Here is more detailed information on the temporary rain barrel set up that finally provided us access to running water (see also 06/24/2009 post). Let’s start with some labels:
The water is coming from the downspout into the homemade diverter assembly, which has a 2-inch discharge into the filter on top of the barrel. The filter is basically a (rusty) metal paint bucket with the bottom cut out. It has a window screen mesh at the bottom so it catches any debris from the roof and keeps mosquitoes from breeding in the barrel.
I can access the water through the three faucets I mounted onto the barrel, but typically use the one in the middle. The water quality is usually best in the middle, where it tends to stay fresh and cleanest. The water in the bottom may be subject to anaerobic conditions, where as water at the very top may have some fine, floating debris that was not caught in the filter.
Once the barrels are full, excess water is discharged into the yard through a 2-inch overflow assembly. The size of the inflow from the diverter assembly equals the size of the rain barrel overflow, so the water should not back up. I just have to keep an eye on the filter to make sure it doesn’t clog up.
Let’s look a little closer at the home made diverter assembly? I got myself a couple of PVC pipe fittings from the hardware store along with a plastic bucket that is 8” in diameter so that it fits under the 6” downspout. I cut a four-inch round hole in the bottom of the bucket and a two-inch round hole on the side at the very bottom. A 4-inch PVC male adapter hub is fitted into the bucket bottom, while another 2-inch hub is fitted into the smaller hole in the bucket wall and then connected to the rain barrel filter with some piping.
Last but not least I cut out a section out of the downspout where I slid in and placed the diverter assembly. Water coming through the downspout tends to cling to the walls. It then drops into the bucket and is diverted towards the rain barrels. If it rains so hard that more water is coming down the downspout than can pass through the 2-inch diverter, it can overflow into the downspout below through the 4-inch hub in the bottom of the bucket.
I don’t expect this homemade diverter assembly to last forever, but it will do the job for the time being. I will probably purchase a sturdy, prefabricated assembly once I am ready to switch to a permanent solution.