Hello to every one in this group. I have been lurking for some time and
finally I have a question that I would like to ask.
Has any one in the group collected and used rainwater for use in a washing
machine or dishwasher. If so how did it turn out. I am assuming that I will
need a pump to lift the water from a butt to the inlet of the washer. If
this is the case could I use some kind of pressure sensing switch so that
the pump would run automatically when the washer demands water . Would the
water need a great deal of filtering or can it be used right out of the
butt. I ask this as I live in a very hard water area and I tend to get
though a fair few heater elements.I think I am correct in saying that rain
water would be nice and soft as it will have had no contact with the chalk
downs that surround me. Thank you for taking time to read this JOHN
Connecting the pump to the washing machine inlet valve supply
would be better (probably through a relay as these are often
driven by low powered triacs or low current contacts).
You should filter it before it gets into the butt, or what's
in the butt can go a bit manky. I have a downpipe connector for
water butts which includes a gauze filter, but you do need to
wash out regularly. It's also a good idea to let the water
stand for at least an hour or two after any filling of the butt,
which allows heavy dirt such as sand dust from roof tiles to
sink to the bottom.
I live in a hard water area too, but I've never had a failed
element. Are you doing lots of high temperature washes for
Try calgon or similar, when my washing machine packed up after 11 years
service due to a fault in the controler, I took the element out and
there was virtually no limescale. I live in a hard water area.
Just some thoughts - no personal experience if this. How would you heat the
rainwater or are you only thinking of a cold rainwater supply to the cold
water inlet of a washing machine and dishwasher? If so, would the hot water
inlets need blocking off so that the appliances no longer received hard hot
water? For a cold rainwater-only supply you could consider a separate
storage tank above the level of the appliances, with gravity feed, although
the water pressure might be rather low. If the water pressure was adequate
then the storage tank could be filled via a pump from the rainwater butt. I
also live in a hard water area and find that using washing machine descaler
every 3 months, and a boil wash once a month, cleans out the limescale. No
experience of element failures due to limescale in 30 years, but we have
spent a lot on kettle descaler! I regularly have to descale the steam iron -
vinegar works well for that.
Most dishwashers don't have a hot feed.
Firstly, they don't use enough water for the hot to have run through
the pipework in most homes before they finish filling, and secondly,
it's really only the final rinse that would benefit from a hot fill.
For other rinses it's a waste, and hot water straight on to dirty
plates will cook protein food matter making it much harder to wash off.
I live in hard water area too. Never descalled washing machine and
never had any scale problems with it in 25 years. I wash at 35C
mostly though, and it's 60C and above which will generate most scale.
For the kettle I use a britta water filter, mainly because the tap
water has so much chlorine in it, but it removes the hard water too.
For steam iron, I use the condensate water from a dehumidifier and
and air conditioner, which has no hardness in it.
Reasons with washing machines are slightly different.
Modern washing detergents must use a profiled temperature wash
to work at their best, working up gradually from something like
30C to 45C to allow the various washing enzymes time to work
at their optimum temperature before they are destroyed at higher
temperatures. In order to ensure the initial fill is at no more
than 30C, you either need a microcontroller based machine to mix
hot and cold in the right proportions based on their temperatures,
or you do cold fill only and heat electrically. Even when mixing,
the amount of hot water required is again very small, often only
just enough to make the water run hot at the end of the fill
cycle, wasting all the dead leg heat in the pipework.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.