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Grey Water in Winter (-40 C)

 
Brittany Petrenko
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Hi Everyone,

I am new to permies and new to the tiny house community! We bought some land and have moved our tiny house there and setting it up for off the grid living. We have our composting toilet & generator & solar. Turns out we don't get great sun in the bush where we are so we might be using our generator more than planned. Everything is great in the summer months however where we are in northern ontario our summers aren't all that long and we're already starting to get frost at night! We have gravity grey water piping right now. the separator from the compost toilet, the shower and the kitchen sink all drain out under the tiny house (we only use biodegradable soaps & use food catchers mainly so we dont attract animals).

We want to dig a small leeching pit below frost level away from the tiny house in case of ice build up underneath. We want to put insulation around the base of the tiny house to insulate the floor better (basically foam and or hay bails) which would give us limited access to the pipe that drains out.

The leeching pit isn't an issue its how to stop the pipe from freezing that runs down from the tiny house underneath. I can only assume it would freeze even though we will be insulating around it?

Does anyone have experience with this? We want to know the best way to keep that foot or so of piping from freezing!

We have heard of those heated lines you can run however those suck a lot of electricity.

Thanks
 
P Lyons
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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Ensure any p-traps in the system are in the heated portion of the home. Use the shortest possible distance for your piping and maintain a consistent 2% slope on the pipe to your leaching pit, ensure there are no pipe sags or low points that can develop by properly supporting the pipe at frequent intervals. This slope should quickly and completely drain all water from the system before it has a chance to freeze. Make provisions to allow for a visual inspection of the pipe and outlet in the leaching pit.
 
Travis Halverson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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I asked Laura Allen a similar question. Maybe the thread is helpful to you.

http://www.permies.com/t/45897/grey-water/temporary-grey-water-zone

I haven't implemented the system yet so I don't know how well it works from experience. It's 10 degrees F here and we are still dumping five gallon buckets of grey water outside.

Keep permies posted on your progress please!
 
Travis Halverson
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Location: Minneapolis, MN
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Also, will you post more details about the separator on your composting toilet in the Composting Toilet section of permies? I'm curious how you're doing it.

Our bucket toilet fills up quick with all our per.
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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We have heard of those heated lines you can run however those suck a lot of electricity.

I have read where those electrically heated wraps will cut the life expectancy in half for galvanized pipes.
Certainly a consideration to keep in mind.

 
Brittany Petrenko
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Travis Halverson wrote:Also, will you post more details about the separator on your composting toilet in the Composting Toilet section of permies? I'm curious how you're doing it.

Our bucket toilet fills up quick with all our per.


We have a Seperatt Villa http://www.separett.ca/villa-9200-ca! It came with our tiny house, the urine is seperated in the front part of the toilet and drains to a hose which is connected to out grey water pipe that disposes outside!

Thanks everyone for your input regarding our grey water! We have insulated the piping and dug a hole for our leaching pit! We are currently adding bales of hay to the outside of the tiny house to insulate underneath further! the floor is getting cold as its already -10C many night so far!
 
richard valley
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Location: Sierra Nevada mountain valley CA, & Nevada high desert
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Greetings, We have set up a gray water system at our place in the high desert of Nevada.

Like Lyons mentioned keep your Trap up in an area that will not freeze. The section down to earth beneath the living quarters can be can be wrapped. I'm sure you will have a wood stove in your tiny house, keep a pot of water on the stove that will be the last thing down the tube, a bit of hot water will keep a freeze candle from forming in your waste line. If you'll bury the waste line It will need to be below the freeze line, you know by now what that is.

Ours exits the building and remains above ground, we've had no trouble with it freezing. Water from a bath will be warm. The gray water has a good distance from the kitchen sink to where the bathtub joins the line and travels to the outside of the house. If you have running water a dripping tap will cause a freeze plug in the line.

If you have electric, install a heat tape, it doesn't have to be on, use in case you do have a freeze.

Have fun.

Richard
 
Brittany Petrenko
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Thanks Richard!

Thanks for the tip on throwing hot water down the drain to thaw anything!

It's now -17C and the grey water disposal is done, now for the true test, fridgid cold Canadian winters!

 
Tim Skufca
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this is all fine if you are OK in dumping your greywater directly into the aquafer. I recommend a greywater treatment [wetland plant trough(s)] and then direct that flow into beneficial (harvestable) plants, and finally into a sump that is below frost. Of course this will all need to be inside a greenhouse system, which is either passively or actively heated during the winter months.
 
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