Brac Graywater Systems Nightmare

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.

About the author: Gennaro Brooks-Church

16 comments to “Brac Graywater Systems Nightmare”

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  1. Frustrated plumber - July 28, 2014 at 9:49 pm

    I have experienced similiar problems with the water legacy greywater system. I believe it is very similar to brac, except it uses hydrogen peroxide and a UV light for disinfectant. It’s very hard to correctly dose the hydrogen peroxide, so it either adds to little, and the toilet water is putrid, or it adds too much and I run through my 5 gallons of hydrogen peroxide in about 2 months (at $100). It’s been very frustrating and I wish I didn’t install it. I think these systems are just too experimental are to complicated for residential installations

  2. Gennaro Brooks-Church - May 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

    I do not know of any. Please let me know if you find some. Try Conservation Technologies.

  3. jj - May 7, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    ok, so I will stay away from brac, is there a system you actually recommend?

  4. Dwaine - February 12, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    WOW So very glad to see someone else has been taken to the cleaners while trying to do the “right thing”. Like the first email I have been totally frustrated for over 2 years trying to get this system to work properly.The inventor and I were on the phone constantly until I supplied him with some photos showing the problems I was having. he spotted a piece of fiber somewhere in the photo realized I had run the system without a filter in place and “VOIDED” my warranty on the phone right then and there.lock stock and barrel. He always wanted to talk me through it and really just irritated me to no end. After this experience I am removing the entire system from the house..MY LOSS. BRAC SUCKS. Dont waste your money unless you a very good plumber.

  5. JayCastle - January 3, 2013 at 9:11 am

    check out for a greywater system control with ac pump that can run off of solar. This is more for the hands on customer, but have a look see.

  6. Gennaro Brooks-Church - June 24, 2012 at 8:54 pm

    I took out the Brac system and threw it away. I was completely disgusted by the customer service and product. Absolute trash. What horrible people to deal with as well. I have nothing but negative things to say about the Brac system and company.
    Water Legacy is ok but suffers from the same problem of over design. With anything man made it is not a question of whether something breaks down but when. In the case of Water Legacy you have the filter, hydrogen peroxide disinfectant, and two stages of UV light – all items that will break. The price tag is also steep – at around $3,000.
    This isn’t a boiler, it is a measly collector of dirty water.
    I have not found a product out there so I build my own. They are based on keeping the water moving constantly as opposed to trying to store it.

  7. omar - June 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    Hi Dave, I live in South Florida and in the process of building a sustainable home. How did you finally solve your Brac problem? We are considering Water Legacy and are now beginning to look into the available systems. Any thoughts?

  8. Dave - July 5, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Wow! It was almost as if you were readifng my mind. I could not agree more based on my own personal experience. I too, built a green home in Florida to the USGBC LEED green building rating system. I decided on the BRAC system because, in theory, greywater recycling is a great idea. But, this company is not ready for the residential market. My local distributor, Eco-Smart of Florda was great! They actually replaced my first BRAC unit (at no cost) and I was convinced that I just had a lemon when I got the first one. Nope, the second just stopped working. Now, I will be taking off work (again) to meet the plumber for the 5th time. He is actually on my speed dial and when I call he knows exactly why I am calling. I have had over a hundred builders and dozens of architects tour my home over the last several months and I always point out the good, the bad, and the just plain dumb decisions that I have made in the design and construction of our LEED home.

  9. Rob - October 17, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    Thank you everyone for the reviews, I was sold on Brac and was ready to buy until I read all of the reviews. Thank you for saving me my $$$$$

  10. Gennaro Brooks-Church - July 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Hi Gus,
    Thanks for the tip. The Brac I have is in a show house and was meant to show the best of gray water technology. Clearly Brac is far from the best so I have to remove it and either find another manufacturer or build one myself. I get a lot of guests coming through and right now Brac is simply an example of what doesn’t work. I pointed this out to Brac but they didn’t seem to care about the bad press. Showing a broken Brac has some value educationally since a show house shows mistakes as well but I want a positive example to help Brooklyn homeowners who are looking for a good graywater solution.

  11. Gus - July 25, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    If you still plan to fix or give it another shot to the Brac System, back in last year I got ahold of Blair Gaustchi, kind of head honcho at BracSystems Canada (Headquarters), He was helpful in helping me fine tune the brac. His email is
    He is very knowledgeable about this, seems to me that He was involved in the system design.
    I have to say that my system works fine besides than the filtering issue (sock-filter or “suck-filter”)
    Good luck with that.

  12. Gennaro Brooks-Church - July 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    It is funny you mention I just discovered them plan on asking them for prices. i can’t wait to get rid of this Brac system. Yesterday my son left the gray water hose on so the tank ran dry. Because my fresh water intake is broken on the Brac the tank just empties and the pump eventually shuts off because it overheats. No problem. But when I filled the tank up again the pump still didn’t work. My toilets needed flushing, it was late, I was tired and boy did I have bad feelings towards Brac and the distributor New Eco. What a joke they are for selling these badly made units with such pitiful support. I finally discovered I had to unplug the pump to reset it. I just hope this post warns people of Brac.

  13. Gus - July 25, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Hi there!
    I had the same problem with the pump, but instead I bought a new model for the manufacturer,, I obviusly I paid for it. The pump was a newer model, but it fits like a glove, no modifications to do. It’s been working perfect for ten months straight. Regarding the sock-filter system, really sucks, I’ve doing some research but couldn’t find any practical solution to replace it. I am thinking on having a small sand filter (like swimming pools) attached to the system with will be a lot easier to clean and will actually filter the water, a chlorinator could be add to the filter in order to dye the water (instead of chlorine tablets, drop those blue tablets that are sold for toilets).
    Other than that, everything else works just fine.
    Gennaro: Check out, they have a WL55 system that requires cleaning ONCE a year. Too late for me.

  14. Gennaro Brooks-Church - July 21, 2010 at 11:23 am

    That tube sock was such a joke. It got clogged in a matter of weeks and caused the water to back up the pipes. I don’t understand how they can continue to sell the product.

    Where are you located? I have not found a solution either. But I am building four gray water systems right now so maybe I can help you in some way.

  15. doug - July 19, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I installed a Brac system in my renovated house almost two years ago and it “worked” for three months and then the pump burned out like you mentioned. I also couldn’t keep the highly innovation “tube sock” filter thing clean enough to get water into the actual tub.

    Brac offered for me to get a new system but actually admited that the pumps burn out. THey then suggested I buy a newer model…!

    I have searched for another company but haven’t found another one. I’m not a ‘build it” kinda guy…more “buy it”.

    Do you have any recommendations?

  16. LHH - July 1, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    Thanks. Very helpful to have this review.

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