Water pressure and washing machines

josephcrawleyjosephcrawley Registered Users Posts: 5
I have an off grid system and was thinking about getting a washing machine. I have gravity fed water and was wondering if the low pressure was going to be an issue. The head is only 3 feet so its not even one PSI. If anyone has experience with this I would appreciate advice.

thanks

Comments

  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 722 ✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    I "had" gravity feed of 12' and that was horrible; I think 3' would be painful. Even with my 12' it took forever to fill it.
    I added a small 12v sureflo pump and now things work perfectly.
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • josephcrawleyjosephcrawley Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    Does the pump stay on the entire time you're running a load? Maybe I could get a cheap fuel pump from the auto parts store just for this one thing.
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 722 ✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    Does the pump stay on the entire time you're running a load? Maybe I could get a cheap fuel pump from the auto parts store just for this one thing.


    Nope it has its own pressure regulator. Comes on and off as needed. They are only like $50.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/SHUR-flo-12-volt-DC-Water-Pump-4008-101-A65-/191234981789?

    You can find some made in china cheap ones for $20 http://www.ebay.com/itm/281366070408?_trksid=p2059210.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT but I wouldn't want to use that for a whole house. Although it might work out well for just your laundry since it is only a couple of times a week. I got one of the cheap ones ALSO just to play with, seems ok, but I would not want to have to depend on it.
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    the Shurflo (sp?) DC models used in campers have a built in pressure on/off setting, about 30PSI or so. Perfectfor your applicationi
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • josephcrawleyjosephcrawley Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    Has anyone tried the LG washers? I have a 1500 Watt Mod Sin wave inverter. Most of the machine claim to need 10 amps at 110 but do most of them have induction motors?
  • jcheiljcheil Solar Expert Posts: 722 ✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    Has anyone tried the LG washers? I have a 1500 Watt Mod Sin wave inverter. Most of the machine claim to need 10 amps at 110 but do most of them have induction motors?

    We had thread(s) on washers a couple of months ago. It was very informative.
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?23150-I-have-found-the-ultimate-off-grid-Washer-I-use-it-and-I-love-it&highlight=washer
    http://forum.solar-electric.com/showthread.php?22932-Help-on-washing-machine-purchase-Inverter-washing-machine-with-direct-drive&highlight=washer
    Off-Grid in Central Florida since 2005, Full-Time since June 2014 | 12 X Sovello 205w panels, 9 X ToPoint 220w panels, 36x ToPoint 225w panels (12,525 watts total) | Custom built single-axis ground mounts | Complete FP2 Outback System: 3 x FM80, 2 x VFX3648, X240 Transformer, FLEXnet-DC, Mate-3, Hub-10, FW500 AC/DC | 24 x Trojan L16RE-B Batteries 1110ah @ 48v | Honda EU7000is Generator and a pile of "other" Generators | Home-Made PVC solar hot water collector | Custom data logging software http://www.somewhatcrookedcamp.com/monitormate.html
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    I have an off grid system and was thinking about getting a washing machine. I have gravity fed water and was wondering if the low pressure was going to be an issue. The head is only 3 feet so its not even one PSI. If anyone has experience with this I would appreciate advice.

    Yes, it can be done. I have low gravity pressure (about 4 psi). My washer works fine... BUT it is an old fashioned top loader with mechanical controls. Definitely not energy star. It takes a long time to fill with low pressure, but what's the rush? You will not be able to use a modern computerized front loader with your low pressure.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • josephcrawleyjosephcrawley Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    I feel like I should use a front loader since water consumption is an issue. I only have a 500 gallon tank.
  • josephcrawleyjosephcrawley Registered Users Posts: 5
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    One more question what about freezing? I would like to keep the machine in an unheated shed. I've read about antifreeze spin cycle fixes but would rather just drain the machine. Is it possible to move the drain hose down low so that all the water just drains out? I'm sure this is machine dependent but any opinions would be helpful
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    One more question what about freezing? I would like to keep the machine in an unheated shed. I've read about antifreeze spin cycle fixes but would rather just drain the machine. Is it possible to move the drain hose down low so that all the water just drains out? I'm sure this is machine dependent but any opinions would be helpful

    My LG front loader has a door at the bottom of the front panel for cleaning the drum filter that keeps coarse debris out of the pump. It includes a drain hose to get the water level below the filter drum so it can be pulled out. I have not looked inside at the plumbing details, but I suspect that it would serve your purpose too.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    Have been involved in repair and rebuilding of automatic washing machines, including my grandmother's 1947 Bendix front loader (as a hobby) since I was a kid too many decades ago. All I've encountered have had basically the same fill valve design that uses water pressure as a hydraulic assist to open and close a disc valve. A small plunger, activated by a magnetic coil is pulled back, opening a pin hole opening that allows water pressure against the back of the disc to drain off and the disc to move back enough to uncover the valve opening. To close, the little plunger drops down, plugging the small hole, so water that finds it's way through a smaller hole in the disc can build up pressure behind the disc, forcing it down, covering the valve portal. The biggest problems with these valves is the occasional plugging of one or both of those tiny holes, which then prevents it's operation. I wouldn't expect them to operate properly at all with very little pressure, but if you happen to come across some that do, that's wonderful.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    the same fill valve design that uses water pressure as a hydraulic assist to open and close a disc valve. A small plunger, activated by a magnetic coil is pulled back, <snip>

    Wayne,
    I've been researching solenoid valves (normally closed) to see if I might replace the filler valves on my speedqueen washer with something less restrictive. (because my gravity water pressure is 4 psi). Do you have any thoughts or advice on the project?

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    Wayne, is it possible to get in and enlarge that pin hole for low pressure operation?
     
    KID #51B  4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM
    CL#29032 FW 2126/ 2073/ 2133 175A E-Panel WBjr, 3 x 4s 140W to 24V 900Ah C&D AGM 
    Cotek ST1500W 24V Inverter,OmniCharge 3024,
    2 x Cisco WRT54GL i/c DD-WRT Rtr & Bridge,
    Eu3/2/1000i Gens, 1680W & E-Panel/WBjr to come, CL #647 asleep
    West Chilcotin, BC, Canada
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    westbranch wrote: »
    Wayne, is it possible to get in and enlarge that pin hole for low pressure operation?

    The problem is not the size of the hole, it is the pressure required to move the disk (pressure times area must overcome spring force.)

    That said, some machines use a close to constant flow (independent of pressure) orifice and a timer to get the desired water level. That will not work with very low pressure.
    Other machines actually sense the water level either with static pressure sensors or contact sensors.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,024 admin
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    You might experiment with a sprinkler valve... They are typically 24 VAC and you can find a 24 VAC transformer at the hardware store (at least in times past).

    At 4 PSI, you might have a hard time even using an irrigation valve.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    BB. wrote: »
    At 4 PSI, you might have a hard time even using an irrigation valve.

    The washer still has its original filler valves and they work OK at 4 psi, just slow... takes about 15-20 minutes to fill. The toilet works OK also... takes an extra minute to refill after a flush.

    I may be under pressure to pressurize at some point... I've been hearing some noise about wanting a dishwasher, and as far as I know, there are no currently manufactured dishwashers that will work at 4 psi.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    vtmaps wrote: »
    The washer still has its original filler valves and they work OK at 4 psi, just slow... takes about 15-20 minutes to fill. The toilet works OK also... takes an extra minute to refill after a flush.

    I may be under pressure to pressurize at some point... I've been hearing some noise about wanting a dishwasher, and as far as I know, there are no currently manufactured dishwashers that will work at 4 psi.

    --vtMaps
    Well, the only reason that a residential dishwasher needs pressure is to fill the tub. The actual washing action uses an internal pump to move the wash and rinse water. So the only questions would be whether the valve operates and whether the dishwasher uses a timed fill or a float switch.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,739 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    inetdog wrote: »
    Well, the only reason that a residential dishwasher needs pressure is to fill the tub. The actual washing action uses an internal pump to move the wash and rinse water. So the only questions would be whether the valve operates and whether the dishwasher uses a timed fill or a float switch.

    I have made some inquiries... My understanding is that some use a pressure regulator to drop the incoming pressure to about 7-8 psi, and then use a timer and orifice to put the correct amount of water in the tub. Or they use a float switch and the embedded processor faults out when the tub has not been filled within the proper timeframe.

    --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    Just thought of something that should work!!!
    Baseboard hot water zone valves! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VE1wa033USA
    These valve should do the trick beautifully for low pressure water supplies. :D
    These operate on 24 VAC and are designed to open for as long as flow is needed. The little gear motor powers it open and holds it open as long as needed. When power is removed from the motor, a spring return unwinds the mechanism and the valve closes.
    The video says the motor "fails a lot", that's not really true. In home heating service they normally open and close sometimes 4 times per hour to maintain a steady temperature in the house, that's over 1500 times per heating season, and they usually last for 5 0r 10 years, so you'd be looking at least 15,000 wash cycles. I would not worry about failure.
  • AguarancherAguarancher Solar Expert Posts: 313 ✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    If this is gravity fed, I assume you aren’t using hot water. If that’s the case then I think this might work, if you if you’re just looking for a valve. http://www.homedepot.com/p/Orbit-3-4-in-Plastic-FPT-Automatic-Anti-Siphon-Zone-Valve-57623/203020016?N=c75sZ5yc1v

    Otherwise I’d just put a pump inline as others have suggested.

    Back in the day we just filled the tub with a garden hose. Lo-tech but it got the job done. lol
  • oil pan 4oil pan 4 Solar Expert Posts: 766 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines
    One more question what about freezing? I would like to keep the machine in an unheated shed. I've read about antifreeze spin cycle fixes but would rather just drain the machine. Is it possible to move the drain hose down low so that all the water just drains out? I'm sure this is machine dependent but any opinions would be helpful

    If you have a front loader down below the drum there is lint trap and pump. The lint trap is the lowest point in the system, about a gallon of water will dump out of the bottom when you pull it.
    If you try to put the hose lower than the water level the water will syphon out.
    I have seen plenty of them smashed up at the scrap yard, about 90% of them are all built the same way.

    Solar hybrid gasoline generator, 7kw gas, 180 watts of solar, Morningstar 15 amp MPPT, group 31 AGM, 900 watt kisae inverter.

    Solar roof top GMC suburban, a normal 3/4 ton suburban with 180 watts of panels on the roof and 10 amp genasun MPPT, 2000w samlex pure sine wave inverter, 12v gast and ARB air compressors.

  • waynefromnscanadawaynefromnscanada Solar Expert Posts: 3,009 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Water pressure and washing machines

    For many years at my mother's cottage, I'd prepare it for winter by draining the hot and cold water tanks, blowing the water out of all the cottage water lines, including the washer hoses and fill valves, then dumping a gallon (4 litres) of plumbing antifreexe (non-toxic, very unlike the highly toxic automotive antifreeze) into the washing machine, then letting the washer pump it through to the drain. That allowed the antifreexe to replace any water that would normally be left in the washer. worked great, never had a problem. Much easier than dismantling the machine, as like many washers it had a self-cleaning filter and no easy way to be totally drained.
    By the way, my grandmother's 1947 Bendix front load automatic washing machine had an easy access filter below the drum that had to be manually cleaned (that filter prevented such things as nails and gravel getting into the pump) and the pump was easily drained by lowering the hose. Unlike modern units, it was obviously built with freezing temperatures in mind. AND it was built for people with common sense - - - for instance if you opened the door while it was in spin mode, it didn't stop, and if you were foolish enough to stick your head in there, it would spin your head off at the neck. Today's machines are built for idiots, they stop, if indeed you can even open the door while they are in operation. :D
    Photo of 1947 Bendix: http://www.automaticwasher.info/TD/AWJPEG/VINTAGE/2008/7-2-2008-15-50-8--decodriveboy.jpg
    OH! And unlike today's poorly made appliances, this Bendix served 5 generations, washing the clothes of my great grandmother, my grandparents, my parents, my sister and her children. Name any washing machine made today that could come close to that record!
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