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IBC tanks and head of water for soaker hose  RSS feed

 
Stuart Smith
Posts: 63
Location: Tuscany, Italy
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Hello all,

First year of permaculture living here in Italy, veg all in and growing now although a little later than hoped but just managed to acquire six IBC tanks to catch the roof water from the house and woukd like to set up a soaker hose system to run from them connected to a timer, the veg is all on terraces below the house and i think i need to have the tanks on the terrace below the house/above the veg for this to work but how much of a head do i need to get enough pressure to run a soaker hose?

Thanks in advance everyone!
 
chad Christopher
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Location: Pittsburgh PA
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A lot of pressure. Domestic pressure, somewhere around 40-65psi. The magic number is 2.31 sorry, not familiar with the metric number, you'll see this doesn't doesn't matter anyways. If your tanks are 150 ft higher than the output, divide 150 by 2.31, you have roughly 65psi. Point being, you need some major height. What you need for gravity irrigation systems is; low pressure drip tape. This type of irrigation can flow at pressure low as 5psi. And is much cheaper. Soaker hoses rot. 15mil drip tape will also degrade, but has a life of 3-5 years. 100 feet of line, comes at a price of only about 15 us dollars. Plus some fairly cheap fittings. I hope this helps, good luck.
 
John Wolfram
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Every foot of elevation gives you about 0.44 PSI of pressure, and you need about 10 PSI to run a soaker hose (check the specs for the hose). So, about 25 feet would probably be enough. Since IBCs typically have inch and a half ball valves, I'd suggest that you run a large diameter hose/pipe from the containers to the terraces in order to reduce pressure loss.
 
chad Christopher
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John is correct, that is what the actual hose needs, but most newer residential hoses have a built in flow restricter, similar to new water saving shower fixtures. So you would have to cut off that part of the hose, and use your own fittings anyways. Unless you buy cheaper hoses without this feature. Sorry, i made some big assumptions on that one. Drip tape is still cheaper anyways. Despite what you decide to choose, i highly recommend using a washable inline ag filter before it reaches the hoses, the fine dirt clogs the pores.

 
Alder Burns
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I had pretty good results on one homestead with such tanks, and even 55 gallon barrels, put up about 2 meters above the garden on blocks. I was running both drip tape and soaker hose. It did run better when the tanks were full....I guess this would have given it over a meter of additional head. If I noticed an area not getting enough water I would just take a pin and make some additional holes in the hoses.....
 
Stuart Smith
Posts: 63
Location: Tuscany, Italy
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Thanks guys!

Some great advice so far, I think i might have made some costly mistakes had i gone ahead without posting onnhe forum first!

I'll take another look at my options and measure the head I'd have and see where that leaves me and I'm sure I'll be back with more questions.

But a filter sounds like an excellent idea, AG? What does that mean?

By drip tape you mean the pipe with holes at set distances?

Larger diameter pipe makes sense, i need to try and find more options on fittings etc, hard finding anything over here in Italy and everything seems standard garden hose but I'll have another look.



 
Charli Wilson
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I found that my soaker hose from an ibc (pumped, though- my land is completely and utterly flat) got clogged up from the algae growing in the ibcs (no filter or anything). So I'd advise some filtering!
 
Stuart Smith
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Location: Tuscany, Italy
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Thanks Charli, definitely thinkna filter is a good idea, I was also considering spray painting the tanks black to keep the sunlight out in the hope that it will deal with the algae too.
 
Charli Wilson
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Stuart Smith wrote:Thanks Charli, definitely thinkna filter is a good idea, I was also considering spray painting the tanks black to keep the sunlight out in the hope that it will deal with the algae too.


Its a good idea! We've since covered ours in a wooden structure (old wooden fence panels) and the water quality is a lot better now!
 
chad Christopher
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Painting is a great idea. The general rule for rainwater catchment is, paint if clear, or bury. AG is an abbreviation of the word agricultural, so agricultural irrigation filters. I love to buy local, but it may be in your best intentions to order online. A good hardware store clerk or local plumber, could easily direct you towards some cheap, and long lasting alternatives. Low pressure water systems lend themselves to many options. Zip ties and copper fittings are often effective enough. You want it to be leaky anyways, right?
 
Stuart Smith
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Location: Tuscany, Italy
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Hahaha! Not sure i want the leaks in that part of the system!

So by way of an update I went to a local irrigation place that a friend sent me to, they supply all the plant nurseries in the area.

After managing to talk through my diagram with the guy behind the counter he disappeared for a while and came back with some dripline pipe with built in emitters that run at 2ltr per minute, a pile of T pieces each with a tap so that I can isolate individual beds and even the fitting for the IBC tanks with taps and a timer that runs at low pressure, 0.3 bar, the whole lot! Just need to wait for the rain to stop (the irony is not wasted on me) and I can hook it all up and see how it goes although initially it'll be running from main water until i can build the platform to raise tge tanks.
 
Stuart Smith
Posts: 63
Location: Tuscany, Italy
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Hi all, thought I'd update you all as to where I am with my system.

I found an irrigation specialist in my local town after all the Internet searching i did! The benefits of living in an area of plant and olive tree cultivation.

I bought dripline pipe that has emitters that run at 2ltrs per hour, a low pressure (8 - 0.3 bar) timer and all the fittings and attachements including the ones to link the IBC tanks together and a AG filter so €200 later i have all my veg beds irrigated but only from the mains for now although saving me a huge amount of work already!

So thanks all for your advice so far, very pleased with myself.

Next job is to find the right spot for the IBC tanks, not an easy task as i need to make sure i have enough pressure and can divert the roof water from both sides of the roof but I'm working on it right now.

Thanks again!!
 
R Scott
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I use tanks AS the platform, or at least cages. You can stack them three high. I have gotten bad tanks for free, cracked or had bad stuff in them (not BAD, but not easy to clean). Or you can use good tanks to catch the overflow from the upper tanks and a small solar pump to transfer it back up.
 
Stuart Smith
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Location: Tuscany, Italy
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R Scott wrote:I use tanks AS the platform, or at least cages. You can stack them three high. I have gotten bad tanks for free, cracked or had bad stuff in them (not BAD, but not easy to clean). Or you can use good tanks to catch the overflow from the upper tanks and a small solar pump to transfer it back up.


So I've finally gotten to the stage of setting my tanks up (long story) and another question has occurred to me, how do you seal the lids safely on the lower tanks so that the pressure from above doesn't force the water to leak through the lids from below?

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