You’ve undoubtedly heard the term “grey water” and have a vague idea that it’s the water run off – or “waste water” – from your appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers.  You might be surprised to learn that there are different types of grey water, and you might also be surprised to learn of all the ways you can use the run off from your everyday water use.

Ryan, a professional plumber from Sydney says, “Finding clever ways to recycle grey water in your home can literally save you hundreds of dollars per year, as well as making your household more sustainable.”

Of course, if you’re not sure the best way to go about it, a professional plumber should be able to help you find the right solution.

Grey, Dark and Black Water

Any water that is used in your house can be classified under a numbers of terms. Grey water, for example, refers to the water from laundry sinks, baths and showers, spa baths and washing machines.  This water tends to be the most recyclable because of the relatively low amount of organic matter it contains.  Dark grey water is water run off from the kitchen, and this generally will contain a higher amount of chemicals and organic matter in the forms of fats. Dishwashers in particular produce a large amount of dark grey water, simply because of its contact with food particles and the chemicals used in dishwasher liquids and powders.  Finally, black water comes from the water run off from toilets.

Ways To Recycle And Reuse Grey Water

There are several different ways to reuse grey water run off from your home, some more complex and costly than others.  Again, your local plumber will be able to give you an indication of the cost of some of the ideas, including:

* Diversionary systems such as hoses that lead from the source of the grey water out into garden or a holding tank.  Creating a diversion like this relatively cheap and can work effectively, especially if the laundry or kitchen has close access to the outdoors.  To be fully effective it is recommended that these are fitted with a filtration system to ensure any hair or other material doesn’t clog up the hoses or irrigation system for your garden.

* Professionally installed grey water treatment systems.  A treatment system will obviously cost more money (they usually start from around $4,000) and require professional installation, however they can be a far more thorough solution if you’re serious about reusing your waste water.  These can be integrated with all your grey water systems.  Professionals suggest that it can be easier to think about installing a treatment system when you’re planning a major renovation to your home or even considering building a new one.

Things To Keep In Mind

You can certainly plan to create your own diversionary systems for your grey water, however it is not as simple as plugging a hose into a pipe, securing it with duct tape and pointing the end onto your lawn.  This can be dangerous not only for your existing plumbing, but can be deadly for your garden if you’re using harsh chemicals in your laundry.

Badly designed diversion hoses can also create flooding.  Because of its complex nature, working with grey water without proper protection in the form of gloves and eyewear can be dangerous, especially if there are high levels of bacteria present.  Better to leave it to a professional plumber to help you maximise the water usage in and around your home.