Sunday, September 04, 2011

950L water 'tank' for $50+ fittings (updated with full costing)

Here's our 'water tanks'. The olive barrels were sourced through J (*thankyou J for organising the barrel co-op!*). They're food grade, come with great seals and lids. They're 190 litres each and being stacked down the side of an otherwise fairly unused area of the house, they won't get a lot of traffic (except when the mandarine trees fruit!). The shade cloth you can see is to keep the summer sun out of the windows but when the mandarines are taller they will take care of that too. Anyway, to the barrels...

In progress... almost done... Just under 1000 litres capacity. Just need to tidy up around them now!

Now completely DONE (see next pic)
with taps on the ends and lids on the barrels. Debate is on whether to put a breather hole in the top of the lids but I think if they're not screwed on super tight, should be ok.

My thoughts initially were to use one barrel for SR flour, one for plain etc but I've decded to go with using them as rainwater tanks and find an option that's a little more 'easy access' for the bulk foodstuffs. Here's the almost finished project. It has just the finishing bits to do but we're already catching what falls from the sky. yay!

This house before we came was the victim of some interesting DIY work. Add to that the patio that good money was paid for was... questionable. The metal uprights go right into the ground so need replacing/stumping as they are rusting. The roof is FLAT so there is no run and on heavy rains the water runs back into the house because the downpipes are narrower than the gutters. Go figure. A short term solution was to 'open' the end of the gutter to at least allow the water OUT rather than back into the roof, since it was struggling with heavy flow to get down the downpipes.

see the size of the small downpipe in relation to the gutter

Nothing in the hoiuse, including the patio and downpipes is 'standard'. Which means when I started gathering things and working out plans for the water tank barrels, anything you could purchase retail in terms of fittings, would need to be modified. choice. not.

So I did some reasearch and came across several good sites, especially Deep Green Permaculture's and Coffee Grounds to Ground - it's really great when other people who've already been there take the time to share their setup, what worked, problems etc, so thanks to those who do!

I put together to a simple plan of joining the barrels, tap and overflow and worked out what I'd need and off to the hardware I went. As I soon found out, with the non-standard downpipes nothing was going to be 'simple'. I refined my ideas and shared them with Michael (my husband). I was determined to get the tanks done (inbetween toddler requests for 'summing to eat', school runs, baking, house/UNI/kids and all the usuals) before the rains disappeared and the heat of summer set in.

Along the way the 'let's get things done' bug took hold of Michael and the project became his and I his 'as needed' assistant. He came up with 'a few less holes to drill in the barrels' setup than the one I had thought of, and to be quite honest, got things done a lot faster than I would have. We were trying to be as budget-minded as possible in setting this up but with the amount of modifications required to the existing downpipe setup (which I was sure I took a pic of but apparently not), it was easier, simpler and less brain-fusing to replace the prior metal downpipes that had issues, with this:

rather than mess around with modification upon modification, for what was already inefficient.
So Michael replaced the non-standard metal downpipe with standard PVC that matched the usual fittings you can find at the hardwear shop. We still need to fix the 'open ended' munted metal gutter/downpipe opening at the top. For now though, the water goes in the barrels which is what we're after.

'Decibel tester' - who after putting his mouth to the 'T-piece' and 'do do do do oooooo!'
and various other noises proclaimed 'it's very noisy in those barrels Dad!'

here's a closeup of the 'T-piece' in the barrel, and the pipe going left and right to join it to the 'T-piece' at the next barrel

looking along the line from the 'T-piece' to show the pipe, then isolater 'tap' (green and black) then the pipe continuing to the next 'T-piece' at the next barrel. This is how the barrels are joined together.

A note on the leaf filter/rain water diverter. We initially weren't going to buy one but make one. With all the other 'mods' that our initial setup plan was going to require, it was going to be a longer process. Murphy's Law was telling me that if we took too long the rains would go on strike, plus I really wanted to get it up and running.

The angle of the grill on the leaf filter/diverter means that larger items get 'bounced' or blow/flushed off when the water comes down.

Problem being that the unit as it's purchased, has only a few small plastic 'teeth' at the bottom to hold the grill in, but nothing at the top. Michael put a screw in at the top (not pictured but at the top of the grill) and now the grill rests a little more securely between the screw at the top and the teeth at the bottom.

The idea is very simple and effective and with an adaptor, fits into the PVC (which would not fit on our original downpipe anyway).

the adaptor that goes between the leaf filter/diverter and the PVC 'downpipe'

A bonus of using the barrels rather than a fullsize standard rainwater 'tank' (for what we need it for anyway) is with the taps, we can isolate any barrel should it need replacing (something falls on it in a storm or whatever) and due to their size and opening on the top they're quite easy to clean. Also, they're not one large complete unit so it's no problem to work around corners, irregular walls etc.

The stands the barrels are sitting on are bolted to the wall so they're not going anywhere.

I'll be back to put in a full costing of the project but basically the barrels themselves were $10 each, so $50 for five. That gives us 190litres per barrel x 5 so 950 litres total for $50 + fittings and time. Oh and I had a $20 gift voucher that I was able to use too, so that worked out well :)

5 x $10 for barrels = $50
6 x 5.69 for taps = $34.15
1 x 6m of PVC = $13.85 (plenty left over for the next project)
1 x length black retic pipe = $7.80 (tbc)
5 x T-piece elbows = $5.42
1 x pumblers pipe stuff (green) for the PVC = $5.97
1 x silicone (fish pond safe) =
1 x leaf filter and diverter = $28 (tb confirmed)
1 x filter/mesh lid = $14 (tbc)
1 x pk4 'saddle clips' for PVC pipe (to anchor to wall) $7.54
1 x PVC elbow $1.68
1 x PVC threaded cap (lid for bottom of the 'first flush') $3.80
1 x PVC adapter (from leaf catcher/diverter to the poly down pipe) = $2.50

TOTAL Price $174.71 (minus the $20 voucher it was $154.71 for us)
TOTAL Capacity 950 litres

The 'stands', bricks, brackets for fixing to the wall and screws etc we already had.
Not a bad option really and still far less than a retail rainwater tank and we were able to have the satisfaction of doing it ourselves... and watching the barrels fill up!

eta finally found another link that I knew was somewhere 'close by' - anyway it's this - a double array. Pretty impressive.


Lola said...

Well a very economical and practical way to store your rainwater, it looks good and practical for a small unused space down the side of the house. Great job!! Good design and good for the environment.

Anonymous said...

You guys did a fantastic job with it. Well done!

Melinda said...

That looks brilliant Kristy. I'm loving see what you're doing to your house, I miss seeing you on NC!

Anonymous said...

Hi, I just showed Kandy, and she was super impressed! Kandy just got a 870L rainwater tank installed and it cost her around $1000, admittedly, Kandy said she did no work towards it, the man who installed it did everything, but she considers it well worth her money! Andrea M

Kristie said...

Amazing job!!!

Kristie said...

Amazing job!!!!

Lani at Edible Urban Garden said...

I'm speechlessly impressed (well clearly not completely speechless). Have loved reading through your posts...great to find your blog.

Kristy said...

Thanks all :)

As of last night, with just one shower and then one afternoon of rain, they're all pretty much full. It's got me thinking about the next installation now lol

Melinda - I pop in only now and then to NC. I do 'miss' being in there but it's just a matter of time and not procrastinating as much as I would otherwise iykwim.

Hi Lani - I've recently found your blog too. Blogging is a great way to share ideas and what works. Looking forward to seeing what comes up on yours :)

Miss Cinders said...

Well done Kristy! I showed Husband your little setup, which of course got his brain ticking over lol

Richelle Loughney said...

I so agree with Lola! Installing these water barrels will definitely save you from the hazard of high water bills while helping nature conserve its assets. Kudos to you guys for doing such a wonderful and successful job! =)

Kristy said...

I'll pass on your compliments to the Husband who did all the work. thankyou!

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