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Best rain barrel instructions

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Best rain barrel instructions

Post  claudiamedic on 6/7/2012, 12:35 pm

I've seen a gazillion What a Face plans for rain barrel systems on the web. They all seem to have different pros and cons. Here's what I need: a relatively simple plan for 2 rain barrels. These will be fashioned by a novice with a minimum of power tools. The barrels are closed (two bung holes on the top). I've read about the plastic "self-threading" if you use a metal spigot....sounds like a big plus since we can't get inside the barrels.

Share your wisdom (links to detailed instructions and PICTURES are a plus)! sunny

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Rob C on 6/7/2012, 12:47 pm

I just built a 3 barrel system with closed top barrels. Some of the bungs have a 3/4" pipe threads in them, you just need to drill out the center. Then you can use 3/4" PVC or copper pipe and fittings for the plumbing. I followed the idea from this video for my setup. If you have any questions just ask Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOaAcXZdL0k&feature=related

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  stripesmom on 6/7/2012, 1:19 pm

Thank you for the link. Here's another idea for stacking them three high. We are in the process of thinking about doing it, lol. Probably a next year project though.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Build-a-3-drum-rain-collection-system-better/

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  claudiamedic on 6/7/2012, 6:58 pm

It seems overwhelming....without any "Mr. Fixit" (or Ms. Fixit) around it is the blind-leading-the-blind Cool . Keep the suggestions coming!

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  mrwes40 on 6/8/2012, 5:37 am

What if your garden is 20-30' from the rain barrel. Are some of you pumping that?

Bill

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Sunsanvil on 6/8/2012, 11:30 am

Total nube here....rain-barrels are just barrels which collect the rainwater from our roofs via the eavestrough?

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Rob C on 6/8/2012, 12:22 pm

@claudiamedic wrote:It seems overwhelming....without any "Mr. Fixit" (or Ms. Fixit) around it is the blind-leading-the-blind Cool . Keep the suggestions coming!

It's not as complicated as it seems. There's lots of people here to help you through any building problems. Just ask questions on the things you're not sure about. Look at it as a learning experience Smile I'll try and take some pictures of my setup this weekend.

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Rob C on 6/8/2012, 12:25 pm

@Sunsanvil wrote:Total nube here....rain-barrels are just barrels which collect the rainwater from our roofs via the eavestrough?

Yes, it collects rainwater from the roof and stores it for watering the gardens

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Sunsanvil on 6/8/2012, 1:09 pm

Are there ever any concerns about runoff from whatever the roof is made off being in the water and getting into our gardens? I have to imagine that ceramic tile roofs are more benign than, say, asphalt.

Might seem silly, but just askin'. We're trying to be as "organic" as possible. Smile

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  claudiamedic on 6/8/2012, 6:59 pm

I would think that the roofing material (assuming it is intact) wouldn't be a huge concern (unless you've sprayed it with chemicals). The water is in contact with the roof for a very, very short time...too short for toxins to leach into the water. Now, tree sap, bird poop, critter droppings, detritus....those all would be contaminants. They're organic though so the water should be ok for garden use, just not for bathing, drinking, etc. thinking

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Pictures

Post  Rob C on 6/9/2012, 2:58 pm

Here's some pics of my rain barrels. 3/4" PVC connects them together with a union between each barrel. A 4"-3" reducer with screen on the top channels the water from the downspout into the first barrel.They collect the rain water off 1/2 of my shop roof. After one rainstorm, all three barrels were full. Very Happy
Please excuse the dirty siding, I'll clean it one of these days Embarassed










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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  camprn on 6/10/2012, 7:20 am

Rob, That's NICE!

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Goosegirl on 6/10/2012, 10:21 am

@Rob C wrote:





Rob - the connection of PVC on the bottom - is that the only connection between the barrels for water to flow from one to the other, or do you have connections at the top as well? Just wondering if it is set up to fill one, then overflow to the other or to fill all three from the bottom at the same time with the one visible overflow on the front barrel when all are full.

Inquiring minds want to know! Very Happy

GG - who has free access to as many of these blue barrels as she wants...

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  westie on 6/10/2012, 11:27 am

I tried to include some pics but frustration got in the way. There are 2 bungs in each barrel, the one shown is pre tapped for 3/4 via a knockout to be removed but has a really goofy huge thread pattern. The other bung can simply be removed and a common 2” threaded PVC adapter screwed in it’s place . I have several strings of 3 or 4 barrels built that way having a 2” PVC manifold running the entire length of the setup with spigots in each end and an extra 2” T for a fall clean out port. That is besides a T under each barrel to connect to the manifold. It works great here because then rain flow from the barrel that receives the down spout can easily keep up with overflow discharge to feed the other barrels in the string. One of my setups has 7 barrels and a one inch rain on my 25x25 ft back roof will fill them all and overflow some out. I thought $5 a barrel was a bargain and drove 75 miles twice to get 14 of them. 2” PVC is in my not too humble opinion is the only way to get a top quality system built that is sturdy and have no bottleneck in water flow. If they are free and in good condition plus food grade I would be in the rain barrel business. They sell from $80 to $150 each around here. I fixed a single one up for a friend and total cost was around $20 go figure. If I ever figure out including pictures again I could show several sets of collection barrels at the house plus some set up out at the garden for actual watering and my several trials at pumping systems. I am fairly handy and have tools but feel anybody with a little guidance can build these.

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  camprn on 6/10/2012, 11:33 am

Westie, I would love to see your set up and a pictorial tutorial...
You probably know this already...
How to post a photo from your computer. <~~~click

____________________________

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Outlander is outstanding!


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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  westie on 6/10/2012, 12:12 pm

Only have a couple pics here but will do it justice in about a week when I get back home and can take some for a tutorial lesson in my way of doing it, not that its the only or best but works well for me.

The first pic is a dry run of assembly ,barrels are upside down from final so I can measure and cut each piece for a nice fit. The second pic kinda shows the spigot on the left but shows the extra T for a clean out in the fall, a plug that has a compression screw rod fits in it. Last pic is the final installation of each barrel onto the manifold. Once in place a hole is carefully cut in the top of the end barrel for the inlet. I replaced the downspout with plastic corrugated 3” farm tile and put a double layer of screen cloth in the hole first for a junk filter. The filter gets punched down for room for the junk to collect and not restrict flow. I clean the filter usually after each rain for good housekeeping. All parts came from my small town farm store, any decent hardware or box store should have a one stop offering. Will take more pics later this is a trial at posting pics, Thanks camprn for the help. Need to add that some holes in the tops of the barrels are necessary to let out air pressure, I used 1/8” drill bit and made 4 holes in a small box group about 1/2” apart. Did not cover them but if a bug walking in bothers you then cement a piece of screen over the holes.

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  llama momma on 6/10/2012, 12:53 pm

When rain fills all the barrels, where does the continuing flow of water go?? All over the lawn? Or do you have to run outside to turn some kind of diverter so it flows back to the downspout?

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Goosegirl on 6/10/2012, 1:51 pm

This is definitely not a project for this year, but I may be able to set up something like this next spring. That should be enough time to collect everything I need and then plan out a day for assembly!

GG

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  westie on 6/10/2012, 3:22 pm

The overflow now goes to a second set of barrels from a 2” overflow near the top of this set and the inlet on them is about the same. The overflow from the second set is also a pipe near the top on the side and goes to the regular runoff just like before there were any barrels there. When I get back home next week I will give proper detail in a follow up post with more pics so you can see my entire setup with step by step explanation.

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Pepper on 6/10/2012, 3:27 pm

GG the youtube video showed an overflow arangement between the barrels. There would have to be some opening at/or near the new top to allow air to escape else there will be a pressure lock, preventing proper filling/draining. Or as westie said drill small holes to alow air to flow.....

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Unmutual on 6/10/2012, 6:43 pm

@Sunsanvil wrote:Are there ever any concerns about runoff from whatever the roof is made off being in the water and getting into our gardens? I have to imagine that ceramic tile roofs are more benign than, say, asphalt.

Might seem silly, but just askin'. We're trying to be as "organic" as possible. Smile

Find out what asphalt shingles were used on your roof. Some are made with biocides, some contain heavy metals, some may be perfectly safe if you use a first flush system.

If your shingles have some type of fungicide(and moldicide) in the runoff, these can be an issue in the garden, especially the fungicides, since it can kill mycorrhizae and any other beneficial fungi(like the fungus used in nitrogen fixing). There are some beneficial molds, like slime molds(I think they like to break down partially decomposed woody items more than anything else).

I believe metal roofs are the best "normal" roofs for harvesting rainwater. Though I don't see why ceramic tiles would be bad, unless for roofing they also have the some form of biocide.

Though I do have to admit that I'm not sure of the impact from using contaminated rainwater from an asphalt roof and how watered down(sorry for the pun) any biocide would be if any leached out. If there's anything that I hate about doing gardening research is the lack of detailed information about so many things and the dogmatic way people say "Don't use that!" and don't explain why in good enough detail...kind of like what I'm doing now.

http://ag.arizona.edu/region9wq/pdf/Palau_catchmentmanual.pdf says to avoid using water from asphalt shingles, but that's for drinking water(page 6).

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  claudiamedic on 6/11/2012, 1:36 pm

ROB! Those are awesome! Thanks for the great pictures. I'm forwarding all this info to my girl-Friday who will hopefully feel up to a project soon. I'm watching it pour down rain right now and wishing I had those barrels (sitting on my patio, closed) set up! It is supposed to be very dry here this summer....

Keep the suggestions and PICTURES coming!

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  Rob C on 6/11/2012, 3:07 pm

"Rob - the connection of PVC on the bottom - is that the only connection
between the barrels for water to flow from one to the other, or do you
have connections at the top as well? Just wondering if it is set up to
fill one, then overflow to the other or to fill all three from the
bottom at the same time with the one visible overflow on the front
barrel when all are full.

Inquiring minds want to know! Very Happy

GG - who has free access to as many of these blue barrels as she wants..."


GG-
The 3/4" PVC is the only connection between the barrels and all three fill from the bottom to the same level. I forgot to mention that in this setup, you need to drill a small hole in the top of each barrel to allow the air to escape as they fill.

westie- Great looking system. The strange threads on the one bung are called Buttress threads. I had considered using 2" PVC but 3/4 was less expensive so I thought I'd see if it works. So far they seem to fill and drain ok.

Thanks everyone for the compliments.

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  plantoid on 6/11/2012, 7:14 pm

@Unmutual wrote:
@Sunsanvil wrote:Are there ever any concerns about runoff from whatever the roof is made off being in the water and getting into our gardens? I have to imagine that ceramic tile roofs are more benign than, say, asphalt.

Might seem silly, but just askin'. We're trying to be as "organic" as possible. Smile

Find out what asphalt shingles were used on your roof. Some are made with biocides, some contain heavy metals, some may be perfectly safe if you use a first flush system.

If your shingles have some type of fungicide(and moldicide) in the runoff, these can be an issue in the garden, especially the fungicides, since it can kill mycorrhizae and any other beneficial fungi(like the fungus used in nitrogen fixing). There are some beneficial molds, like slime molds(I think they like to break down partially decomposed woody items more than anything else).

I believe metal roofs are the best "normal" roofs for harvesting rainwater. Though I don't see why ceramic tiles would be bad, unless for roofing they also have the some form of biocide.




Though I do have to admit that I'm not sure of the impact from using contaminated rainwater from an asphalt roof and how watered down(sorry for the pun) any biocide would be if any leached out. If there's anything that I hate about doing gardening research is the lack of detailed information about so many things and the dogmatic way people say "Don't use that!" and don't explain why in good enough detail...kind of like what I'm doing now.

http://ag.arizona.edu/region9wq/pdf/Palau_catchmentmanual.pdf says to avoid using water from asphalt shingles, but that's for drinking water(page 6).





I've been using rain water on the veg collected from Ash Felt , galv zinc , plastic or asbestos sheet covered shed roofs for donkeys years . usually stored in a steel 45 gallon drum or a 600 litre plastic food grade barrel .

I suppose someone thinks the tar & oils in the Ash Felt is harmful , as kids we had our hair washed in the soft rain water collected in this manner .. Ok so I'm 61 and almost bald but that's down to male verility .Laughing

The pollution alone in the air that comes down with the rain will most likely as damaging , especially if you live close to aircraft flight lines or freeways / motorways or other traffic busy roads..

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Re: Best rain barrel instructions

Post  boffer on 6/11/2012, 9:12 pm

There are diverters available, retail, that will allow a pre-determined amount of rain to 'clean' the roof of pollen, pollution, dirt, bird droppings, etc. before the rain is diverted into the barrels. For instance, you could set the diverter to allow 0.5 inches of the first rain downfall to be carried away as usual, then to divert to collect the continuing rain in your barrels.

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