Installing rain barrels

My tagline is “City-fied Self-Sufficiency”, and one of the necessities of life is water. If you don’t have alternative access to water, and your service is interrupted for some reason, then things could get pretty desperate for you rather quickly.

Now, you can’t just gather a bunch of water from your roof and go drinking it. Well, I suppose you could, but it wouldn’t be very wise. That water has been on your roof… you know, along with the birds and squirrels. You drink the water straight, and you could end up with some really fun illness.

The main use for collected roof water would be the garden, and that’s how we plan to use it. However, in an emergency, the roof water could be distilled, or put through a ceramic water filter to make it suitable for drinking.

Our city had a community sale of rain barrels and compost bins, and we decided to take advantage of it. So we stood in line for a good while, in the hot sun, for the chance to buy four rain barrels and two compost bins.

Four rain barrels and two compost bins wait to be installed.

You may recall that I posted about making your own compost bin. Yes, it works, and yes, I’m using it. It’s also full, and I need more compost space. Shay could build more, but we thought we’d try these bins as a quick, cheaper way to greatly increase our compost capacity.

Shay and my uncle finally got a weekend that was not scorching hot, and decided to install the rain barrels. Shay went out and bought some lengths of gutter, gutter clips, and some spray paint that matched the gutters we have.  He and my uncle placed the barrels, and then Shay carefully rerouted the gutters to the barrels.

One gutter now snakes along the wall to get to the rain barrels, while missing a window.

Shay cut and bent the end of the gutter to help force the water down if it should flow very quickly. Here, you see a steady trickle of rainwater, in spite of the fact that the rain was long over, and it was just sprinkling. The mesh screen in the lid of the barrel has caught some leaves and other tree stuff. The mesh also keeps mosquitoes out.

Two of the rain barrels, sitting in the sprinkling rain. Once the first barrel (on the right) fills up, the water flows through a short connecting hose to the other barrel. Once that is full, there is an overflow hose at left that will discharge the excess water into the yard.

The other gutter swings around and into the carport.

The gutter enters the carport, turns, and abruptly ends above a rain barrel. The second barrel has an overflow that leads right back out through this space into the back yard.

Bicycles temporarily block the rain barrels (which, thankfully, don't need attention at the moment). We were having a rash of car break-ins, and I was concerned that the bikes would be way too easy a target.

A few days ago, we had a severe weather system move through here.  The two barrels outside cover more roof area, and are full to overflowing already.  The two under shelter in the carport are almost full, as well.  So now I will start using this water in the garden.

It’s amazing how dirty roof water is.  All that dust and pollen gives you brown water.  If we ever have to drink this water, it will need good filtering, to be sure!

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