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Mon Nov 26, 2012, 11:47 AM

My rainwater collection system in prototype:

Last edited Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:32 AM - Edit history (1)

Last summer I put together a prototype of a rainwater collection system for our garden. I put the rain gutters on an old shed & lean-to because that was the building closest to the garden. Because I didn't want to be carrying the water around in buckets, I built a little water tower to give me enough pressure to use a hose.

I fill the water tower with a little 12-volt pump designed for use in RV's. The pump runs off a 12 volt marine battery that is in turn charged by a 15 watt solar panel. I just use a garden hose with the pump in line to fill the tower. It only pumps a couple of gallons per minute, so it can take a half hour to fill the water tower, but since I only need to fill the tower 1 or 2 times a week, even in a drought, this is no problem. I made sure I got a pump that will not be damaged if I should happen to let it run dry for a little while.

The system is now in winter mode, drained and with the tanks covered. A friend told me that the plastic in tanks like that big cube is light-sensitive & deteriorates if exposed to too much sunlight, so I will probably build a plywood shell over it in the spring. It's currently under a tarp.

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The water tower near the end of construction



The water collection tanks. The square one is about 275 gallons & plumbed in series with the 55 gal. drum. There is an overflow tube out of the top bunghole of the drum.


The pump & battery. The battery is in a marine battery case.



This is the Amazon pic of the solar panel & converter. I have it but the end of the growing season came before I got it installed, so I have no original pics of it.

http://www.amazon.com/Sunforce-50033-15-Watt-Solar-Charging/dp/B001RJOP5Y/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1353945874&sr=8-2&keywords=solar+panels

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Arrow 5 replies Author Time Post
Reply My rainwater collection system in prototype: (Original post)
Jackpine Radical Nov 2012 OP
LiberalEsto Nov 2012 #1
Kaleva Nov 2012 #2
ConcernedCanuk Feb 2013 #3
ConcernedCanuk Feb 2013 #4
Jackpine Radical Feb 2013 #5

Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Nov 26, 2012, 12:44 PM

1. Very nice!

And it's true the barrels deteriorate in sunlight.
I found out the hard way.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Tue Nov 27, 2012, 01:23 AM

2. Interesting! Thanks for posting that.

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:05 AM

3. I use the least powerful sump-pump I can get for the same purpose.

 

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1/3 hp sump pump uses around 350 watts, so I use a 400 watt inverter on my 12v vehicle battery and will fill a 60 gal tank in less than 3 minutes

that particular pump can lift 25 ft and was only $50

Battery hardly knows it even got used.

and the nice think about a tower system like that,

ya don't have to turn the water off at the tank and worry about the hoses bursting in the sun

ya get 1 pound of pressure for each 3 feet of elevation, and so the pressure will be the greatest when the tank is full

on another water issue, I live without an unlimited supply

shaving

I use an old toothbrush to clean out the blades between attacks on my face

saves a lot of water

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Response to Jackpine Radical (Original post)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 04:12 AM

4. Just checked out the solar panel link

 

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they just had THREE of those panels with controller as a package on sale up here for $99 with 5 year warranty at Canadian Tire

yup 45 watts

I have three older panels, same thing though, 15 by 3 watts

mounted in a frame I made on an old office chair to spin as I follow the sun.

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Response to ConcernedCanuk (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 18, 2013, 09:19 AM

5. Yup--This fall they had a pretty good bargain on them at

Hazard Fraught Tools--I mean, Harbor Freight Tools. 3 x 15 for $129 or so. I didn't get around to buying any before they went off sale.

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