We've been considering getting a rain barrel, and I like the idea -- it doesn't make sense to just have the water run off into my yard creating a rut; I'd rather put it to good use.

Problem is, my house is a bilevel with no real water consumers on the lower level -- I'd need a pump to get the water into toilets, I don't believe it'd have the pressure to run as a sprinkler, and I don't really want to use it for cooking, but I'd like to collect it for some purpose.

I realize this is open ended, but what are some uses for the high volume but relatively low pressure provided by a rain barrel?

  • Do you have a garden or lawn which requires watering? – LShaver May 3 '18 at 16:26
  • @LShaver I have a lawn, but it's at the same level the water barrel would be (minus the height of the barrel) -- I wouldn't think enough pressure could be generated to do anything but create a puddle wherever I tried to connect a sprinkler. – Sidney May 3 '18 at 18:09
  • 2
    What about drip irrigation? – LShaver May 3 '18 at 18:10
  • 1
    Put it 5 ft in the air. It will enough pressure to water the plants. – paparazzo Jun 5 '18 at 17:17

Ok, collecting water is one thing. My first question would be "why collecting water at base level?" Just one meter (yard) higher could generate some pressure to distribute the water better. Most water could be collected at 2 meters (yards) next to gutter. Then a lot of applications could follow.

Probably a pressure washer will not require too much input pressure. So it might be useful for cleaning surfaces or the car.

  • 1
    You'd need a good filter if you were going to run a pressure washer off a rainwater barrel – Chris H May 22 '18 at 15:28
  • 1
    Better using two filters - one at entry to the barrel and the other one at exit. They are recommendable for all applications using pipes or ducts to avoid stuffing. Drawing water out of calm barrels some inches above the sediments should provide clear water, but with filters much better. – Salt May 22 '18 at 19:33

Plant a birch tree.

Run a hose from the barrel to the tree. Put a soaker hose on the hose, and set it far enough from the tree to go round once. E.g. for a 50 foot soaker hose it would about 8 feet from the trunk. Bury the hose 6" down.

Now everytime it rains, the birch gets water delivered straight to it's roots.

(I mention this, because birch trees here are chronically underwatered, and as a result tend to die at about 30 years.)

Pumps are cheap. In Canada try Princess Auto. In the U.S. Northern Tool. $50 to $100 will get you a pump that will put 30-50 psi at 5 gpm out the other end.

Build a crib of wood, and put the barrel closer to the roof

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.