Thursday, February 27, 2014

Residential greywater irrigation system installation

At my house laundry is done at least 3 times a week, each time with a rinse cycle. That amounts to at least 100 gallons of water a week. By reusing that water for irrigation I should save more than 5000 gallons annually.

I decided to buy a ready made filtration system to understand the workings of such a unit and to maybe improve on that design later on. Based on the reviews and cost I decided to go with a Aqua2use unit.

Total cost of this project was about $800. Santa Clara Valey Water District offers a rebate for this type of an installation.

Please check the conditions for your district rebate as in my case you need to have a pre-inspection by the water district, a plan and a final inspection before the $100 rebate is issued.

Important note: You have to use special laundry detergents with this setup. Ecos is the one currently recommended by the experts.

I connected this system to 3 sub irrigation planters that I've build. See that post here.


Aqua2use GWDD system

1 bag of ½ inch PVC 90 degree elbows
1 bag of ½ inch PVC couplers
2 ½ inch PVC Tees Slip x Slip x Slip
1 roll of Teflon tape
1 8 ounce PVC cement
2 feet of 2” ABS pipe
2 2” ABS elbows
¼ drip irrigation tubing
1 1-½ to ½ inch PVC reducer bushing
3 PVC Adapters ¾ inch hose thread x ½ inch slip

1 ¾ MHT x ½ slip elbow

2 2” 90 degree flexible elbows with stainless steel clamps

3 Raindrip 3/4" Hose Thread Swivel x 1/4" Adaptors.
Important: Do not use the mesh. It will clog up and restrict water flow.

Screw driver
Adjustable Pliers Wrench
Heat gun
100 grit sand paper


Important: Use teflon tape on all threaded connections to avoid leaks

Step 1. Assemble the greywater filtration system

The kit I purchased came completely disassembled

I unpacked all of the contents of the box and started reading the installation manual
The assembly was pretty smooth overall but I did have to use a heat gun to attach the discharge hose to the submersible pump as part of the last couple of assembly steps. This wasn't in the instruction. Here is the completed assembly:

Step 2. Hooking up the filtration system to the laundry discharge

Attach the 2 90 degree flexible elbows with stainless steel clamps to the intake and the bypass outlets on the filtration system

Attach the 1-½ to ½ inch PVC reducer bushing to the greywater outflow connector and screw in the ¾ MHT x ½ slip elbow (don't forget the Teflon tape)

Attach the bypass outlet (bottom) to the same place where your laundry discharge was connected to. I just needed a couple of 90 degree ABS elbows and 2 feet of ABS pipe. Remember to sand away any paint that is on you existing ABS plumbing before applying PVC cement.

The top flexible elbow is where your washing machine discharge is hooked up to

Step 3. Running the greywater outflow to the outside of the house

Carefully measure the distance from the ¾ MHT x ½ slip elbow to the wall and cut a 1/2 inch PVC pipe to that size. Attach the pipe using the PVC cement to the elbow at the discharge and another elbow to run along the wall.

I didn't want to cut another hole in the stucco wall of my house so I ran the 1/2 inch pipe through the dryer exhaust pipe to the outside. You can use the seal tape to ensure an air seal around the pipe.

Now you have run your greywater pipe outside.

Step 4. Extending the greywater line to the irrigation points around your house

I've built 3 sub irrigation planters (see the building the SIP post coming soon) that this system will feed. At each termination point I've assembled an adapter to use with a 1/4 inch drip system using a ½ inch PVC Tee Slip x Slip x Slip a short piece of 1/2 PVC pipe and a Raindrip 3/4" Hose Thread Swivel x 1/4" Adaptor. Important: Take out the mesh to allow more water flow.

This is how plugged up the mesh gets after a couple of uses.

The adapter is then attached to the 1/2 inch PVC pipe using PVC cement.

Continue around the house to get to the last termination point. You have to remember that pressure is lost the longer the 1/2 inch PVC pipe is run.

This is the last termination point in my setup.

Step 5. Testing the system

I used a rinse cycle on my laundry to see if it will trigger the system to discharge the water. It did not :). I had to dump a couple of 5 gallon buckets into the system to check for leaks and pressure in the system.

This video is with the mesh still in, and I was getting low pressure in the 1/4 inch tubing

This is water pressure after removing the protective mesh from the Raindrip adapters


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  2. Thanks for the write-up, I'd been eyeing this system so it's good to read about the installation process!

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