Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to Build a Rain Barrel

From the Jacksonville Daily News

How to build a rain barrel:
  • One 50-55 gallon plastic container or drum with lid
  • Brass faucet- spigot with Teflon tape
  • Bulk head fitting with two washers
  • Overflow pipe – 2 plastic elbows that can be pressure fitted together — one for the inside and one for the outside of the barrel
  • Vent screen for screened water inlet or fiberglass window screen material or mosquito netting or use a 4 inch atrium grate used in garden ponds and pool skimmers
  • Diverter from gutter to barrel
  • Pipe wrench
  • Two blocks to elevate the barrel

  1. Cut lower drain hole: Measure about one inch above the bottom of the barrel and drill a hole through the barrel appropriate to the size of the faucet.
  2. Cut upper overflow hole: Mark the upper drain hole according to where you want the overflow to be located in relationship to the lower drain, and use a saw to cut out the overflow hole.
  3. Cut a hole in the lid appropriate for the size of the vent screen or 4 inches in diameter for the atrium grate or to cover with screening material.
  4. Install the filter in the lid.
  5. Install the bulk head fitting in the bottom of the barrel using two washers, one for the inside and one for the outside of the barrel. Yes, someone has to crawl inside the barrel. Tighten with pipe wrench.
  6. Apply Teflon tape to the faucet and screw the faucet into the bulk head using the pipe wrench.
  7. Install the overflow pipe to the top of the barrel— the outside pipe should be pointing down and the inside pipe should point up to give more volume
  8. Place the barrel — Water weights 8 pounds per gallon so place the barrel on a firm level surface and elevate the barrel on the two blocks so the faucet is operable.
  9. Modify the downspout to make a diverter to the rain barrel: Add a downspout section that is custom cut to an appropriate height above the rain barrel. An s-shaped elbow can be added to avoid splashing. Downspout should sit about two inches above the rain barrel inlet hole. Flexible corrugated plastic pipe can be used when using an atrium basket inlet design.

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