Thursday, September 03, 2015

How To Pump Water Out of A Rain Barrel

It’s been so dang hot and dry in Virginia this past month. In the 5 years I’ve been up here, I’ve never seen temperatures as hot as they’ve been for so LONG, especially in September. We haven’t had a solid rain shower in over a month, and it’s going to be 95° today with the heat index over 100! We’ll get a little break into the mid-80s for the next few days, and then back into the 90s, but no rain.

Needless to say, I’ve had to hand water the vegetable garden and some potted plants to keep things alive around here. We are on a well, so the thought of using drinking water to water the grass or some ornamental plants doesn’t appeal to me, so we use our two 75 gallon rain barrels when we can.

Our rain barrels are from Gardner’s Supply Company and are daisy-chained together to give us 150 gallons. Prior to this year, we’ve just relied on gravity to siphon the water out of these barrels, which really limited our ability to make the most out of their potential.  Of course, I haven’t really HAD to use these barrels as an emergency watering source until this year.

We bought this pump this year off Amazon based off of all the positive reviews and Q&A responses we read. We liked that it was an external transfer pump and all we had to submerge in the water was the siphoning end. We liked that it was small enough, yet powerful enough to pull the water up-and-out of our rain barrels and give enough water pressure to hand water. Lastly, we liked the price point!

We had to do a few alterations to make it suit our needs though:

First, we put on a quick disconnect on the hose outlet port.

Second, the user manual said to prevent debris from being sucked up into the pump, so we had to figure out some sort of filter/strainer system for the end of the siphoning hose.

We knew we couldn’t just screw some sort of small, hose-end strainer on there, as the small surface area at the end of a hose would get clogged easily.

So, we went to Tractor Supply Company and Macgyvered a large plastic pump strainer (Part #SR150P) and two coupling collars that would fit both the strainer and the end of the hose.  Lastly, we zip tied a knee high panty hose over the strainer to filter out small debris.

Knee highs are like duct tape, you can do a million things with them!

Once we had everything set up, we first connected our hose to the quick disconnect on the outlet port.

Then we lowered the strainer/suction end into our rain barrel. We had to cut out one of the support spokes in the top of the barrel to fit in the strainer end.

Then we plugged it in. WE HAVE WATER!

The water pressure wasn’t enough to attach a hose-end sprayer or a sprinkler, but you could easily cup your thumb over the end of the hose to get the water to spray. I'm using a 100 ft. hose, so that may be the reason for the low water pressure. 

Some people said they could use hose-end sprayers and sprinklers with this pump. Still, the pressure is plenty enough for me to hand water the veggies and some ornamentals.

The pump siphoned about 30-35 gallons of water in about 30-40 minutes, which isn’t bad at all, so that gives me 4 potential watering periods for both rain barrels. The pump's instructions said you shouldn't run it for more than an hour. 

I've used this about a 1/2 dozen times so far and it's been a champ. Some people on Amazon commented their pumps quit working not long after they bought it, but I'm betting they didn't filter the siphoning end of the hose and debris got into the pump's motor. It makes a difference!

Hopefully, we will get some rain soon so my rain barrels will refill!


Mary said...

Great post with fabulous photos. Clear and easy to understand. No wonder you're the pro!

Just the Right Size said...

Thank you lady! We really are dry up here and needed to figure something out for a back-up.


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