Need an uncomplicated water delivery method

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by outofmire, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    We are tired of hauling water twice a week, but we don't have the money for a well yet. And when I say tired, I mean it. I'm basically alone in this project because my husband works too much, and I don't have the time for a complicated or drawn out project. I homeschool my two children, and we are behind on school right now. I just need something temporary until we can come up with the money for a well.

    We need about 360 gallons per week.

    This is the potential water sources we have:

    324 s.f. of roof on each side with 2-3' eaves. One side is over the middle of my porch which is where all that water drips. The other side drips on the ground. No gutter system, and it's going to be hard to install gutters because the metal roofing is about 3" longer than the end of the rafters. No fascia boards yet.

    Seasonal creek flows from September to May that could give us some temporary water supply. It's downhill from the house.

    Here's about the only ideas I've had so far:
    1. get a whole bunch of free blue barrels from the pepsi company and stack them/ interconnect them so that they are one unit. Then place them so that they can catch the water that falls off the eave. But then how will I get the water indoors. When we haul water, we drop the barrels off uphill from the house. So we get it in the house via gravity. I'd like to do something like that with the rainwater, but without building a stand if I can help it because the stand would have to be big enough to hold 31 barrels (1000 gal enough for for a long drought spell) and since our house is on piers, it would have to be pretty tall to be chest high in the house.

    I guess I could use a pitcher pump, but I didn't know if I could install it without the water source being directly below the pump. And then how hard is it to use? Would I be better off hauling water and delivering it via gravity than pumping water all day?

    I thought about stacking those blue barrels vertically until the top row was right under the eaves. That would raise the level of the water, but would the bottom rows be under too much strain from the pressure of the water?
    The eaves are about 9' from the ground, and I probably need to get 6' off the ground to get the water high enough. Then of course, I need about 2-3' of water storage.

    Am I making sense?

    I haven't figured out how I could use the creek, but if anyone sees an easier way, will you PLEASE tell me.

    Thanks
     
  2. patarini

    patarini Well-Known Member

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    Maybe take a boat bilge pump and use that to pump the water into the barrels, drive em back up the hill in the back of a pickup? That way use the pickup battery to power the bilge pump. Wal mart has the pumps for about 20 bucks, then run to top of hill, pump into holding tank -- or whatrever up there? I just started doing this at my place and works fine so far!
     

  3. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    Also do a search for "Ram pumps" for the stream. As for rain, get your facia up and your guttering installed and catch that rain!! Probably into the blue barrles you mentioned and then maybe use a solar pump to pump upto your uphill cistern.
    Edit: here's a link to help you out http://www.clemson.edu/irrig/Equip/ram.htm
     
  4. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    Been there done that! Get a water storage tank from somewhere like tractor supply...hooking barrels together is an exercise in frustration. Go to your local hardware store and get a sump pump to pump the water from the creek up to your storage tank. Set the tank as high up on a hill as you can for gravity fed water. The problem with a rain storage system is that you need an enormous container...and those aren't cheap. One thing I did when I had a cistern but no working plumbing is to get a couple of barrels and install spigots on them. Sat them on the kitchen counter so that the spigot was over the sink. I had to heat my water on the stove but I didn't use as much water because I knew I'd have to refill the barrel. A really good way to conserve water is to get one of the blue water totes that are normally in sporting goods....5-7 gallons I think. Fill it up in the morning and set it in the sun. In the afternoon use a rope to lift it up by a tree branch and take a shower. It has a spout on it that turns on and off so you don't have the water running while lathering. Consider a sawdust toilet. That's what I used. You wouldn't believe how much water you flush. When you have to haul water in...it makes a lot of difference if you can save as much as you can. Another thing is to reuse bath, dish water, etc to water plants with.
     
  5. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    We do all the conservation things you mention....sawdust toilet, blue tote for a sink indoors. Our actual personal use is only 15 gal a day, but then there's laundry and animals.
     
  6. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Why is is so hard to connect the barrels? I was thinking of connecting them from bung to bung. Can't afford a storage tank right now. I like the sump pump idea, but how would I power it? No electricity either; did I not mention that.

     
  7. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    Get a wringer washer! I forgot about that. That will save you a ton of water. Actually if I had had the luxury of a creek that's where I'd have done my laundry. Lots of people don't like doing laundry by hand but it never bothered me. Don't try to wring it dry....it'll just hurt your wrists...hang em over the line and let em drip. Take your kiddos with you and do homeschooling orally. If you try to do it all out of books you'll drive yourself nuts.
     
  8. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Stacking the blue barrels - sounds like a dangerous game of dominos to me, wouldn't want the kids playing under them. While it might work, sounds like not so good an idea.

    Pitcher pump - most of those don't make bends well, as you guessed. There are small electric pumps that could transfer water from a low barrel to a higher barrel tho, fairly cheaply.

    Lining up the barrels under the eve just doesn't sound easy to me. Have to keep trash out, plumb all the tanks together, you won't really gather much per barrel, splashing.... I donno, doesn't seem practical to me, but I live in very wet Minnesota with a deep well so what do I know.

    How about the barrels up on your hill, a solar pump by the stream, and let the little pump work all day filling the barrels, let gravity bring the water down to you as is now? Seems like the least work to me.

    Or, get your eves up, funnel to one down spout per side, and screen the water as it goes into the barrels. Seems like less work to me than trying to line up the barrels under the eves?

    --->Paul
     
  9. BeesNBunnies

    BeesNBunnies Schnauzer nut

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    Ooops...you didn't mention the no electric thing. Been there and done that too. I just never could hook barrels together where they would feed well and wouldn't leak. For the price of buying all the fittings you would need to connect a sufficient number of barrels you would be on your way to buying a tank. Last one I bought was under $200. I'll have to think on getting the water from the creek to your storage. If you don't have enough fall then a ram pump won't work. I used a tank that rode in the back of my truck. The local fire dept had a hose you could use to fill them for .25 per 100 gallons. A hand pump would be too much work. Let me think on it and I may come up with something.
     
  10. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    Is a boat bilge pump the same as a sump pump? How far vertically could I pump? And I can run it off the truck battery? I wonder how I could make that work without having to haul the water up there. It's about 200 feet from the uphill area to the inside of my house.

     
  11. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well, how many barrels are you connecting? How frequent is the rain where you are, need to store a bunch for the sry spells.

    Price the fittings, and it doesn't take long to get some serious $$$ involved. Either you use quick disconnects which _really_ add to the money, or you get one large mass of barrels, which is difficult to move, clean, mantain....... Seems like a hard way to go to me too.

    A tiny solar pump will look pretty cheap if you do your pricing homework on all the other plans you have - I think.

    JMHO tho, don't know the resources or stuff you have available to you. You said temporary; the eves will add value to your house. The solar pump can be used for other things. A real storage tank may be used for your well too when that happens. Not sure how you would reuse or make use of some of the other things you have in mind. Kinda trying to look long-term for you. As well, temp ideas have a bad habit of staying in place for a decade or more.... might as well make the temp deal worth while. :)

    What do you do for drinking water?

    --->Paul
     
  12. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    I figured it was a far stretch, but I was thinking of wiring them together with heavy gauge wire. But I probably still couldn't go up more than 2 -3 rows without it getting unstable. Then I'd need to pump it into the house. Hey I wonder if I could use the boat bilge pump idea to pump the water I need into an indoor container/barrel....maybe I could even elevate it in the house. We only need 15 gal per day in the house. The rest is for laundry and animals. Surely I can pump 15 gallons per day in the house. I don't need gravity for that do I? The animals are downhill from my house, so they could get their water gravity fed. And I could do laundry anywhere downhill since I don't use a machine. I want to get a wringer washer, but I could park that thing downhill fromt the house a little couldn't I?
     
  13. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    I figured that the one side of my roof that drips on the ground will give me around 140gal per inch of rain; that's allowing for about 80% efficiency. My roof is pretty steep and the water just falls straight off; no overshooting. To go the length of that side, which is 24', would be 16 barrels since they are 1.5' in diameter. At 35gal a barrel, that will give me 560gal. I absolutely need right now 120gal. So that one row would last me at least 4 weeks. We've had a drought going on, but the rains usually start coming back by September/October. So 4 week supply otta do me. But if I did two rows, that would for sure take care of us, plus maybe even allow me to do some laundry. (right now going to laundry mat, but need to usually do a couple of loads in the middle of the week)

    I knew fittings can get high, but I was hoping PVC wouldn't be too bad. I'll need a threaded piece to fit in each barrel's bung hole and then pipe and t's to connect them all. But I'll definitely price it and compare that with getting a tank. It's just that I liked the idea of having a storage area of about 500-1000 gal. If I bought that size of tank, I'd be out a big chunk of change. A few hundred for this whole project is all I'm willing to shell out right now, and then only if it will work indefinitely.

    How big of a panel would I need to power a tiny solar pump?

     
  14. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    We have a big berkey table top water filter that we use to remove any nasties that may have gotten in the barrels. I love it.

     
  15. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I don't have any advice for you...sorry. Just reading all this makes me wonder how long all this will last with winter coming? Wouldn't your water freeze? If you hooked the barrels up with pvc pipes, you would have to insulate it all, plus your barrels.

    Also, would it be worth it to have water delivered to you? Put all the barrels above your house, and have a water truck fill them all. Just a thought, have no idea on the cost of that.
     
  16. outofmire

    outofmire Well-Known Member

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    The barrels didn't freeze last year...I dunno. But ur right about the pipes; they would have to be insulated.

     
  17. Cheryl in SD

    Cheryl in SD Living in the Hills Supporter

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    Could you get a small pump for the creek, and run a hose up to a tank (perferably 50 gallons or better, we found a 250 gallon tank at a local stock supply dealership for under $200 on sale). Put the tank, I would do ONE tank trying to hook the together is going to cost you more in parts than one big tank, up on a hill above the buildings. You can gravity feed then down to where you need it. I don't know that I would drink this water though, not unless you have a really good filter system.

    We've seen several people on the way to town with systems like this. Only they would haul water in a 250-500 gallon tank in the back of their truck to feed the system.

    Cheryl
     
  18. twstanley

    twstanley Well-Known Member

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    Ok, 1x6 ( 1x8 depending on size of rafter tails I guess ) pine fascia board is pretty cheap, so is the guttering. I would put the fascia board up and put the gutters up, that is really pretty easy to do and would give you a good source of water close to the house. The fittings to plumb the barrels together shouldn't be that expensive, but you need to determine which will cost more, the fittings or a larger storage tank. I wouldn't stack the barrels, 50 gallons of water x 6 pounds per gallon will really add up, I would make a barrel farm that allows for expansion by just adding more barrels together. Remember you want to connect them at the lowest point possible so they all fill at the same time and all drain at the same time. You will also need a trap of some sort for the gutter downspout to go into to seperate any leaves, bird droppings etc. This can be a simple box that the water dumps into then has to flow up an inch or two and thru a baffle to seperate any solids before going down into the barrel farm.

    For the creek, you can easily make a small deeper pool of water by stacking rocks across the creek and making a small pool to drop the bilge pump into to pump into barrels on a trailer or in the back of the truck. Bilge pumps have a limit to how high they will pump, the higher they have to pump the slower they will pump. But if you can put a bit of hose on and position so you are pumping downhill, you can probably get a decent fill rate.

    Again, if you go to pump from the barrels into the house, you need to reduce the height ( head ) that the bilge pump has to overcome when pumping...so keep that in mind when placing your barrels.
     
  19. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Do you have any money for this project?
    Im thinking a 1000 gallon tank,pump stream water into tank on truck,pump that into big tank.During no water period have a tank/month delivered or fill truck from water source and haul it yourself.

    Personally I would find a gas pump to get water from stream to tank.Then just gravity feed to house.

    Key here is money,do you have any to spend?

    BooBoo
     
  20. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Can you dig like an 10000 gallon storage pool by the stream,then line it,and divert/save your stream water there? Would at least take care of the water storage/ availability part.

    Then pump from there to gravity feeding water tank for the house?

    That would be pretty slick,only technical aspect would be a pump.

    BooBoo