Catch Barrel?

beth0301September 28, 2012

I live in a townhome built in the 70s and with this many families living in close quarters for all these years, the drains are showing their age and occasionally back up. It's only happened to me once in the year I've lived here but my neighbor says hers does it fairly often, especially when she does a lot of laundry in one day. Her solution was a "catch barrel". From what I understand, the basic premise is that the washer drains in to a large plastic barrel, similar to a rain barrel, and then from there in to the drain. This allows the washer to pump, with it's normal force, in to the barrel and then the drain to take the water in at a slower pace with the barrel acting as a way to slow the drain water down, thus preventing too much entering the drainage system at one time and backing up.

It makes sense but I am not sure the logistics. Would the barrel need to be raised up off the ground? I presume the washer hose would drain in to the top and then an outlet hose would run from the bottom in to the drain? Would it go in to the washer drain pipe or in to the floor drain? Would I need to use a small outlet tube to slow down the water? How small?

I'd like to have the info and begin collecting materials as I come across them at Habitat or freecycle.

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aliceinwonderland_id

Nobody can answer your questions without knowing:

Layout
Drain locations
Drain heights
Drain flow capabilities
Amount of water your washer discharges

Alternately, you could call a plumber to fix the actual problem

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 8:39PM
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lazypup

Actually...according to the plumbing codes the answer is simple,,,The answer is NO.

If you are planning to permanently attach that barrel to the house DWV (drain,waste & vent) system, the barrel would then be classified as a fixture, however, code prohibits installing any fixture that does not have the required approvals through ASTM, ANSI and the ASSE.

The solution would be to install a laundry sink, then discharge the washing machine into the laundry sink.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2012 at 3:36PM
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alan_s_thefirst

It's not really a solution for a bad drain. There are lots of good reasons to collect that water, gardening for example, or lawns - you can water them with 'grey water' or use it for toilet flushing.

Some Australian-build washing machines are capable of drawing up and re-using wash water for a second load (they have two drain hoses) or you can use the water to presoak or something.

A laundry sink would be the simplest, you could put a plug in the sink with a hole drilled in it, so it would drain slowly.

Again, it's not a substitute for getting your drains fixed.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 2:38AM
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lazypup

According to the information in the original post he has lived there for a year and only had the drain back up one time. I doubt very seriously if he even has a drain problem. It is more likely just a change in technology as time went on.

The structure was built in 1970 and at that time the standard for a laundry sink or laundry standpipe was 1-1/2". In the mid to late 80's the appliance industry started installing a high capacity pump in washing machines and it was soon discovered that the new pumps dishcarged liquid slightly faster than the natural gravity flow of an 1-1/2" line with a 1/4" pitch, which then resulted in frequently overflowing the standpipes.

The codes were then ammended to increase the size of a laundry standpipe from 1-1/2" to 2", which effectively doubles the capacity of the line.

So long as they do not alter the layout of the original line it retains code compliance because it met code at the time of installation, but if they were to change the line now, they would have to upgrade to the 2" required by the codes that are now in place.

So to get a permanent solution to the problem they have two choices:

1. Replace the 1-1/2" standpipe line with a 2" standpipe

2. Install a laundry sink, which is still rated at 1-1/2" and discharge the washing machine into the laundry tub.

The laundry tub can handle it without resorting to any special flow restricting stopper such as suggested above.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 12:31PM
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ionized_gw

"Some Australian-build washing machines are capable of drawing up and re-using wash water for a second load (they have two drain hoses) or you can use the water to presoak or something."

Or use the rinse water to wash. My mom often talked about the efficiency of her wringer washer, start with the whites in hot water and finish with the darks when the water had cooled off.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 1:57PM
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piedmontnc

There are lots of good reasons to collect that water, gardening for example, or lawns - you can water them with 'grey water' or use it for toilet flushing.

Those may be code violations were the OP lives as well, though of the two, reuse for toilet flushing rather than "gray"water discharge may be more likely to be legal.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 5:10PM
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