Saturday, October 20, 2012

A Washing Machine in our Yurts

Anyone who has been following the blog since we moved probably has heard me talk a bit about our different attempts to solve the laundry issue.

My first thought was to work with an OddJob cement mixer. I was enthused about this option but in practice I found it wasn't ideal either as a washing machine OR as a cement mixer.

Next we went back old-school, with a toilet plunger perforated with a number of holes. This was better, but it still was profoundly labour intensive, especially with wringing out water by hand. We even bought a mop bucket to try to squeeze the rinse water out but it couldn't squeeze the clothes tight enough. And, with all these methods we still weren't sure that the clothes were coming completely clean.

We also have taken three trips to the laundromat in town, as well as many trips to Mummu's house to succumb to the temptation provided by her washing machine. The laundromat is rather expensive, and requires time and planning to work out well.

Finally, I consulted with kijiji, and found an inexpensive apartment sized washing machine that seemed to fit the bill. The thought of using an electric washing machine became much more palatable when I realized that this winter was going to have me running the generator a few hours a week to make up for the lack of sunlight on our solar panels. It also helps that our well is still providing a somewhat decent flow of about eighty litres per pumping.

The washing machine requires a surprising amount of water though. Due to our lack of water pressure, we fill the washing machine with buckets of water for both the wash and rinse cycles. This gives us good insight into just how much water it takes to do a load of laundry. At the minimal wash load setting, our machine required about thirty-five litres for the wash, and another thiry-five litres for the rinse. At the large load setting, our machine required about seventy litres for the wash, and again seventy litres for rinse. That's seventy 2 litre pop bottles per load!

As for power, I am uncertain how much it requires. I have run it at the same time as our generator, but I plan on purchasing a kill-a-watt type of meter to see how much hydro some of my appliances really need.

For drainage I had some leftover hose from my well plumbing, so I mounted it in much the same manner as I did with the incoming well water. I have it draining into the small hollow that we originally thought may be a good location for water. This will give a great low-lying location for our grey water. We are using soap nuts to wash with, so we are hopeful that we are not doing great damage to our environment.

So far both Donna and I have been pleased with the logistics of this solution. We're monitoring carefully for leaks though, just in case!

 

1 comment:

  1. It's a good idea to prepare the drainage site. River rock, or a pit filled with sawdust, or a bucket with holes drilled in it. Or a combination of the above.

    Here's a good guide on laundry to landscape greywater: http://oasisdesign.net/greywater/laundry/

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