Collecting rainwater from downpipes with a wheeliebin

img_5193-1.JPGHere’s the finished product. (Click for full-sized view.) We’ll walk through each step of the way. But before we start we need to get some preliminaries out of the way.

  • Plan: how I decided to do it the way I did. You might need a plan too
  • Equipment: what I had to buy, and where we bought it
  • Tools : the tools I used and the ones I improvised
  • Time: how long it took the first time
  • Safety: where it can go wrong (and did)

The plan

I wanted to:

  • collect rainwater and avoid the expense of a tank
  • position the wheeliebins under two separate roofs, one for the house and one for the shed
  • buy something I might be able to move if I had to, or use for another purpose
  • reduce the risks of mistakes as I am new to the water collecting game (even my forefathers, the German farmers on the peat marshes North Sea probably did not have to think a lot about droughts etc, but that’s another story)
  • avoid the expense of waving the householder’s magic wand at a plumber: its often more fun and satisfying anyhow to do it yourself
  • work out some way to get water uphill — we live on a steep slope

Looking back, I believe the plan was mostly good, and time well spent. I now have two of these 240L collectors set up. One with a submersible pump. But, I have to confess something here and now. Yesterday I fitted the tap to a new 1700 litre tank. That tells you that a wheelie bin is limited in one important way: what it can hold (mine are 240L). I’ll be honest, the planning phase was hampered by a lack of financial willpower, and a feeling I could do it on the cheap. Some just call it being tight. I prefer to call it thrifty, thank you!  I guess I was also over-optimistic: I did not realise that 240L is not a lot of water.

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