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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I don't post here much, and I haven't posted in a very long time. I usually just come on and absorb all the great info. So, thank you to everyone. I thought I'd share with you my rain water collection system. I'm still working on it, and I need some ideas/advice before I can continue. I'll post what I've done step by step.

Here is my original design, As you'll see in the pics below, I deviated from it a bit at the top of the system.
 

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I've seen ones where instead of having a tennis ball like you have it just goes to a very small opening. This allows it to fill up during regular rain fall and then go to the elbows and down to the tank, and also once it stops raining it empties itself over time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I gathered all the materials I would need (most of them anyway.)


I started by removing the downspout from the house.



Next I measured the downspout I just took off and cut and joined pieces of 3" pipe to match, minus the length of the top part of the system, which will be pictured next.

This is the top of the system. This is where I deviated from the original diagram, only because I couldn't find a 3" to 2" street elbow. The angled downspout from the gutter fits into the inverted reducer "funnel".


next I pressure fit everything together and test fit it.


Then I measured, cut and joined the 2" pipe and laid it all out together (the empty space between the 2 2" elbows will have a piece of pipe that I can't measure until I get it all together.)


After I checked, test fit, remeasured, checked again and test fit again, I started PVC cementing everything together.


So here is where I need advice. Obviously I want to connect this to the house just like a downspout for support. I would like to use the screw holes already there from the downspout brackets. But, I can screw brackets into the pipe or they would stop the ball from floating to the top. I thought about using liquid nails or gorilla glue to glue the brackets onto the pipe, but it's got to hold up a lot of weight (3" pipe, 15.5' tall full of water.) Do you think either would be strong enough? Does anyone have any other suggestions?

Also, I'm using a tennis ball because it's all I could find that fit inside the pipe. My original idea was a ball from a kids ball pit, but it was too big. I don't really like the tennis ball. Any other ideas?

I'll post more as I go. Thanks for looking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I've seen ones where instead of having a tennis ball like you have it just goes to a very small opening. This allows it to fill up during regular rain fall and then go to the elbows and down to the tank, and also once it stops raining it empties itself over time.
But then what stops all the crap that gets washed off the roof from spilling over into the pipe that goes into the tank? The purpose of the ball is to seal against the reducer, trapping the bird droppings, dust, pebbles, etc in the first pipe and only allow the clean water into the tank.
 

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Might look for a plastic ball that people play with there dog with. Or anything that is impermeable. Tennis balls tend to absorb water. As to hanging brackets you could buy unistrut from a electrical supply and make brackets for your pipe. Might also find some thing at plumbing supply house.
 

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Please forgive me because I'm ignorant of how the float is supposed to work. If I were to do this, I would simply route the down spout into the tank and have two outputs from the tank.

One near the top that leads to where you'd like the run-off water to go. That way when the tank is full, excess rain has a place to go.

The other near the bottom with a valve, so you can use the water in the tank.

That could lead to a pump if you need water pressure, or you could just use a hose for soaker-type irrigation or whatever.

But, I've never tried doing this, and I don't know what your goals are, so maybe the tennis ball idea is appropriate.

Unless the tennis ball has a hole in it, it will float even when the fur is soaked. Regarding stuff growing in the fur? I don't think it's much more likely than stuff growing on any surface in the system. That may or may not be a concern. I've never built one of these things.

Good luck.
 

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Ok, I looked at this more closely. You're planning to fill the entire down tube with water and divert once the tube is full. This will work with or without a ball in the tube, or a reducer. In my suggestion above, the tank doesn't need to have two outputs if one output is coming via a T in the down pipe above the tank. Once water gets to that point, it will be diverted from the tank.

Looks like the same idea. You chose to divert from the downtube. I suggested to divert from the top of the tank. Same thing. I like your idea better. Not sure about the tennis ball.
 

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Please forgive me because I'm ignorant of how the float is supposed to work. If I were to do this, I would simply route the down spout into the tank and have two outputs from the tank.

One near the top that leads to where you'd like the run-off water to go. That way when the tank is full, excess rain has a place to go.

The other near the bottom with a valve, so you can use the water in the tank.

That could lead to a pump if you need water pressure, or you could just use a hose for soaker-type irrigation or whatever.

But, I've never tried doing this, and I don't know what your goals are, so maybe the tennis ball idea is appropriate.

Unless the tennis ball has a hole in it, it will float even when the fur is soaked. Regarding stuff growing in the fur? I don't think it's much more likely than stuff growing on any surface in the system. That may or may not be a concern. I've never built one of these things.

Good luck.
The purpose for the ball is to bypass flow from the collection tube. The purpose of the collection tube is that the rain may have contaminates in it during the first few minutes. The tube collects these and than the pure rain is passed on to the tank. Without the ball shutoff you would push water down into the contaminated water and back it up into the clean water outflow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The purpose for the ball is to bypass flow from the collection tube. The purpose of the collection tube is that the rain may have contaminates in it during the first few minutes. The tube collects these and than the pure rain is passed on to the tank. Without the ball shutoff you would push water down into the contaminated water and back it up into the clean water outflow.
Yes, This is exactly right. Since the whole tube is going to be full of water (if somebody better at math than I am could figure out how many gallons a 3" diameter, 15.5' tube holds, I'd appreciate it) it's going to be very heavy, I don't think strapping it down tightly will be enough. I'm not even sure something like liquid nails on the bracket would be good enough.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So, If it's around 50lbs (weight of pipe included) maybe liquid nails or gorilla glue would work...

What I'm thinking is a bracket similar to a normal downspout bracket that goes around the front of the pipe, screws to the wall on either side and glued to the pipe on the sides and front. What do you think? (There'd be two of them, one up top and one near the bottom, same places the downspout brackets were.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
BTW, I just want to point out that this is not my design per se. I have watched countless youtube videos, read articles, instructables, ehows, and forum posts (both here and on other forums) and adapted little bits from a lot of them. I wish I could site them, but this is something I've been formulating in my head for a long time. It's only now coming to fruition because this 225 G tank fell into my lap for $20. So a special thank you to the members here who have posted their own system, and the people who commented on them, I have probably borrowed parts of yours for mine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey There,

Your system is very similar to the one i built last summer.... Very similar to yours... Same type of rain diverter, only I used a 20oz plastic pop bottle...

Good work so far...

http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t=124340
Yours is one that I heavily borrowed from, I remember seeing it last year. Question only because I'm too lazy to look right now, sorry. Are you useing 3" pipe with the 20 oz bottle inside? I'd test it out myself but I don't have one one me.
 

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To support the down pipe of dirty water can you continue the 3" pipe all the way to the ground and let the pipe support itself? Standing upright the 3" schedule 40 should be able to hold that weight no problem, it just needs a solid flat base to stand on.

I like this idea. I just wish I lived somewhere where there was enough rain to make this possible for me. I have had enough of this desert life, ugh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To support the down pipe of dirty water can you continue the 3" pipe all the way to the ground and let the pipe support itself? Standing upright the 3" schedule 40 should be able to hold that weight no problem, it just needs a solid flat base to stand on.

I like this idea. I just wish I lived somewhere where there was enough rain to make this possible for me. I have had enough of this desert life, ugh.
I thought about that, but decided having access to the inside was important. I may need to clean out the crap that accumulates in the pipe. Plus like I said, I'd like to change out the tennis ball when I find something better.

As far as living in the desert, I never have so please excuse my ignorance. I'd think this would be a good thing in the desert. You have to get some precipitation right? Why not trap and collect the little bit that you do get for later use?
 

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Having some sort of solid waste grating in place would eliminate pretty much all that in the first place, and then you just have the dirty water, which will continue to fall out the bottom of the downspout or diverter box.

Also, 'clean' water might be a misnomer if you're using PVC pipe and a translucent tank.


But then what stops all the crap that gets washed off the roof from spilling over into the pipe that goes into the tank? The purpose of the ball is to seal against the reducer, trapping the bird droppings, dust, pebbles, etc in the first pipe and only allow the clean water into the tank.
 
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