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Just wondering how many use rain barrells?

Post in 'The Green Room' started by elkimmeg, Mar 4, 2007.

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  1. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    For years I had to monitor well usage so I developed rain water storage for my garden. Right now I have 4 55 gallon barrells I fillup the pump them for watering the garden

    Two years back with my generator I filled then from a pond. My well output was that bad no choice, Well I had a new well drilled and can say I have enough water,
    But I still fill my barrells with rain water

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  2. Sandor

    Sandor Minister of Fire

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    I just got 4.

    I get them for free and add the spigots. They are actually used non-toxic anti-freeze drums for R/V and Marine fresh water systems.
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've been using five-gallon buckets on rainy days, but I really need to get a rain barrel.

    For indoor plants, I divert water from my sump pump in the basement into a five-gallon bucket.
  4. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Me too, there is a container at work I can "acquire" for use as a cistern too.
  5. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    ...It only makes sense.
    I "harvest rainwater" too but on a little "grander scale". Not so much to save on the water bill, conserve energy, or conserve natural resources (all great reasons but)...I harvest rainwater to keep my basement (and my neighbors too) from becoming a swamp. Depending on rainfall harvest can be from 50-500 gallons...all depends. Our backyards are "reclaimed" and have a high clay content so "rainfall control" deserves some attention. It has paid off neither of us get water in the basement like we used to. I can store 1,050 gallons worth for irrigation,washing vehicles(Em.fire prot..hopefully never needed) etc... (175 treated and stored at a height to produce 10PSI...another 60 for the Ms. to water her flower garden)...and can store another 500 gallons worth for "seepage" in a 10' deep hand dug drywell. The drywell collects rainwater from "curtain drains" along the fieldstone foundation of my house and excess water from my neighbors roof.
    I started rainwater harvesting on a "large scale" for spa use after bad experiences with city water (heavy iron/rust problems). I couldn't see paying for such crappy water when "crystal clear" water was free. City water quality is finally improving after "going to war with city hall" this past summer...only took 10 years to get something done. Here is what the filter "use to look like" after one month:

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  6. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    I'll look and see if I can find any of my "rainwater system pictures" if interested.

    Single and tandem upright gravity capable...single has "1/2 and full" draw-off... both set-ups designed for "circulator" duty (disapate excess heat from wood boiler) so rainwater supply in warm months..."heat system" component capable during cold...lol

    I started "building" these as a hobby to occupy rainy/winter days. Built a few for friends...but always wondered if "they would sell" (Any interest out there??? Coments welcomed...)

    If you think these are "simple barrel setups" think again...takes a little ingenuity to get water in and out of them through the bottom when they are standing upright....(they can hold pressure...so no there is no hole drilled in the top)
    Look closely at the first picture...you can see the level of water in the barell...(proof they work)

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  7. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    ***Honorable mention***
    I have done a few "rainwater projects" from the simple to fairly involved. The project below was for a friend in Colorado worried about "replenishment rates" on his well.
    Here in "the east" we are lucky to have steady rainfall...out west they're not so lucky...so "every drop counts" from Cali to OKlahoma. If more people out west took on projects like this...'flash floods' wouldn't be so devastational...funny thing was throughout the project my friend was nervous the county was going to "step in and say something" about water divertment (out west water takes on new meaning...simple run-off control to some is theft to others).
    Half way through this project one of his neighbors who lives "across the street" came over "nosing around" asking questions, curious and all around interested. Being from "back east" I was figuring in a short while I was going to get a visit from the "Orginization"(Local gov.)
    45 minutes later the guy came back and handed me a six pack of beer in a bag..."Been after the county for years'...Bout time someone did something about my driveway floodin'...never thought it would be one of my neighbors.."
    Wish I had neighbors like that...God I love Colorado!

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  8. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    For those unfamiar with "front range soils"...Don't let those pictures above make you think "Childs play in a sandbox". Every inch was "clawed out". A local reffered to the soil as "decomposed granite"...made for some interesting digging. I would never have tried to dig such a deep excavation back east "without shoring".
    I should have been a plumber instead of an electrician...lol
    I've toyed with the notion of getting a degree in Hydrology...might be profitable in the future.

    Guess' for know I'll stick to the ocassional "small job" whether it is rainwater, storm runoff, or preventing basement flooding...if anyone has a special job they need taken care of...that my services may be put to use...please let me know!

    Three man show...This is one of our specialties:Gravity Jobs...(pictured) This customer had a constant flooding problem in his basement(high groundwater/natural stream). We fixed it with gravity...no pump required. 150+ year old house with a boulder foundation...we still managed to "punch the foundation".

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  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've got a big old concrete cistern in my basement (probably 15x10x6) which used to store the runoff from the flat roofs (I believe). Now that water goes into the sewer. I've considered restoring the cistern, but am concerned about the possibility of bacteria and other uncontrollable life taking up residence down there. But it would make a great source of soft, unchemicalized water for gardening, etc.
  10. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    4500-gallon cistern. Collects water off of my roof and is my family of 3's main source of water...I am still trying to perfect it, but I divert about the forst 30 or so gallons to waste at the start of the rain to wash off soot, bird crap, leaves, etc. I run it through two canister filters - 30 micron and then 10 micron/carbon - before it goes to all of my plumbing fixtures via a jet pump and 30-gallon pressure tank. We don't drink this, but use it for everything else. I'm not big into chlorination (due to all of the organic stuff combined with chlorine forming dioxins) and UV is too expensive. We use a Bosch front-load washer and save tons of water this way. I'm sure things will change when my daughter gets into her teenage years. Probably will be a shortage then.
  11. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Mike? Have you checked out an "ozone generator"...keep your eyes open for anyone selling "used hot tub/spa components" as O-G's are becoming more popular for their use. Ozone is used to treat the spring/bottled water you buy in the store. It is mixed into the water in a vertical column vessel...nice concept treating water with air...lol
  12. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Eric? When you say "that water goes into the sewer"? Do you mean the storm sewer system...or the (city/municipal)sanitary sewer? Just curious...most locale's don't permit this (run-off or even sump pump discharge) into sanitary sewers...alot of them even hunt for this "infiltration". The town I'm in has an increase at the treatment plant anywhere from 750,000 to 1.2 million gallons daily during rainy periods. They have gone so far as to re-line most of the pipes in the system to keep groundwater from seeping in...they also regulary perform "smoke tests" on the system to pinpoint sources of infiltrations. Just curious...wouldn't want to see you get into trouble with the town....
    The gravity drain I did at one customer's house(see the pictures above your post) was to eliminate that very problem. The customer bought the house from the estate of an old woman that passed on. The house had a well in the basement that had so much water it could fill the entire basement two feet deep! Somewhere along the line someone got the bright idea to knock the cleanout off the end of the sewer main (giving the groundwater someplace to go). Shortly after he bought the house...he had no heat. He just bought a tank of oil the week before. Puzzled he went into the basement..."debris" blocked the end of the pipe...basement filled with water (submerging the gravity return lines for his steam boiler)sucking all the heat out of the system. "Fixed that...cleaned out that pipe...problem solved" he said. "Not really...you still have two problems at hand...First, you are illegally introducing water into the sewer system...and second you are letting raw sewer gas into your home...not healthy...either way...you got potential for trouble" I said. We solved the problem for him...the nice legal way.
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I have no idea. It goes into a series of 4-inch pvc lines that eventually go through the wall and off to parts unknown. I always assumed it went into the municipal sewer, but now that I think about it, it's probably going into a storm drain or even into leachfield out under my lawn. It's the same piping that the sump pumps empty into, but it appears to be separate from the actual sewer connection. No smell or anything like that.

    It's been that way since at least 1973, I believe. Way before my time.
  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    I'd like to use rain water, but I don't want to put gutters on a metal roof.
  15. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Velvet:
    You could use a "modified curtain drain" like I use. I Have a slate roof so I can understand your reluctance. Thats the main reason I went with this option. If it wasn't buried under six inches of snow..I'd snap some pics for you and give a description of how it is built. I put it in almost ten years ago (back when I wasn't too 'picture happy'...back in the stone ages before digital cameras) It serves two purposes for me...Catch the rainwater off the roof and keep water from seeping in against my (fieldstone) foundation wall. The way it is constructed is very "un-obtrusive" just looks like a "gravel bed" next to the foundation wall. Could dress it up with white granite chips...but I'm going for function vs aesthetics...either way it looks good and serves the purpose(s).
  16. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    That sounds like a lot of work! I hear what you're saying about the fieldstone. I had a house for a little while in NH a bunch of years ago that had a fieldstone foundation and it leaked like a sieve.
  17. megan

    megan New Member

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    I have two rain barrels I use that are located at the downspouts. I ought to get another barrel for the front downspout. I got the two i did for free because we're located in a federally protected watershed. Once we got federal protection, they were eager to hand out rain barrels (my tax dollars at work). I had bought a food grade 55 gal cannister and was going to try to fashion a rainbarrel out of it, but by the time i was ready to do that, federal protection came along.

    The two i have hold 150 litres each? I know they're not as big as the 55 gallon ones. they do have a nifty spigot attachment, and the top has a cutaway with a screen so the solids stay out. Each one also has clear tubing that allows for overflow runoff.

    I use gravity feed to water the garden with this water. We're on a well, so we try to conserve what we can. I've poured grey water in there, too, if it hasn't rained in a while, so i can water the garden or wash the cars if needed (i typically wash my car 4 times a year).

    I bow before those who are smart enough to figure out how to make one that's leakproof. I did think of hooking up other barrels to the ones already there so the overflow can go into an overflow barrel as opposed to running out on the lawn. But, since the runoff stays on my property, and i hope feeds the acquifer from which i draw water, i'm not jonesing to do this. Were it to go to a city drain system i'd be more likely to change things.

    I do wish our muncipality would allow grey water to be diverted into a reclamation system rather than make me put it all in my septic tank. sigh. Older homes in my area do have this setup (like ones built in the 18th and 19th centuries) but when we built in 1990, we were told we couldn't do this, and they did inspect to make sure we didn't. :0(

    megan
  18. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    I have three 55 gal barrels that I made from scratch and hooked up a few years ago.
    The pic shows the two that I piggy backed and tucked in under one of my decks.
    Don't go out and buy these things folks...they are pretty easy to make and cost around $15.00 a piece, plus your time.

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  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Our problem with rain barrels is that they are full when we don't need them. We have dry summers with little or no storms or rainfall. Also, 55 gallons would only water a small portion of our beds. Has anyone created a large cistern of say 1000 gallons or more for storm water recovery?
  20. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Thanks a bunch Mike. Until I was ten years old all of our water for drinking and everything else came from a cistern out behind the house supplied by the gutters. No piping or filters. Just a rope and pulley with a bucket. Nobody ever mentioned thinking about bird crap.

    I gotta go heave now. Thanks a lot.

    On a trip to Bermuda I discovered that is their only source for fresh water. Every house has huge storage under them.
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Here's the remains of the cistern in my basement that was originally designed to collect water from the roof drains. It held something in excess of 5000 gallons, I believe. Believe it or not, there's a concrete floor underneath all that rubble. Most of it appears to be from when they knocked part of the wall down to run some utilities, but it also looks like an inviting place to dump other crap over the years. I'll find out in a few months when I clean it up. Good thing the guy down the street is looking for clean fill.

    My current plan is to block off the end you see with a cinderblock wall, creating a 4x7x5-foot tank that can be insulated, lined, covered and used for hot water storage. That would be 1000 gallons. The insulation (2-inch foam all around) also serves as a soft surface for the rubber liner to lay against. Not counting labor (of course) we're looking at about $450 in materials, not counting any piping or htexch.

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  22. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It's a little prettier from the outside. I took the picture standing right in front of my gas-fired boiler. The wood-fired boiler is about 100 feet directly ahead of where I'm standing, in a separate building.

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  23. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Somebody that wants to collect water in their basement, on purpose. I love it!
  24. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Be Green:
    If you have the space and resources, look into using 265 gallon "totes". They are used for "bulk" shipping on conventional trucks and can be found as cheap as $25/each. They are "pallet" sized cubes...42"x42"x42" roughly...I have/use two of them in addition to the 55-gallon barrels.
  25. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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