Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rain Barrels Part 1: Overview

Rain rain go away, come again another day...

Whether you want to collect rain water for your lawn/garden, decided to go green by reducing the strain on your city's storm drains, or just looking for another project; rain barrels might be the right option for you. Searching the web for different rain barrel systems, I found nothing that fit my situation. There are some basics to consider before you build your rain barrels: Amount of water, Filtering, Storage, and Usage. In future posts I will add more information on the topic and explain why I chose this design shown bellow.

If you are interested an instruction guide, please leave a comment or contact me. Please remember the importance of using food safe and clean items for your rain barrels. And that you should not drink this water. It you live somewhere the weather gets cold enough to freeze water, remember that water expands when it freezes. So empty and store your rain your rain barrels during the winter.

Version 1
This was my first attempt a rain barrel system was something low cost, easy to build, east to clean, upgradeable. It allowed me to  real world test. See how much water I gather and how I would use this water throughout the year. The design allowed me to see and clean leaves/debris as they were caught in a screen mesh (held in place between the lid and trashcan). I quick realized the need for more water capacity and better water pressure.

Diagram of Rain Barrel v1
Rain Barrel v1 in action

Version 2
Time to upgrade.145gals of water was just the right amount of water for myself. This rain barrel design is similar to version 1, but the overflow in this design helps fill the two 55gal barrels. This is expandable, but more expensive and is more work to build. The trashcan is elevated so the overflow point is above the barrels. The pvc pipes and connects are not glued together (just tap them together with a hammer), no leaks to far. I like this design because it can easily be expanded to my needs. Even elevating the trashcan on cinder blocks the water pressure still bothers me.

Rain Barrel v2 working great
Diagram of Rain Barrel v2

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