Cleaning The Roof Washers

I forced myself to take some time over the holiday weekend to get some chores done outside. I cut the grass and weeds around the yard so we can walk around out there again. And I planted the lavender plants finally. Harvested some veggies too.

For all the trouble I had two ticks attached to me in as many days. Gross.

One other task I finally got off my list was cleaning the roof washers on top of the cistern. You’re supposed to clean them every six months. This is the first time I’ve attempted to clean them in the two years we’ve lived here. I’m not one for maintenance I guess. As I said, maintenance is for people who have time on their hands.

The water’s been tasting funny lately so I figured I’d better take a look. Honestly, the water still tastes funny after cleaning them so that may not necessarily be the problem. Well none of us has developed a brain parasite yet so I guess all is well. Maybe a raccoon died inside the cistern itself.

For the un-initiated, the roof washers are big fiberglass boxes that sit upon the cistern and filter all the rain water coming off of the roof. The water flows through a wire screen to take out any pieces of leaves or whatnot. Then the water collects in a big space beyond these screens and slowly filters through a big cotton like filter and down into a pipe that empties into the cistern.

Here’s a good diagram so you’ll kind of know what I’m talking about (click here).

(I don’t know why we have two roof washers, but maybe because of our roof size, or maybe one is a “pre-filter”. I guess I should know.)

Well when I opened them up I could see all kinds of muck and moss and stuff growing in there, which probably isn’t good for anyone’s health. It being two years since I was given my washer cleaning lesson I was sort of winging it. It turned out to be mildly gross but simple enough job; taking about two hours to perform.

First off I pulled out the screens from both washer boxes. They were clogged, but easily hosed off and set in the sun to dry and be sterilized by natural UV rays.

Next I pulled the cotton like filters, in their wire mesh cages. Some of the tops of the filters were blown off. Not sure why, but maybe that happened last year when the drain pipe was clogged during the big rain storm. Anyway, I pulled the filters and all the ancillary component and washed them off with a hose by the driveway. I pulled out the filter elements and unrolled them. With the hose on “jet” mode I rinsed them off and laid them out to dry a little in the sun as well.

(As I’m writing this, I guess I should actually replace the filters, so I’ll call around tomorrow to see where I get those at. Even after cleaning they’re pretty gross still.)

I pulled the bottom plates out of the washer as well. The one had a whole ecosystem growing on it. But everything cleaned up nicely.

(I guess I should have hosed the inside out too, or something like that. I know the pipe going into the cistern has some muck in it. Like I said though, we haven’t gotten any brain parasites or diarrhea yet so I bet it’s all good. I mostly drink beer these days for hydration, just to be safe though.)

I then reinstalled everything in reverse order and we should be good for another two years….er, six months.

I even bought some tan-colored UV protecting spray paint for the top of the fiberglass washer boxes. Sunlight degrades raw fiberglass so it helps to paint the panels. I was supposed to do that two years ago too. Better late than never right? I’m not sure why they just don’t paint them in the factory, but probably no one thought to do that. Now that I have the paint I bet I’ll have them painted by this time next year.

Elsewhere, not much going on. I’ve given up on the tadpole puddle in the driveway. We got a second batch of tadpoles, but the puddle is rapidly evaporating. We need rain. I can’t stay ahead of the disappearing water.

The bees are doing great. We purchased our extracting equipment but have not found the time to assemble it and start extracting honey. I need to get wood to make a solar melter soon as well. Exciting. We’ll be selling honey soon enough. I guess the going price per pound now, retail, is over $6. I’d guess we’ve got between 30-50 lbs of honey waiting to be extracted.

All three hives have queens, so everyone in need has re-queened themselves already this year. Hive No. 2 is very aggressive compared to docile hive No. 3 (the white hive I call it because their comb and honey is pure as driven snow). I had my black gloves on and must’ve been stung ten times. I finally had to take a time out and change gloves to get the bees off of me. Dark hive No. 1 has an awesome new queen who’s laid a ton of eggs and they are making honey at a fast rate.

Okay, here are tonight’s pics. Enjoy.

15 thoughts on “Cleaning The Roof Washers

    • Not be be glum but that’s another point about the cistern – it’s a source of water for the fire department.

      We couldn’t get a good well on our site so a cistern was our only option. We could have water trucked in but with rainwater collection and the size of our cistern we’ve never needed to do that.

      I’m sure any decent cistern can be redirected. I highly recommend them even if just for agricultural use.


      • Ha, in my blurry eyed wake up I thought you said you wanted to use it for safety reasons, not fill it in. My mistake. Yes by all means fill it in but if it’s usable, it could be a great source of free rain water for your yard / garden. you wouldn’t even have to filter the water I don’t think so, virtually no maintenance.


  1. Pingback: New Roof Washer Filters | nine apple trees

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