Monday, July 26, 2010

Home Project: Rain Barrel

I have been wanting to get a rain barrel for my yard for quite a while now because I use a LOT of water on my plants and garden. For my indoor plants I keep a couple of 2.5 gallon plastic water containers in my kitchen. I usually go through at least one a week and I like to fill the containers and let them sit overnight to let the chlorine and flourine dissipate. I had heard that is healthier for the plants and seem to have good luck with it. I also knew that it would help cut down on my water bill and I had not only one good spot to put it but two. So with that in mind I started my search for the "perfect" barrel. Unfortunately, I ended up quite disappointed. I wanted not only a nice looking barrel but also a reasonably priced barrel. Most were $100 and up for a 50 to 55 gallon barrel and the ones that were under $100 were usually only 20 to 30 gallons. Of course, I wanted a bigger barrel. After much internet research I finally decided to make my own. YouTube has a bunch of how-to's on rain barrel making and I combined instructions from several to come up with my own. I did learn that it is better to have barrels made of food grade plastic so they don't leach chemicals into the water and that it is especially critical if you are using the water for a vegetable garden. Initally I had a hard time finding a used food grade barrel. All I could find were companies selling new food grade barrels and at $70 a pop I knew this wasn't going to save me much money. I had heard that you could get used food barrels for nothing or next to nothing but couldn't figure out where. Thanks to my husbands sleuthing abilities he found a local company that recycles these kinds of barrels and off we went to get my barrel. A couple of trips to the hardware store and to the home and garden center and I now have a rain barrel that cost me less than $40. Here are photos of the project...

tools and supplies: tin snips, silicone, hacksaw, drill, 1" circle cutter drill bit, screen, duct tape, spicket/faucet, o-rings, expandable water diverter
not shown: RotoZip and bit, pvc elbow joint, pvc threaded collar, 3 8"x 8" cement blocks, zip tie

recycled/ upcycled food grade barrel

Drill 1" hole, centered on the 2" mark.

Screw in 3/4" faucet with o-ring.

Seal faucet with silicone.

Cut hole in top of barrel for water to enter.

Make it bigger than your downspout so when it rains heavy it will go into the barrel and not splash out.

Drill 1" hole for over-flow and screw a threaded pvc collar with o-ring from the inside. Can add the optional elbow joint at this point if you want or not. (If you are going to chain more that one barrel together don't use the elbow.) Place a small piece of screen over the collar on the inside and secure with a zip tie so mosquitoes can't get into the barrel.
***NOTE*** If you get a closed lid barrel like I did (closed lid = attached lid), make sure you drill down far enough otherwise the plastic is too thick and you won't be able to add your over-flow spout. You can see where I had to drill two times before I was able to drill through on the third try.

Cut a piece of screen bigger than the hole and duct tape in place. If you have an open lid barrel (open lid = removable lid) then you can silicone the screen in place.

Add three 8"x 8" cement blocks to raise barrel off the ground.

Cut downspout, add water diverter and secure with strap.

One of the major problems that I had was with the closed lid. I wasn't able to put a collar on the faucet because I couldn't reach into the barrel that far. I also had trouble adding the overflow spout and screen for the same reasons. so next time I will get an open lid barrel to resolve these issues. Also there isn't enough water pressure to use a hose on the faucet. I'm not sure if it is just the length of hose of if that wouldn't matter. My guess is that it wouldn't matter.

Since I have made the barrel it has rained like crazy and other than the issues stated above, everything works great!

If you want to make one yourself I would suggest going to YouTube and doing a search for rain barrels. There are many different ways of making them and it just depends on your situation which way will work the best for you.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New "I Bake Therefore I Run" Designs

It's hard to believe but it's already been a year since I designed the first set of "I bake therefore I run" designs and posted them here. There have been a few more that I've wanted create but haven't had time to work on them until now.

Here are the next two in the series:

Pumpkin Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookies

They are now available in my Cafe Press shop on t's, hoodies and tanks.

***NOTE***Google "Cafe Press promo codes", "Cafe Press discount code", "Cafe Press coupons", or other similar and you can find some good codes for discounts on shipping and products!