Help with self regulating rain barrel

lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)May 25, 2007

I have an aluminum downspout going from the roof of my two story row house down into the ground. I don't know where it goes after that, but I suspect a cistern under the yard of my house circa 1929. At any rate, I've never had any drainage problems with it. I'd like to install a rain barrel, the kind that is self regulating, meaning when the water reaches a certain level in the rainbarrel, it diverts back into the downspout. I'm not home enough open it up and close it, and besides, the water doesn't drain onto the ground so I have to divert it from the pipe and back again. Has anyone had any experience with this type of system. Does it work like it's supposed to? If things back up I could have a real problem on my hands. Any system better than another? The one I'm eyeing is from the Gardeners Supply Catalog. I don't use that much water in my tiny yard but I'd like to make use of the rainwater. Right now I'm thinking, "If it aint broke, don't fix it."

You can sort of see the rainpipe in the back of this picutre against the house. Like I said, it disappears into the ground and my neighbor told me there were cisterns buried under the yard.

Here is a link that might be useful: Downspout diverter

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flowermanoat(Z9, Central.CA)

I think the first thing I'd do in your situation would be to tap into the downspout, run a hose down into it and see if you come across any stored water that you could pump out and onto your garden. You may be able to use a plumber's clean-out wye for drain lines for this purpose.

I might mention that we are in the process of installing a rainwater catchment system and to that end have 18,000 gallons of water tanks installed. An average year of rain [12 inches[ here in central California would collect about 22,000 gallons of water. We are simply going to plumb tightly up the walls of the house to the height of the tanks and run the downspouts into the piping. Sediments will collect in the bottom of the first tank in the system and the sediments can be cleaned out every few years.

We don't have anything on our website about our rain catchment system yet but would invite you to check it out for good ideas on home food production and storage. Click on the Whole Systems Agriculture link below. We utilize the 12 Permaculture principles and pathways outlined in David Holmgren's book. Mr. Holmgren is the co-originator of the Permaculture concept.

Good wishes,

John Warner
Madera Whole Systems Agriculture near Fresno, California
No-tractor, no-tillage permanent mulch market growers since 1996

Here is a link that might be useful: Whole Systems Agriculture

    Bookmark   May 26, 2007 at 11:01PM
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gardenlen(s/e qld aust)

too easy hey?

the hardest bit will be working with aluminium downpipes over here in aus' we get it easy all our downpipes are pvc.

anyhow i've got pic's of our rain barrels and how we hooked them up on our permaculture essay page, too easy when you see it and not very expensive to do.

your downpipes commonly will feed into the storm water drainage system that you local gov' has set up for just that purpose, a modern idea is that each yard has a cistern to take the initial burst of heavy rain water from your roof but as yet that is not common.


Here is a link that might be useful: len's garden page

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 2:27PM
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lpinkmountain(5b/6a border PA)

Thanks for the tips! AWESOME links! I guess a little rainbarrel is not much needed in my situation with the little I'd be able to collect and use. Yard space is at a premium behind my tiny row house. I just thought it would be cool to have one.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2007 at 4:56PM
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