Sunday, June 19, 2011

Catching Roof Rain Continued

That tank is not for water. It's propane. So where's the tank? You'll have to read on to find out.

We're so excited. This week we finished our system for catching roof rain. Several weeks ago we placed 2 water tanks, each holding 350 gallons, under our deck, but we had to wait to connect them to our gutters. We were waiting for my vacation when my parents would come to spend the week with us. Well, they came and with their help, we got the job done!

There are several spoilers to watch out for when building a large scale rain catching system like this. Take algae for example; your barrel water must not be exposed to light. To handle this we put ours under the deck where it's dark. Another issue is bugs, especially mosquitoes. Where hundreds of gallons of water are concerned, every seam and every connection has to be sealed tight. It's also important to instal a screen to keep those nasty bugs from coming in through the downspouts. Another spoiler is rain gutter debris. We're all well aware of the debris that fills our gutters; the trick is to keep it from reaching the tank. We built gravity traps to catch the debris on its way down. Finally, there is the matter of overflow. Even with a 700 gallon system, around here it will only take a few good storms to fill those tanks. The overflowing water needs a place to go.

Tuesday Morning we drafted a plan and picked up supplies.

This is the right side of the house for one tank. We did the same thing on the left side for the second tank. Both tanks sit side by side under the deck in the middle of the house. The angled pipe leads under the deck stairs to the water tank below.
From the above picture the line runs through the stairs into the tank.
On the left side of the house, the line runs from the down spout diagonally across the wall to the tank (not pictured) under the deck in the middle of the house.
Here you see the line on the left side of the house as it leads into the tank under the deck.
From underneath the deck, both lines leading into the tanks.
Your looking at the debris trap now. It's the vertical pipe that runs down toward the ground. As water fills the trap, gravity will pull the debris down. When the water reaches the T above it, it should flow, debris free, along a the angled line into the tank. We've attached a simple hand-screw cap to the bottom of the trap for easy removal of debris.
This is the overflow system.

When the tanks fill up the water will run out onto the ground below.
Here's a picture of the deck all closed up. Those unsightly tanks are hidden from the neighbors and the light. Do you see the tiny garden hose hook-up coming out of the wall there? We're hoping it gets much less use this summer! Unfortunately we missed the rainy season. Hopefully there's a few storms left!
Thanks dad and mom for such a wonderful vacation week. You're the best! And if you look closely at the picture you'll see our second project that we finished this weekend. Nice work dad. Thank you!


  1. Hey this is pretty darn nifty! You guys really did a great job and I am going to bookmark this one for my husband!

    So, you hung your Christmas lights? ;) No, no, that's the mood lighting for the deck. Bed looks great!!!

  2. Thank your for this fantastic idea. I am planning to install water tank in my parents home and garden. Firstly I have to convince them.

  3. Wow that was a lot of work! I bet you cant wait for rain. But if your area is like mine, rain is a thing of the past ;) Looks great!

  4. Hi Apple Pie Gal, thanks for stopping by. I hope you're able to put some kind of system together too. I can't wait for rain.

    Hi Malay-Kadazan, maybe you can convince your parents from an economical perspective. Our system will save us hundreds of dollars a year. For all the wonderful gardening you do, I bet they would save a bunch of money too.

    Hi Jane, you're right. I can't wait wait for rain. I've always appreciated the rain for the garden, but now I have a new kind appreciation for it. Believe it or not, it's supposed to rain today! Bring on the water!

  5. Yes. I think at first we have to invest on its set up but it will save a lot of many.

  6. That looked like a lot of work to me..Once it gets going it should work out. We need some rain here something awful...the weather always looks promising and then Nothing !

  7. Hi Ginny, it was a lot of work, but worth it I hope. We have collected about 60 gallons of water so far. It seems to be doing its job. But like you, we need more rain!

  8. i am thankful for being a part of all this

  9. I'm thankful too dad. Thanks for saying so!

  10. don't forget that you have an invention to verify...

  11. Yes I verified it today. It rained 3 inches last night and both barrels are filled to the brim, 600+ gallons of water in one storm! Amazing!