Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Make your own Rain barrel

Make Your Own Rain Barrel

By Ellen Brown
If you have a downspout on the side of
 your house or garage that directs water
 away from your house, you're potentially
letting a big part of your water bill wash
 down the rain gutter. Just 1 inch of rain
 on a 1000 sq ft roof yields a whopping
 62.3 gallons of water! While this water
 might not be fit for human consumption,
reclaiming it for use on the yard and
garden make good financial and
 environmental sense.
Materials Needed:
One 55-gallon or larger barrel
Window screen
Bungee cords
Parts for an outdoor faucet
Two o-rings
Electrical nut
Silicon caulking (optional)
Plastic downspout (optional)
Electric drill and an Exacto knife
Small piece of garden hose
Two concrete blocks
The total cost for this project is about
$50 for materials (assuming you have
 the drill). This cost can be reduced
considerably if you scour re-use
centers or junkyards for used parts.
Start by finding yourself a 55-gallon
 or larger plastic barrel. Try to locate a
 food-grade barrel or one that has
never been used. There are several
companies that use plastic barrels
and sell them or give them away
when they are finished. Check with
 recycling centers, re-use or
industrial material exchange centers

or try calling companies direct.
There are several companies on t
he web that sell them (including
online auctions), but you can usually
 find them cheaper locally. Select
 one without a cover. You're going
to make your own.
Once you have your barrel you need to
 fashion a cover for it. This is essential
for keeping out mosquitoes, keeping
wildlife safe and filtering out plant
debris that washes off your roof when
 it rains. Make the cover by cutting a
piece of window screen large enough
 to fit across the opening. Cut the
screen so that it's at least 1 1/2 times
 bigger than the mouth of the barrel.
Secure the screen to the top of the
barrel with the bungee cords. Fit the
 cords tightly around the lip of the 

barrel so they hold the screen in place.
If you want to, trim off any excess
screen with a scissors. Caution: This
cover is not designed to keep children
 out. Never let children play around
 the rain barrel unattended!
For dispensing water, drill a hole
near the bottom of the barrel with
an electric drill. This is where you
will attach the faucet spigot. Drill
 a small hole and use an Exacto
knife to gradually increase the size
 in order to fit the faucet. Widen it
just to the point where the threaded
 end of the faucet can be twisted 
nto the hole. Tip: If your faucet is
 too low to fit a bucket underneath,
attach a small piece of garden hose
 on the end to dispense water more easily.
 To seal the area with O-rings,
place one on the outside, insert
 the spigot and place the other
one on the inside. Use the electrical
 nut to secure the O-ring use for
the interior. If desired, apply silicon
 caulking around the area to ensure a tight seal.
5. Place the concrete blocks side
by side and use them to elevate
the rain barrel off the ground. Or
if you prefer, place the barrel on
 top of two circular stepping
stones. This will not give you as
 great of water pressure, but it
will make the barrel more inconspicuous.
Adjust your downspout to direct
 water into your rain barrel. If
cutting it is not possible or it is hard
 to work with, purchase a plastic
downspout instead.
If you want to try some variations
 on this design, consider adding
a second hole near the top of the
barrel for attaching an overflow
hose ( like the barrel pictured
above). You can also add a second
 hole to the bottom and use a
 hose to attach a second barrel
 if you find you need to expand
 your collection system.

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