You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Saving Water’ category.

So the well is a bust, for now. Link for the history. I know I have water down at 11 feet. I have checked two different ways. But the cheap pump I purchased ($100) just does not want to work. I had thought about using a Shurflo DC pump. Then, I could try a solar setup. But since it is only 15 feet from the house an AC pump makes more sense. The issue I have now is the cost of a new, good, well pump. They cost in the mid $200 range and that is a good chunk of change for something I cannot be 100% will work. I think what I need to do is buy something from the local store and check on the return policy. Then if it works I am in business. If not I could just return it and get my money back. At least I can use the old pumps accumulator tank. So it is not a total lose.

Too bad I can’t get a larger diameter well down in the ground. Then I could get a Grudfus deep well pump. I could water to his heart’s content and still have plenty to go around. O’ well, wishful thinking.

If I ever take the next step I will let you know. I think when all the rain is over and I have to water, then I will look at this again.

Advertisements

I finally got a new toilet! Home Depot had a 1.0 GPF on sale for $98. The nice thing about this toilet is that it is a plain old fashion gravity toilet. It has fewer things to go wrong and it is very quite.

It has been working great for about a month now. Only one time have I had to use the plunger. That is good because the old one was once or twice a week. I did receive my latest water bill. We only used 2050 Gallons. The pervious month was 2700 gallons. Remember, this also involves the new low flow shower head too.  (That is most of the reduction.) But I figure the new toilet saves at least 10 gallons a day. FWIW, my bill was still $39.56. We have a high fixed charge now. 😦

I received a new shower head for Christmas this year. The Evolve low flow shower head uses only 1.5 gpm @ 85psi. I think my pressure is lower so that means it uses slightly less. My old shower head used 2.5 gpm. Since my water/sewer bill has just about doubled I think this should help to reduce the overall impact of the increase. The increase is NOT from usage it is from flat-out utility robbery. Nothing I can do about it other than conserve.

My wife and I have been using it for over two weeks now. After getting use to the lower water volume it has been very nice. You just turn on the shower and walk away. After the shower gets to temperature it shuts itself off automatically and stays that way until you plug the chain to start the flow of water.

How much could it save me. I take about a twenty-minute shower and my wife, about the same. In a week that adds up to over 250 minute of showering. Now that is equal to 250 gallons of water! (2.5 gpm-1.5gpm = 1gpm) I am figuring that is mostly hot water. (75% is a good number) The amount of hot water saved is close to 200 gallons! WOW! I had no idea. 1000 gallons a month and 50kWhrs a month. (63 degree rise of 800 gallons of water. 1 gallon = 8.33 Heat pump is about 250% efficient. 3413 BTU per kWhr)

Only time will tell if I see this in my utility bills. I would hope I could see 1000 gallons since I only use an average of 4000 a month now. I really need to replace my toilets now and see what happens.

Well, ha ha, the point is down 24 feet.  I hooked up the pump and I can barely get any water. When I check the depth of the water it is at close to 20 feet. The point of the 4 foot well screen is at 24 feet. So then I understand why can’t get any water. The water is too far down. From my earlier research I found that normally the water table is around 12-15 feet. The problem is that we have not had more than an inch of rain in the last 60 days. We are down almost 5 inches since July.

What does this mean? It means that I think I should have plenty of water if we were not in a moderate drought. I may sink another well point next to the current one just so I have enough well screen for the pump. But, I will not be watering with it anytime soon. 😦

Total cost sits at $200 including the pump. Not a huge sum of money but without any water I am not getting any return on investment. Hopefully, my well adventure will end on the positive side.

This entire setup was less than $20. The brass fittings costing the most, I could not find PVC.

I tested the jetting process today. I got down about 16 feet. It feels like I am into some gravel. Since I was testing I did not rally want to spend more than an hour messing with it.

I did find out I need to drill a small hole in the tee fitting. This will let the air out and keep the rubber coupling from shooting off the end of the pipe. I plan on working some more tomorrow. Remember, I already have my pump.


Total boring to watch but you can see when I start to mist the AC unit the Kw hours go down. This TED is only hooked up to the AC unit. Nothing else.
It is almost 100 degrees outside, heat index is 110. (Humid!!!)
Starts at 2810 Watts, goes down to 2450 Watts.
I am sure it would have been even better if it was less humid.

With this, I have ordered a kit. It is made by EZ misters. I know I could have made my own. But, if and when I replace my outside unit. I will not be misting it. With the kit I can re-purpose the misting. A big plus is that the kit is made for up to 200 psi. Since city water pressure is almost 100+ psi, I should get some great misting! (Small droplet size)

I have been thinking about the solar option some more. For one thing solarhome.org pump is very inexpensive. I figure after shipping it may cost $50. Then I would need a well pressure tank. Funny thing is, I could buy the same AC pump I have now on eBay and just use the tank. I did not buy the first one that way because the eBay pumps are all returns. (replace return with, does not work.) Cost, less than $30. The total would be about the same.

About that wasted solar energy issue. A thought had occurred to me, I waste summer solar production right now with my solar lights! The pump draws almost 10 amps @ 50 psi. That is about 120 Watts. Better to think in amp hours any way. My battery is a 75 amp hour battery. But, I am sure the capacity is less with a higher current draw. My lights use about 2 amp hours per night, if I remember correctly. On a sunny day in the summer I replace 6 amp hours or more. That leaves me with an extra 4 amp hours.

Gallon calculations: This is a possible deal breaker. Lets say the little DC pump uses 8 amps @ 20 psi and produces 3 GPM. If I want to water 10,000 Sq. Ft. @ 1″, I need almost 6000 Gallons. I question this amount of water since when I do water my bill never shows that high. Let’s use a third of that. Beside if I need to water more than that means the sun is out more. 🙂 2000 Gallons @ 3 GPM = 10 hours! See the problem. 10  hours x 8 amps = 80 amp hours. i.e. Not going to happen.

Now what if I only watered the front yard. It may only be 3000 Sq. Ft. That would work out to be 3 hours using the same fudge factor. That would drain the battery by 3 hours x 8 amps = 24 Amp hours. Not unreasonable. But I could only water once a week.

All in all, I will stay with the AC pump. Sure it uses 700 Watts when running. But it pumps four times as much water.

I have purchased and tested my new well pump. I had seriously considered running the entire setup on solar power. Solarhome.org has a great deal on a 12VDC pump. After thinking about it I decided to just go with an AC pump. The reason was simple. I don’t plan on using it everyday. I won’t even be using it during the winter. So a solar system would have gone unused for most of the time. Wasteful to say the least.

Instead I just went to the local Harbor Freight store and picked up a shallow well pump on the cheap. Total cost after coupon and tax was $88. I don’t think it will last more than three years put I am also not 100% sure I will hit water either. (Maybe 95%)

To test I just purchased some PVC fittings and pipe for less than $10 and connected placed the pipe in my 100 Gallon rain water collection tub. It pump 50 gallons out in less than 10 minutes. The pump is rated for 900 gallons an hour @ 0 head and 1″ outlet. I was pushing the water though a 5/8′ 80 foot hose. Not too bad.

Next up, purchase the Brady Products -BTA-200 Well Point Install Kit, the PVC fitting and PVC pipe. I am working on location and installation process. I hate to start something without a plan.

I just found out a few days ago that my local water utility wants to double my water rate. Now I don’t use a lot of water. But I also don’t let the grass die in my yard either. That said, some months I have to water the lawn. Normally, I would get a $50 bill and just pay it know I am saving my lawn during a drought. Now it is going to be $100. I don;t know if I can live with that. (My neighbors already spend $300 a month on water for their yard!)

Solution, install a well. I have talked about it before but now I am motivated to act. The state of Indiana has a great tool. It is called Indiana Map. Ha ha! But it lets me look up other wells in the area. Most have water at only 15 feet or less. I have found a great how to website. Videos and Question section are wonderful.

From another blog, I already know what I need. I just have to put an order together and start jetting.

Where to start? Let’s start with my average water usage. Lasts months water bill came in at 2400 Gallons. This was from the month of November. (No watering outside!) This would be equal to about 80 gallons a day. For a family of four, that is really good! The average water usage in the US per person is about 70 gallons. We are well below that average during the cooler months when I am not water outside. I would like to keep it that way.

Rain water collection, my next spring project. During my Internet research I found a great product. RainXchange. I looks perfect, but has some flaws. #1 cost. for a 3000 gallon system it costs close to $5000. And that is if I install it myself. I don’t think I need a 3000 gallon system but the 1000 gallon system costs about half as much. #2 From what I can tell, the pump must run 24/7. So the money I save from capturing rain water will be chewed up in extra electricity costs. (Note: I am not wanting to do this to save money, but it would be nice!)

Option two, big tank of water. I don’t want one standing next to the house. Just too ugly. I could bury one but that cost money too. (Less then the rainXchange) One idea I had was to half bury a tank in the side of my small hill. But then I have to run a water line over 50 feet to it and add a transfer pump. The last option I have is to purchase a low profile tank and make a raised deck over the top of it. While this sound nice I don’t know about the added costs of the deck.

Moving on to sizing the tank. (I will have to think about location over the next few months.) After looking at my water bills, I figure I need about 3000 gallons “extra” in the summer months. Rarely do we go more than two weeks with out some significant rain fall. he system do not need to be available all the time. I can always use city water.  As an example, I want to water only the front yard. Let’s say it is 2000 square feet. If I need to water it with an inch of water every week then I need about 1200 gallons of water in the middle of a two week dry spell.

No mater which way you slice it. This will cost over $1000. Maybe I should just go back to driving a well? I did do some experimenting with water jetting but that was it. This past summer was a good one for rain so I lost my motivation. But I have plenty of time now to think of new crazy ways to save water.