where to find cheap rain barrels?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by ellebeaux, Aug 30, 2005.

  1. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    I just did an Internet search to find rain barrels - plastic ones are over $100 each! Plus another $40 for shipping!

    One of them mentioned that they were made from barrels used to ship olives. Does anyone have any idea how I can find cheap big barrels and hook up my own system? Is one kind of plastic or color plastic better than another?

    thanks,

    Beaux
     
  2. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How many gallons - what size - are you looking for?

    The over-riding thing is to be sure what was in the barrel before you use it. Food-grade plastics & previous use is more important than 'cheap' in a case like this.

    --->Paul
     

  3. ChiliPalmer

    ChiliPalmer Well-Known Member

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    If you follow this link you'll see where Lehman's says they carry used 50 gallon barrels, presumably for collecting rainwater. I couldn't find such barrels on their site though so I think you have to call the store during business hours to make inquiries.

    **Edit: Oi, think I found them, but they're no cheaper than the plastic. And used at that! Reason #68 why I rarely shop at Lehman's.
     
  4. rzrubek

    rzrubek Flying Z

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    You should be able to get them pretty cheap ($12 here) if you have a soda bottler near by, they get their syrup for the soda in the 55 gallon blue (usually) barrels. I don't think it's fair to compare an oak whiskey barrel to a plastic barrel though. I think the plastic ones would be much better for collecting rain water or just for water storage.
     
  5. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

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    go find somewhere there is a PAINTBALL park.
    they use lots of washer fluid (like in a car) to clean up, and it usually comes in 55 gal blue plastic drums... they toss them all the time.
    wash them out really well to get rid of the methanol, and wa-la... rain barrels.
    free
     
  6. labrat

    labrat Well-Known Member

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  7. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    Oooh, these are great ideas, thanks!

    Initially, I was thinking to use the water just to water my lawn, which is small. and to water the plants. But after listening to all the Katrina experiences (which are breaking my heart), I thought I might want to have some water stored, just in case. So I'd need food grade barrels.


    So I can find the soda bottlers somewhere around here and just bore holes in the 55 gallon containers at the top and bottom and fit in the tubing and spigots just like they do in the pictures. Seal with epoxy or marine glue? If I'm going to drink it, do I need to use a special kind of glue?

    thanks you all, you're the best,

    Beaux
     
  8. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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  9. WisJim

    WisJim Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have gotten barrels from soda bottling companies, as mentioned above, and also through a friend who works for a city transit (bus) company, who could get plastic 55 gallon drums that had detergent used for washing the buses. A large car wash might have similar barrels. A large food co-op might get some food-grade oils in barrels, too, but I haven't seen much of that lately. Large buildings with big airconditioning systems that have cooling towers might get chemicals for tower water treatment in 15, 30, or 55 gallon barrels, and the chemicals that are used vary a lot. Some are pretty harmless and others I wouldn't want to be near.
     
  10. Grandmotherbear

    Grandmotherbear Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Check with your local soft drink (Coca Cola et al) bottling plant- they were selling them here last year for $10 according to my SIL..
     
  11. Lerxt

    Lerxt Well-Known Member

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    I think I paid $6 each for 3 - 55gal barrels from some guy that got em from a car wash.

    Here's what I did:
    *I cleaned them out.
    *Moved them to the hay loft.
    *Hung gutters on the barn.
    *Attached a flexible downspout to the gutter and pulled it into the hay loft
    *Cut a hole in the top of one barrel.
    *Put a pond filter basket in the hole.
    *Installed spiggots in all 3 barrels.
    *Attached a short length of hose to the spiggots
    *Attached all three hoses to a "splitter" (now a "combiner")
    *Put a hole near the top of all 3 barrels (overflow protection)
    *Used PVC to run from the overflow outlets to the outside

    Net effect: Running water in the barn. Being in the hay loft I get reasonable pressure downstairs and now I don't have to haul water across the yard to water the chickens and horses.

    Think I spent maybe $50 for everything and if I'd gone with PVC fittings for the spiggots it would have been cheaper still.

    If you're just looking for the barrels I'd say just keep your eyes open. Try freecycle or talk to local businesses that are likely to get things in that sort of container.
     
  12. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    Any food processors will have them to...and you won't have to work so hard to clean them out. I bought a bunch recently for $5 apiece. The plastic ones had previously contained vinegar and the metal one had contained Tomato sauce.

    Shane
     
  13. gobug

    gobug Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I bought two hula hoops from wallymart ($0.82 ea) and a roll of fiberglass drywall mesh tape ($4.95) at home deport and about ten dollars worth of cement products and made a 55 gallon barrel. The cement is about 1/4" thick. This is my prototype for making a 2500 gallon cistern. My next effort will be a 500 gallon tank.

    If you plan to collect rain water, consider how much rain you get and the space covered by the roof you will use as the collector. For example, I live in a fairly dry area and get about 17 inches a year. I have a 900 sq ft garage space. That is 1.4 ft of rain/year x 900 sq ft of space covered by the roof = 1275 cu ft of water x 7.5 gallons / cu ft equals 9500 gallons/year. If I capture all of it, it is enough for a year's total water usage.

    If you get a couple of inches in a good rain, consider sizing the water tank volume accordingly. So, a 900 sq ft roof with 2 inches of rain would give about 1000 gallons.

    Another factor in designing water collection relates to the grime that comes off the roof until the rain water runs clear. Some systems allow this to settle but I have seen other approaches. If you let it get into your storage barrels, you'll have to eventually get it out. One idea is to figure out how much water comes off the roof dirty, and use a barrel with a removable lid for that volume so when it is full, and the next barrel starts to fill it will be clear rain water.

    Bulkhead fittings typically come with gaskets and may not require any adhesive if installed correctly. These are not cheap nor easy to find. Some plastic barrels come with removable caps that will take a threaded fitting.

    Another important design consideration related to the size of your tanks would be where the water goes when the tanks are full. Don't let it go down along the house foundation.

    Good luck
    Gary
     
  14. mamakatinmd

    mamakatinmd Well-Known Member

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    I live in Jefferson MD near the Virgina/WV borders. There Is McCutcheon Apple Products in Frederick MD near us. We buy 55 gal blue barrels from them for $10.00 apiece. Thier phone number is 301-662-3261. Address is 13 South Wisner St, Frederick. They will not ship them but if you are only an hour or so away and have a utility trailer it could be worth the trip. I would call to see how many they have available before making the trip.