Installing A Rain Barrel

 

I finally decided to install a rain collection barrel.  I have an enamel painted metal roof on my patio, perfect for this application.  The main roof has fungus resistant asphalt shingles.  They do their job fine, but not the healthiest water to harvest.  On the other hand, the water from the patio roof needs little filtering, and would be safe enough to drink.  I would run it through my Berkey filter if I needed drinking water after some major event, such as a hurricane.

My main use of this water is to use with my recently planted vegetable garden.  I've had great success using Earthboxes in recent years.  Some plants are sensitive to the chlorine in tap water, but thrive on rain water. 

There are a few appealing features to the Fiskars rain barrel.  One is the aesthetics.  This barrel is in full view of our neighbors, and us when we sit on our patio.  Having a blue water barrel is just unsightly for this location.  Some barrels are much smaller, like the one a neighbor uses.  This one holds 58 gallons.  The included diverter takes water from the downspout, though a piece of tubing, into the barrel.  No open barrel for bugs/frogs to breed in.  When the barrel is full, water cannot travel through the pipe, so the water dumps back into the center of the diverter, and out through the drain pipe.  Clever design.  Other than the tools needed, and blocks to set it on, all the parts are included.  It was $95 at our local BJ's Wholesale Club.  Some rain barrels don't include all the parts, so before saying this one is overpriced, see what's need to complete the cheaper ones.

 

Video: How The System Works

 

 

The roof of the patio is separate from the house roof, so the shingled house roof is not a concern.

A small piece of the downspout is cut out, and the included diverter is attached.  A hole is drilled into the barrel, and the fitting is added.  The two are connected with a flexible pipe.

A closer look at the diverter setup.

The lid attaches tightly, and provides a good spot for our "salad bowl".  Various types of lettuce are gowning in this small container garden.  Just pluck & eat, and it continues to grow.

Wish I could say this was my invention, but it was purchased at a garden shop.

Just started the Earthboxes for this season.  Burpless cucumbers, onions, peppers, and a couple of tomato plants in the box on the right.

 

Rain Diverter In Action

 

I could get fancy and use either a gravity fed system, or a small 12V water pump, but sometimes simpler is better.  To get water from the barrel to the garden, I'll simply use an old fashioned watering can.  Less to fail, easy to operate.  Very pleased with the Fiskars rain barrel.  Very inclusive kit.  Took under an hour to install, including removing the sod, leveling the dirt, and putting in a couple of concrete pavers to set it on.  I will later add a screen to the top of the downspout, to prevent any leaves or other debris from interfering with the diverter.  Nice product, gets a nod of approval from me and the wife.

 

 

 


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Last updated 06/13/10    All rights reserved.