Rain spout barrel setups?

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by emt1581, May 6, 2012.

  1. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    I'm way past due for a water collection setup. Out back we have a spout on each corner of the house.

    Now I've seen a bunch of setups where you bury 5, 10, or even more barrels and then they fill up with water and can later be pumped out. I honestly do not want anything that complicated. I just want 1-2 barrels of water that I can purify/drink, bathe, and have for other uses.

    Worse comes to worse we are close enough to running water that I can siphon them full.

    Anyway, I've seen premade setups but they seem to have a flat back and waste a lot of potential storage space.

    I'm thinking about getting a plain plastic barrel or two, put some sort of screening on top of it to filet our twigs, leaves, bugs and maybe bird /squirrel poop (anything known to be a good filer for that one??)....and then a spigot at the bottom so I can get water as I need it.

    What do yall have?



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  2. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member




  3. Been looking since I too haven't pulled the trigger, so I am very curious about the results here, but have very little to offer.

    But as far as your mesh comments, everything I read says you need a fine enough mesh to keep the Skeeters out.
  4. I created to joined rain barrels from 35 gallon trash bins. I got the plans from The Family Handyman magazine a few years ago. Basically I used shower drains on the bottom, joined with a T pipe then put on a garden hose adapter with a ball valve.
    I'll try to remember to take a picture of it tonight when I get home.

    As far as the diverter, I cut the existing downspout straight across, then on the cut off end I cut it at about 45* and inserted the cut end back into the downspout, leaving a gap to allow debris to exit. Again, I'll try to take a picture of it, weather permitting.

    On the can where the down spout goes into I used a screen mesh to cover the top, this keeps critters & mosquito's out of the water. I have both barrels placed on a small stand to raise them up a bit, this gives me plenty of water pressure for use in my garden.
  5. I have three barrels in my back yard.

    Some things to consider.

    If you plan on just dropping the gutter into the barrel with a screen to keep leaves out of it you better have some of system in place to drain off excess water. We just had a wicked storm come through Wisconsin dropping as much as 4" of rain in some spots. My barrels filled up in less than 15 minutes. We actually had so much rain I hooked the barrels up and rain hoses from the spigots to take some of the water way from my drain tile system.

    If you plan on getting a spigot most retail barrels come with a plastic one - do yourself a favor and buy a $4 brass extension so if you are putting on and taking off a hose every week you don't crush/strip the cheap plastic threads on the spigot which comes with the barrel - either that or get a metal spigot.

    Write your name on the barrel in multiple places. If you get the blue barrels for free - awesome. If you buy retail ones from Home Depot/Lowes or what not it amazes me what they charge for a plastic barrel, spigot and diverter

    A guy down the street has a system where he lets the barrel fill - then replaces it with another blue barrel - and he stores 6 of them in his garage. Its a nice set up but those barrels weigh in excess of 460# full - using a two wheel dolly and tie down straps make them easier to move on grass but its still a major PITA

    One important point: the system I have has the diverter hose from the gutter and the one into the barrel at the exact same height. If the hose slopes down you will overfill the barrel; if it slopes up the barrel wont' fill all the way.
  6. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Southern Rogue.
    Silver Member

    Potable or garden are choices.'08.
  7. I have a 60 gallon rain barrel that I use to collect my sump pump water. It is run through a spigot and a garden hose down to water my tomatoes and they love it.

    My sump pump runs frequently enough that it was creating issues so now I just capture it and water my tomatoes for free with a couple gallons at the minimum per day.
  8. jtull7

    jtull7 Pistolero

    I have two 250 gallon stock tanks, with spigots way low. Works like a charm. Both of them have what I call rabbit wire to keep junk out of them.
    #8 jtull7, May 7, 2012
    Last edited: May 7, 2012
  9. Bolster

    Bolster Not Ready Yet!

    What do you do, to treat the water from your roof?

    I noticed the crows like to eat lizards on my roof, so...I'd have some lizard guts to get out of my water, if I collected it this way...
  10. quake

    Millennium Member

    Wish I had a pic handy to show what I'm about to describe, because it's easier to show than to explain, but I don't.

    The first little bit of runoff will (naturally) be the dirtiest. Pollen, bird crap, loose shingle agregate, whatever, will be laying on the roof and the bulk of it runs off in the fiirst little bit of rain. Best way I know to deal with that involves using a 'first-catch' container that fills up first, before allowing water to go into the next barrel, the "using" barrel. The downspout is directed into this first-catch container which fills up first. Near the top of the first-catch container is the pipe to the main using-barrel; so the first-catch container fills up (with the nastiest, initial runoff), and only when full, overflows into the using barrel. The first-catch container has a small 1/4" or so hole in the bottom so it can drain, but the flow from that small a hole isn't near enough to let it drain while it's still raining.

    That approach means sacrificing the first container's worth of water in each rainfall, but worth it imo to get rid of most of the ugly junk simply & automatically. To figure what a good size of 'first-catch' container you want, figure how much initial rainfall you want to let "do the cleaning" before you start collecting the water. If you want the first 1/16" of rain to go by uncollected, figure how many gallons that is based on your roof area collected from. You can figure roughly 5/8 gallon of water per sq/ft of roof, per inch of rain. So if you've go 1,000 sq/ft of roof, one inch of rain means roughly 625 gallons of water falls on it; one-sixteenth of which would be ~35-40 gallons or so. If you want to really let the rain clean the roof before you start to collect, one-eigth of an inch of rainfall "sacrificed" to the first-catch container would be double that, or 70-80 gallons.

    If you get a lot of really small rainfalls, you probably want to use a smaller sacrificial/waste container, since the smaller the rainfall, the larger a percentage it represents. If you get your rain in larger-but-fewer downpours, you might want a larger first-catch container, since it represents a smaller percentage of total water lost in large-volume rains. Also (naturally), the larger your actual collection container is in relation to the first-catch container, the smaller the percentage lost to the first-catch 'waste'.

    It will surprise most folks the first time they calculate how much water falls onto their roof. In an average year, we get 46-48 inches of rain; meaning that the roof of a 2,000 square-foot house receives & sheds between 55,000 and 60,000 gallons per year in my area. Even if a person only collects from one side of the house (typically the back), that's still nearly 30,000 gallons per year, or more than 500 gallons per week. One side of a 40x60 shop building means roughly 35,000 gallons per year on our area; or nearly 700 gallons per week. Obviously it won't be a smooth, per-week average over the course of the year; there are big peaks & valleys in rainfall amounts, but used & stored wisely, that's a lot of water literally falling from the sky.

    Hope that makes sense. It's a lot easier to show visually than describe verbally, but I don't have pics.
  11. Stevekozak

    Stevekozak Returning video

    This is really interesting!! I have never seen the numbers on it before. That really is a lot of water!
  12. Would you drink roof runoff safely?
  13. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    I agree it's impressive to see it worked out.

    Now from a drinking water perspective, doesn't the average person need something like a gallon of water a day? If so, I know it'd be close but I think 30,000-35,000 is slightly more than a person....or family would need.

    But when looking at drinking water...how do you make this collection water potable? Is a few drops of bleach and/or a good filter (i.e. Katadyn Pocket) good enough or is there more to it?


  14. smokeross

    smokeross GTDS Member #49

    I collect rain water off the roof in 55 gallon barrels. I use it for everything. I dump the barrels out, and let them refill with fresh water whenever it rains. If in doubt, boil it.
  15. emt1581

    emt1581 Curious Member

    I guess my main concern is getting a bird/squirrel turd or the slimy white stuff surrounding bird turds in my mouth. I think that'd be enough to make me puke and seriously ruin my week.

    This is what I'm trying to prevent along with the usual stuff that can kill you.


  16. quake

    Millennium Member

    Treat it like most other "alternative" sources, such as creek, swimming pool, etc. Simplest to me is just a course particulate filter (such as a coffee filter) to get out floaties & debris, and then run it thru the berkey like we do the well water.

    A little cumbersome for normal, daily use (we don't), but it's nice to have the source if need be. It's great for watering the garden & animals & such; saves running the well pump plus (for the garden) it's free of the trace sulfates that the well water has.
  17. I am concerned about the chemicals that would run off of a normal shingled roof, I would be ok with drinking it off of a steel roof. I just don't know if it's ok or not.
  18. kirgi08

    kirgi08 Southern Rogue.
    Silver Member

    Slate or otherwise,total usage.'08.
  19. eyelikeglasses

    eyelikeglasses Hooah, Hooah.

    Great question.:popcorn:
  20. The most import of all questions... water!

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