Graywater from washing machine to ditch

Photo of 2×4 framework that will go between washer and dryer.

It is a square built of 2x4s. On the two vertical pieces there are holes drilled to hold the horizontal pipe that will take washing machine flush water away.”

Catch the Ejected Water
The washing machine currently has an output hose that is directed to the sewer. I needed to build an alternative way to direct the output hose to get it outside. My delivery means was 1.5 inch black ABS pipe. For this project a 2 inch hole saw was adequate to create the holes you see. It was a little larger than necessary.
There is a wood frame that is roughly 2 feet by 2 feet. To support the horizontal pipe, holes in the 2x4s were cut. A side view of the frame is shown below. This took about an hour to build, mostly because I started with one scrap 2×4 that would have been enough for a 20 inch square frame, but I decided a two foot square frame would be better, and had to scrounge up another board.

The 2×4 framework in place between washer and dryer.

Alternate Graywater Escape
Here is the framework in place between washer and dryer. This is considered “permanent” – it will always be there and the washer and dryer can close behind closet doors. The piece of black pipe sticking up in the previous picture is now in back of the washing machine (the one on the left) and slanted up at about a 60 degree angle.

Now to redirect the gray water one can take the washing machine output from the sewer hole and put it in the graywater receiver. Of course, as shown, it would spill out all over our hallway floor.

Epilog: The setup and take-down (i.e. non-permanent) approach of this design is not without its dangers. I have on occasion set up the pipes to deliver the water outside but forgotten to move the overflow from the washing machine from the sewer to the graywater escape — so all that water still went to the sewer. Worse yet, I have also disconnected the pipes down the hallway and forgotten to move the washing machine output back to the sewer line. That resulted in a flooded hallway. Now I have a red ribbon on the hallway connection to remind me to move the washing machine output when I connect or disconnect the hallway pipe.
The washing machine output hose normally is routed to a pipe heading to the sewer. To catch the graywater, we lift the output hose up and place it into the 1.5 inch ABS pipe which is slanted up behind the washing machine to the same general area as the sewer connection. The 1.5 inch pipe is just about perfect to hold the washing machine output pipe.One unknown at the beginning was whether the washing machine pumping out water would have a lot of pressure — maybe too much water to handle for our pipe design. But too much pressure or water leaking from the machine has not been a problem.

Connected to graywater system
Connected to graywater system

Removable Removal Plumbing
Here is how we hook up the graywater plumbing on wash days. It takes about 5 minutes and the primary means of temporary connection is via the rubber sleeves with the metal clamps. The first connection is by the washing machine. It connects a pipe with a number of glued joints to the connection that goes thru the back door. Note the pipe as it goes down the hallway is supported midway by a couple of 2x4s so there is a constant drop on the way out. The vertical 2×4 has a hole cut at the top so it is permanently hanging with the pipe.There is a 2 inch hole cut through the bathroom door and a 5 inch piece of the ABS pipe permanently caulked into that hole. That provides a means to connect pipes on both sides of the door using those rubber sleeves. When pipes are not in use, there are caps that cover the short pipe that goes through the door.

Temporary connection made to 2×4 framework that will take the graywater outside.

Additional photos below show the plumbing coming out of the bathroom door onto the porch, and finally connecting for the final run to the capture ditch. When washing is done the pipes are disassembled and stored till the next time. One of the outside joints is not glued to make this disassembly possible. It took two hours to get these all measured, cut and glued.

Graywater evacuation makes a right turn from the 2x4 framework to head down the hall and out the back door.
Down the hall to the back door

Graywater evacuation makes a right turn from the 2×4 framework to head down the hall and out the back door.

Where it connects to get thru the door
Where it connects to get thru the door

As the graywater evacuation hits the back door, it connects to a permanently installed pipe that goes thru the door.

As it comes out the back door
As it comes out the back door

The pipe that goes thru the door is connected to another black pipe that carries the gray water to the ditch.

Across the porch to the ditch
Across the porch to the ditch

Farther away from the back door, the pipe makes a couple more bends before it delivers the water to the ditch.
Okay, here is what we did for the rainwater coming out of the gutter. (I did not mention that our gutters are not the “standard” aluminum gutters you get from the big box stores – they are slightly larger and made of solid copper – who knows why?

Downspout without rainwater redirection
Downspout without rainwater redirection

Anyway, I could not just go to Lowes and buy a couple of pieces of metal to turn the water around.) What I did was take some 14″ wide aluminum flashing I had laying around and cut off 3 feet. Then made a 3 sided trough by bending the flashing. Then on the sides of the trough at two inch intervals I made 4 cuts. This allowed the trough to make a turn by making 4 bends in the bottom of the trough. Then once all the bending was done, a sheet metal screw was put thru the middle to hold all the pieces in place. You can see some duct tape remains that I used to hold the bend shape that I wanted.

Gutter downspout with fabricated redirected channel made of aluminum flashing.
Gutter downspout with fabricated redirected channel made of aluminum flashing.

This step took about an hour – mostly for figuring out a design that would work. Time was saved by having the flashing and screws available so I didn’t have to go to the stores.

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