Journey with Confidence RV GPS App RV Trip Planner RV LIFE Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Take a Speed Test Free 7 Day Trial ×


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-07-2024, 03:59 PM   #1
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 269
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Implementation: Reuse tank for toilet flushing & washing clothes

Who has implemented a reuse water tank in their rig or any off grid setup?

I have planned out my water tanks, and I am looking at two gray tanks, one black tank, and one reuse tank.

The reuse tank would hold “light gray” gray water sourced from A/C condensate, evaporative cooler bleed water, dehumidifier, the ‘rinse’ cycle of the compact dishwasher and washing machine. Maybe sources are the shower, kitchen or bathroom sink.

The largest summertime source is likely going to be A/C condensate or evap. cooling bleed water (depending on the climate I’m in). The largest wintertime source will likely be from the shower and mini dehumidifiers.

I want to make it clear, here and now. I have no desire to try and use this water for human or animal use, or come in direct contact with it. The water is for toilet flushing and the ‘wash’ cycles of a top loading compact RV washing machine only.

I’ve read about the types of chemicals used in laundry and dishwashing detergent, and both are similar in nature. Dishwashing detergent is very alkaline as well as most laundry detergents. What I don’t know is how well clothes and dishes will wash with a mix of reacted and unreacted chemicals. How long the used wash water with used detergent can last before the active ingredients decay, Can dishwashing detergents work together with laundry detergents etc.

Sediments and solids are going to be strained and then filtered out before going into the diaphragm pump. If the water is too cloudy, I will drop in one of those tablets that makes dirty water clear that are sometimes distributed to 3rd world countries, and for disaster relief. As far as bacteria and heavy metals go, I’m not concerned as again, this water is only going to be used for toilet flushing and the ‘wash’ cycle on a compact RV washing machine.

Since the reuse tank is going to be around 50 gallons, and the biggest single-time user of water is the washing machine, I want the discussion to be primarily focused on reusing wash water.

Since clothes can be very dirty, I am looking at only reusing the water from the rinse cycle and using it for the wash cycle on the next load. This means I need a automatic diverter on the drain pipe. If there is a off the shelf solution that can detect water flow and automatically divert on the second flow event, possibly aided by detecting passing electrical current at the outlet for the washing machine, this would be the best. I can get into the Arduino ecosystem to make a solution if this isn’t available.

For the cold water connection on the washing machine, I would need a automatic A/B source switch that can detect flow and automatically switch to the “A” source (freshwater being the “A”) for the rinse cycle. Similar to the drain, this would need to automatically detect flow events and default to the “A” if the “B” (reuse water being the “B”) flow event is cut short or doesn’t happen within a predetermined time. An off the shelf solution is preferred, but if it’s not available then I can make it.

I was initially thinking of using reuse water for the ‘wash’ cycle of the countertop dishwasher, and using freshwater for the ‘rinse’ cycle. As I wrote out this post I realized even if there was zero risk of cross contamination, the water used by a countertop dishwater ranges from 4-8 gallons per cycle at most. The water used by a top loading compact RV washing machine can be 8-20 gallons -per load-, so this is where I want to focus my water reuse efforts.

Inner Love is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-08-2024, 01:23 PM   #2
Bus Crazy
 
ewo1's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Central Tx.
Posts: 1,801
Year: 1999
Chassis: Amtran / International
Engine: DT466E HT 250HP - Md3060
Interesting concept but I have questions.

Let's say you actually use 20 gallons of water per wash cycle, 2 loads and your at your tank max of 50 gallons.

Q) How do you re-clean that water for continued use?

Quote:
Sediments and solids are going to be strained and then filtered out before going into the diaphragm pump. If the water is too cloudy, I will drop in one of those tablets that makes dirty water clear that are sometimes distributed to 3rd world countries, and for disaster relief. As far as bacteria and heavy metals go, I’m not concerned as again, this water is only going to be used for toilet flushing and the ‘wash’ cycle on a compact RV washing machine.
Looking at clear water does not mean it is clean and where in the USA do you get those tablets that are distributed in 3rd world countries?

If the reuse is for toilet flushing, OK but to clean clothing and bedsheets with contaminated water?
Not to mention contaminating the laundry machine too!

I think that you would also need some sort of filtering system to remove the very fine solids.

Q) What about "smelly" stains and contaminants on your clothes like petroleums or everyday chemicals. How would you clear the water from those type of contaminants?

Q) When do you stop "re-using" this recycled water?

Then if you did use 40 gallons of clean water to start your 2 wash loads, you would be out of clean water for a shower!

Is it safe to say you would mainly use the washer while hooked up to city water only? If so then the extra tank is not necessary as you'll probably be hooked up to sewer too?
ewo1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 03:25 PM   #3
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 269
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Post I missed an additional source for the reuse water tank: Reverse Osmosis Filter bleed

I missed an additional source for the reuse water tank: Reverse Osmosis Filter bleed water. Many home RO filter systems will bleed off 3-4 gallons of water to filter 1 gallon of water mainly to supply the pressure to the RO membrane as well as extend the useful life of the filter by flushing solids. This water is still usable and drinkable provided the source going into the filter is clean.



Quote:
Originally Posted by ewo1 View Post
Interesting concept but I have questions.
Quote:
Looking at clear water does not mean it is clean and where in the USA do you get those tablets that are distributed in 3rd world countries?
I wrote my OP on my phone before bed, and I assumed people who are into saving water would have heard about this kind of product. I watched this video, at and learned about the tablets / powder, which can be bought on Amazon.com. I would only want to use a tablet if the water coming out of the tank is exceptionally dirty, I would want the washable filters to do the water cleaning. If there are a lot of oils in the water for some reason I can always use freshwater.



Quote:
If the reuse is for toilet flushing, OK but to clean clothing and bedsheets with contaminated water?
Not to mention contaminating the laundry machine too!
Quote:
I think that you would also need some sort of filtering system to remove the very fine solids.

I may need this as well, I don't want a lot of consumables in this setup so if I can use a centrifuge designed for water or a washable filter then I am open to fine filtering before the diaphram pump.


Quote:
Q) What about "smelly" stains and contaminants on your clothes like petroleums or everyday chemicals. How would you clear the water from those type of contaminants?
When I have a really dirty load of clothes I can wash them twice or source from freshwater.



Laundry detergent would suspend these soils in the reuse water just as it does for fine particles in clothes. Detergent would also be anti-bacterial, which is why I am not worried about bacteria in the water.
Quote:
Q) When do you stop "re-using" this recycled water?
Quote:
Q) How do you re-clean that water for continued use?
I would only use the water one additional time.



Quote:
Is it safe to say you would mainly use the washer while hooked up to city water only? If so then the extra tank is not necessary as you'll probably be hooked up to sewer too?
I want to be able to do a few loads of laundry while boondocking, while not having to worry if I will have to ration water in the last days of my 2 weeks in one spot on BLM land. Whenever possible and conveinent, I would want to do water intensive tasks with sewer hookups.


Quote:
Then if you did use 40 gallons of clean water to start your 2 wash loads, you would be out of clean water for a shower!

I looked at the tank selection of Ronco plastics and they have a 270 gallon tank, with a footprint of 5.5' x 2' and is around 18 inches high, which I want to install on a strong steel platform made up of a cage with 3/16 thick wall square tubular steel and 1/8" thick steel plate (or doubled up, well glued together plywood at least 1" thick and with at least 10 plys total for cost and surface flatness / continuity reasons). This tank would be centered just behind the rear axle and serve as the sole freshwater tank. The structure would be rest on the top of the frame rails, and I have a diagram in this post https://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/b...tml#post466889. This is not just for boondocking, I could park on a driveway without any water access for 2 weeks and not have to move.
Inner Love is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 07:29 PM   #4
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 209
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e 215hp Allison 2500
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Love View Post
\The water used by a top loading compact RV washing machine can be 8-20 gallons -per load-, so this is where I want to focus my water reuse efforts.

Have you seen one of these little washing machines?


https://www.amazon.com/Giantex-Porta.../dp/B01ALBMIEI


I have one and love it. Washing day is a bit of a hobby, cause it takes more hands on time. I've gotten good at getting things clean and rinsed with like 6 gallons of water more or less...



The washer side will beat the dirt out without mercy, it's washes very aggressively, the spin side spins surprisingly fast, most of the water gets expelled between rinses cycles, that saves water.


For myself, life is too short to mess around with a water recycling system!
Timeline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 07:32 PM   #5
Mini-Skoolie
 
nocoasty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 54
Year: '05
Coachwork: IC
Chassis: RE300
Engine: DT466 HT
Rated Cap: 69
Sounds like you've done a ton of research into it and I'd be curious to see your plan in motion. While I'm in no way here to offer an opinion or solution I have known several people in the "vanlife" community, that my wife and I met while traveling, who used or built recirculating showers. The common consensus among most was the recirculated water systems were gross and never worked how they had researched, intended, or envisioned.

It's admirable either way. I do know most, not all, but most laundry detergents aren't actually antibacterial. They work well at low and medium temperatures to remove dirt, stains, and organic matter that bacteria thrive on, but don't usually do much for the bacteria itself. Unless you're washing at a temperature hot enough to kill bacteria. Keep in mind, there are far more good bacteria in the world than bad bacteria.

Excited to see what you come up with.
nocoasty is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2024, 10:37 PM   #6
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: TX
Posts: 123
Year: 2010
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird (6-window Handy Bus)
Engine: Cummins 6.7l ISB
Rated Cap: 15 + 3WC
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Love View Post
I looked at the tank selection of Ronco plastics and they have a 270 gallon tank, with a footprint of 5.5' x 2' and is around 18 inches high, which I want to install on a strong steel platform made up of a cage with 3/16 thick wall square tubular steel and 1/8" thick steel plate (or doubled up, well glued together plywood at least 1" thick and with at least 10 plys total for cost and surface flatness / continuity reasons). This tank would be centered just behind the rear axle and serve as the sole freshwater tank.
...Just checking - you do realize that a full 270-gal tank will weigh in at more than a ton?...that seems like a lot of weight to be hanging in back of the rear axle...
desrtdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 12:09 PM   #7
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: TX
Posts: 123
Year: 2010
Coachwork: Blue Bird
Chassis: Blue Bird (6-window Handy Bus)
Engine: Cummins 6.7l ISB
Rated Cap: 15 + 3WC
Quote:
Originally Posted by desrtdog View Post
...Just checking - you do realize that a full 270-gal tank will weigh in at more than a ton?...that seems like a lot of weight to be hanging in back of the rear axle...
...correction - or clarification - to my previous...

It is true that a 270 gallon tank, when full, would weigh more than a ton (about 2240 lbs, plus tank weight), however, a tank with dimensions of 5.5' x 2' x 18" does not hold 270 gallons - only holds about 120 gallons. I looked at Ronco website, and they do not show any RV tanks greater than 100 gallon - which is about the size previously mentioned...
desrtdog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 08:13 PM   #8
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 269
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by desrtdog View Post
...correction - or clarification - to my previous...

It is true that a 270 gallon tank, when full, would weigh more than a ton (about 2240 lbs, plus tank weight),
I have already calculated my wet weight distribution between front and rear axles. My only concern is the shift in weight as I draw down the freshwater tank and fill the waste tanks, which is over 2000 pounds of weight shift from just behind the rear axle to 5 feet forward of it. However, behind the rear freshwater tank, I will have at least 2000 pounds of tools and gear so I can earn a life doing conversion work on other peoples school buses, which will make a very effective static counterweight to the water load shifting.



Quote:
however, a tank with dimensions of 5.5' x 2' x 18" does not hold 270 gallons - only holds about 120 gallons.
I didn't know the dimensions by heart, so I guessed them.

Quote:
I looked at Ronco website, and they do not show any RV tanks greater than 100 gallon - which is about the size previously mentioned...
The 270 gallon tank Ronco has is not an RV tank. The item # is AD9407.



200 gallons will go quick in the summer if the climate I am in is dry enough for evaporative cooling. I dream of building a two stage evaporative cooler with the second stage doubling as a indirect evaporative cooler, as oftentimes in the summer the dew point in San Jose is 72 F. Not having a bleed water line coming out of an evaporative cooler makes it nasty in a matter of weeks.



Evaporative cooler bleed water is mainly minerals and concentrated flouride if from municipal water, which is still usable for washing clothes for just the 'wash' cycle.
Inner Love is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2024, 08:29 PM   #9
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 269
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeline View Post
Have you seen one of these little washing machines?


https://www.amazon.com/Giantex-Porta.../dp/B01ALBMIEI


I have one and love it. Washing day is a bit of a hobby, cause it takes more hands on time. I've gotten good at getting things clean and rinsed with like 6 gallons of water more or less...

...

This is the type of machine I plan on using. You can find it at https://www.amazon.com/Giantex-Porta.../dp/B07HKXVQYC . It spin cycles in the same drum.



I wonder, can you pre-fill your machine with water and start washing clothes without it automatically draining it? This is my biggest pet peeve with washing machines. I just want to pre-soak my clothes and use the same water for the wash cycle. I also hate how aggressive modern machines with a center agitator are, even on delicate setting.



I want to heat and ventaliate my closets so I can hang damp clothes and basically have enclosed line drying. Not only will clothes stay in great condition longer, I will save the time of folding and putting clean clothes away.
Inner Love is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2024, 02:01 AM   #10
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Jun 2021
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 209
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: International 3800
Engine: DT466e 215hp Allison 2500
Rated Cap: 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Love View Post

I wonder, can you pre-fill your machine with water and start washing clothes without it automatically draining it? This is my biggest pet peeve with washing machines. I just want to pre-soak my clothes and use the same water for the wash cycle. I also hate how aggressive modern machines with a center agitator are, even on delicate setting.
Yes you can pre-fill and soak, it won't drain until you turn a dial to drain. It has no circuit board, just mechanical dials, and spring loaded timers. It has no pump so I run it in the shower stall. I have found it washes well only 1/3 full of water when washing things like blue jeans. It does wash aggressively, even on the delicate setting, it just rests longer between agitations. It's a water saver at the cost of a lot more hands on time getting laundry done. Mines been working great for over 5 years.
Timeline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2024, 02:01 PM   #11
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 269
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timeline View Post
Yes you can pre-fill and soak, it won't drain until you turn a dial to drain. It has no circuit board, just mechanical dials, and spring loaded timers. It has no pump so I run it in the shower stall. I have found it washes well only 1/3 full of water when washing things like blue jeans. It does wash aggressively, even on the delicate setting, it just rests longer between agitations. It's a water saver at the cost of a lot more hands on time getting laundry done. Mines been working great for over 5 years.

Thanks for replying.



I would like to ask for a return to the OP topic, which is implenting a reuse water tank in a skoolie or off-grid setup.
Inner Love is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-14-2024, 10:27 PM   #12
Bus Nut
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: San Jose, CA
Posts: 269
Year: 1981
Coachwork: Coachwork?
Chassis: International
Engine: CAT 3208 Marine Diesel
Exclamation Correction.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inner Love View Post
...
The 270 gallon tank Ronco has is not an RV tank. The item # is AD9407.

...

My mistake, the tank I am looking at is 210 gallon and is item # B302.
Inner Love is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
gray water, reuse, tank, wasting, water

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


» Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:22 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.