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Old 02-26-2009, 10:20 AM   #1
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The Python Challenge

I brought up some questions regarding the use of the Python "No Spill" for during PWC over in this thread: Pwc question

As I do not own a Python at this time, I can not attempt to verify my suspicions, and I'd like to see if some Python owners can help determine just how much water a Python uses.

First, a couple of phrases copied from Python's web site:

"Environmentally Responsible! Due to our powerful 7 to 1 suction ratio, cleaning your tank uses about the same amount of water as flushing your toilet"
No Spill Clean & Fill Python Productss

"We recommend only a 5 to 10% water change every other week."
pythonwebpage

So I started running some numbers.

The wikipedia article on flush toilets indicates the following:
"The conventional flush-toilet or gravity-fed toilet uses 13 litres (3.4 US gallons or 2.8 imperial gallons) or more per flush."
Flush toilet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Next, I make an assumption:

Python does not specify what size tank or how much of a PWC is being done when they claim it uses less water than a toilet flush. Obviously they are not going to base the claim on a large water change of a huge tank. And hopefully, they have enough scruples to not base a claim on some rediculously small tank (like a 2.5 gallon tank).

Based on the price of typical glass fish tanks, it appears that the 10 gallon is THE STANDARD when it comes to fish tanks. After all, a 5 gallon tank cost as much as a 10 gallon, and even the jump to 15 gallon can more than double the price of a 10 gallon. So I believe that Python is going to make their claim based on a standard 10 gallon tank.

I also assume, that since they want the claim to look as good as it can, that they are going to base it on the smallest PWC that they recomend.

The Numbers:
So that suggests that the claim is based on a 5% water change in a 10 gallon tank. That means we are going to use about 3.4 gallons of tap water to change out 0.5 gallons of tank water. Now look at those numbers. If we round the 3.4 gallons for the toilet up to 3.5, there is your magic 7-to-1 number.

So if I am right, then a Python uses 7 gallons of water to empty 1 gallon from your tank.

Now I'll admit I MIGHT be totally off base. I've never used a Python myself, and the claims do not specify tank size, or even the type of toilet being used (after all, there are low-flow toilet standards that call for much closer to 1 gallon per flush).

Well over in that other thread, a couple of Python owners claim I have this 7-to-1 ratio backwards, that it's 1 gallon of tap water for 7 gallons of tank water. I've already pointed out the potential flaw in the thinking of when of these claims on the other page, so I'd like to see a Python owner do a direct measurement and see exactly how the Python fairs.

First, the setup. For the test to be valid, we need a fish tank that is about the same height as the sink being used to run the Python. After all, think typical tank stand height verses typical sink height. So if you have a tank mounted in an unusually high spot, an unusually low spot, or if you are using an outdoor hose bibb or a sink located on a different level of your house as the tank, those don't qualify as a vaild test.

Next, use your Python to empty some of the water from your tank. But don't let the water (tap or tank) go down the drain. If you can, place a 5 gallon bucket under your faucet to catch the water. If you don't, then just plug up the sink and run the Python until the sink almost fills up. The test is likely going to require two people, so that you can already have the Python in the tank ready to start sucking up tank water the momen the faucet is turned on. When the sink is ALMOST full, stop the water. To make the test fair, quickly pull the Python out of the tank (don't want water to siphon back into the tank) and empty all the water out of the Python hose into the sink. Next, measure the amount of water in your sink. An estimate would be fine. One way to do so would be to empty the sink using a quart jar, or a gallon tea pitcher, anything to allow you to measure the amount of water in the sink. Next, use a similar quart jar or gallon pitcher to refill the tank back to the exact level it was before you started.

Finally, report how much water was in the sink verses how much water was replaced in the tank. If I am right, then given the sink had tap water and tank water, there should be an 8-to-1 ratio of sink water to tank refill water.

I will be greatly suprised if someone finds that they used less than one quart of tap water to empty 1 gallon of tank water.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:32 AM   #2
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The easiest way to do it would be to hook the Python to a garden hose so you can run it at a controlled height and easily get it in your bucket.
My garden hose is frozen right now.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:42 AM   #3
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I think there are way too many variables in this and not enough constants. You'd have to ahve the same water pressure, remove the same amount of water, and the same height of the tank and sink. I would consider the "standard" as being 55 gal but that's just because it seems to be what our lfs sells the most of.

Given my own water changing experiences, I would have to waste 15 gal of water per minute while doing a water change. My water pressure is nowhere near 15 gal per minute.
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:59 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishyfanatic View Post
I think there are way too many variables in this and not enough constants. ...
I'm not looking to determine EXACT numbers. But I would like to see how much water people are practically using. I'd also like to compare that to the company's claim of 7-to-1. But at the same time, I also want to exclude from examples people that use a downstair faucet for an upstairs tank. In such a situation, the siphon effect becomes enourmous. After all, a 10 foot tall water colum equates to 4psi of pressure. That's a lot of pressure to suck water out of a tank.

Actually, I recently did aquire a Python 25 foot extension hose that was discounted at PetSmart. I purchased that allong with the sink adapter and I've been using it as a siphon and refill (meaning I'm NOT using tap water to create a suction to get water out of the tank).

When I recently stuck the end of the hose out the window and let it drop to the ground and started siphoning all the water out of a 20 gallon tank, with that roughtly 10 foot drop from the window ledge to the ground, I was able to empty the entire 20 gallon tank in less than three minutes. That's faster than water can come out of a kitchen sink faucet (which should be on the order of 5 gallons per minute).
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:46 AM   #5
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I run the faucet for about a couple Min's just to get the water suctioning through the Hose (Garden Hose hooked to a Lee's Drain and Fill) then I shut the faucet off and gravity does the rest of the draining for me (Slower but less waste) since as luck would have it my tank is above the height of the faucet.

I am planning (as a Green Measure) on adding an extra Water Barrel along side of the RO Water Barrel to hold the PWC Water from my tanks and pumping the PWC Water from the Barrel using a Pump and Hose outside to water our Flowerbeds instead of sending it down the Drain as an effort to do my part to become more Eco-Logical.
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:26 PM   #6
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I wonder if there would be an economical way to filter the PWC water you are saving, and then run it back through an RO/DI unit? In essence, recycling the water for future use?

This would be super interesting to me and I have seen a very noticeable difference in my water bill since setting up a tank... and thats only with a 20Gal... I cant imagine whats going to happen when I finally get around to cleaning and setting up the 55 sitting in my basement... nor can I imagine how you all can afford to keep a 100+ Gal tank running ;P
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Old 02-26-2009, 02:34 PM   #7
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You shouldn't be noticing a much of an increase in your water bill. Especially with a 20 gal tank. Lets say you change even 50% once a week, that's only 50 gals that you've used in the first month (including the initial fill up). So a 50% water change every week you're only looking at 40 gals of water a month. Our water/sewer bill runs about $30 a month and that is for 2 people to shower every day, toilet flushes, dish water, ice/drinking water, and cleaning/maintaining a 150, 55, and 29 gal tank.
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Old 02-26-2009, 03:00 PM   #8
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Wait a min... you mean to tell me that your supposed to use your faucet water to "pump out" the tank during PWC's when using the Python ??? Oh snap...I have been doing it all wrong then. I lay my hose out into my flower bed and let gravity do its thing, Then I hook the hose back up to the faucet adapter and fill the tank from there. No wasted water on my end. Oh, and this is on my fresh water tank since I use LFS supplied, yes supplied, RO/DI salt mix for the salt tank.
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Old 02-26-2009, 03:03 PM   #9
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It actually doesn't matter if the tank is at the same height as the sink, as long as you're emptying into the same sink your water is coming from. Conservation of energy tells you that the siphon effect on the downward journey must be exactly balanced by the reverse effect of pumping the water from the sink uphill, and the reverse will be true for tanks placed lower than the sink.

On the other hand, variations in tapwater pressure between different users would mean very different results for the same Python used in different homes.
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Old 02-26-2009, 03:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fishyfanatic View Post
You shouldn't be noticing a much of an increase in your water bill. Especially with a 20 gal tank. Lets say you change even 50% once a week, that's only 50 gals that you've used in the first month (including the initial fill up). So a 50% water change every week you're only looking at 40 gals of water a month. Our water/sewer bill runs about $30 a month and that is for 2 people to shower every day, toilet flushes, dish water, ice/drinking water, and cleaning/maintaining a 150, 55, and 29 gal tank.
It was definitely there though... note that I have had several occasions where I had to med the tank and was doing 50% every day for several weeks. Regardless, there was definitely a jump on my water/sewer bills starting with the bill in the month that I set the tank up. I wouldn't have thought it would be so bad either... mind you, in normal months, its not that bad, but esp. these days, I have to watch every penny going out.
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