Monday, January 28, 2013

About Washing Machine Water Use

Our washing machine hasn't been spinning out the water too well lately.  The repairman said that the transmission was shot.

We can still use the machine, and we do.  But at the end of the last spin cycle, the clothes are soaked with water.  They're not quite dripping, but I can wring out water from the items.  I get the most water from a towel that's at the bottom of the load.

I was wringing out the clothes last night when I had two ideas about washing machines.  I'll write about just one of them in this post.

The first idea came about because I decided to wring out each article of clothing into a bucket right at the machine rather than at the sink five feet away behind me.  Lately I've been getting dizzy and off balance from making such short abrupt movements.  So at first, I just wanted to eliminate moving back and forth the between the washing machine and the sink.  But then it occurred to me that I could pour the wrung out water back into the washing machine and use it for the next load.  (I already pour in water from the dehumidifier.)

Then it occurred to me that the last tub of water in the machine is essentially clean water or at least a little soapy.  So rather than discharge that water into the drain, it could be diverted into a reservoir near the washer.  Then you could pump that water back into the tub at the start of the next load of laundry.  That would save
one whole tub of water each time.  One caveat is that you wouldn't want to use liquid fabric softener -- it would neutralize the detergent of the next load.

The same idea could work with the dishwasher, too.  But there would need to be a way to heat the water efficiently.  That would entail another hot water heater in the house.

Even if you don't want to reuse the water for your dishwasher or washing machine, it could be used to flush the toilets.  That would also entail an investment in plumbing.

Probably the easiest way to reduce water use is to divert rainwater from the roof and collect it in rain barrels.  And have I done that?  Regrettably I have not.

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