DIY Rainwater Fed Toilet Made Easy

Tuesday, 29th November 2011

We converted our ground floor loo to use rainwater collected from the house roof. 

We put a spider cover in the top of the down pipe to prevent leaves going down the drain. The gutters needed to be cleaned too. We used a rain barrel, a shop bought rain barrel diverter to take water from the rain pipe, a home made plastic perspex filter, a normal hose pipe fitting, a length of water hose pipe, some jubilee clips, a brass 90 degree bend to go round the corner, hose clamps along the wall, a ball valve to allow us to switch back to mains water. Then there's an isolator on the existing plumbing that we can turn off the mains with.

The whole project cost about €100 in total for all the components and took around eight hours to complete.

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David Reed |
Tue, 29/11/2011 - 16:24

make composting loo's!!! catch rainwater for consumption or watering food!! toilets are a waste!!!!

Maddy Harland |
Tue, 29/11/2011 - 17:39

Thanks for your comment. I do agree that waterless compost toilets are the most ecological solution but it is not always possible to install them in urban areas where the gardens are very small.

Andy Hadley |
Tue, 29/11/2011 - 19:50

I've done this too, but not sure the need for charcoal etc unless you're drinking the water, only flushing the loo ! I have 3 water-butts linked in, which seems to last most of the summer between rain in the south of England.

The key is maintaining the height so that it is all gravity fed, though I have wondered about a solar powered pump to sort upstairs too. I find it ridiculous that we purify and pump drinking quality water to wash cars, water plants and flush the loo.

No space for a composting loo unfortunately.

Mark Stokes |
Tue, 29/11/2011 - 22:58

Great stuff, I'm really for these sorts of things. However I believe you will need to adress the issue of cross contamination of water supplies. This can be addressed either via a physical spacing (not acheivable in the confines of a cistern) or by use of double check valves on the supply(s). I know it may sound excessive but it is the requirements. I think it is important for an article such as this to reflect best practice and full compliance.

Animol M |
Thu, 01/12/2011 - 10:10

Where did you get the filter with the stainless gauze? Or did you make it & if so could you give further details on how to do this?

Liz Jones |
Fri, 02/12/2011 - 17:41

@ Andy - we used charcoal in all our garden barrels because it stops the stinky, slimy greeness and we don't want to introduce bacterial problems into the system. We'll also have to think about mosquito larvae here. 
@animol- the filter is home made. We used Perspex pipe and home made end prices but DIY store substitutes should be possible. There are two stainless gauze filters of different gauge each mounted on a plastic shoulder. We'll try to make a video to show the workings.
@ Mark- theres a stop cock to turn off the mains under the loo and the ball valve isolates the rain source. We're not plumbers so our assumption has been that the mains pressure is way higher than the 1 bar from the barrel. We've run it so far by flushing the mains up to the barrel which also removed air licks and improved the flow. We're still learning though. 

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