Rain Barrels

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by BostonBull, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. BostonBull

    BostonBull LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 520

    Anyone here use them? What are the pros and cons, if any? What are some of the better brands to use?

    I am thinking of picking up 1-2 of them to help conserve water and cut down on a small erosion problem during heavy rains.

    What is the water output like? Strong enough to water plants 50' away via hose? Can you pump air into them to help the water flow?

    Any other tips?
     
  2. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    Rain barrel water use is typically gravity fed. You might get water 50' away assuming you don't have a net negative head. You could always hook a small pump to it if needed I guess.
     
  3. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    Also, up your way you need to keep the little donut Bt dunks in the standing water so that it doesn't become a misquito farm as well. Keep it covered with something so that mice and such do not fall in too. They typically can't get out and drown

    small submersible pumps are cheap, or just dump a 5 gallon bucket in there and water with that

    I find that I need to tie 2 together with PVC pipe to make 100 gallons of water, later in the season we get less rain
     
  4. BostonBull

    BostonBull LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 520

  5. ICT Bill

    ICT Bill LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,115

    I can go to the local pepsi plant and pick up as many 55 gallon plastic drums as I want, it used to be free, they now charge $5.00 each

    $119.00 for a brass fitting and a cover seems a little extreme, but that is the DIY in me

    Car washes go through these things like mad as well, check there or large bakeries
     
  6. NattyLawn

    NattyLawn LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,643

    Nice post Bill. If you can find a drum, 10 bucks, and a half hour of time this should be a piece of cake.
     
  7. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    There are plenty of instruction videos on Youtube, some are informative, while most are quite humorous, and not intentionally.

    The problem I find with most rain barrel setups is the discharge or overflow. It is usually not adequately sized or run properly. If a 1000 square foot roof generates 600 gallons of water in a 1" rain event, that 55 gallon barrel will get filled quite quickly and the remaining runoff can be a problem. Around here, I design drainage for a 3" rainfall, and a rain barrel without proper overflow is going to be a big problem. There are a couple of different diversion devices on the market, both automatic and manual control. They diversion devices come in handy when the temperature drops to freezing or below. A properly designed rain barrel system will have an overflow similar to the inflow and the overflow will have an appropriate place to drain.

    If you can find barrels locally, that would be the way to go. I have been looking in my area with no success. Rain barrels can usually be purchased locally, either complete, kit form or just plain barrels at very reasonable prices from sellers on Craigslist or Ebay. The fittings to turn a food grade plastic barrel into a rain barrel are available from the big box stores or your local irrigation and drainage supplier.

    Kirk
     
  8. Kiril

    Kiril LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 18,308

    An appropriate pressure relief valve will solve that problem. :)
     
  9. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,460

    Kirk, do you see any problems with using one of multiple overflows branched off as a tea brewing barrel? One that can be switched in and out of use during fills, without disrupting the rest of the overflow, and then being used for blending compost tea back into the irrigating water?
     
  10. Dreams To Designs

    Dreams To Designs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,406

    That's a great idea for some of the overflow, just realize the amount of overflow you will have and where it's going to go. Multiple barrels are another good idea, but the fact they may also be filled to capacity quite quickly, is something to consider.

    Even with a relief valve, which is complicating a simple process, the water still has to go somewhere. I often see where folks didn't realize there will be much more water and rate, than the barrel can handle in a moderate or heavy rainfall.

    Kirk
     

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