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Economical ways to pump collected rainwater to attic water tank  RSS feed

 
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I'm building a simple rainwater harvesting system using three 1000L IBC tanks and was wondering how I can pump the water up to my water tank in the attic of my bungalow. I will use the water for everything except drinking. I'm very low in funds so was hoping not to spend a lot of money on this. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated.
 
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I am looking at a similar project and thinking of using a sump pump.
 
pollinator
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Stephen Mc Carthy : I am told that in the midlands of England there will be a single tap in the whole house that is 'town water', and located in the kitchen!

Even in quite well to do houses ! Everything else is rainwater caught off of the roof ! Your google searches should lean towards working systems in The U.K.

You have two tasks actually, to let several minutes worth of rain water collect in the lower gutters, the dead weight then switches the flow of the now much
cleaner rain water ( Think Zero bird poop ) into your holding tanks ! You will not want standing water in your drain pipes so weep holes and some mechanical
way to check on and drain the downspouts would be in order.

You want to divert your water to your holding tanks as close to the actual drip edge of your roofs possible, any system that collects the water at Ground level
and then pumps the rain water back up to your Holding tanks is needlessly costly.

If your final layout requires you to Pump uphill from a primary tank to your main holding tanks -take a look at the simple water level control that determines fill
volume in a Clothes Washer. This is a cheap and very durable diaphragm type switch, reliable enough to consider using a used one !

I would guess that a third task would be to have an overflow to divert all excess water, you did not give a location so I can not speak to how much insulation
you will need to keep Temperature swings from creating major safety issues !Hope this helps, good luck with your trans-Atlantic search, For the Crafts

Think like Fire, Flow like Water, Don't be the Marshmallow ! As always, your questions and comments are welcome and Solicited ! Big AL
 
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Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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I am planning something similar.
My research points toward a smallish pump, a pressure tank and a pressure switch.
This is the standard set-up for well water here in the states.
Al's advice might suit your needs better, as you seem to have a "header" tank In place, or at least a place for one.
No room for such at my place.
Great Idea Al, where would I look for such a switch inside a washer?
Is it built into the discharge line or is it perhaps set inside the drum at the water line?

 
allen lumley
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William Bronson : Amongst other crimes against God and man I was the ' Maytag Repairman ' for the only laundramat for miles and miles! As such, a
note of caution, I am still using an elderly W.M. and can not certify all new machines are similar !

If you look on the back panel on the top of most Home style washing machines, you will see a dial type switch that allows you to set the water volume.
Getting behind the washing machine, there is usually a single panel that when removed exposes the contents of the entire back panel! If you found the
right switch it will have a rubber tube held on with a simple hose clamp and three(?) Electrical leads, Electrical Hot, Neutral, and a power supply that goes to
the mixing valves via a second switch that 'sets' the water temperature(s). These water volume control switches are sealed and are not made to be worked
on but the failure is so extremely low, and the part is so easy to scrounge that Just having a spare will do ! Very rarely you will get a diaphragm leak, the
best way to test the controls activation is to slip on a short piece of the right sized plastic tubing and blow air into the control, you should hear a sharp clean
single snap as the diaphragm moves and contact is made !

While these are manufactured to be 110 volt switches, I expect that they will work just fine at 12 volts!

The rubber hose that attaches to the Water Volume Control leaves the back panel at the rear top of the machine and runs down the back side of the laundry
tub on the outside, and has a simple grommet type end that grips the metal shell of the tub, and very rarely leaks, even when a connecting tube from a
different machine is swapped-in ! A column of water matching the contents of the laundry tub will compress a certain amount of air, when the water volume
is correct pressure moves the diaphragm, this stops the flow of electricity to the mixing valves, and agitation starts !

Failure is posible, but as the control only energizes the Mixing valves to fill the tub, failures are usually a no fill situation, and is ether the Timer with badly
pitted contacts ( unlikely unless very very old) or the Water volume control or an open wire !

One note of caution, if a repair is needed the tub/holding tank should be empty, as the water flowing into the tub flows into and up the connecting tube towards
the Water volume control, If the line is unhooked at the back of the water volume control and reattached without draining the water out of the tub/holding tank,
then that column of water left in the hose will not produce pressure to the water volume controls diaphragm, and your control will seek a new level -starting at
1/2 full and going to one and a 1/2 times full -if you see what I mean !

This switch will reset and energize if the water level drops, like the discharge water pump case cracks or a discharge hose fails !

There is a kit that was on the market years ago that allowed you to pump your Wash and rinse waters into a holding tank and used a simple adaptation that
looked like a sight glass tube on a boiler, that allowed for the attachment of a Water volume control onto the outside of Of a toilet tank and when your toilet
flushed a simple pump started to fill the toilet, this was somewhat popular with summer camps on nearby lakes as they got two uses out of the water before
flushing/draining to a too small drainage field !

There was a problem with a 'stale laundry' smell from the water if not used up within a day or two, much like the same problem that is occurring now in the
new energy star high capacity washers !

I hope you were able to picture what I am trying to describe I certainly used enuf words ! For the Crafts ! Big AL
 
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allen lumley wrote:Stephen Mc Carthy : I am told that in the midlands of England there will be a single tap in the whole house that is 'town water', and located in the kitchen!

Even in quite well to do houses ! Everything else is rainwater caught off of the roof !


Perhaps back in the 50s Al!

More typically, houses had header tanks in the roof. The tanks were trickle fed from MAINS water to provide adequate water pressure in the house but because the water was sitting in open tanks in the loft it was not safe to drink - the occasional pigeon or bat got in and died. The header tank supplies toilets, showers, bathroom taps, laundries etc... as well as pressurising the hot water system.

This type of setup is, I believe, now considered inadequate because people get exposed to potentially unsafe water in taps and showers. Also, most places now have much better mains water pressure from pumps rather than water towers so the problem it was designed to solve is no longer an issue.
 
pollinator
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Stephen McCarthy wrote:I'm building a simple rainwater harvesting system using three 1000L IBC tanks and was wondering how I can pump the water up to my water tank in the attic of my bungalow.


You can get an inexpensive aquarium pump. The cheapest thing would be to manually turn on the pump when the IBCs are full or maybe once per day to keep it topped up.

The question is how big is the water tank in the attic? If it's smaller than the IBCs then you'll need to workout an overflow back to the IBCs, I guess. Or if its a pressurized tank I guess it just wont accept more water when it's full.

We've got a water heater that we are going to put in our attic put I haven't got my plumber/husband to hook it up yet. It will be for pre-heating our hot water. Bringing the water up to room temp can save quite a bit as opposed to heating 50° well water. Ideally I'd harvest rainwater for it so it would not get scale on our pipes like our well water but living in Vermont makes that a bit tricky.
 
William Bronson
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Al...you are a true gem,a font of odd and useful nuggets of knowledge!
I have a Matag that came with my house that is un-kill-able and heavy as a small car.
I have only had to replace the belt and intake valves. Occasionally I have had to remove a sock,rubber glove or rag from the discharge.
I have noticed that the pump is driven by the belt, and is pretty bullet proof. In fact it could be a good pump for moving the water to the header tank.
Next scraped washing machine will be getting more than the usual once over.

Al, I am sourcing a 30 gallon tank to do exactly what that kit did,30 gallon because there is no room for bigger!
 
allen lumley
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Michael Cox : Thanks for the up-date, are solid fueled Pressurized water heater/boilers still banned, or has that changed too !
( this really should be a separate thread but I AM interested !)

Per a tip I picked up from Jay C. White Cloud, I usually do a parallel search for information Via Google Images, and I can then click on the page the image
came from- This often results in finding interesting secondary uses -and price structures -for the Unit I am interested in !

I did a google search for header tank images and 50% came back with links to U.K net addresses, 40% Were Header Tanks for Automobile /engine cooling and 10%
come back with U.S. net addresses ! Y.M.M.V. For the Craft ! Big AL

William Bronson : It certainly will be an interesting experience, If your system is sealed you should have little problems from smell until you discharge into the toilet
tank,and from there to the toilet bowl ? !!!

A google image search for Washing machine water volume control Image should get you several good pictures and links to the related pages. I forget that this is often
faster than typing in a URL, or I would share this short cut more often ! Big AL !
 
allen lumley
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Cj Verde : I went looking for ether the picture or the Mother Earth News Article that showed a specific type of Recycled water heater in an attic location, Both
a regular Google Search, AND a Google Images Search give me TOO much information -and no picture/article !

How ever I did spot an interesting Heat Energy collection device well worth looking at, especially if a new roof is in your future!

Do a google images search for Greenward ridge vents images This aces all of he heat that gets trapped under your entire roof and delivers it via
unassisted convection to the roof peak! This was reviewed in Tree hugger about 5 years ago, I found it after I redid my roof ! 4 th' Craft! Big AL
 
Cj Sloane
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allen lumley wrote:
Do a google images search for Greenward ridge vents images This aces all of he heat that gets trapped under your entire roof and delivers it via
unassisted convection to the roof peak! This was reviewed in Tree hugger about 5 years ago, I found it after I redid my roof ! 4 th' Craft! Big AL


We don't really have an attic but a 3rd floor. Our house is R38 on 6 sides and is set up for passive solar gain during the winter. So there is not roof peak vent. The bottom of the roof and ceiling of the 3rd floor is one and the same with 2 layers of celotex between the plywood.

Summer stays pretty cool but the 3rd floor is the warmest and for that reason, plus head/gravity I wanted to pre-heat the water there.
 
Michael Cox
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There are lots of wood fuel boilers on the market here, although I can't speak for them being pressurised or inpressurised. I think most use an inpressurised thermal store and a heat exchanger to supply heat to the pressurised mains water.

The other use for header tanks here was to provide balanced water pressure on both hot and cold lines. When they both run from the same header tank you have fewer problems mixing water eg for for showers. This has basically been eliminated by modern boiler designs and more sophisticated shower mixer units.
 
allen lumley
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Bumping for a fellow member ! Check out the Similar Threads below Big Al
 
pollinator
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http://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-12V-DC-Micro-Brushless-Magnetic-Pump-High-Solar-Hot-Submersible-Water-Pump-/360881662635?pt=BI_Pumps&hash=item5406392aab

Solar water heating is popular in China. Small dc (12 volt and 24 volt) magnetic drive pumps are manufactured by the millions to meet the demand. They are highly reliable by all accounts I've seen with some models claiming a 30,000 hour life. They are highly efficient, and some models I've seen show impressive performance with fairly high head loads. Of course, any significant pressure differential should use a positive displacement pump - or two mag drive pumps in series could work. However, for transfer of water under modest heads, a dc mag drive pump is unbeatable.

The link provides one example of many.
 
allen lumley
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Bumped to aid a discussion in grey water ! Big AL
 
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If the rain is falling onto the roof above the attic...
And if the water storage tank is located in the attic...
Then water will not have to be pumped at all if it flows directly from the roof to the tank.

I know there are lots of different types of roofs and attics, but it needed to be said....
 
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I didn't read every word above, but when I read three 1,000-liter tanks placed in the upper level of a bungalow, I was curious. Can a bungalow hold 6,614 pounds? Can standard construction handle this? I'm curious. Maybe that's not a lot of weight and maybe it was addressed already in the thread and I missed it.

 
allen lumley
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Dan Grubbs : While this is much more than say a waterbed which most houses were built to accept safely it is certainly within the range of 8'' rocket mass heaters
with their coupled Thermal mass bench and Retro fitting additional bracing for them is a standard safety responsibility of the home owner, Post and Beam
construction lends itself to these kind of Adaptations !

For the Good of the Craft ! Big AL
 
Dan Grubbs
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Whew! Glad to hear it, Al. All I could see was a pile of splinters sticking out from the bottom of three full 1,000-liter IBC tanks. I'm the last one someone would call Safety Sally as I have a tendency to push things to extreme. But, without knowing the structure itself personally, I was just curious.

 
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On the topic on simple water pumps. There are many on demand 12volt dc water pumps on the market. I have a 30 psi shureflow that i use to give water pressure to my fixtures. they are low energy passive pumps they only use power when they are triggered by low pressure.
 
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sump pumps work great BUT are typically oil filled and not recommended for use with fish or potable water in case of the rare event of a pump breakage resulting in a toxic oil spill. also they typically have a max head of about 20 feet, at least the affordable models. wayne makes an oil free submersible pump which could be fitted with a float switch.
even cheap centrifugal transfer pumps can pump 100 feet or more, but one has to mind keeping them primed and protected, depending on the pump. a pressure demand pump could be used in this situation with a floatVALVE rather than float switch, which would cause the line to pressurize and thus shut the pump off when tank full, it would still need a float switch in the original catch tank so it knows when its allowed to work. old thread but my response is for future readers to share what i've been spending a lot of time learning about.
 
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