I decided to make a rain barrel. No, this isn’t totally random. I have a small garden I’m trying to grow and in researching, I came across making rain barrels. Basically, take some food grade barrels and attach them to your gutter. It seemed like a fun project to do, even though it won’t really save much in terms of water cost or runoff.
This is by no means a design I came up with myself. I got the idea from this guy here and just made my own slight modifications.
I had a hell of a time finding the barrels, but the l finally came across a local Pepsi plant in Hyattsville, MD that sold 55 gallon drums at $10 a pop (I got a smaller 12 gallon one, too, to sit on the deck). Hours are short, once a week on Fridays, but I’d call 301.322.7000 and inquire about them (as of May 2011).
I do want to expand a bit on the video. I had to reduce the two outputs from the Rainreserve system down to one. I tested full flow and it was too much water at max. It wouldn’t fill the first flush system and would just jump the “T” for it.
To expand on the “T” itself, I needed a way to basically add a valve when the water reached the top. As the video states, I ended up using a couple of ping pong balls. The diameter of it unfortunately JUST fits through 1.5″ PVC piping. So I had to use 1.25″ adapters butt up to each other. And if you follow the video, at the 90 deg elbow, I also stuck some 1.25″ PVC to keep the ping pong balls from rolling through the whole pipe.
You’ll also noticed I added hose clamps and on the Rainreserve. Merely a safety precaution. But in addition, I also added screening in various places. I wanted to make sure no random large particles came through. Yes, I realize there’s no real point in doing both places I show below. But I did also add screening on the ends of the overflow hoses (not shown). Don’t need mosquitoes coming up through there, however unlikely.
And that’s that. I just need to find a way to better stabilize the first flush system in heavy wind, but it seems to hold up as it’s not that windy there. I’m also not entirely sure how much the whole project cost. I’d guess anywhere between $50-$100 counting time and some other misc hose type items for ~100 gallons of water. I had a lot of the PVC piping lying around. Now, I just need it to rain to test it out (low pressure test shows no leaks). Oh, and to paint it.