View Full Version : Need help with Rain collector and sprinkler system

03-07-2006, 05:20 PM
Just wondering if you all had ever integrated a rain collection system in your sprinkler system? Some questions I have are: Are there pumps involved to get water from the collector. How is it pressurized? How does it stop when empty and turn on city line? Etc.

Any thoughts, ideas, articles, websites, and such provided would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks all

03-07-2006, 11:34 PM
We have a few cistern pump setups around here. They work just like any other well system with the exception that they run out of water (well goes dry). A fail safe so the cistern pump shuts off is the first priority. A float/micro switch like Grainger sells for around $15 hooked in series some how works. If you just want to run city water when the cistern isn't working, then an RPZ on the city side will meet code in any situations I am aware of. A PRV before the RPZ is beneficial. Set the PRV to about 10psi lower than the pressure switch on your cistern pumps pressure tank, or as close to 10psi below your operating pressure from the cistern. This way, you don't use domestic water unless the cistern isn't pumping (or you have a major leak). The alternative to that is a fill valve for the cistern with floats for on (low level) and off (max level you want to fill with domestic water). If you have adequate air gap on the fill line, you might not need additional backflow. Otherwise, an AVB after the fill valve will meet your requirements if installed properly. The easy way to set this up is using the same micro switch floats I mentioned before. Set the low level float to close when the water drops below the desired level. Use a relay and loop the power back through to keep the relay closed after the water rises above the low level. Use the upper level float to cut this circuit when the desired level is achieved.

03-07-2006, 11:52 PM
Sounds like a hell of a lot of trouble to go through. Do they get that much rain in Austin???

03-08-2006, 01:24 PM
not much rain. just alot of treehuggers here. They are all about conservation and stuff. Just was looking to find a way into their pockets.

03-08-2006, 01:41 PM
Sometimes getting into some folks pockets is more trouble than it is worth.

I'm guessing you could increase your revenues in an easier way than trying to learn something new that may or may not even turn into something that would sell.

I fell into the same trap years ago....and it cost me dearly in time and energy better spent trying to get my regular clients to spend more money and find more clients just like them. JMHO

03-09-2006, 02:43 AM
Sounds like a hell of a lot of trouble to go through. Do they get that much rain in Austin???
ROFLMAO, my situation is another one of those T&M gold mines. In both cases, the previous owner had rigged a system to run off the cistern, but with no backup plan for if the cistern went dry. In the first case, the customer wanted a regular tap, but asked for a price to still use the cistern if it had water. She got the RPZ set up as I described. Next time it happens, system is even more disney land. Seems daughter has bought the house from Dad, it doesn't work, but she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. How do we make Dad's contraption work?? The answer was :) with money of course :) :)

I installed the fill setup I described. It really wasn't that much trouble since the cistern and everything else was already available. Stubbed an AVB up in the crawl space over a gravel area (house only had a partial basement) with an electric valve infront of it. Ran the wires from it to the basement controller. I used the spare wires in the 18/13 to connect my float switches to the relay. Best part was that when I was done, Dad paid for everything. I don't even remember what the total was. Dad became my number one customer when he settled up with really plain pictures of Mr. Franklin. :cool2:

03-09-2006, 06:49 PM
sounds like your rt Sprinklerguy. Small nitch, to much trouble.

03-09-2006, 11:58 PM
previous owner had rigged a system to run off the cistern, but with no backup plan for if the cistern went dry.

I would think that some type of filler system would be a necessity with any cistern system. To rely solely on rainwater to run an automatic system seems a bit risky. Even Jon says they turn off the water in his irrigation ditches up on the Olympic peninsula. :laugh: