02 July 2007

Big House, Little Well

We really are lucky to be living on a rented space that allows the freedom for non-traditional projects. Admittedly they are just tests to see what we may or may not wish to do at Future House.

Here is Steve, Jim and I working on our first water collection project...

... and the finished project. Someday we'll be sure do post about it in greater detail.

Earlier today I ran into Steve (the jack-of-all-trades maintenance guy living on the first floor) and part of our conversation was about the next big house project, which is a system of corrugated pipes that will run from the gutters of our house to the pool. I’m sure this may sound ridiculous at first, but this undertaking will save us a great deal of time, trouble, and money.

One of the many perks of our rented space is a very large and very old in-ground swimming pool. I think the pool was dug in the 60s and in the meantime it has seen its share of breakdowns and repairs. Currently the drain at the bottom of the deep end is broken beyond reasonable repair. The only sources of filtration are the skimmer and a pool-vac. Typically this should be enough, but there are an abundance of trees in close proximity that produce a great deal of muck that sinks to the bottom. The only way to effectively vacuum the bottom of the pool, without burning out the pump and destroying the filter, is to send the stuff directly to waste (the water does not get cycled back into the pool).

When the debris is sent to waste, the water level goes down right quick. This leaves us with very few chances to clean the bottom of the pool without draining it too low to swim in. Needless to say the pool can get pretty filthy. What would be nice is if we could simply put a hose from a spigot into the pool and fill it when need be. However, we are on a well and it is a shallow one at that. The construction of our rain harvester was based on the same need and if you really think about it, collecting rain reduces runoff and waste. It’s a win-win situation.

To deal with the pool, what Meg and I have proposed to our landlord, Chris (he also lives on the first floor), is that we utilize the vast square footage of the house’s roof to divert water into the pool. This rooftop irrigation would fill the pool faster and allow us to vacuum more often.

The idea and construction is quite simple. The only difficult part of the project will be filtering the water that comes from the roof. It would defeat the purpose if we let leaves and other roof garbage run into the pool. We do have a homemade filter in mind and when it is built I will surely post some photos. Right now we are mainly dealing with collecting materials and finding some free time.

Steve seemed excited about the project and agreed the sooner we get this thing built, the better. I also ran the project by Jim (he and his fiancé, Liz, live on the second floor) and hopefully he will be around to lend a hand. Like Steve, he is handy with tools and knows a thing or two about backyard construction.

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