rain barrel (collecting rain water)

Discussion in 'Outdoor Gardening in the Pacific Northwest' started by Georgia Strait, Aug 5, 2015.

  1. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    I have been meaning to ask this for a while - which rain barrel product do you recommend - that is easily available in Greater Vancouver BC?

    I realize that one of the risks of collecting and letting water stand is the mosquitoes - so that is a factor in my decision process.

    I know that just today I was able to collect many liters (gallons) of water in a short time in some old canning tubs - but I would like a more formal process that can work if I'm not at home when the downpour occurs.

    I see quite a few at Cdn Tire, for example.
    thank you.
     
  2. TheScarletPrince

    TheScarletPrince Member

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    There seems to be plenty of different setups. From my quick search it seems that a lot of the setups use the gutters that are already on most houses (I personally would set it up a different way, though).
    http://www.bing.com/search?q=rain+collection+barrel+setup&form=MOZSBR
    As for recommending a product? Unknown. Depends on how high of standards you have. I don't like using plastic because it leeches into the contained liquids. Could go old fashioned and use a wooden water tower? Depends on your resources/budget/work zone/etc. What are your factors? How big do you want it? How much water do you want to store? etc.
     
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    oh a water tower - i have always wanted one at my ranch property (off-grid, remote, etc) on the desert side of the coastal mountain ranges (Kelowna BC) ... we do have a well (very deep, almost 300 feet drilled) - that we fire up a gen-set for - and pump to fill 400 gallon tank (now tell a city folk that - and they might start conserving water, not washing driveways and decks) etc. It is amazing how we can make that pumped water last.

    my former neighbour always poured a bit of salad oil (like wesson) on the top of the rain barrel water level - and this apparently discourages the mosquito larvae.

    and I thank you for pointing out about plastic barrels leaching in to the water - yes - we are lucky to have an organic farm nearby for our greens - and then I use kitchen grey water (carefully) on my shrubs etc - I buy a certain brand of dish soap (something that claims to be "eco") - then our washing machine etc in this reno house are all HE. We are as low impact as possible. My car is grubby and dusty - but that's the new "cool" in our drought-stricken province here in BC!
     
  4. TheScarletPrince

    TheScarletPrince Member

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    Yeah, you're welcome. We have a tank too as our well apparently wasn't drilled deep enough but our neighbors hits water so we use it to store.
    As for soaps, we use Dr.Bronner's Castille Hemp soap and it is concentrated which helps for bulk applications. It is Organic and fair trade and comes in a variety of scents and product lines. Very useful, check it out. I prefer lavender (for stress relief), but they are all nice.
    Coconut oil would probably be better to use than "salad oil" (I suppose you mean olive oil?). Interesting little tip, thanks for the heads up. Another thing you can consider is simply applying Citronella extract essential oil on the tank itself which would keep 'Squito's at bay (11ft, reapply after rains). You can find some at Thrive Market for a good price! http://thrv.me/DFL25 (25% off first order, $25 for inviting people and great discounts on awesome products! Highly Recommend)
    Another thing to keep in mind, if you do go the wooden tank/water tower/etc route, is that you don't want to use treated wood as what they apply is toxic and runs off/can contaminate.
     
  5. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    Check with the City of Vancouver transfer station on Kent Ave - I know several years ago we were able to buy a couple there at a special "resident" price; you just have to show proof that you live in Vancouver (driver's licence will do).

    Can't remember how many gallons they hold but they were a half barrel - "D" shape - so that the flat side could be flush with the wall of the house. I believe about 5ft high, fully enclosed except for a small opening at the top with two outlets - one about half way up the barrel and the other at the bottom - and an overflow outlet so that excess water can be drained back into your drainage system.
     
  6. TheScarletPrince

    TheScarletPrince Member

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    If it was a normal 50gal drum barrel (and only half of it is left) it should be 25 gallons then.
     
  7. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    Not a "normal" drum barrel and much more than 25 or even 50 gallons.....I believe about 3ft wide x 2ft (at its deepest point) by 5ft high - you need a truck or larger vehicle to transport.
     

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  8. TheScarletPrince

    TheScarletPrince Member

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    "3 feet * 2 feet * 5 feet = 186.864982 Imperial gallons"
    Does that sound about right? Anyway, I assume the original poster needs more water than that. We have a 3k gallon tank on our property.
     
  9. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Generous Contributor

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    QUESTION - winter freezing?
    does the Vancouver BC rain barrel freeze?
    does it crack the plastic container?
    precautions?

    our house is fairly new and very well insulated - so it's not likely to be gaining heat from being beside the house wall.

    thank you.
     
  10. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    If Georgia Strait is looking for one available within Vancouver, I am assuming it is for his home, and you won't find one much bigger in the city.....
    But if you want something bigger for a farm/ranch, I would recommend checking out Buckerfields out in the valley........
     
  11. pmurphy

    pmurphy Contributor

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    We've had the one for about 5-6 years now and had no issues at all (and at that time they were going for $75) - they are/were provided by the city to residents and are not your "normal" retail product; thick heavy duty plastic.

    But we do make sure we drain it before the cold weather arrives. We also have a small 50gal decorative rain barrel we bought at RC Super Store during one of their seasonal clearance sales a few years back and although it is definitely thinner, we've had no problems with cracking etc. (it is also drained in late fall).

    Rain barrels are designed to take varying weather conditions but draining will make sure they aren't damaged by freezes/expanding ice.

    You can also check out Lee Valley but I believe they carry the smaller 50gal sizes only, like the ones you'll find in Canadian Tire etc.
     
  12. Pieter

    Pieter Active Member 10 Years

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    We live in Richmond and have purchased 4 rain barrels over the years from the Richmond City Works Yard.. They are re-purposed food grade plastic barrels, about 55 gallons. We have a pair on the north and south side of the house and I must admit I do not recall exactly how long we've had them, I figure 10+ years. We've never worried about the barrels freezing, just made sure we disconnected them in the rainy season and hook 'em back up in February or so. We use them for hand watering our pots in the back yard and have certainly run out of water this year, but even with the barrels empty the little rainfall we've had the past month has resulted in the barrels filling up again.

    Pieter
     
  13. Margaret

    Margaret Active Member 10 Years

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    I bought a couple of barrels from one of the local micro breweries. They were used for caustic soda but were well cleaned out. The lids already had a smallish filling hole on the them and of course you would need a tap on the bottom. We have not installed them yet but my thought is that we would need to put a small hole covered with insect proof material to allow air to escape as they filled. There are lots of utube videos with ideas about to collect water and link the holders together. We have a lot of roof area so plan to install at least 6.

    Have had about 12 hours steady rain so far yesterday and today and the lightening does not appear to have ignited any fires. Level 4 water restriction are in effect and now we are being told by the health people that grey water can be unsafe to use and that it may also be an offense under the sewage act to use it.

    Hope your plants on the Coast are surviving.
     

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