Rainwater Collectors

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Anyone have a rain water collector to irrigate your lawn or plants? I would like to see some design setups. We don't get much rain and it would be nice to capture it in the places it's not needed for future use.
Cisterns have been in use here in KY forever.
All of the gutters on your home draining into a holding tank.
That's the basic design I've seen.
2000 gallon tank, $750.00 range.

We use a blue 50 gallon barrel available at any feed stores like agway or blue seal.
Sometimes you can also get them for free if you check around.
These are easy to put a spicot on also.
Happy barrel hunting.:)
(Just dont shoot)
It is not really an ellaborate setup but here is what I do. I have a five gallon bucket catching the condensation water off my window ac. When it gets full I dump it in whatever garden needs it. I get about ten gallons of water a day. This serves two purposes for me. The water is no longer soaking my front porch plus its more than enough water in my situation to water my flower and herb gardens without worrying about water restrictions. I know this is a little redneckish and probably not exactly what you were looking for. It is a cheap solution that would help some folks.

InspectorD made an excellent point about the blue plastic barrel. Just make sure its food grade. I plan to put a gutter on each side of my animal shed. I will then elevate a blue barrel on each end of both gutters(4 barrels total) using concrete blocks. I will put spigots on the bottom of each barrel. I will let the gutters drain into the big bung holes in barrels. I plan to put brillo pad or some type of screen into the bung holes to keep the mosquitos out. I will use this for watering the veggy garden I plant next year.

Everthing I mentioned is small scale. For huge water demands I would gutter every roof on the property and let it collect into a couple containers like Square eye posted. Maybe after they are buried attach a line between them toward the bottom so one well pump could draw from both.

How much water storage are we talking about?
Copied from: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/ed/rainbarrel.html

How do I build a simple rain barrel?
Building your own rain barrel is relatively easy. The following approach is relatively inexpensive and hassle free (about $15.00 to build). All of the following materials can be purchased at your local home improvement center or hardware store.

You will need the following materials:

* One 55-gallon drum (available for $5 from the Pepsi Bottling Company in Baltimore. Contact: Charlie Dickerson, 410-366-3500 for more information)
* 3 1/2ft vinyl hose (3/4" DD x 5/8" ID)
* One 4" diameter atrium grate
* One ½" PVC male adapter (will be attached to bottom of rain barrel)
* One 3" vinyl gutter elbow
* Waterproof sealant (i.e. plumbers goop, silicone sealant, or pvc cement)
* One 3/4" x ½" PVC male adapter (will be attached to end of hose and readily adapted to fit standard garden hose)
* Teflon tape

You will need the following tools:

* Drill with 3/4" bit (or use hole saw to cut 3/4" hole)
* Router, jig saw, or coping saw
* Measuring tape
* Other items as needed

Attaching adapter to bottom of barrel

PVC male adapter

1. Using a measuring tape, measure about 1 inch above the bottom of the barrel where the curvature along the bottom rim ends and the barrel side begins to rise toward the top. Using a 3/4" bit (or hole saw), drill a hole through the barrel.

2. Screw the ½" PVC male adapter into this newly drilled hole. The hard PVC threads cut matching grooves into the soft plastic of the barrel.

3. Un-screw the ½" PVC male adapter from the hole. Wrap threads w/teflon tape tightly. Coat the threads of the coupler with waterproof sealant. Screw the coated adapter back into the hole and let it sit and dry for 24 hours.

4. Attach 3 1/2 foot vinyl hose to the PVC male adapter.

Fitting atrium grate to the top of the barrel (filters out large debris)

Fitting atrium gate to the top of the barrel

5. Using the atrium grate as a template for size, mark a circle at the center of the top of the drum (Locating the rainwater inlet in the center of the barrel allows the barrel to be pivoted without changing the position of the down spout).

6. Drill a ½" hole in the inside of the marked circle. Use a router, jig or coping saw to further cut within the marked circle until the hole is large enough to accommodate the atrium grate (the atrium grate is used to filter out large debris). Make sure not to make the hole too big–you want the flange of the atrium grate to fit securely on the top of the barrel without falling in. Placing a scrap piece of fine mesh window screen inside or outside of the grate will provide filtering of finer debris and mosquito control.

Cutting out a notch at top of barrel to hold adapter and hose

Cutting notch in top of barrel

7. Using a ½" bit or saw, cut out a notch at the top of the barrel rim (aligned so that it is above the outlet at the bottom of barrel). The notch should be large enough so that the coupler will firmly snap into place (see photo below).

Elevating the rain barrel

Modifying the down spout

8. The rain barrel is designed to take advantage of gravity. Water will flow from the vinyl hose when the hose is below the barrel. Therefore, place the barrel on cinder blocks or a sturdy wooden crate at least 15 inches from the ground.

Modifying the down spout to divert water to barrel

9. Modify the down spout with a gutter elbow to divert water into the barrel (see instruction sheet for details).

Alternative Design Considerations
Simple Rain Barrel

Steps 5 and 6 (using atrium gate) can be by-passed if your gutter filters water prior to entering rain barrel. Most gutter systems have screens to trap leaves and other debris. If you choose to do this, make sure that down spout is placed directly over the outlet at the top of the barrel.

Some rain barrel designs call for an on/off valve instead of adapter and hose. A good on/off valve installed from the inside of the barrel is a sound and sturdy option to minimize leaks. However, this would require you to cut out the top of the barrel to gain access to the inside, which may not be desired if you want to keep the barrel intact. Another option is to directly screw an on/off valve to the side of the barrel without access to the inside. These on/off valves are usually less sturdy and are subject to leaking and breaking. By using the PVC adapter with vinyl hose approach, as specified in this brochure, you have room for other design options if things fail.
Great find, sound's like it's easy to do also.

Great way to save on water if you can, private or city.

Great way to divert water to those fresh tomatoes.:D
This thread is quite old, but I am in the process of installing some rain barrels. so i hope to get some answers...

What do you do i the winter when the water woulkd be freezing? Ie how does the system handle this?
This is also somewhere on my list of things I'd like to do at some point.

I have seen however, that it is illegal here in CO to do that without having water rights to capture the water that lands on your property. Water rights laws are a big thing here in the west.

If I do set something up it will be a couple 50 gal barels capturing downspout water so I can water flowers & vegetables, top off the fish pond, etc. Not like I'm trying to divert many hundreds of acre feet of water away from the drainage.

With development going the way it is here in the front range this should be a mandate for new construction. Just last week we had news stories showing people w/ flooded basements from storm water flash floods. If we still had dirt and grasslands instead of asphalt and concrete covering most of the area, the water would be able to soak in the ground instead of run to the lowest spot (somebody's basement).

I'll get off of my soapbox now.
Well the same old thing always happens...it freezes solid and breaks .
What you can do though is run the barrel into ta bheated space such as the basement if you really need the water. The problem is it needs to be disconected when you are not watchin it. You do not want it to overflow. Some folks also install a heater for livestock but this costs money.
Most folks only use these barrels for temporary storage of water in the summer months to water plants. But I guess if you want to use it year round you would have to come up with a system for your area.
Good luck....I recomend barrels for everyone. Saves a little bit of money in the long run.:D
Illegal to capture your own rainwater? I can see needing a permit to dig a well, but that takes the cake. I guess I'll stay here in the east where we can do what we want - they just tax the heck out of us. :)
InspectorD - You could always build a dog house/shed like building for it and paint the roof with flat black paint and allow the sun to heat the dog house cover, keeping the water from freezing in the cold. I have not done this, but depending on how much $ you want to put into free water... not sure if this works for you.
I live in the northeast..like you. ;)
It all depends on the weather. I am thinking of installing a barrel I can put in the basement, then fill when I am home.
Figure 1 inch of rain ,,about 5 minutes,, on a 1500 sq foot roof...gives about 80 gallons. I think that's enough.:)
Don't ask how I got that figure...I have books....and tables....and too much info...:eek:

Info...1 gallon equals 231 cubic inches.
An inch of rain in 5mins??? Thats 12" of rain in one hour. I dont want to be in your rain storms. . .

Don't forget an Over flow with an inside or outside barrel putting the water away from the foundation. . .

Its hard to imagine what was going through peoples heads when they used to connect gutters to sewer pipes. I seen on tv how that is a big issue in seattle sewer pipes are over flowing..
I think the nor'easter was invented in CT.
We don't really see 1 inch in 5 min all the time...but it has come close.
The diverters are a must have. I just want to collect as much water in a barrell as possible. The thing is I have well water, and to pump it out of the well costs electricity. Rain water is free, and collected for your toilets and gardening at some point may be the future.
I know you need more separate plumbing for that,,,but that's the easy part. The hard part is finding the place to put a 50 gallon, 400lb barrel in the house...above the toilets for gravity feed. Where they won't freeze in winter. When does it become feasible to do all this in the northeast? That is my homework...
Maybe I'll just keep pa yin the electric co.:D
I found a feasible solution for your project .. Hydraulic Ram Pump..

What you can do is have a tank in your basement then pump the water up another tank in your attic which will then supply water pressure to your house..

To get water up to your attic you use a Hydraulic Ram Pump it uses the water pressure of the water falling water from your down spout to pump water up to the attic. They can be expensive but i found a guide to make a homemade Hydraulic Ram Pump using normal pressure plumbing supplies.

They are not very efficient about 25% so will need will need to make sure you have a good overflow... It can also be rigged up to flow directly from the down spouts to the attic and would be alot more efficient but there would be trapped water to freeze.

You can rig a toilet fill to add well water to your attic tank if your water supply gets to low..

A pump that uses your well water pressure might work too like for basement sump pumps

I Personally don't think its worth the effort and don't think it would ever pay for it self especially with well water.. but it seems like a fun and green project.

Here is homemade Ram pump blueprints

Have to pay for a year subscription for this one
looks better though
Homepower is a great magazine...plenty of off grid stuff.
I know about the rams, the headfall from the gutter is to low a number to get water up to the attic.
The other issue is the water freezing in the exterior attic winter air.
I'm thinkin I need to go outside the box on this...and just jump to a solar pump or weatherized outbuilding,,,like was suggested earlier.
Thanks...keep thinkin...;)
Im glad I saw this discussion as I still try and capture rainwater now its a pretty good thing to do actually and we tend to get a pretty heavy rainfall here to, if anyone is still interested in some tips there is an article here about capturing rainwater in your hard which should help you out How to Capture Rainwater in Your Yard

i just started working on this a couple days back. i caught a deal on some big tanks off craigs list if i brought all three. i'm going to hook up two to work together and can't really see filling them up so i should get prettymuch everything that comes down the spout they're hooked to.

my main purpose is keeping my little artificial pond project full. i have drainage tubes off one side of my garage that drain into the pond when it rains, and i hope to use the tanks on the other side of the garage to hold water for bettween rains. i'm also hearing/reading that if i try to put fish in my pond rain water will be better than tap water for topping it up.

been finding articles on pretty elaborate set ups, so i'm finding pieces and slowly working out the details (as much be able to afford some of the tricky bits of it, along with just figuring out how to do it well). hope to have it compleatly set up by spring at the latest.