Step 6: Plumb the barrel

This step proved to be a bit more complicated than I expected, mostly because I was using vacuum tubing/connectors on one side, but to connect to the barrel the only pieces I could find were for plumbing. Problem was, they were about 1/16th of an inch smaller than I wanted them to be. So after a bit of cleaning out the inside with a dremel, I was back in business.

I designed this system to be able to store rainwater, but have a spillover pipe that would take any excess into the pipe system and away from the house. This spillover pipe enters the main pipe on the opposite side of the valve (see pictures).

I cut holes in the barrel, as I was concerned that the small spigot wouldn't be able to handle any volume of water. I then attached the plumbing fixtures at the top and bottom and used some silicone caulking to seal the connection. I then measured, cut, and glued the pipes, elbows, and valve assembly.
<p>Calculation is correct Hugh - or in kilograms (as I'm in Canada and we use the metric system) it's 206.9742kg</p><p>Side note: the stand continues to hold strong after 5 years of use and being exposed to the elements. I've revised the design to have the cross boards on top of the supports, which in turn are on top of the legs. </p>
<p>55gal (H2O) * 8.3lbs/gal = 456.3 lbs(H2O)</p>
<p>I have a feeling that your fence will begin to rot where the holes are made in the piping. Water takes the path of least resistance, hence down along the side of your fence. </p>
<p>Hi Shooglenifty - I had the same concern when I set this project up 4 years ago, but have found no such problems with the design. My experience has shown that rot tends to form when water comes into contact with wood without the drying presence of air. We live in a very dry, not exactly desert, climate on the eastern slopes of the rockies, and don't have much rot issues aside from where the fence boards are in touching the ground. </p>
Hi there, <br><br>Thanks for your reply. I live in Ireland and that fence would be firewood by now due to the rain fall we get here. My garden fences need to be painted twice a year here with anti rot woodstain. Spring and then Autumn before the frost. It's a nightmare. <br><br>I have several barrels here with more or less the same idea, except i used a hose pipe running from the barrel that was then drilled every 6 or so inches where needed and then laid in my raised beds. <br><br>Due to the amount of rainfall here i placed Seaweed and Stinging Nettles into hessian bags or even womens tights / stockings and placed them in the barrels (weighed down with rocks) to give the plants nutrients, it's not really water they need here it nutrients as it rains nearly every day here in the Irish North West. <br><br>Glad to hear your Indestructable is still working well after 4 years and your fence is still in top shape. <br><br>All the best. <br><br>Shooglenifty.
This is a great rainwater collection and distribution system. I will definitely have to do this to my <a href="http://www.armstrongandnelson.com" rel="nofollow">eavestrough in Toronto</a>.
This is going to help me out a ton. After I get my guys form <a href="http://www.greatcanadian.ca/services/eavestrough" rel="nofollow">eavestrough calgary</a> to get me a new eavestrough in i will be able to do something similar.
This is such a good idea! I will definitely have to do this with my <a href="http://www.armstrongandnelson.com" rel="nofollow">eavestrough in toronto</a>.
This is a great idea. As <a href="http://www.laneelectrical.net/en/" rel="nofollow">electrical contractors in calgary</a>, we would love this .
This is super interesting! But I am sure it is a great way to clean it out and make sure it gets drained! I have been looking into my <a href="http://www.greatcanadian.ca/services/eavestrough" rel="nofollow">eavestrough calgary</a> and the difference between others! Can you tell me where I can find more information like this?
Where exactly does the piping from the barrel lead to, and what are you doing with the excess water? I just bought a new house in Toronto, and I really should take a look at the <a href="http://www.armstrongandnelson.com" rel="nofollow">eavestrough</a> to see if I can't do something similar to it. Thanks for posting these instructions on how to make the connection. Where did you get most of your tools from?
anyone have an easy idea to use and filter the water from a clothes washer? I am sure with the pump when it drains it can push the water quite a distance.
I grew up drinking rain water collected from the house roof and stored in galvanised rain water tanks. We drank it unfiltered and still do. In Australia we treat every drop of rain fall as precious and don't waste any if we can help it. Oh and nobody owns it except the people who collect it. I know you americans have some strange ideas but when the New South Wales state government tried to claim all rainfall belonged to them it took less than an hour for the first legal claims to be made against them for flood damage. You see if the 'own' the rainfall then they must be legally repsonsible for any deaths/damage 'their ' rainfall caused. <br> <br>But, setting up a 55 gallon ( 208.20 litres) tank is a bit too small in my opinion. To create a decent storage system to say water an average garden you would need in excess of 1000 litres for 3 month period. New homes built in Queensland since 2005 are mandated to include a minimum 1000 litre rain water tank for no drinking purposes .i i.e. toilet flushing, clothes washing etc.
I agree a 55 gal. tank is too small. I am designing a system at this time that uses a 550 gal. as a minimum.. Here in the USA rain is seen as a thing to ignore.. I live in the Gulf Coast of Texas, and we are becoming rapidly a desert..I feel more effort needs to capture and treat with respect every drop of rain..
Hey Bill,<br><br>You bet - would be great to ramp up the size of the tank system. The way this is designed, you could really put any size tank you want. Where I live in Canada, there wouldn't really be enough space in my yard to put a system much larger than about 200 gallons. If you do install a similar rig send me/post some shots!!
I would like to know more about how you make and use your rain barrels in Queensland if youdon't mind. I am trying to save my rainwater for my garden and would also like to use it for other things when we have water restrictions here where I live. Please help me with this. Thanks. jdbt
Hi jdbt.<br><br>To start with our rainfall is very sparse over much of Australia so we tend to use purpose built rainwater tanks of large capacity (29,000 litres or 6,500gallons Australian or 7806 gallons US approx) and not worry about using little 200litre barrels. <br><br>Please have a look at http://www.gough.com.au/tanks/default.htm or if the link doesn't work look up Gough Plastics in Australia and click on Water Tanks.<br><br>Basically we run a length of pvc pipe from the gutters down into the tank and water is drawn from there via gravity feed or electric pump. In remote locations we don't worry too much about filtering the water for human consumption but in large towns and cities you need a filter. <br><br>We also use this water for garden use and such things as flushing toilets, washing clothes etc without being filtered. <br><br>http://www.savewater.com.au/how-to-save-water/in-the-home/rainwater/rainwater-tank-installation for some information about how to install a rainwater tank. <br><br>Hope that helps you out a bit.<br>Mike
Buzz, <br><br>I completely agree with you on the quantity issue. Although this was an initial installation, I have multiple downspouts and have plans to set up similar rigs at the other ones as well. The way I have designed this one is to do most of the watering automatically, or at the very most with the quick turn of a valve. By spring I will have at least two other systems set up to store and distribute rainwater. <br> <br>I'd love to have a rainwater system that I could use to supply water for other uses in my house, but it's not in the plans for now. <br><br>Thanks for the feedback!<br><br>Mark
http://www.sawater.com.au/NR/rdonlyres/E49EA34C-3400-40C9-9634-1B6F7966E7FA/0/RainwaterPlumbingGuide.pdf Gives some more details on plumbing into your toilet and washing machine and a lot of waffle about licenced plumbers, back flow devices etc. Typical nanny police document trying to save everyone from hurting themselves with rainwater or some such rubbish but in the final 3 or 4 pages there are a couple of diagrams that show how to plumb the lines in. <br><br>http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/ACT_P_LS_Installing_rainwater_tank.pdf includes some more information about tank sizes etc.<br> <br><br>http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs73.html <br>An overview of what you need to do to make a complete system including first flush diversion system to keep debris from roof entering rainwater tanks.<br> <br>Finally Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainwater_tank which shows a 1,000 litre poly tank on a steel pallet which could be an ideal method of storing rainwater if you can't source an Australian style rainwater tank in the USA.<br> <br>Hope this points you and others in the right direction.<br><br><br>Reply<br><br>flag[delete]<br>
Righteous instructible! I was just wondering what the purpose of having the pipe fork into the one pipe leading to the greenery?
Jimi,<br><br>Very simply, the top pipe you see acts as a safety overflow. When the barrel fills to that point, it automatically drains to the free side of the valve and away from the house. One of the reasons I installed this in the first place was to avoid water from the downspout collecting and leaking into my basement. And after two years I can say it works perfectly. <br><br>Thanks for the feedback!<br><br>Mark
Clever solution, nice instructable.
This may sound crazy but check your local ordinances, it could be illegal to catch rain because it BELONGS TO SOMEONE ELSE!<br><br><br>http://www.hcn.org/issues/40.18/a-good-idea-2013-if-you-can-get-away-with-it<br><br>In Utah, Colorado and Washington, it's illegal to do so unless you go through the difficult -- and often impossible -- process of gaining a state water right. That's because virtually all flowing water in most Western states is already dedicated to someone's use, and state water officials figure that trapping rainwater amounts to impeding that legal right.
EP - Definitely worth looking into, and a somewhat contentious issue no less. I live in Canada, and here they encourage people to collect rainwater rather than use the city processed/filtered/distributed/fluorinated water.
&nbsp;Griff - I totally agree. One of those things that I would do differently if I made another. So far it hasn't been an issue, but it could buckle under the weight.
wow i really like your design with the distribution! that just seems so much easier.&nbsp; just a thought on your stand... im sure the boards that the barrel is actually sitting on are strong enough, but you might have a problem later down the road because they're screwed/nailed under the cross supports instead of on top of them. if the whole thing is outside and it gets wet and you have that much weight in the barrel, it could actually pull them out, but if they're on top of the cross supports the only way you'd have a problem is if your boards break... just a thought ;)
How about water from the washer can u use it on the lawn
I'm not sure - but I can't think that the soap residue would be very good for the lawn/garden. There might be an organic soap that might work. I've heard of people collecting grey water (water from shower/sink) to reuse, even going as far as showering with buckets. If you do a search on this site you can find a foot-controlled shower lever that would save a ton of water. Cheers, Mark
i may be wrong but i think most commercial detergents have stuff in them that plants actually like, nitrogen and phosphorous, stuff like that. it's my understanding that this is why gray water dumped into lakes causes algae blooms. the chemicals in detergents are similar to the chemicals in fertilizer. i'm not an expert and i may be off target. but i know that i've read that dishwasher and laundry machine gray water is safe for your garden.
Some plants may like it but certain bacteria may not like it causing a imballance.&nbsp; Its best to use biodegradable soaps such as sunlight detergent I think.&nbsp; I use sunlight detergent on not just dishes but my clothes aswell.&nbsp; It makes wool soft and I can use it on my plants.&nbsp; Another thing for grey water is that you may want to filter it somehow.<br />
If you use "soap nuts" for washing laundry, your gray water would be safe for your lawn.
It's a nice setup, I really like your overflow design. If I went this route, I may add more to support the 455 pounds (206 kilos)... but that is just because I'm a worrier and over do things!
cool. have you had any problems with leaves/needles clogging the pipes? I've always wondered about "rain barrels" because there wasn't a good way to get the water where you wanted it (t was already on the ground), so people used pumps and stuff, but the cost of a pump and barrel and running the pump really just ruins the idea. Some people say "saving water helps the environment"... not really, the only thing you're saving is the cost they put in to purify water, water doesn't just "go away" when it goes down the drain. Spending money to buy pumps and plastic jugs is WAY worse than paying the nice water utilities to deliver you crystal clear water. this is a GREAT idea.
well i agreee with you on saving water dosent really help the enviroment but the rain colection is just like to use as back up water for when the water geos off during power outages or use it as and electricity free gravity powered way to flush your tolliet (or something :P)
except for the energy used to purify the water, if you have a solar pump or no pump at all then it does help the enviroment. During a dought this also helps. Water that might normally just runoff or return to the ground water is used.
Thanks for the comments. I've only had it up and running for a few weeks now, and am still waiting for our first real dump of rain. I was worried about the leaves/needles issue and am open to trying a variety of screens/filters if needed. I did clean out the eaves prior to setting this up - just to help things along. I guess you could attach the end cap with something you can remove and then flush things out with a garden hose. I partly did this project to move water away from my foundation as much as anything - 50 year old house doesn't like water in the basement much! Also, the water piped to my house by the city not only costs money, but has both chlorine and flouride in it as well - not great things for gardens.
Nice. I like the overflow directly watering. I would suggest you have a screen on top your barrel and aim the pipe at a 45 degree angle or so at the screen. The water coming out of the pipe will pass right into the barrel, but a leaf will hit the screen and be washed off by flowing water (hopefully.) Anyway it should keep your barrel free of large debris.
Great suggestion - many thanks!
Nice work. Do you get even watering along the length of the outlet-pipe? If your holes are small it's probably OK, but too big near the barrel and you might not water so well at the furthest point? L I'd advise you remove the e-mail address (could get spammed), let people contact you through the site.
Lemonie - Surprisingly yes - it spreads out along the length of the pipe fairly well. I had considered some ideas of varying the hole diameter or even where on the pipe they are located to ensure the water would travel the length of the pipe. Perhaps I'll try this in my next water project. No worries about the email/spam issue - it's not my primary account. Cheers the RIAA - Thanks for the comments!

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