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Greywater wetland's first inundation

Wringer washer

Greywater wetlandI've been looking forward to laundry day so I could try out my new laundry nook beside the greywater wetland.  And it works like a charm!

I actually thought I might need to add rocks to the slope between the laundry nook and the wetland to prevent erosion, but the water gushes out with such force it ends up right where I want it.

Dishwater hasn't been enough to wet more than the entrance to the wetland, but the washer dumps enough water to inundate the whole depressed area.  Not so much it runs into the pond, though, which is a good thing.

So far, all the greywater wetland does is prevent excess water from souping up the yard.  I keep planting things in the wetland and around the edges, though, so in a few months hopefully leaves will pop out and the whole ecosystem will come together.

We should have chicks hatching this weekend, and our automatic waterer is all ready to keep the brooder dry.


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The system seems to be doing the job so far. Hopefully in time it will soak in and create a thriving wet land environment.

Do you think you will have a drying out problem this summer? Or do you hope to have enough plant life to keep the area shaded and damp?

Comment by mona Fri Mar 8 10:50:27 2013
Some one had a washer like yours in their front yard as decoration surrounded by landscaping. People do that around here, put old farm equipment and old timey stuff as lawn decor. I wanted to ask to buy it.
Comment by Kathleen Olsen Fri Mar 8 11:47:40 2013
I've seen the old wringer washer in several posts and I'm curious if it was a deliberate choice. If so, why? I'm pretty averse to computerized washers (and front loaders as well) myself. Is there some advantage you see over an old top loader with a spin cycle though? Just curious...
Comment by Ed Fri Mar 8 12:49:34 2013

Mona --- That's one of the big questions --- will any wetland plants survive over the summer? We haven't hooked the gutters into the wetland yet in part because I'm afraid it'll be too much water for the winter, but that might help with drying out in the summer. Or maybe we'll end up channeling the gutters into one of our big tanks and then releasing a bit at a time into the wetland during droughts. Probably the wetland will at least partially gley itself, so will start holding more water, and I am planting around it. But I really don't know.... Many exciting permutations to consider!

Ed --- My main reason for the wringer washer is that you can keep it outside because the water completely drains out every time (versus a modern washer where you have to keep it heated or the water in the pump will freeze). In addition, a wringer washer works no matter what your water pressure is (even if that involves merely pouring in buckets of water) whereas a modern washer requires a certain amount of pressure in the line. Finally, the moving parts in a wringer washer are very minimal, so when we have problems, Mark can fix it easily. Mostly, though, the first reason is the big one, since we have such a small heated space during the winter and since I like to do as much work as possible outside. When I crunched the numbers, it was no more energy efficient than a modern washer, assuming I used the same heat or cold cycle in both. So, if you have a big house that you keep heated and prefer to work inside, a modern washer is nearly as good.

Comment by anna Fri Mar 8 13:15:58 2013

A front loader in general uses less water and energy than a top loader. It can also do the job with less detergent due to the paddles inside the drum lifting up the clothes and dropping them repeatedly.

My front-loader is now 17 years old, and has never had a problem. On average I think I use it once a week, using about 50-75 ml (3-5 tbsp) of detergent powder per cycle. I'd guess (haven't measured it yet) the water usage is between 13-20 gallons per cycle.

The best thing is that it's totaly automatic. Dirty clothes and detergent go in, clean and almost dry clothes come out. :-) It has a 1000 rpm spin cycle, so most clothes are dry the next day even if I hang them to dry inside.

Comment by Roland_Smith Fri Mar 8 14:47:40 2013
Growing up in Maine (b.1936), all we had was a wringer washer. It actually saves water, I believe, since you use the same water for several loads: whites first; light colored next; darker colored next; dark in the final. We had the washer inside by the kitchen sink, filled it with water and soap, and lt it wash. We then put the clothes through the ringer and hung them on the line. They rung dry enough so that the clothes dried quite quickly on the lines outside.
Comment by Sheila Fri Mar 8 21:30:31 2013
front loaders in europe are pretty good but the ones in the us suck. We looked into getting one recently and not only are they much more expensive, their failure rate is much higher and there are almost no repair people in the us that will handle front loaders.
Comment by rebecca Sat Mar 9 13:18:38 2013

@Rebecca: have you looked if any of the european brands (from best to worst) Miele, Asko, Bosch, Siemens or Zanussi are available in the US? Check how many washes you do in a year. Miele machines are the most durable (but also the most expensive, generally). They can last around 5000 cycles. Very cheap machines won't last more than 1000-1500. You have to take that into account when looking at the price. If you have a big family and wash every day, a 1000 cycle machine won't last three years.

Mechanically front loaders are pretty simple, and there is a lot of maintenance you can do yourself, starting with using the machine correctly. But there are part repairs you can do yourself, like changing the drive belt, the brushes on the motor or the door seal.

Comment by Roland_Smith Sat Mar 9 17:22:11 2013

One very unique homestead, $1,500 per acre, the opportunity of a lifetime