275 Gallon Tote Dimensions
48"L x 40"W x 45"H
You have chosen a water system that is free, fun and good for the environment. This food clean rain barrel will help you harvest untreated rain water by simply hooking it up to your down spout. You now have your own source of water that is independent of your public utility. Environmentally, you are leaving the water where the salmon and all the other wildlife need it and you’re keeping it on its’ natural course (especially if you run the overflow into your yard). Gandhi once said that whatever you do may seem insignificant but it is most important that you do it. I think he would have approved of collecting your own water.
Happy Rain Harvesting!
Rainwater harvesting: a new water source (a historical perspective)
by Jan Gerston (story link here)
Locating your barrel
Walk around your house and look at your gutters and down-spouts and chances a you will find a functional water catchment system you didn’t know you had! (Your roof is the catchment area and the gutter and down-spouts are the delivery system). You will want to hook into one of your down-spouts to harvest the most water (the yield for every inch of rain on a 1,000 square foot roof is approximately 500 gallons of water!). You will also want to consider the barrel location. If you want to use a hose you will need to have the barrel above your garden and if you also want to use a watering can you’ll need a stand. I use four 8” cinder blocks.
Attaching the barrel (a.k.a. gutter liberation)
Place your stand and barrel near the chosen down-spout. You’ll want to disconnect or hacksaw the down-spout a few inches above the barrel as it sits on its’ stand. This should leave enough room to reattach the elbow piece from the bottom to divert the water over the barrel where it will drain through the holes. This may require a bit more creativity/plumbing to get the water from the down-spout into your barrel but usually it’s pretty simple. Next, make sure your stand is well balanced because a full barrel is going to weigh approximately 400 pounds (an earthquake strap around the barrel will help) then place the barrel on the stand and use that elbow piece, or whatever it takes, to divert the water over the top of the barrel You may have wondered what is sticking out of the top of your barrel? Well… it’s the water overflow valve and you’ll probably have a lot of overflow! You may need to direct it to keep the overflow away from your foundation and attaching a hose can easily do that. Environmentally, diverting it into your yard is better than back into the drain so you might want to experiment with that. You can also divert that water into another barrel or container for future use (i.e. summer time!).
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Uses For Rain Water
Flowers, trees, shrubs and garden.
Seedlings in a green house.
Cooling compost or rinsing out your compost bucket.
Where no plumbing is available.
Indoor plants (my favorite).
Keep water away from the foundation.
Wash your vehicle on your lawn or gravel.
Wash your hands, tools or muddy boots.
Water available to flush your toilet.
Cool yourself off on a hot day.
Mix cement (my latest cool use).
Your creative use here!
Rain Barrel Accessories
The accessories I use are three: 1) cinder blocks, 2) flex elbow, and 3) overflow hose.
The cinder blocks I use are 8" x 8" x 16" normal grey and generally I use 4 and like the image below for the rain barrel connector kit, I run them one way and then the other. Lowes has these readily available and the cheapest.
The flex elbow is used to divert the water from the downspout over the top of the barrel. Lowes has these for $3 and also McLendons.
The overflow hose is just a section of hose, standard size, to move the overflow water where you would like. Generally, you will need a 1/2"/3/8" female coupling to attach to the section of hose to fit the barrel. See my video on YouTube from the Envirohouse on how to install a rain barrel.
I do not recommend drinking the rainwater from your roof. It may contain animal droppings, dust, or roof composite. Also, I cannot guarantee the safety of watering your vegetables with rainwater from your roof either. In my personal opinion, however, if your roof is made of a non-toxic substance and hasn’t been treated with a moss inhibitor or something it should be fine for that. Metal roofs, especially, are great for rainwater harvesting. There should be no trouble of course with non-vegetable uses.
I have sold over 400 rain barrels in the last few years and haven’t heard of any problems at all with mosquitoes. If you do notice some of the hatchings in your barrel, however, simply add a tablespoon of vegetable oil to the waters’ surface
Subvert The Dominant Paradigm
For your viewing pleasure, here are some places you can see my Rain Barrels:
Bellarmine Prep High School
Seattle - Seattle Tilth
Rain Barrel Kit
If you've got your own barrel then save some money and buy this kit! It's easy to assemble and includes a mesh screen, a bulk head fitting with a brass hose bib spigot with a ball valve and an excellent overflow system. These parts are all well made and made to last and if you ever need to replace one it's easy because there's no glue needed for assembly!
Everything you need to hook up two rain barrels. 4' to 5' recycled (from old washing machines) hose, brass splitter, and brass valve with easy on-off valve. Connects two rain barrels from their spigots and draws all the water from both barrels directly from the brass valve! Durable and long lasting, instructions included..
Plastic Bag Dryer
Easy To Use: Insert sticks firmly into holes; wash bags with warm, soapy water, rinse and place on sticks to dry.
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For an additional fee, installation and delivery are available in the following counties: Pierce (Tacoma" Free Delivery) | King | Thurston | Lewis | Mason | Jefferson | Kitsap