Not pretty – but it works…

If you read the previous post (06/22/2009), you will know that we finally figured out where the water service line comes into the house. Great – except, we still have no running water in the house. We actually have a few weeks to go before any plumbing work can start.

Having no running water is sort of a problem for a number of reasons. One of them is that some of the work is rather dusty and dirty and it would be really nice if I could wash my hands before I touch my sandwich at lunchtime.


All things considered, this is actually an easy and fun problem to solve, as we have another water source at the house that provides us free water. Of course, it’s the runoff coming down the downspout from our roof. I had two spare 55 gallon drums that were easy to convert into rain barrels. I cut a section out of the downspout and installed a homemade rain water diverter that also serves as an emergency overflow to the storm sewer.  Then I built a small pedestal out of some scrap wood, placed the barrels  on top and connected them to the diverter.


I repurposed that old sink from the basement bathroom, fitting it under the barrel faucets so now I can comfortably wash my hands without getting my feet all wet. I admit that it is not the prettiest set up – but it works.



About Marcus de la fleur

Marcus is a Registered Landscape Architect with a horticultural degree from the School of Horticulture at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and a Masters in Landscape Architecture from the University of Sheffield, UK. He developed a landscape based sustainable pilot project at 168 Elm Ave. in 2002, and has expanded his skill set to building science. Starting in 2009, Marcus applied the newly acquired expertise to the deep energy retrofit of his 100+ year old home in Chicago.

7 thoughts on “Not pretty – but it works…

  1. All the blogging you and Cathy are doing is so interesting. I usually find blogs boring, but I look forward to seeing the next set of pictures, etc.

  2. Now if somebody would only modularize this setup so that I can buy it at home depot and install it on a Saturday afternoon. Actually, I noticed that they now sell plastic “cisterns” at the Big Orange Box store, but the aesthetics are still lacking.

  3. Got an idea for you, that short length of straight pipe at the top of the barrel? Make that a “t” fitting instead, the type where it’s angled, and put it in angled upwards, and let that be your overflow. That way you don’t have to cut a hole in the barrel, and your barrel can completely fill up.

  4. Oh, and as for the white, or light colored barrels? Algae central, you really need dark colored barrels to limit algae growth.

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