Water usage is something that should concern us all. According to research conducted at McGill University, the average Canadian uses about 329 liters of water per day. That’s a lot! Yet many of us don’t give a second thought to running the water while we brush our teeth or taking an extra-long shower after an extra-stressful day. We water our lawn or garden without regard for drought conditions or set up costly irrigation systems that waste water each and every day.

If you’ve stopped to think about these things or maybe even started to be extra careful about your water use, good for you! Maybe you’ve even tried to figure out ways you can reduce your home’s water use, both inside and outside.

It’s actually pretty simple. Besides doing things like limiting showers and curbing excessive dishwasher use, you can control your outdoor use of water by installing a greywater system. Greywater systems recycle usable water and help make your home more eco-friendly.

What is greywater?

Many people cringe when they hear the term “greywater” when, in fact, there’s nothing at all cringe-worthy about it.

Greywater is water that’s already been used for washing purposes. It can come from laundry, showering, or bathing and never comes in contact with things that could make someone sick, like feces from a toilet. It looks unclean because it does indeed take on a grey color, but it’s suitable for a number of purposes.

A greywater system, simply put, is installed in order to redirect and recycle this “used” water, allowing homeowners to conserve a considerable amount of water. The other benefit is that re-using grey water means that it stays out of sewers and septic systems, making it less likely that it will pollute local reservoirs, rivers, or lakes. It also increases the productivity of sustainable ecosystems that provide shelter and food for wildlife in your area.

But is it safe?

If you use the right cleaners and body care products, greywater systems are safe for tasks like irrigating lawns, gardens, or trees, and some experts argue that it may even be beneficial to use greywater for these purposes. Things in greywater, like food, dirt, or grease, can serve as nutrients or fertilizers for plants, helping them grow faster and better. You may see a marked difference in the health of your greenery when you start watering it with greywater.

But you do need to follow some rules. You should be using products that are non-toxic and biodegradable. (They’re not hard to find!) They should not contain sodium or borax, which can be harmful to plants. Chlorine bleach can also be a problem for sewers and septic systems. Often, consumers with a greywater system switch to a hydrogen peroxide bleach instead. Liquid soaps are better than bar soaps because liquid soaps don’t change the pH level of water.

While that might sound complicated and time-consuming, it’s really not. The manufacturer of your greywater system will provide more instructions about safe product use and how to make the most of your system.

Is a greywater system expensive?

Greywater systems are generally pretty simple in design and not very costly. The price, of course, depends on the complexity of the system but basic set-ups – like a “laundry to landscape” system – will cost just a few hundred dollars. Installation by a licensed plumber will add a little more to the cost but will ensure that your system is installed properly and can work without a hitch. Your installer will take into consideration things such as the slope of your lawn or the climate in your area, especially during cold months.

In all, the price tag of a greywater system is pretty palatable considering the savings you’ll recognize as you reduce water use.

If living an eco-friendly life is important to you, a greywater system may be a logical addition to your home. For more information about greywater system options that meet your needs, call the experts at BC Redi Rooter at 604-217-2268.