Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Installing overflow rain barrel #1

I got some new rain barrels the other day.  Most of my previous barrels have been installed directly under downspouts.  These new barrels aren't going under downspouts so installing them will be a little more complicated.  They will be filled when the other barrels overflow.  Therefore I am calling them my overflow barrels.

I started by testing my short terra cotta barrel.  I wanted to make sure that the float valve I installed worked and allowed the water to flow.  I didn't fill the barrel all the way up to make sure it would shut off.  I would just have to drain it again, and I didn't have the patience for that.
The float valve worked.  By that I mean that it allowed the water to flow into the barrel.  But, it is very very slow.  I can't move water real fast with just gravity and 1/2" irrigation tubing.  Adding this float valve slowed it down even more.  I'm not happy about that, but what can I do?  I'm getting the water for free.  I'm just grateful that the float valve didn't restrict the water to the point that it wouldn't flow at all.

Close-up picture of the conduit locknut on the hose bib.
I bought this short terra cotta barrel for a specific reason.  It'll fit under my deck.  The black barrels are too tall to go under there.  Once the barrel is under there I want to minimize the need to mess with it in the future.  I had a problem with yellow pollen causing my rain barrels to stink last April.  I'm hoping that installing a filter on this barrel will help to keep the pollen out.  I don't know if it'll work or not, but I figure it's worth a try. 
I got this filter from Amazon.
Below is a picture of the filter installed on the float valve.  The float valve, filter, and barbed fitting all use 1/2" pipe threads.  I doubt that the filter will help the flow rate, but like I said above, "What can you do..."
Here's the barrel positioned under my deck.  I attached the drip irrigation line from the three barrels in my front yard to the barbed fitting. 
Here are the three barrels at the front corner of my house.
Only the first barrel is positioned under the downspout.  It's connected to the other two barrels so they all fill at the same time.  Below is the 3-way valve on the third barrel. The first valve is attached to the other two barrels.  The second valve is attached to irrigation tubing that runs to the barrel at the other front corner of my house (see below).  The third valve is what connects to the overflow barrel under my deck. 
Just to be totally thorough, here's a picture of the barrel by the other corner on the front of my house. 
This is the barrel that that feeds the drip irrigation for my raised beds.  Lucky for me there's a drainage gap in the driveway.  The irrigation tubing fits in there nicely so I don't have to worry about driving over it.
I've been trying to give plenty of detail about how I've connected and use my rain barrels.  I've gotten distracted and haven't mentioned how well the overflow barrel under the deck worked.  Well, it rained quite a bit last night.  When I went out and checked this morning, the overflow barrel was full.  I have the lid on it, so I couldn't stick my hand in or see the water, but I could tell by the weight that it was full.  It rained most of the day too.  When I got home from work all of my other barrels were full as well.  The float valve must be working. 

I'm happy with the results.  Now I'm left wonder how many more barrels can I fit under my deck?  Hmm...


  1. It looks nice under the deck! Where'd you find the new barrel?

    1. Craigslist. The guy is local. I have his number if you need it.