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Urban sustainability #1: build a rain barrel

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Blog entry by bucheron posted 05-23-2012 03:19 PM 1436 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Urban sustainability series Part 2: If human animals want to live on this planet... »

These are not my instructions and I have not built one of these but I thought, once you have an olive barrel (see my earlier post) you’ll want to know how to make your own rain barrel.

Any prices and part numbers are from about 10 years ago, so it may have changed since ( well, it has)

Source: http://www.ottawahort.org/rainbarrel.htm

Basic Supplies:

(published in 2002)
45 gallon plastic barrel (I purchased mine at Preston Hardware for $13.00)
1 plumbing tap – make sure the inside end is threaded so when you drill through the barrel for the tap you can put a washer and nut on the inside of the tap so water won’t leak out (I bought a plastic tap and threaded washer at Preston Hardware for $13.00 which did the job)
1 ABS 1 1/2×1 1/4 male threaded adapter. (Part Number 39923 19466 from Home Depot; cost $1.48)
1 ABS 1 1/4 female threaded right angle adapter. (Part Number 066837816047 from Home Depot; cost $2.68)
1 hose clamp (Part Number 0020637251071 from Home Depot; cost $0.98)
1 8 foot length of sump pump flexible hose 1 1/4” inside diameter. (This is sold at Home Depot, Canadian Tire, or Preston Hardware, usually in 24 foot lengths)
1 or 2 sections of curved elbow down spout. (This is sold at any hardware store or lumber yard which sells eaves troughing)
2 concrete blocks and 1 concrete patio stone 18” x 18”
Misc. self tapping screws 3/4” long
Wire mesh or screen for the top.
4 #8 bolts 3/4” long with nuts and washers
Tools required:

1 electric drill, 3/4” wood drill bit, and 1 1/4” hole saw attachment
Dremel tool or tin snips for cutting the down pipe
Dremel tool or key hole saw for cutting the top of the rain barrel
screw driver

Steps:

Select your location for the rain barrel and make sure it is level or sloping slightly away from the house. Put the rain barrel on the stand made up of the two concrete blocks and the concrete patio stone. It should have enough height so you will be able to place your watering can under the tap.

With the barrel in place mark the down pipe for cutting. It should be 12 inches above the top of the barrel.

Drill a 3/4” hole 3 inches above the bottom of the barrel for placement of the drain tap. Insert the tap and put the washer and nut on the tap threads inside the barrel. I tightened it hand tight. You may want to add some sealant such as caulking to the threads to prevent leaks.

Take the lid off the barrel and cut a large hole in the lid using either a Dremel tool with a cutting blade or the keyhole saw. Cover the hole with wire mesh using the bolts and washers to secure it to the lid.

Using the 1 1/4” hole saw attachment, drill a hole in the top of the barrel for the overflow hole. Push the 1 1/2 -1 1/4” ABS male adapter from the inside of the barrel so the threads are sticking out. Screw the right angle ABS female adapter to it and attach the flexible hose to the female adapter with the hose clamp. This will run off the excess water when the rain barrel is full.

Cut the down pipe at the premarked location using tin snips or the Dremel tool with cutter attachment. Remove and save the bottom piece of the down pipe for replacement in the winter when the barrel is in storage. If the bottom piece has been strapped to your siding, relocate this strap just above where you have cut the pipe.

Attach the down pipe curved elbows so the water is directed into the barrel. Use self tapping screws to ensure the elbow will not detach from the straight downpipe.

Put the lid back on the barrel. The wire mesh insures that small animals & insects will not get in the barrel.
Wait for the rain and then enjoy your barrel.

Winter hint:
According to the Lee Valley Catalogue, water freezing in the barrel over the winter will crack and damage the barrel. Therefore at the end of the season it is wise to drain the barrel and turn it upside down on your stand. Re-assemble the down spout as outlined in step # 6.

-- Lose your mind and come to your senses!



View bucheron's profile

bucheron

14 posts in 2117 days
hardiness zone 4a

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rain barrel sustainability urban water

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5 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 05-23-2012 03:35 PM

good information.

Right now I’m struggling with mosquitoes under my mesh. Not sure how they get in there. At first I thought that maybe the water was touching the screen and the eggs were just making their way through. Now, not so sure. I think that I have the screen pretty secure.

So, for now, I’m using dish soap and the anti-mosquito-larvae “stuff” that you shake into the water.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View bucheron's profile

bucheron

14 posts in 2117 days
hardiness zone 4a

posted 05-23-2012 08:33 PM

Could it be that you have standing water in your gutters, which then gets flushed to your rain barrel?
The other option may be to put up birdhouses to attract more birds which feed on mosquitos.

-- Lose your mind and come to your senses!

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 05-24-2012 02:04 AM

good thoughts, Bucheron.
It’s a possibility with the one rain barrel but with the other one, the water falls through the screen, rather than directly into the barrel.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

View Iris43's profile

Iris43

3811 posts in 3510 days
hardiness zone 5a

posted 06-27-2012 10:01 AM

Sorry I didn’t see this subject sooner.

MsDeb, mosquito eggs and shrimp (I don’t know what the babies are called but they look something like shimp, lol) probably go right through the mesh as they are so small. If you buy some ‘feeder’ goldfish and put them in you barrel, they will eat the ‘shrimp’ and eggs.

-- 'To plant a Garden is to believe in Tomorrow'

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

14694 posts in 3880 days
hardiness zone 5b

posted 06-27-2012 01:15 PM

i’m pretty sure they are laying their eggs on the water that sits on top of the mesh in the full barrels… I just have to keep an eye for hatches and not open the mesh and let them out.
I think the suggestion was right re: the non-full ones – the eggs were laid in water in the eavestrough and made their way down into the barrel.

-- - Debbie, SW Ontario Canada (USDA Hardiness Zone: 5a)

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