Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rain barrel rejigger

Have you seen what rain barrels cost? The cheap ones are still over $100. That's why I built my own a few years back. Just a plastic trash barrel with a hole in the side and a spigot placed there and sealed with fish tank sealer. I cut a hole in the lid the precise size of the tube that was redirecting water from the rain spout.

I should have put screens over the holes and let the water run through them. That's to catch the leaves and bugs and gunk that wash off the roof. It's also to keep mosquitoes out, but the fit between the tube and lid were tight enough to keep them out anyway. It was also tight enough that in a serious rain the water couldn't escape fast enough, would back up the drain pipe and pour over the gutter.

Still, I was reasonably happy with it. It filled up with just a little rain. A hose running under the house got me a modest flow of gravity fed water. Then I needed to haul pitchers of water through the house when the barrel was half empty.

The second year a rat chewed through the hose where it passed through the front wall of the house. Kinda cut the water pressure a bit.

Last year I finally found the pump I wanted. It watered the yard just fine, but drained the barrel pretty fast. Mind you, for those two months in summer when I actually need the rain barrel it always empties fast. Lots of heat and no rain. I'd sometimes have to steal the neighbor's hose. And his spigot.

This year I bought a proper rain barrel. It's a good deal bigger, has a big screen covering the top, and is designed to be connected to other rain barrels just like it so you can keep more water. And it's amazing the amount of grossness caught on the screen.

I told you all that so I could tell you this.

When I'd used enough of the water from the old barrel to make it movable I dragged it out front. Yesterday I hooked the hose (rat damage repaired) to the spigots of both barrels and opened them. Water flowed from the barrel in the back to the one in the front. The size difference is enough that when the pressure equalized the barrel in front was 80% full while the one in back was still at 50%. Now I can water the plants with the watering can without having to keep tromping through the house tracking in mud and letting out cool air.

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