Plastic bottles funnel rain into rain barrels

plastic-bottle-downspout

This is [Wombling’s] no-cost solution to getting rain from his gutters into a rain barrel. It is literally just a bunch of plastic water bottles chained together. At one end he uses the original cap with some holes punched in it as a sieve.

We like the concept, but find the execution a bit dubious. In heavy rain the holes in the cap will not be able to keep up and we figure your gutters are going to overflow. That may be okay depending on the grade of your landscaping, but those who value keeping their basement dry should avoid this route.

Just a bit of improvement could change all that though. We suggest making the rain barrel the sieve. Add a bowl shape to the lid with a large piece of screen in the bottom to filter out debris. Then form some type of spout on the front side of the lid to channel overflow away from the house.

The amount of waste generated by bottled water has always troubled us, which is part of the reason we featured this. We also liked seeing those plastic bottle skylights, and could swear we featured a floating plastic bottle island built in the ocean but couldn’t find the link. If you know what we’re talking about leave the goods in the comments section.

Rain barrel irrigation system keeps your plants fed when you’re too busy

sprinkler-controler

[Kyle Gabriel] moved into a house with a nice tract of land behind it, but due to his busy schedule he had yet to plant the garden he so desperately wanted. He worried that his hectic life and busy hours would lead to accidentally neglecting his garden, so he built a water collection and automated irrigation system to ensure that his plants never went without fresh water.

The system is fed by two large 55 gallon barrels that collect rain from his gutters. A 1/2 HP well pump is used to pressurize the collected water, which is then dispensed throughout his garden by a sprinkler. [Kyle’s] system is run from a small control box where an Arduino is used to control the pump’s schedule. At a predefined time, the Arduino turns the pump on, while monitoring the system for potential problems.

If the system starts running low on water, the Arduino triggers the valve on his spigot to open, keeping the water level above the pump inlet pipe. He also keeps an eye on pump’s outlet pressure, indefinitely disabling it before a blockage causes the pump to cycle repeatedly.

He says that the sprinkler system works quite well, and with his modular design, he can add all sorts of additional functionality in the future.