Do you have rain barrels?

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Smash05
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Do you have rain barrels?

Post by Smash05 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 8:43 am

I recently purchased two, to try to water my back yard for grass without ticking off the landlord. Two small rain storms and 110+ gallons. I say plus because only one was installed for the first storm, and the second is set up as overflow. Not only can I water the grass, it's a good water reserve for emergencies.


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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by uncleben03 » Wed Jun 08, 2016 8:41 am

I had a rain barrel at my old house, I had a hell of a time keeping algae from growing in it. It was a white barrel, maybe a darker color would have been better?
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by ZombieGranny » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:28 am

We use these beige barrels with no algae problem. They are not on the sunny side of the house though.
I've covered the top with fine screen instead of the solid plastic lids.
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by azrancher » Wed Jun 08, 2016 11:33 am

10,000 gallons worth, think that is enough... until you run out.

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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by zombieapocalypsegame » Thu Jun 09, 2016 5:48 pm

Yup.

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That's just 275 gallons raised 24" and interconnected with 2" PVC underneath. Just two 10' sections of gutter on the garage alone keeps it 100% full and I get excellent water pressure out of it. I could have 5x that number of barrels on this house and I'd fill them all.

One section of roof just 10' x 20' that is properly captured by gutters & downspouts will generate approximately 280 gallons with just a single 0.25" rainfall. It doesn't matter if it takes hours or mere minutes to rain that much assuming the wind isn't blowing most of it off the roof.

My part of Texas averages more than 36" of rainfall per year. That's 4,500 gallons per year JUST off of a 10x20 section alone. The trick is you need more capacity than you think because it doesn't rain equally throughout the year. And you only have so many downspouts that don't pour out water in an equal manner.

4,500 gallons would require 81 55-gallon barrels to contain assuming no usage during collection. Once full, that would provide you with 12+ gallons per day for a full year not counting evaporation or leaks. And a single rain of 1/10th of 1" would replenish 13 gallons. I could keep the status quo with just 10% of the rainfall I historically get.

The average lawn is going to need thousands of gallons per month assuming no other means of watering. My 4,500 gallons above would be good for 1-2 months only, maybe 3 at best. Better to use it for gardens or livestock than grass unless I need the grass for livestock.

Alternatively, that would give me 12 gallons of water per day in a SHTF situation - or 375 days of water at that rate. Far more than adequate for a family of four. It's closer to 2 or 2.5 years' worth at survival levels including cooking & cleaning.

Alas, I only have 275 gallons outside. Well, plus another solo barrel so 330. That's 82 days worth of 1 gal x 4 people per day. And in that scenario I'll need a good filter or be able to boil the water just to use it.

One other thing - the overflow throughput from one barrel to the next can easily be overwhelmed by the inbound volume of water. If you use something large to connect them, that is much better than a 1/2" hose connecting them. Usually gutter downspouts are 2" x 3" which is 6 square inches of downspout inlet cross section. By comparison a standard 3/4" garden hose is just 1.77 square inches of cross section. You'll lose 3x more water splashing out of the too-full barrel inlet than you'll get going through the hose, at best. That's why I used 2" PVC interconnected underneath my barrels. That can handle ~12.5 sq inches of flow AND has the benefit that it interconnects many barrels simultaneously instead of sequentially. My gutters themselves will overflow before the intake barrels would in a super heavy rain.
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by bufordtjustice » Sat Jun 11, 2016 1:07 pm

zombieapocalypsegame wrote: Lots of words
Very informative post with good info. Thank you.

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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by Maast » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:05 am

My rain barrel that doesnt look like a rain barrel. Found on Amazon.

I replaced the original crappy plastic mesh on the barrel with a 50 mesh stainless screen basket that goes down into the barrel about 5 inches. Before I installed stainless micromesh gutter guards (from Costco) the strainer basket got full every single rainfall (pine tree flowers and needles). After the gutter guards neither the basket or the diverter ever gets anything in it.

In spite of how it looks all the water flows into the diverter with no problem, it's set up like that so I can look down into the first flush diverter to see if it needs cleaning - which I havent had to do in 6 months. Long term plan is to have 5 of these (or ones similar) as surge tanks feeding a series of IBC totes via a fast sand filter. Unfortunately I'm still finishing up the 13'x28' deck the totes will go under.

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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by solarguy » Mon Sep 05, 2016 8:02 am

Regarding the cost per gallon stored, a used IBC tote is often cheaper than the equivalent number of barrels and all the plumbing to connect them.

Plus, that stores a meaningful amount of water. 55 gallons is not nothing, but compared to what comes off a roof in an hour, and compared to what a garden or law needs, it's a drop in the bucket.

Don't forget the first flush system, see picture above for an example. The first flush gets rid of 80% of the bird shit and other undesirable detritus that comes off the roof.

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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by elricfate » Thu Nov 17, 2016 1:27 pm

Of course I do.

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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by Halfapint » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:45 pm

elricfate wrote:Of course I do.
how does the water fill the barrels with that set up? Doesn't it just run down the drain? is it a special section that's an insert?
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Sat Nov 19, 2016 10:54 pm

I've been noticing a lot of areas moving toward making rain gathering illegal. Anyone aware of a technicality or grandfathering exception that would stand up in court? ZS has a "nothing illegal" rule that I personally agree with, so, what does one do when a practice you've already been legally engaging in becomes illegal? Assumedly there would be legal ways to continue, right?
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by elricfate » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:18 pm

Holy moley. I just got the email reply notification for this. Must have been stuck in hell.

Anyhow, the attachment on the downspout has a leaf screen and a reservoir channel around the outside, since most of the water that comes down a downspout isn't going directly down the center of the channel, but rather rushing down the side, it collects just a ton of water.

Also about the water collection being illegal, in most states there is no real laws around collecting for personal usage/gardening. The ordinances come into effect doing something stupid like redirecting water flow or damming pieces of property that normally feed into rivers/reservoirs (go google it, for real).
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by NapalmMan67 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:12 pm

What a coinky dink. I just received an email reply today that I had a new PM... from Dec. 3rd, 2016.

Must be a glitch in the Matrix.


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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by woodsghost » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:54 pm

elricfate wrote:
Also about the water collection being illegal, in most states there is no real laws around collecting for personal usage/gardening. The ordinances come into effect doing something stupid like redirecting water flow or damming pieces of property that normally feed into rivers/reservoirs (go google it, for real).
I might have to google this. I expect local laws will vary. But....


....so you are saying somebody could not redirect rain water into a pond they created on their property? Or would this be something more like a large farm or large factory cooling pond being created and killing a local creek or river?

If you have a 30 foot pond in your front yard, would that be illegal in these instances? Or just the million gallon ponds/lakes created for industry purposes? Or do I really need to just google this when I someday build/buy a house and want to start making changes to the property?
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by elricfate » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:13 pm

Actually, this is what I was referring to when I mentioned it, since this was the story plastered all over the news: http://www.snopes.com/politics/crime/rainwater.asp

There's also this: http://www.enlight-inc.com/blog/?p=1036

There are very few, if any, states that have restrictions and if they are, they're common sense. Dig your pond. Let the rainwater collect in it. You might need a permit for the pond but you should be fine.
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Re: Do you have rain barrels?

Post by KnightoftheRoc » Thu Jan 26, 2017 10:30 pm

I've recently seen in my local paper, how the county is considering making rainwater collection illegal. Sadly, the details were sparse, but the timing with other posts on social media (which I always take with a grain of salt) kind of perked up my antennae. Of course, this article comes out just as I have secured permission from my landlord to make some changes around the place, one of which was going to be gutters on the garage and house, which I was going to route to barrels.

I have a 3,000 gallon swimming pool already, with a 16' diameter, so there's already a sort of collection system in place, but that's also a 16' opening over the water that allows for evaporation and contamination, so, not really a positive over the long haul. Sourcing water has already been done, but hauling it is not only hard work and time consuming, but also potentially dangerous, and therefore not a risk I'd take if I didn't have to.
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