Big Bucket details

Fig. 1

In my earliest Big Bucket configuration, this filter fitted over the outlet tap on the inside of the bucket to filter out hair, etc. from the shower water. I think this filter is actually sold as a screen to stop insects getting into a rainwater tank via the overflow outlet. In any case, the wall of this filter was just the right thickness to be able to wedge it between the bottom of the bucket and the screw holding in the outlet tap, so I didn't need to devise any way of holding it in place.

Thru-wall fittings...
Fig. 2a

An example of a thru-wall fitting. These come with different length threaded pipes to suit walls of differing thicknesses. (I needed a 30cm pipe for my walls, which are brick on the outside and gyprock on the inside.) The hose fittings screw onto the ends (one inside the house and the other outside). Or, screw one side of a click-on connector to this fitting, and put the other side on your hose so that you can connect and disconnect quickly. This thru-wall fitting is available online here.

Or, you can buy the appropriate bits and pieces at thinkwater irrigation stores (branches in all states) or Bunnings. The following images show what I used for the "thru-wall" fittings in my bathroom ceiling and the eaves outside my bathroom:

Fig. 2b

This is what it looks like now that it is installed:

Fig. 2c

I also installed a thru-wall fitting through my laundry wall to pump my laundry greywater to the garden (as described in the laundry and kitchen post). For that I used a 30cm long threaded pipe made of rigid plastic rather than a brass pipe. I used the same type of screw-on flange to secure the pipe in place, and a threaded and barbed hose connector as shown below.

Fig. 2d

Big Bucket fittings...

Fig. 3

These are the fittings I used for the outlet hole in the bottom of the bucket. The circular part goes through the hole from the inside of the bucket, and the part with the barbed shank (for attaching a hose) pushes into the circular part from the underside of the bucket. I used a hole saw to cut the hole, and spread a ring of gutter silicon on the underside of the circular part (to make a watertight seal with the bucket) and pushed it through the hole. (Something like Liquid Nails might have given a stronger join than the silicon, but I wasn't sure if that was suitable for the types of plastic used to manufacture the outlet and the bucket.)

Fig 4

This photo shows the part with the barbed shank assembled ready to be pushed up into the circular part from the underside of the bucket. The hose with the green inline tap connects to the pump inlet. The other short hose ends with a black tap that is normally kept closed. In my local wet winter and dry summer climate, I tend to use the Big Bucket all summer, and store it away in winter but, very occasionally, we have a short bout of wet weather during spring or autumn. At those times I can open this black tap (by-pass tap) and have the used shower water run straight down the drain in the shower alcove floor instead of being collected.

My Big Bucket is only raised 9cm above the shower alcove floor, which doesn't leave much room for fittings and is not enough for an ordinary hose to curve from vertical to horizontal without kinking. I could have used a ribbed hose and simply pushed it onto the barbed shank, but since I wanted to have a by-pass tap, I ended up using a 19mm barbed T-piece (the ordinary garden irrigation kind). One arm of the T is pushed up inside the barbed shank. That made a very tight fit, but I used a bit of gutter silicon on the inside of the shank to make sure it was watertight.

Fig 5

This photo shows what things look like under the bucket. I've used eight blocks, each 30 x 15 x 9cm, to provide support under most of the floor of the bucket. I imagine there are better things to use for support, but I didn't manage to think of them. These are the Eco-Block blocks (aerated concrete) so they are light and easy to handle, but they have rough porous surfaces. I used a bastard file to smooth off the worst of the roughness, then coated all surfaces with gutter silicon (yes I've been using it for everything!), partly to prevent the blocks from scratching the bathroom tiles, and partly to seal them so they don't absorb water and grow bathroom mold.  

Fig 6

This photo just shows what the outlet looks like from the inside of the bucket once everything is assembled. The pot scourer you can see next to the outlet sits neatly in that hole to act as a filter, primarily for hair.


Fig 7

I imagine there are plenty of other suitable pumps, but this is the inline pump (about $160) I use with my Big Bucket. Its a Riva-Flo, Model TF30, made by Onga (Australia). It has a 1" BSPF inlet and outlet, a maximum head of 34m, and a maximum delivery rate of 36L/min. I bought mine at a thinkwater irrigation supplies shop (branches in all states of Australia).

Mine has been in use for 2 years now and is proving to be very reliable. It can run "dry" for a few minutes without being damaged, which is handy, just in case. (Of course it is better to not let it run dry.) It is only rated for water up to 40 degrees C, but since I pump out the water after a shower is finished, and since the first flow of cold water from the shower nozzle is part of what is collected in the bucket, 40C seems to be sufficient.

Fig 8

This is the Twin Go sump pump (about $120) I use in the laundry, but it could equally well be placed in the used shower water to pump it out of a Big Bucket. The float switch seems a bit temperamental, but perhaps that is just because there is not enough room for it to work effectively in my laundry trough. In any case, I just switch the pump on and off manually.

This pump is designed for dirty water and can be raised by twisting the bottom to cope with situations with lots of sediment, but I use it in the down position as seen in the photo above. In this mode it will leave 8mm of water in the bottom of the bucket (I've seen other sump pumps that are supposed to leave only 2-3mm). It is rated for water up to 35 degrees C, has a maximum head of 4m, and a maximum delivery rate of 110L/min.

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