You’re not the only one who is wondering whether local codes allow you to drain your washing machine outside or not.
Most washing machine owners often ask whether it is illegal or not to drain their washers outside considering that washers can generate an average of 41 gallons per load.
Taking into consideration the environmental impact that draining your washer directly outside may have, you need to be careful not to flout any regulations in your local building codes.
There is the danger of killing plants, contaminating the soil, and others.
In most states, you cannot connect your waste water to city sewage directly by yourself. It needs to be done by a licensed plumber from the city.
Is it illegal to drain your washer outside?
It depends on your State. In most states in America, it is illegal to drain washing machines (grey water) directly outside. If your state doesn’t allow you to drain your washer outside you can drain it into a sink or into a floor drain using a drain tube to join the main septic line.
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Where should a washing machine drain to?
Where you should drain your washing machine is decided by your local plumbing building regulations.
One thing is for sure, a washing machine should drain into a sewer line.
So even if you choose to drain your washing machine into the floor drain, you need to be sure that the floor drain connects to a sewer.
You can also simply channel your drain hose into a nearby sink for it to drain directly into the sink.
Some homeowners also choose to create a dedicated line (drain outlet) to drain their washing machine into the main sewer. Or connect to a standpipe.
This is usually considered during the construction stages but you can still get it done by a qualified plumber in your home.
You can’t drain your washing machine directly into the environment since it’s against building regulations in many areas.
There are however some cases where your washing machine can be drained out into the environment into trees or bushes;
That is when you use biodegradable detergents; in that case, water from your washing machine will not be harmful to the environment.
In addition to draining into a sewer line, a washing machine can also drain into the following systems or utilities:
1. A floor drain
A floor drain is a drain that is located on the floor of a home or building.
The floor drain is typically connected to the main sewer line and it is used to collect wastewater from various appliances and fixtures, including washing machines.
Your floor drain will typically be located in your laundry room, basement, or garage.
2. A utility sink
A utility sink is a type of sink that is usually larger than a standard sink and it is typically used for washing clothes, cleaning up after pets, or as a workspace for projects that require a lot of water.
Utility sinks are typically made of stainless steel or porcelain and it is usually located in the laundry room, basement, or garage.
In most cases, the utility sink is connected to the main sewer line, but there are some that are connected to a septic tank.
3. A sump pit
A sump pit is a hole in the floor that is usually located in the basement of a home.
The sump pit is used to collect water that has seeped into the basement, and it is typically connected to a sump pump that pumps out the water into the main sewer.
In some cases as well, the sump pit is connected to a septic tank.
So, in case you were wondering, these are some of the ways you can drain your washing machine.
Can I drain my washing machine into the yard?
Water from your washing machine is considered gray water, which is a type of water that is safe to drain into your yard with minimal treatment.
You can dilute the water with your rinse cycle water or even fresh water.
This will reduce the concentration of the chemicals in your washer water.
So, if you have a garden or lawn that needs watering, you can channel your washing machine water there.
However, there are additional things that you need to keep in mind if you decide to do this.
First, you need to make sure that you are using environmentally-friendly and biodegradable detergents and soaps.
These detergents are known as biodegradable as they are destroyed by bacteria and will be less harmful to your plants and lawn.
Second, you need to make sure that your washing machine is draining into an area of your yard that is not going to cause any flooding.
You also need to be aware of the local regulations regarding gray water drainage as there may be some restrictions in place.
States where it is legal to drain a washing machine outside
Although state regulations are not cast in stone and may be relooked at with time, these are some of the states and cities in the USA where it is legal to drain your washing machine outside.
- Florida (Conditional)
- Georgia (Conditional)
- New Mexico
- Graham county
States where it is illegal to drain a washing machine outside
Local state regulations may be revised with time but these are some of the states and cities where it is illegal to drain your washing machine outside.
- North Carolina
Discharge from your washing machine is referred to as grey water.
In most jurisdictions, it may be illegal to discharge it outside.
In some cities like California, you can drain your washing machine outside so long as you the requirements that are enshrined in the local regulations.
Even if you choose to treat grey water to become reusable, check with your environmental health authority to verify the proper treatment procedure.