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Old 20-10-2015, 11:58 AM   #1
steelghost
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56k Icon Using a P/W at a distance from a water butt - lots of pics!

Hello everyone, this is my first "big post" to DW - I've put it in here since this is where all the threads about rainwater harvesting are.

This first part is by way of an introduction / how I came to be on DW type of thing, so if you're just here for the pictures of pipes, scroll down to the header below

This year we replaced our trusty Hyundai i30 with a proper family-mobile, a Toyota Avensis estate, since child number 2 arrived in May. The Hyundai only ever got washed with a single bucket and sponge, or the occasional once over from one of the friendly Polish gentlemen at the local supermarket . The first wax it ever had was at the local car valet when we got it the £25 special to sell it! The Avensis would have suffered the same fate had the dealer not mentioned that it had "Jewelultra Diamondbrite" applied by the previous owner. I wondered what this actually was, punched it into Google and found this place, and a whole new world was opened up to me

So now I have two small children, a wife who would only ever take the car to the cheapest car wash she could find , and a new found desire to try and keep this new car, as ordinary as it might be compared to some on here, looking decent. So my first priority has to be a way to wash it without inflicting any more swirls; because of time pressure I was finding that even a careful two-bucket wash and dry was leaving marks on the metallic black finish. I needed something to help me get cleaner, quicker, and ideally eliminate drying altogether, at least for the regular "service wash". I needed POWER!

PLUMBING STARTS HERE!

Having convinced SWMBO that a power washer was a worthwhile thing to have, I wanted to work out how best to make use if it. The main point of getting the PW is to speed up the whole washing process. Detailing a car when you have a family is a tricky thing to find time for, so anything to speed it up is worth considering, and I knew if I could use rainwater in the PW, I could skip the drying process for "normal" washes, since it leaves almost no water spotting.

My Kränzle 7/122 was chosen because it was the cheapest Kränzle that would draw water from a static source. I have two linked 220 litre water butts at the back of the house...

which I use for the garden, unfortunately the drive where the car gets washed is ~10m away, so I needed a way to get the water to cover that distance and still maintain the minimum 7 litres per minute that the PW needs.
Now the docs say that the pipe between that static water source and the PW should be no more than 3m. So first, a test - what would I get from the standard tap? (Yellow hose, bottom left of the picture) A quick timed flow test through a metre of ordinary garden hose gave me 10l/min, which is enough, but didn't leave much headroom for a longer hose, a less full water butt, or an inline filter.

Given I needed more than 3x that length of hose, I had two choices - get a pump, or Go Large - and as the Americans say, there's no replacement for displacement!
In Simon's thread on this, he went to 19mm / ¾" ID hose, but a) he only had about 3m of hose and b) his 1000 litres IBC gives him more pressure. In order to be sure of enough flow, even when the water level is low, I decided to go with 25mm / 1" ID hose and fittings.

Now all the flow in the world is no use if the water is full of rubbish. The downpipe diverter...

has a steel mesh filter which should take out anything less than about 1mm, so I decided to put an oversized '50 mesh' filter in line with the hose, which should stop anything bigger than ~⅓mm. The settlement filtration of the two tanks should mean the water coming out of the second is pretty decent, and the large filter reduces the flow restriction to a minimum. The filter housing can readily be opened to rinse the stainless steel filter off - there's nothing to wear out or clog up

The downpipe is taking all the flow from the rear side of the house and when it rains really hard, the amount of water coming off the roof is considerable. I did have a smaller diverter on there but it couldn't cope with the flow and would soak the wall. The new diverter doesn't have this issue

The camlock fittings Simon used are excellent in that they don't restrict the flow at all, give a good firm mechanical attachment and are very reliable (unlike the "Hozelock" fitting most garden hoses use) so I decided to use them (in 1" form) here. I've posted a list of parts and suppliers at the end - this should work for any water butt or tank where you have access to the rear of the hole to fix a back nut. The 90° bend stops the tap sticking out about a foot from the side of the tank (and reduces the strain, and hence the chance of leakage, at that joint).

The hose is reinforced PVC which is transparent and the only kind of tubing I could find for less than £3/m. Any 1" ID hose should do the trick though.

A few more photos of the installation:


The butts with linking pipe in place, and the site for the new tap marked.

Making the new hole - I didn't have the right drill bit to cut this hole in one go, so I drilled multiple holes with a 10mm bit and then trimmed out the remainder with a stanley knife, then enlarged it until I could start to engage the threads on the back of the tank boss, on the tank wall itself. This makes this join more mechanically robust since there is less room for the boss to flex, and it's gripping a larger area of tank. If you wanted to buy a bit to do this, I reckon you'd want a 30mm 'auger' type, which is what I've put in the kit list.

Tap assembly test fitted

Hose hooked up!



10m of 25mm ID hose - rolled up with some velcro straps I had handy. It's a lot stiffer and more awkward to handle than your average garden hose (although it would likely soften up in warmer weather) and it doesn't roll up very tightly.

So, having got the tap installed and the pipe rolled out, all that was left to do was test it. It filled a 16 litre bucket in 46 seconds, which works out to a flow rate of nearly 21 litres per minute! And that with the water butts not even half full. I connected up the Kränzle...

...and after purging the airlock from the hose, it ran just fine. Haven't had chance to test it on the car yet .... next weekend's job!

Pros
  • No electric supply needed to the water butt
  • No pump motor to fail
  • Delivers enough water flow for the hungriest of power washers
  • In line filtration means you could use this on a single water butt or tank (might need a finer in-line filter)
  • Allows you to fill your wash buckets a lot faster than a normal tap

*Cons
  • Relies on gravity ie the tank has to be higher than where you want to use the water
  • 25mm hose is bulky and unwieldy
  • Bigger fittings cost more!

Another option would have been to just extend the high pressure hose. On the face of it this looks cheaper than the route I took, but in practice to run the PW off a water butt I'd still have to install an inline filter, and the flow restriction from this would probably make 19mm ID pipe necessary. You'd save a bit on the fittings being smaller, and on a shorter hose, but I don't think the difference would pay for a 10m extension. But if I'd wandered to do this for the absolute minimum upfront cost I would have bought a different machine to begin with

References

What? Which one? From where? Qty?
Drill for water butt Auger bit, 30mm http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/AUGER-BITS...EVgEgdRskk2YOA x1
Water butt connector / boss "1"" male BSP thread" http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-BSPM-STO...-/321653820453 x1
90 degree elbow "90 degree M/F 1"" BSP connector" http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/3217429227...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT x1
Ball valve "1"" female BSP thread" http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PVC-1-Piec...item1a05404779 x1
Male / Male nipple (joins two female threads) "1"" 2x male BSP" http://www.malcleanse.co.uk/1-m-x-1-...51-p-1007.html x1
Male Camlock adaptor with female thread 1'' Part 'A', 1'' Camlock adapter X 1'' BSP female G/P/P http://www.cpp-lm.com/index.php?page...mart&Itemid=53 x2
Camlock coupler with hose tail "1"" Part 'C', 1"" Camlock coupler x 1"" (25mm) hose tail G/P/P" http://www.cpp-lm.com/index.php?page...mart&Itemid=53 x2
"1"" ID hose" PVC, polyester fibre reinforced http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1612154748...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT x1
Hosepipe in-line filter "1"" 50 Mesh 10 Bar In-Line Filter 3350-0058 (NPT threads)" http://www.malcleanse.co.uk/1-50-mes...58-p-4839.html x1
Hose tails for filter "1"" NPT Male x 1"" Hose Barb 9901-HB100P" http://www.malcleanse.co.uk/1-npt-ma...00p-p-754.html x2
Jubilee clips 25-40mm Size 35 Hose Clip 502-1006 BZP http://www.malcleanse.co.uk/2540mm-s...06-p-4673.html x4
"Reducing bush (1"" to 3/4"" BSP) to connect to PW inlet" "Brass Reducing Bush Thread 1"" x 3/4""" http://www.malcleanse.co.uk/1-bsp-m-...ption=1&page=4 x1


Kit list
https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

Simon's Thread http://www.detailingworld.com/forum/...d.php?t=261919
Bigpikle's sticky http://www.detailingworld.co.uk/foru...d.php?t=101974

Last edited by steelghost; 10-12-2015 at 11:40 AM. Reason: Clearer title
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Old 20-10-2015, 01:50 PM   #2
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Nice information chap.
I'm tempted by a similar set up, as I like to clean the car but don't pay the water bill.
So get grief off 'er indoors
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Old 20-10-2015, 02:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PugIain View Post
Nice information chap.
I'm tempted by a similar set up, as I like to clean the car but don't pay the water bill.
So get grief off 'er indoors
Thing is, even if you spend 45 minutes washing the car, you probably don't have the PW running for more than 10 minutes of continuous operation - at say, 8 litres per minute, that's 80 litres (I know, I did that in my head! ) which is actually about 50p worth, going on the amount UU charge us here (and I'm including drainage and pro rata for standing charges as well).

So call it a quid a week - not much to pay for domestic harmony
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Old 24-10-2015, 07:35 PM   #4
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Washed the car today, deliberately didn't dry it after the final rinse (although did use a watering can to sheet of as much as possible). Next to no water spotting, result
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Old 26-01-2016, 10:15 AM   #5
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Quick update on this - checking the filter over the last few months of use have shown there isn't much (any) need for it - it's just not catching anything. This echoes what others have said on the topic eg in the Bigpikle thread linked above.

In the summer the water warms up and there may be some small invertebrates living in it, so I'll keep using it and checking it to see.
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Old 05-09-2016, 12:55 AM   #6
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Excellent write-up, unfortunately up in sunny Scotland, the rain is bleedin filthy, so the Total Dissolved Solids is rather high!
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Old 05-09-2016, 01:43 PM   #7
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Whereabouts are you? I wonder if it's air pollution getting caught up in the rain and landing on your car, rather than TDS crystallising out?

When I used to spend time on Skye (must go back soon) I used to find my car would get cleaner in the rain since there's next to no air pollution up there, compared to where I am here in South Manchester.
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:10 PM   #8
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Live near Stirling, some days it's fine after rain but usually it covers the car in grey/white spots!
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Old 05-09-2016, 02:56 PM   #9
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Fantastic - thanks for all the links too. I feel a little project coming on, as I've been considering doing this for some time. The issue with me is also filtering out the solids and contaminants. As long as the filtering is effective, I'd be more than happy using harvested water.

In any case, I like big butts....

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Old 05-09-2016, 04:16 PM   #10
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I probably need to update this thread having had a summer of using this system!

So - the water has gone very slightly green, and does have a small population of what I suspect are the larvae of some sort of flying insect (possibly mosquitos) in it. That said, they (almost) never make it past the filter in the large hose, and in use I've not had any problem using it on the car - nothing on the paint, no spotting other than what you might otherwise get from rainwater anyway. There is some general silt and sediment in the bottom of both tanks (especially the first one) but the "gravity filtration" successfully keeps it from getting into the outlet.

I think over the winter I'll be draining down and cleaning out the system and getting some water butt conditioner to use for next year. It probably doesn't help that they are stood against a south east facing wall and hence the water does get a bit warmish.

If I were doing it again I'd sacrifice a little bit of flow rate for a finer filter - my K7 only needs 7 litres per minute, and even when the storage is only 1/3 full this system will give you 10 litres a minute easily. I'd also say that during the summer months, especially if you are also using the rain water for your garden as I am, even 2x200l water butts doesn't actually go very far (although it does fill up very quickly when it does rain). So as another "if I were doing it again" point I'd probably go for a 1000 litre IBC tank. Since these are pretty ugly things I'd end up needing some sort of screen around it, but this would have the advantage of insulating the tank from the sun and reducing what grows in it.

I did end up adding another tap to the large hose (basically another of these inline, just before the connector for the power washer) so that I could turn the water on and off easily without having to run back to the water butt (and have the contents of the hose drain itself on my driveway!) Comes in very handy because you don't waste anything like as much water, especially eg if you want to disconnect the hose from the power washer for a minute to fill a bucket.

Overall though I still think it's a great idea, not so much because of the "free" water but because of not having to dry - for winter maintenance washes on soft black paint, that's a very handy thing indeed.
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