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Old 15-01-2016, 10:32 AM   #1
goldenpirate
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Generic Waterbutt to PW

Hey guys,

Well this is my first post, and I just had some questions in regard to connecting a water butt to a pressure washer. I know quite a few people do this setup, and many filter the water etc. to ensure no debris is coming out. Although, I won't have this problem as I will be filling up with tap water (I am not using a water butt for the rain water, I just simply don't have access to a tap outside to wash my car).

So I did set it up with an old Karcher, and whilst some pressure does come it is very little, or it stops due to inconsistency. It is a generic 100L Water butt perhaps half a foot of the ground, I was just wondering what I can do to get more pressure and do people still use this setup? If so what am I doing wrong.

I am using two connectors on around a 7-8m hose and the hose is a value range item, not anti-kink or anything. Could this be a problem, or do I need a better PW which is meant to be suited to use with a water butt like a C110 Nilfisk. Also has anyone tried using a snow foam lance from a pw connected to a water butt?

Any help is appreciated.
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Old 15-01-2016, 05:12 PM   #2
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Are you using a "normal" 12mm OD garden hose? If so the flow will be woeful off a small water butt with that length of hose. You either need a larger diameter pipe to increase the flow, or failing that a small pump into the water butt to give you more pressure into the existing hose. Can you do a flow rate test? Most PWs need at least 5 litres a minute. If the hose, connected to the water source you're planning to use, won't give you at least that (and ideally more depending on the PW in question) then you'll have problems.

Have a read of my post (if you haven't already) on this, it talks about flow rates etc and the kind of fittings you'll need to do this successfully.

Can you raise the butt up higher? Although it would need to be quite a lot higher to give you enough pressure with a 100l butt and that amount of hose....

Last edited by steelghost; 15-01-2016 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 15-01-2016, 05:26 PM   #3
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By the way, rain water is much better at not leaving water spotting on your car, especially if you live in a hard water area.
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Old 15-01-2016, 05:56 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelghost View Post
Are you using a "normal" 12mm OD garden hose? If so the flow will be woeful off a small water butt with that length of hose. You either need a larger diameter pipe to increase the flow, or failing that a small pump into the water butt to give you more pressure into the existing hose. Can you do a flow rate test? Most PWs need at least 5 litres a minute. If the hose, connected to the water source you're planning to use, won't give you at least that (and ideally more depending on the PW in question) then you'll have problems.

Have a read of my post (if you haven't already) on this, it talks about flow rates etc and the kind of fittings you'll need to do this successfully.

Can you raise the butt up higher? Although it would need to be quite a lot higher to give you enough pressure with a 100l butt and that amount of hose....
Yes it is a 12mm, value hose with honestly cheap connectors. It was previously a 15M hose, but I cut it to perhaps 8M, and I may even cut it down further to 3-4M would this improve flow, as I am able to move the water butt closer to my car as it is parked at the front of the house.

Yes I would be able to make it go around 3ft in the air possibly by placing it on a step ladder.

I have actually seen your post it was the first post I have seen, I like your setup and the filtering idea is great but as I said I would pretty much like to use tap water simply because I am trying to reduce costs (there is no hose pipe ban over here and I don't have access to an outdoor tap, pretty much the only reason why I am doing it)

In terms of the flow rate coming out of the waterbutt I would say its around 4/5L per minute give or take.

I've seen this video:

and also this video:

Which one is using a wheelie bin with a tap adaptor of course on the floor and the other with a 25L tank with a hole for air. So would my problem simply be having a long hose (15M) and 12MM making it not pass enough water from the water butt. Would I be better of investing in a better hose pipe?
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Old 15-01-2016, 06:30 PM   #5
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Funnily enough I recognise both those clips from when I was researching my setup

Your problem is a combination of factors:

- the butt is small, which means lower "head" (ie less water on top of the bit actually passing out of the tap pushing it downwards)
- it's not very high off the ground (same as above really)
- you've got a long and narrow hose (which adds flow resistance) - the "hoselock" fittings are pretty terrible for flow resistance and additionally need main pressure on them to make a proper seal, otherwise they can leak.

Suggestions:

Start with easy / free first:

- Raise the water butt as high as you can
- Try a shorter hose (eg 2m if you put the PW next to the stepladder)
- If neither of those (or both) helps enough, I'd suggest a 19mm ID setup along the lines of what I made up in my post - should give you enough flow

You really need a bit of safety margin here - running a PW on insufficient is really bad for the pump and will knacker it prematurely if you do it too much.

Incidentally I've discovered you don't really need to filter water from a rain butt, gravitational settling does the trick just fine.
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Old 15-01-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelghost View Post
Funnily enough I recognise both those clips from when I was researching my setup

Your problem is a combination of factors:

- the butt is small, which means lower "head" (ie less water on top of the bit actually passing out of the tap pushing it downwards)
- it's not very high off the ground (same as above really)
- you've got a long and narrow hose (which adds flow resistance) - the "hoselock" fittings are pretty terrible for flow resistance and additionally need main pressure on them to make a proper seal, otherwise they can leak.

Suggestions:

Start with easy / free first:

- Raise the water butt as high as you can
- Try a shorter hose (eg 2m if you put the PW next to the stepladder)
- If neither of those (or both) helps enough, I'd suggest a 19mm ID setup along the lines of what I made up in my post - should give you enough flow

You really need a bit of safety margin here - running a PW on insufficient is really bad for the pump and will knacker it prematurely if you do it too much.

Incidentally I've discovered you don't really need to filter water from a rain butt, gravitational settling does the trick just fine.
Yes I believe that is where I saw them from haha, they were definitely good ideas with yours.

Ah, I see what you mean because the hose is defo larger then what I need, so I may just cut it down to 2M as you suggest. I do use the generic stop and lock fittings on both sids, although I do notice in your thread you have do use jubilee clips. Do you think I could/should just use a clip to the hose on to the water butt tap instead of using a connector.

Either way, I will probably be able to put it on the step ladder or a miniture table which is also around 3ft in the air, and defo try the shorter hose. Hopefully this should do the trick as I noticed on most PW videos the water butt is on some type of stand.

If not I will possibly buy the hose that you have and possibly a water pump? I was trying to keep this cost down to as low as possible but if this is the case then will do it. Would this be the right thing to do if the 'free' technique doesn't work.

The only reason why I was really against rain water is I wouldn't be able to carry it through the house, and if I leave it at the front someone might nick it (this is the type of area I live in) that being said if it is filled to the brim, a 100L water butt isn't easy to steal so may decide to simply catch the rain water within it.
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Old 15-01-2016, 11:35 PM   #7
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I think the combination of shortening the hose as much as you can (be careful not to kink it though!) and lifting it up as high as you can should help a lot. Try a flow test - bear in mind the flow will be higher when the butt is full so you want to be getting sufficient flow when it's half or a quarter full.

If it doesn't give you what you need, that's the time you want to think about a larger diameter pipe. I don't think you need to go to 25mm ID as I did, but 19mm ID would be a good step forward. That should roughly double the flow rate you can get, and I really can't see you needing a pump.

Collecting rain water is a great way to wash the car as it means you can rinse with minimal / no water spotting, and of course it's free which is good if you're on a meter (and to be honest, it's a good idea anyway there's no need to squirt perfectly good drinking water on a car if you have an alternative). The one thing I would say is if you set up a water butt to collect rain, bear in mind that you can easily get 500 litres off the roof of a house in eg a night of heavy-ish rain. So if your storage is 100 or 200 litres, there's a risk of overflow that can lead to water running into / onto places you don't want (and we had some wet cellar walls until I realised our butts were overflowing and fixed it). But if you can sort it so that's not a problem, it's well worth doing. As you point out, 100l of water weighs 100kg so it's not something you can run off with! I put a wire strap around the two 200 litre water butts I have, mostly to stop them tipping over if my boys decide to go climbing, but it would also be a reasonably effective anti-interference mechanism.

If you do decide to go with collecting water, if you have the room and can tolerate it, it would be worth settign up the 100l butt you already have to collect the water and feed it into a larger 200l storage butt from which you would then supply the PW. The idea here is that any sediment settles out in the first tank, leaving the second clear and clean for use.
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Old 16-01-2016, 11:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelghost View Post
I think the combination of shortening the hose as much as you can (be careful not to kink it though!) and lifting it up as high as you can should help a lot. Try a flow test - bear in mind the flow will be higher when the butt is full so you want to be getting sufficient flow when it's half or a quarter full.

If it doesn't give you what you need, that's the time you want to think about a larger diameter pipe. I don't think you need to go to 25mm ID as I did, but 19mm ID would be a good step forward. That should roughly double the flow rate you can get, and I really can't see you needing a pump.

Collecting rain water is a great way to wash the car as it means you can rinse with minimal / no water spotting, and of course it's free which is good if you're on a meter (and to be honest, it's a good idea anyway there's no need to squirt perfectly good drinking water on a car if you have an alternative). The one thing I would say is if you set up a water butt to collect rain, bear in mind that you can easily get 500 litres off the roof of a house in eg a night of heavy-ish rain. So if your storage is 100 or 200 litres, there's a risk of overflow that can lead to water running into / onto places you don't want (and we had some wet cellar walls until I realised our butts were overflowing and fixed it). But if you can sort it so that's not a problem, it's well worth doing. As you point out, 100l of water weighs 100kg so it's not something you can run off with! I put a wire strap around the two 200 litre water butts I have, mostly to stop them tipping over if my boys decide to go climbing, but it would also be a reasonably effective anti-interference mechanism.

If you do decide to go with collecting water, if you have the room and can tolerate it, it would be worth settign up the 100l butt you already have to collect the water and feed it into a larger 200l storage butt from which you would then supply the PW. The idea here is that any sediment settles out in the first tank, leaving the second clear and clean for use.
I will definitely give the first two a go, I did have a 15M hose and shortened it to around 7-8M as I said but perhaps it is still too long, will give 2-3M a go. Otherwise I will buy a 19MM ID hose. If a pump is not needed that is great, can't really keep chucking money at this as I barely have any detailing products!

That's actually a pretty good idea, if I can get the pressure washer to work correctly I will consider this idea, will just have to see how much space I got and how will it work. Thanks for the advice!

I will update this thread soon, on the lookout for another PW and then will say if it works for anyone else who may be looking to do this.
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Old 17-01-2016, 05:59 PM   #9
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Update: I have ordered a Nilfisk C110, heres hoping everything will work fine with the water butt, will update on Tuesday or Wednesday when I get it
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Old 20-01-2016, 11:36 AM   #10
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Since I had a day off today, I tried it this morning.

Doensn't work at all, simply because all the water is coming out of the connectors and just spraying outside. So very little water actually goes down the connectors (they were generic £1 for 3 inside a packet) connectors and the hose I'm guessing doesn't fully fit inside them.

Now what to do?
Buy a new hose with connectors?
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