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Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

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  • Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

    I've always wanted one. I was reading Family Handyman and they have a rain barrel project which is what got me thinking about it. So, anyone have one? Like it?
    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

    "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
    [/CENTER]

  • #2
    Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

    Philadelphia has a program where they give out free rain barrels:

    Rain Barrel Workshops | Office of Watersheds

    It keeps storm overflow out of the antiquated combined sewer system (That's right: no storm sewers except in the newest sections of the city) and reduces water demand for lawn watering and such.

    This is an old idea: my first house had a brick cistern from the 19th century to collect and disperse run-off.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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    • #3
      Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

      Cool. Thanks for the info!
      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

      "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
      [/CENTER]

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      • #4
        Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

        A rain 'barrel'?
        Wouldn't it be more prudent to put in a rainwater tank, something that has a larger storage capacity than what I have seen and currently envisage similar to a largish wine barrel at the end of a roof down pipe?
        We are encouraged over here to install them, in fact in bush fire prone areas, it is mandatory for a minimum 5000 litre tank full of water and an attached electric but preferred petrol or diesel fire pump connected.
        As youngsters, we always used captured rainwater as a good source of drinking water but now they claim that it is unsafe for drinking. Where has the world gone today?


        Neill
        Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

        The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


        Neillís Pompeiii #1
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        • #5
          Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

          Originally posted by nissanneill View Post
          A rain 'barrel'?
          Neill,

          I was thinking the same thing. 55 gallons of water is only 10 - 20 flushes of the toilet. When I vacationed in Belize, they had HUGE tanks that caught the water off of their roofs. Since they are not washing their cars or watering the lawn - it was probably enough to get a family by for three months. I always thought of the health/sanitary problems with that, but hey... when in Rome...
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          • #6
            Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

            Um, Neill, a 500 gal tank might be a bit problematic in the suburbs....
            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

            "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
            [/CENTER]

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            • #7
              Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

              Originally posted by Les View Post
              Neill,

              I was thinking the same thing. 55 gallons of water is only 10 - 20 flushes of the toilet. When I vacationed in Belize, they had HUGE tanks that caught the water off of their roofs. Since they are not washing their cars or watering the lawn - it was probably enough to get a family by for three months. I always thought of the health/sanitary problems with that, but hey... when in Rome...
              We're talking more yard/suburban duty. But you can link them and make as many as you need. The garbage can design Family Handyman had used 2 cans and could be expanded even more.

              Here in Alabama linked barrels could make sense. But in Australia? I dunno, I'm not sure you'd have enough rainfall for that to work.
              "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

              "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
              [/CENTER]

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              • #8
                Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                It wouldn't work here either Arch - I'm in the high desert. What we get in the winter would freeze - what little we get in the summer would evaporate. The only way we can exist here is the Sierra Nevada mountains, a pretty impressive water tank.
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                • #9
                  Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                  Yes, four barrels actually. Two 55 gallon barrels are on downspouts on my shop building and are connected together via a syphon and one of the two is plumbed to a 5500 gallon rainwater storage tank with a float controlled pump. This was primarily for fire protection prior to our getting water on island last year. We now have a hydrant at the corner of our property. This water in this tank is near potable and with RO system is still "back up" to our well. We haven't yet connected to city water.

                  The other two are off downspouts on our home. One is plumbed to one garden/orchard and will eventually be pumped to our pond. The other is for around the house plant watering.

                  When installing the 5500 gallon tank I asked of our local fire department and was given both a valve and fitting to connect to the firetrucks/pumpers. The trucks could then refill from my tank instead of going off island in the event of an emergency. Fortunately this capability has never been needed.

                  Bests,
                  Wiley

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                  • #10
                    Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                    You can look into stock tanks. They are widely used in the solar energy business, as well as for hot tubs. If you are in an agricultural area they should be available locally. They come in plastic as well as galvanized. Here's a link to a 700 gallon one for $290.
                    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2

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                    • #11
                      Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                      My dad made my mom several rain barrels last year out of the biggest heavy-duty garbage cans he could find. They're attached to his downspouts and have a valve on them at the bottom to attach a hose so she can water the garden with them. Since they're in Eastern NC, they have to be elevated a bit to be able to get any water to flow to the garden (flatter than a pancake there). It takes a while to hand water her raised beds, but as she says, she's "retired and can take all day to water if she wants".

                      They do work really well, and it doesn't take that much rain to fill them up. I am going to try it myself this summer if I can get the time, but I KNOW I'll need a pump to get the water to my gardens. Wilson has an extra pump he was going to use to chill his wort- (don't ask, it's a hideously complicated contraption he built) maybe I'll swipe it and figure out how to make it work.

                      I saw a very well-thought out design a couple of years ago in Mother Earth Magazine- I bet it's still available on their website. Check it out and see how it compares to the one you have.
                      Elizabeth

                      http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/e...html#post41545

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                      • #12
                        Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                        Elizabeth,
                        Years ago when we first bought our property and still lived in town the first thing we did was plant the orchard. As we didn't have a well we hauled water for the trees in 55 gallon barrels in the back of a pickup. To actually water the trees I used a inexpensive 12 volt marine bilge pump and connected a garden hose to the outflow of the pump and the leads to long wires which connected by alligator clips to the battery of the truck. Simplicity itself, drop the bilge pump in the barrel and connect the leads and start watering. No holes in the barrel and changing from one barrel to another was as simple as lifting the pump out of the barrel by the hose and leads and dropping into the next.

                        Here's a link to the type of pump I mean. The ones we used had smaller outlets and one simply cut the female end off a hose and held it on by hose clamps. This one being 3/4 inch might need a short section of plastic pipe glued inside the outlet to reduce the diameter so it would easily fit a garden hose. The link:
                        Amazon.com: Rule 24 Marine Rule 360 Marine Bilge Pump (360-GPH, 12-Volt): Sports & Outdoors

                        For power a simple battery charger will work in place of a battery.

                        Hope this helps
                        Wiley

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                        • #13
                          Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                          Originally posted by Archena View Post
                          Um, Neill, a 500 gal tank might be a bit problematic in the suburbs....
                          We have 5 of these tanks and we live in the burbs, they fit just about anywhere and the mozzies cant breed in them..

                          We have all the tanks connected together and use the water to do the laundry, flush the toilet, wash the vehicles and for the garden..
                          Last edited by brickie in oz; 02-13-2010, 07:58 PM.
                          The English language was invented by people who couldnt spell.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                            Now I know I live in the land of crazies. In my county in the "Evergreen State" ( Washington). I have been informed that I cannot trap or contain any of the rainwater that lands on my roof because it does not belong to me It seems that the county officials are afraid that catching rainwater keeps it from being absorbed into the ground.

                            Heck, the 2 month delay from the rainy season to the "dry" (when I water the garden with it) might cause horrific environmental damage !!!!

                            Bruce
                            Sharpei Diem.....Seize the wrinkle dog

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                            • #15
                              Re: Anyone Have a Rain Barrel?

                              Washington: the only state in which catching raindrops requires property rights...
                              "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot

                              "Success isn't permanent and failure isn't fatal." -Mike Ditka
                              [/CENTER]

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