Brac Graywater Systems is the graywater system we have in the Brooklyn Green Show House. We bought it because we were not fully educated on the graywater needs a Brooklyn brownstone has.
Unfortunately it was a huge mistake. We do not think the Brac Graywater unit is intelligently designed. In fact it is over designed.
Apart from being vastly overpriced (upwards of $4000 without installation) you are paying for things that ultimately break down.
It has two very powerful pumps that are much too large for a brownstone. And to make things worse the first one broke immediately. Or it never worked in the first place. We aren’t sure and Brac isn’t being much use in helping us fix it.
But because even one pump is too much the system has “worked” this whole time with the one remaining pump.
I say “worked” because it has not worked at all. In fact, I’m the one who has worked to try and keep the gray water from going putrid, which it does often. The reason for this is that the Brac system has a whole bunch of controls that are interconnected. So if one breaks, they all do.
And that is what happened to our system. Of course Brac is trying to blame it on us, but we really didn’t touch the inner workings of the system. We hooked pipes up to the system as per their very unclear instructions and we were very careful to do it exactly to the letter of what they specify.
But in the end the inner workings didn’t need our help to break.
The main issue was that the chlorinator, fresh water supply and water level are all connected. And they all broke. So the Brac system didn’t know how much water was in the tank. If it got low and fresh water was needed, it simply let the pump run dry until it overheated and shut down.
If the water went putrid the chlorinator wouldn’t kick on to stop it.
And Brac has been in denial the whole time. They are really unhelpful.
Another thing that broke was the actual PVC piping in the unit. It simply burst. Below you can see the broken Brac pipe and the new one we installed. Again Brac did not acknowledge that this was their fault and I had to foot the bill.
I can’t say how bad my experience with Brac Graywater Systems has been. I REALLY don’t recommend buying the unit or working with the company.
The irony is that the Brac system is in a Green Show House. it has become a show case of what NOT to buy. It sits in our cellar on display and we make sure to really dish it on to the people who tour our house. We are pissed that the system is so badly built, that the company has such terrible customer service, that it is so expensive, and that in the end it is so far from being green.
It is far from green since it uses more electricity than the cost of the water it saves. And it costs an astronomical amount to buy. I knew I would never pay back the system in saved water but I did it for ecological reasons. The ecological reasons went out the window when I had to call the plumber for the fifth time. It just became financially stupid.
And talk about maintenance! Its like we are tied to the thing. Right as I type this the toilets are not getting water. I have to go down to the cellar and screw around with the system to figure out why the pump it not sending gray water to the toilets. If it is not one thing it is another: constant maintenance.
And for Brac Graywater Systems to claim they do not have even the slightest knowledge of how much maintenance this system is is really misleading. I have worked with it for a year and clearly the system is not designed correctly. They know this. Yet they eagerly pushed it onto us.
Since naively buying Brac I have read almost every gray water book on the market and really become knowledgeable in gray water systems that do work in small residential applications. My reading has further confirmed my hands on experience with Brac: that it is a bad system for its current application.
The local distributor, New Eco Building for some reason is still trying to sell the units despite their full knowledge of how badly the system has performed for us and other clients (according to New Eco). I suspect they are just trying to pawn off the last units they were forced to buy from Brac in order to be a distributor.
Either way it is a bad situation. The Bottom Line is the system is overly built, badly built, expensive, high maintenance, and clearly not good for residential use. All I can say is STAY AWAY FROM BRAC.
If your goals are to have an affordable, low maintenance, low energyconsumption gray water system that works, stay away from Brac.
The good news is that we have already dissuaded four potential Brac buyers. They had originally been sold on Brac when they read our excitement during the installation process and then came by to see the unit. It is another irony that we are now the same ones telling them not to buy it.