Ask This Old House TV // Season 10 // Episode 17

Ask TOH | Graywater, Small Engines

Landscape contractor Roger Cook and host Kevin O'Connor examine several ways to reduce the amount of water used for irrigation. Then, plumbing & heating expert Richard Trethewey heads to San Francisco to install an irrigation system that reuses waste water from a washing machine. Back in the loft, Richard shows Kevin some toilets with built-in sinks designed to save even more water. After that, Roger visits an engine repair shop to learn how to maintain small gasoline engines.

Irrigation Timers
Roger and Kevin look at irrigation timers that can save water.

Where to find it?
Basic timers (manual and electronic) that attach to a garden hose or sprinkler are available at home centers and garden centers.

The "smart" timer that Roger showed can measure temperature and precipitation. It can be installed with an in-ground irrigation system. It is model "ESP-SMT" and is manufactured by Rain Bird, 800-724-6247

Graywater Irrigation System
Richard installs a graywater irrigation system in San Francisco.

Where to find it?
The Graywater kit that Richard installed is available to customers of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The Public Utilities Commission assisted us with this project and they offer information about graywater systems on their website.

Laura Allen from Greywater Action assisted with the design and installation of our system.

The Graywater kit that we installed was sold through the The Urban Farmer Store in San Francisco.

If you live outside of San Francisco, you may be able to purchase the supplies needed to make your own "laundry to landscape" system from a plumbing supply store or a home center. The design manual available on the Public Utilities Commission website lists the materials needed. Be sure to check local building codes and graywater laws before installing a system like this.

Graywater Toilets
Richard shows Kevin a few toilets that reuse the graywater from hand-washing.

Where to find it?
The all-in-one toilet that Richard showed is the Profile Smart toilet, manufactured by Caroma

It is available through specialty retailers and plumbing supply stores.

The retrofit sink that fits atop an existing toilet is the Sink Positive

Small Gasoline Engine Maintenance
Roger visits an engine repair shop to learn how to maintain small gasoline engines.

Where to find it?
Paul Spinazola provided expert assistance with this project:
Pro Equipment Service
3 Breed Avenue
Woburn, MA 01801
781-938-8880

The fuel stabilizer and ethanol treatment that Paul recommended is Marine Formula STA-BIL, manufactured by Gold Eagle


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