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Who has a tank that is connected to the washing machine and other appliances?


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#1 kirstyannb

Posted 19 July 2014 - 12:20 PM

I'm getting a second tank put in, primary for the garden / vege patch, but I've learnt that in victoria you get a rebate if its attached to the toilet and / or washing machine. So it makes economic sense to do it.

I've come across mixed views on the washing machine, but I'm going to do it anyway as I figure if the tanks are full, then it makes sense to use that water in the washing rather then having it go down the drain.

I've been told that bacteria can be a problem, but would that be overcome by a hot wash? I'm not to fussed by it really, especially if the tanks are full and its just rained. Someone suggested a filter, but its not for drinking so I can't see the issue. That aside I do have a filter for drinking because I know too much about the chemicals added in the mains supply!

Would love to hear from anyone who uses tank water and if there is anything I should be aware of.

Thanks :)

#2 Justaduck

Posted 19 July 2014 - 12:29 PM

We have it connected to our washing machine and toilets.
Can make toilet water appear a funny color if leaves have been in the tank....otherwise no real dramas when the tank is full.

Tank has run dry now and in the final stages of it trying to suck the water our before switching to mains it makes a loud noise - that is the worst of it.

#3 kirstyannb

Posted 19 July 2014 - 12:47 PM

Your tank is nearly dry? That must mean you aren't in Melbourne. If my tank was already installed, it would be full right now!

When the toilet water is a funny colour does it affect the washing?

That said I'm looking at getting a diverter put on as well, so if the water is low, the toilet and washing can manually go back to mains and the tank water will just be for the garden

#4 ikealover

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:00 PM

We had tank water for the whole house, we live in QLD. I found no difference really.  
The toilets did get rings more frequently but we also had an on site sewerage system I thought that might have added to the problem.
Leaves and pollen droppings can alter to colour/taste/smell. And dead frogs.
The water is softer.

#5 Justaduck

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:05 PM

 kirstyannb, on 19 July 2014 - 12:47 PM, said:

Your tank is nearly dry? That must mean you aren't in Melbourne. If my tank was already installed, it would be full right now!

When the toilet water is a funny colour does it affect the washing?

That said I'm looking at getting a diverter put on as well, so if the water is low, the toilet and washing can manually go back to mains and the tank water will just be for the garden

Nope in Brisbane :( Desperately waiting on rain.

We do have an auto diverter thing but I think it must wait until it is really scraping low before it switches over

#6 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:07 PM

Our washing machine is connected to the tank.  No problems except earlier this year when the water went really brown.  Apparently it's a good idea to have your tank cleaned occasionally especially if there is a lot of leaf litter in your gutters.  Who knew? :)

#7 WaitForMe

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:11 PM

I'm interested in doing this too.

Kristyannb, have you looked into cost?


#8 librablonde

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:24 PM

All our water is tank water: the kitchen drinking water is from rainwater and the bathroom/laundry/toilet and outside taps are from a dam. We have good filters on all tanks and the pumps and it works well. The dam water is sometimes more cloudy and slightly brownish (very, very pale tea colour) but still works well. Our clothes are washed on a cold wash and come out clean and bright using Earth Choice laundry liquid.. The dishwasher cleans the dishes perfectly and the shower/bath is all good. No problems at all with bacteria or anything else. Sometimes we've had the tanks run dry and the pumps switch off. When we refill the tanks the initial water comes out dark brown from the taps but then after a few minutes returns to it's usual clear colour. Never had the tanks cleaned, we just change the pump filters every 12 months and ensure no debris can get in the tanks with a mesh across the top of each inlet hole. It's low tech and works really well.

#9 walkingFish

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:26 PM

Our tanks are plumbed into the whole house and we have no issues. But we also have both a filter and a UV light thing as part of the pump.

We also have gutter guard, first flush diverters and clean the gutters regularly.

But the water goes into the shower and kitchen for us, so it needs to be clean.

The only other issue you may have with washing machine would be if the pump doesn't provide decent or constant pressure.

#10 QuisbySchmoo

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:26 PM

Tank water for everything in this house.  We are not connected to Sydney Water at all.

Washing machine, loos, bathwater, drinking water etc - all good clean looking water coming from the one big tank and as a PP said - softer.

Our tank is 90,000 litres and buried. Catchment comes from the house roof area, the garage roof area and the pergola roof area. Gutters are regularly checked but have presented no issue in the last 9 years that we have been here.

Edited, because I thought it was 100 but it's actually only 90,000. Plenty big though. :)

Edited by Foogle, 19 July 2014 - 01:30 PM.


#11 Ireckon

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:29 PM

We had a tank connected to a toilet and washing machine at our last house (nsw). Never had any issues with the washing or the toilet, never ran out of water for it. We had a 5000L tank installed. After rebates we were only out of pocket $100. There was a $500 rebate for connecting a toilet, the same again for connecting to a washing machine, a federal scheme rebate (not sure if that is still in place) and another rebate as well. We had $1900 of rebates given. This was in suburbia. We have now moved, and require a tank to live off. We get no rebates whatsoever.

We had the tap thing that we could switch back to mains if the tank got low or empty.

As a side note....the people who moved in after us ran out of water frequently, because they would use full flush on the toilet for each dog poop their very large dog would do......

#12 whatnamenow

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:30 PM

Ours is connected to washing/toilets and all outdoor hoses.  This is the 2nd house I've had like this and never ever had a problem

#13 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 19 July 2014 - 01:47 PM

For us, it is the neighbour's leopard tree.  Very tiny leaves that are talented at getting into the tank.

#14 kirstyannb

Posted 19 July 2014 - 08:18 PM

 WaitForIt, on 19 July 2014 - 01:11 PM, said:

I'm interested in doing this too.

Kristyannb, have you looked into cost?
Yes I have and it will be connected this week :)
The costs will depend on
size of tank
if site preparation is necessary (which for me will be the biggest cost as it was going into an unlevel area so needed some landscaping done)
ease of connection for the plumber ie how long it takes for him to do it. (You need to use a licensed plumber if you want the rebate, which is up to $1500)

Rebate info (VIC only) but there are probably options for other states if you look them up. http://www.depi.vic....-rebate-program
http://www.depi.vic....12-15_Final.pdf

If you are in Melbourne, I can give you details for tanks / landscapers etc if you need

Edited by kirstyannb, 19 July 2014 - 08:22 PM.


#15 MrsCee

Posted 19 July 2014 - 08:35 PM

We've got tank water connected to toilet, washing machine and outdoor taps. I find no difference with washing machine but toilet does get silt type stuff sitting in the bottom of it after only being scrubbed a day or two before. Toilet blue stuff that you put in cistern seems to disguise it (but septic tank servicing man roused on me for using it as we are on septic too).

I don't know how much of a cost saving it is though. To get water to machine, loo and outdoor taps from tank we have to run an electric pump. Seems a bit pointless....

Edited by MrsCee, 19 July 2014 - 08:36 PM.


#16 got my tinsel on

Posted 19 July 2014 - 09:02 PM

We're in Sydney and have 2 x 3500 litre tanks that supply 3 x toilets, washing machine and 2 garden taps.

We are currently using mains water for the washing machine as the tanks are very low and the machine takes an eternity to fill as the water is just dribbling in.

We have filter socks and  'first flush' bypass pipes going into the tanks, and a filter on the outgoing pipe to the toilets and machine.  We also have some pretty heavy duty gutter guard.

I haven't ever had a problem with discoloured water in the toilets or machine.

Bacteria?  As I hang all my washing outside in the sunshine, I don't even think about it.

#17 Gumbette

Posted 19 July 2014 - 10:48 PM

Tank water for the laundry, toilets and outside taps here.   Toilets need a bit of bleach every fortnight, and I need to remember not to drink from the outside taps.

#18 Elfie34

Posted 21 July 2014 - 04:33 PM

tank water for everything except one mains water tap in kitchen for drinking (filtered though).

we are in Melbourne. DH hooked it up about 7 years ago so no rebates for us, but I like the tank water, especially for washing my hair in, so much better than the mains water which makes my hair fuzzy :)

we also water a very large vegie patch. We usually switch back to mains (for the house) for 2-3 months a year in summer so as to leave 1/4 tank full for fire season. I think the tank is 15000L

never had an issue with washing or anything like that but we have a filter and first flush diverter

#19 marley*and*me

Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:51 AM

Tank water house here. No mains where we live.

We have no filters of any description and I have never noticed any issue with my washing, or loo rings, or anything really.

#20 Tender Heart

Posted 31 July 2014 - 12:04 PM

We have a water bladder connected to the main toilet and also used for watering garden, etc.   We don't use it for washing and didn't worry about the rebate side of things when it was installed.

The only issue is the when the water level gets low what you're left with can contain quite a bit of sediment and be a little smelly.  Also, when it's been very low and refills, the first few flushes can be the same - sediment and smelly.

We're in Melbourne.  We've had to flick it over to mains most summers, but it's quite full at the moment.  :)

#21 kirstyannb

Posted 05 August 2014 - 07:15 AM

Thanks everyone, my tanks been installed.

Now just to wait for it to fill up :)




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