No Gutters On Your House – Create a “Drain Barrel” (Rainwater Collection System)

Picture of Gutterless Rain Barrel - DIY
DIY rainwater collection system
make your own rain collection system
water containers
drain  barrel steps
This is a great idea for capturing rainwater for your home, garden or even at your bugout location. It comes in handy in places where you may not be able to tap a well or water source directly.
I wanted to share instructions on how to build a “drain barrel” for those of you who may not have gutters on your house.  This project is most useful for those of us who have a clearly-defined gouge in our wood chips where the water pours off the roof.

Step 1:

Step 1 to build your own rainwater collection system
Purchase three cedar decking boards and screw them together in the shape of a trough. Seal all joined edges with a clear silicone caulk.

Step 2:

Step 2 to build your own rainwater collection system
Obtain containers in which the capture the rainwater; it would be best to find containers with about a 2″ opening.

Step 3:

Step 3 to build your own rainwater collection system
Line up the containers and measure the distance between the center of the containers’ openings. Leave about 1/2″ per container for expansion.  Measure the diameter of the container’s opening and use a hole saw (attached to the drill) to make holes in the trough.

Step 4:

Step 4 to build your own rainwater collection system
Purchase a 10′ length of PVC pipe. It should be slightly less in diameter than your hole. Count the number of holes and divide evenly. Cut the PVC into equal lengths.  Purchase a narrowing PVC conduit to glue to the top of your pipes.  Drill two holes in the widest part of the conduit and use a miter saw to remove the material between the holes. This will make a slit to help drain the water into the pipe and ultimately into your container.

Step 5:

Step 5 to build your own rainwater collection system
Construct some simple “feet” to attach to the ends of the trough. If you drill a hole in the middle of the end of the trough, you will be able to swivel the trough up-side-down on the lag bolt to prevent snow from weighing the trough down during the winter.  Dig a hole on both ends for the “feet”, level the trough, and add concrete to prevent the structure from moving during a hard rain.

Step 6:

Step 6 to build your own rainwater collection system
Rake the area under the trough so that you can remove the containers easily. Insert the PVC pipe, and add metal menders if you like to ensure the container’s slit stays level with the trough. When it rains, the water will be directed from the trough, into the PVC pipe and then into your container.  When the container is full, lift the PVC pipe out of the mouth of the container, remove the container, and water your plants.  When the container is empty, put it back under the trough and slip the PVC pipe back down into the mouth of the container.  If you like, you can purchase a rain barrel with which to pour the full containers.

 

How To Build Your Own Heavy Duty 275 Gallon RAIN BARREL

Picture of Heavy Duty 275 Gallon RAIN BARREL
My wife asked for a rain barrel for her flowers. Our water bill has added up again and again, so I started checking craigslist for possiblities. As luck would have it, I found a polytank that was original used for similac baby food storage. That was great, since I didn’t want to worry about chemicals in the tank killing the plants and garden. The seller offered to deliver for the $35 purchase price. Great deal!!

Step 1:

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The first thing I did was to go to the hardware store and get connections so I could hook up my downspouts. I found black plastic tubing that was cheap and useful.

Step 2:

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The shower drain is on the left along with the coupling to attach it to the black gutter pipe I got at the store. As you can see the pipe in the background has a square opening, meant to receive the end of a normal downspout from the house.

Step 3:

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I couldn’t find a really good connection for the plastic. Most plumbing is meant to be screwed down and wouldn’t work. So, I used 3″ shower pan drain. It was a oversize screw type and I drilled a 3 1/8 hole, slipped the connection in and screwed on the retaining cap. Then I connected the downspout. The sizes were not the same, so I used a rubber connection meant for odd sized pipes. I used metal straps to hold both connections. And as a bonus, the shower drain cover acts as a large item filter for the tank.

Step 4:

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I realized I needed a overflow for the water, just in case I filled the tank. (Which has happened twice in the last month!) So I added a second connection that simply goes to the other side and drains into the low ridge between my house and the neighbors, which leads to a sewer drain. So the final product is not the prettiest thing in the world, but it works great and helps to save me a little cash. All parts including the cinder blocks to support the tank were under $100. The tank is up a little to provide some water pressure for the hose. And actually, I may add two more blocks or a water pump soon, because the water pressure is still a little low.
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