewhere in the house), non-potable water could enter the potable water system.

I got round that problem by using another route into the cistern: up the overflow pipe. We flush the toilet in our rented house with rainwater without modifying anything:

http://blog.lolyco.com/sean/2013/12/11/rainwater-toilet-flush/

12:53PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

Wonderful! Thanks for the insight and instructions.

7:24AM PST on Dec 7, 2011

No No News Am R.......LOL! My thoughts exactly!

6:31AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

Very inventive Good Job!

12:22AM PST on Dec 6, 2011

thanks

9:10PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

(continued from my previous comment as it was cutoff halfway)
The best solution to implement this grey water system is to install *two* fill valves on the reservoir of your toilet (one on each side) each with their own float. Using the same ball valve that you already saw in the movie, you can shut off the rain water system if you need to and the city water connection already has a shutoff valve for the toilet where it comes out of the wall. That is a safe setup because water can't back-flow into the drinking water supply.
Ellen M: this setup was actually made in the city, judging from the surroundings in the movie.

9:06PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Jingli, I am sure that you can find a way to collect rainwater from roofs!
I have several remarks about this movie and the most serious one is that this installation is likely illegal, because it connects the the grey (rain) water to the city drinking water piping. If ever an error is made with the shutoff valves (both opened) then either the tank is going to flood (which is not serious, just a nuisance) or if the city water pressure drops, the house and possibly the neighborhood is receiving rainwater from their taps instead of drinking water!
NOTE that this video is most likely from The Netherlands, not only from the building style but also from the Dutch title in the movie. It does freeze quite a bit in The Netherlands, that is why the vessel and the piping is *plastic* so it does not get damaged when it freezes. You won't be able to flush with rainwater anyway when it freezes (it will be snow or ice) so with the plastic vessel and piping, there is no problem - just that you can't use it for the winter period. (Older systems with metal piping implemented a drain tap, so you could drain the piping before it would freeze)
The best solution to implement this grey water system is to install *two* fill valves on the reservoir of your toilet (one on each side) each with their own float. Using the same ball valve that you already saw in the movie, you can shut off the rain water system if you need to and the city water connection already has a shutoff valve for the toilet wher

7:28PM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Thanks a lot its need of the present time, if we shall not act fast it will be too late. Water is life.Save water is our duty.

10:17AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Nice idea for a dwelling in an area that has above freezing temps.. Although running all this indoors would solve that problem But then there could also be a space problem?..

6:24AM PST on Dec 5, 2011

Please don't flush the cat!:)

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