A properly designed laundry-to-landscape system should neither harm a washing machine nor cause it anymore wear and tear than normal use. Factors such as washing machine variation and landscape differences result in no two systems being alike. Hence, recommendations for how to design a safe system do not guarantee that they are safe for your particular washing machine. Based on our experience, however, we have not encountered problems with any properly designed system for any washing machine.
Assuming that your washing machine’s pump is not worn out, laundry-to-landscape systems that follow these guidelines should not exceed the manufacturers recommendations for the pump.
- Use 1″ tubing on the main line (nothing smaller).
- Do not plug the end of the main line. If the 1/2″ outlets begin to clog a plugged end will restrict the flow of greywater and cause back pressure on the pump.
- Do not pump uphill. If your landscape is slightly higher than the washing machine, place a platform under your machine. If your landscape is uphill from the house, you will need to incorporate another pump into the system.
- Do not travel more than 50 feet across a flat yard. Pushing water through a horizontal run of pipe adds strain on the pump. Depending on how many gallons per minute your machine pumps out, 50 feet is typically the same as pumping water up 1.5 to 3 feet.
- Do not install a laundry to landscape system if your machine has existing problems such as the water does not drain completely.
If your washing machine’s pump is struggling, or the water does not drain properly, the most common cause is a clogged pump filter. This filter catches all the large particles – coins, trash, paper clips, and so on – that get into the machine from the laundry. If the filter is clogged, the pump has to work harder to push the water through the debris. A good habit is to check the pump filter and clean it out on a regular basis. Here’s one example of how to clean a pump filter.
In his on-line book “Graywater Gardening,” the owner of a greywater company claims that laundry to landscape systems have broken washing machines in Australia. However, this claim is hearsay because he has never actually seen any of these systems or broken machines. Furthermore, there is a conflict of interest because his solution to the “problem” of laundry to landscape systems harming washing machines is the greywater system he is selling.