Installing Rain Water Collection

Installing Rain Water Collection

all right this is an exciting one for me
I’ve been waiting so long to do this project really sent shingling my roof
all I could think about was how much rainwater it could collect and putting
in a rain collection system this is a 30,000 gallon tank for my new rainwater
collection system it’s sometimes also referred to as rain harvesting and
basically what it is is whenever you collect the rain and put it in a storage
container for later use you can use the rain coming off the roof as is for all
non-potable uses so doing laundry flushing toilets irrigation pretty much
everything outside of drinking it however you can very easily make the
water potable so that it can be drinkable and then run your entire
household off of it I found the concept as well as the process so fascinating so
let me walk you through my personal installation and then at the end I’ll
talk about different reasons why people invest into a rain collection system
real quick I want to say a big thank you to Lowe’s for sponsoring this video on a
system decides you can’t buy a tank out your local Lowe’s but you can buy all of
the plumbing connections and the guttering system if you go with the take
my size you will need to have it professionally installed and I went with
the leading experts in my area called harvested rain solutions regardless of
how big or small the system is the main components are the same you need a way
to collect rain off of a surface this is typically a rooftop and gutters then you
need a container to put the rain in this can be a small barrel or something much
larger like a tank then you also need plumbing to connect it to this can be
something as simple as placing a downspout directly into a barrel or
something more complex like trenching and running pipe underground when I
built the shop I didn’t install gutters so the first step in my process was to
get gutters installed and have a way to collect the water you can certainly do
gutter installation yourself by buying the pieces and joining them together but
one huge advantage to going through a professional is they have the equipment
to show up on site and custom make a seamless gutter for the length of your
building I always dread looking for contractors to do jobs at my place
vetting them is just so time-consuming so I went ahead and took advantage of
Lowe’s installation services Lowe’s has a service to match homeowners to
independent contractors in their areas for different jobs such as window
installed deck building fence installation in so many more categories
so I use a service to find the company to install my gutters having seamless
gutters meant the team custom made two lengths of gutters about 74 feet long
and it was insanely cool to watch coming out of this tiny box truck after the
form was made a few brackets were placed inside to not only give it bones to hold
its shape but also give a way to connect it to the building it took three guys
coordinating to lift it up into place Center it on the building and then start
securing it and this whole process took less than two hours as I told them to
leave off the downspouts those are gonna be added on later now that I had a way
to collect the rain now it was time to work on the other two components setting
a tank and running the plumbing the tape from harvested rain solution showed up
with a trailer full of needed equipment and got started right away first was to
prepare the site wherein the tank would be built and tape placement is pretty
important I was thinking about placing it on the south end of my shop where it
would be really close to the collection point but I ended up moving it more into
the woods on the east side which meant more trenching for plumbing but it
placed the tank below the level of my shop which will allow gravity to assist
in the water moving into the tank from the gutters I’ll be mostly using the
water for irrigation needs not only around my shop but also around my house
so while 30,000 gallon tank is large it will get used surprisingly quickly in my
hot climate the tank needs a pad made from sand so Ron started flattening then
building up a level location with dirt first men with sand
there’s not really a bottom necessarily the tank is build directly on the sand
pad and then a liner or later goes inside so it’s important to get this
really level the site started off with about a five inch difference from one
side to the next and after using the machine and an experienced eye to
roughly get it level the next up to fine-tune it was to go around with a
stick that has a laser on it it’s actually called a transit and find the
high points and the low points I’ve never used to transit before but it was
a very handy tool I could set my laser stick in different places around the pod
and it would tell me if that area is high or low then also by how much then
Ron would either move material or take it away depending on the answer
after going as far as he could with the machine we repeated the same process but
now used rakes and that’s the Pat done the next step will be to build the tank
on it but while we were doing that the other guys were trenching for the
plumbing now my area is mostly rock but I’ve done a lot of dirt work to grade up
to my building and these lines are only placed about 12 inches deep nope we
don’t have a frost line the guys did encounter some rock but it was mostly
dirt and they made great progress all I needed to be trench the entire length of
the shop on both the front and the back side then another line to connect the
two this is so that when the gutters collect the rain it’ll travel down the
downspouts then into the plumbing into the ground the water from the back will
join water from the front then go into a single line that will be trenched over
to the tank the machine did most of the heavy lifting here then the guys went
back with shovels to trench out a path for the downspouts to connect to the
main lines on the length of my building I’ll have three downspouts one on either
end and then somewhere close to the middle once the trenches were dug they
started laying the plumbing long sections of high pressured rated PVC
were connected together starting out one end of the shop and then going to the
other every joint is primed and also glued together the main pipe was cut at
each one of the downspouts in order to add enough itting to also tie them in
you can see these downspouts were placed carefully so that they ended up at the
center of my post and its small details like this that made me very happy I went
with the experienced installers since there were three people in the crew
joining these together went very quickly keep in mind that all the work shown so
far was done in a single day but Ron here has done jobs by himself and
developed a cold trick I wanted to show off for making a connection alone after
priming and gluing he used a strap hooked onto one end to pull on the joint
of pipe wall guiding it in I love tricks like that so the size of PVC being rayon
is determined by a few factors which I found interesting my line starts off
using three inch PVC and then goes up to four inch and then goes up to six inch
because as water moves through the pipe the friction between the two surfaces
causes a slight pressure to build up it’s actually called head loss
so to compensate or overcome that pressure you can increase the diameter
of the pipe giving the water more area to travel in elbow room oh and here’s
another good trick for joining PVC it was tricky getting the 45 seated on the
straight by just shoving it at two opposite ends so the guys dropped it
into the ground used a shovel against the bank and on the edge to compress it
together you got a love leverage the rest of the PVC was placed in the trench
all the way to the tank then they came to do the back filling since I have a
ton of rock in my dirt they used some clean fill I had on hand to put down
directly on the pipe first then he could very quickly use a skid steer to knock
the rust over and grade it back like it was before with that tripping hazard
covered back up the guys installed bead downspouts if you already have metal
downspouts and you could swap them out for PVC ones that could then tie into
the main lines these are made from PVC but are painted to match the color of my
fascia and my gutters another thing you can get started with if you’re
interested in collecting rainwater but don’t want to invest in a large system
yet is to purchase a cute barrel like this one that you can find at Lowe’s and
place it directly under your downspout so that rainwater from your gutters will
fall directly into it that’s it for most of the trenching so let’s go and go on
to the exciting part the giant tank this bundle here on the trailer is not only
my thirty thousand gallon tank but also all of the fittings pump liner and
hardware to complete it and let me tell you it did not take long to assemble it
this is a pioneer metal tank that will get a plastic liner inside of it note
there are a few choices on take materials out there you can get plastic
metal or even concrete Pioneer has been making and improving tanks for this
purpose for over 30 years so they know what works and they know what doesn’t
they know how to make it easy to assemble but also reliable to use the
guy started building out the tank by joining the bottom panels together with
vertical bolt strips after the bottom layer was complete the same process was
repeated on the top to kind of give you scale the diameter this tank is 26 feet
and it’s seven feet tall no it is not a swimming pool but it is large enough to
be with the body done it was time to start
building out the roof two trusses span the distance from one side to the other
then the inside requires some prep work before the metal roofing panels can go
down first plastic liner strips are placed over all of the vertical bolt
strips this serves two purposes one to protect the liner from the
hardware holding together the tank and two to keep the condensation on the
inside of the tank instead of moving to the outside a condensation strip is also
added along the entire top rim for the same purpose okay and now the roofing
panels which are first secured to the two trusses and I’m sure I’m gonna get
asked but yes pioneer actually does make a tank that collects water from its own
roof at this point the roofing material is only secured to the trusses and to
locate the outer rim of the tank the guys used is pretty clever jig made up
from small PVC pipe there are two joints that are the same link so that the
bottom joint can be placed on the tanks lip which gives the location on the top
to the person running the drill tell me that’s not a good one once I secure it
all the way around the tank next I use the pair of shear cutters to trim all of
the pieces from square to round o also a hatch without an end with a ladder that
drops down and hanky yes I got inside too when am I ever gonna be able to get
inside my own tank again it was surprisingly light inside and really
cool in my opinion this would be a cool little kits for
adult kit for it the first thing to do inside was to lay
down a geotech material which will prevent things from being able to grow
up inside then the liner was unpackaged unrolled and installed oh and at this
point it was a no-shoe zone the liner is plastic but it’s bpa-free and NSF 61
certified with imbedded sanitized antimicrobial technology embedded
sanitized antimicrobial antimicrobial antibacterial and it’s worth noting that
this aqua liner is exclusive to pioneer tanks its first attached to the bottom
with the built-in tabs then all along the top now with my resize which is
around 3,700 square feet or three-hundred and
forty-four square meters for you metric Watchers it’ll take about 12 inches of
rain to fill this tank once it’s full the excess will go out what is known the
overflow line what you can see being cut here this is located on the back of my
tank so that when it’s used the water will go out into the woods which is also
the lower point of the area now to get the water out of the tank and then back
uphill a small submergible pump is added to the inside of the tank and plumbed in
so looking at this shot here the six-inch line brings all of the water in
the conduit line is power to run the pump and also gives me an outlet on the
tank to utilize then this is the return line where the pump will push it back
uphill to where I need it a shut off valve is there as well as a hose bib
then just one more line that clearly isn’t seen from that shot is a low point
dream which goes into a valve that will allow me to flush the pipes out should I
want to clean out any sediment from the lines or if I don’t get rained for a
while then the water and the lines won’t be stagnant and need to be flushed out
so that it doesn’t enter into the tank okay and just two more things and then I
think that wraps up the system to prevent corrosion to the tank to
magnesium filled anode bags are buried around the tank you’ll see this in
concept used in water heaters or even buried for a Payne tanks then to prevent
erosion of the sand a layer of gravel is added to the base and spread around it’s
worth noting that you can get tanks in different colors but I absolutely love
the look and color of my tank overall it took four days to get the system
complete which I find incredible considering how much trenching my layout
required and how rocky my terrain is I am sure a lot of people will ask why why
consider a rain harvesting system for one thing I love utilizing a resource
that’s available so the idea of collecting rain coming off an existing
roof and then using it for my irrigation or other gray water needs is just really
appealing to me but then you can also consider the amount of control having
your own water source gives you I have a well but that could dry up or another
common problem in this area as the water is too hard even with the water softener
also if I turn my water into potable water then I’m gonna have complete
control over its quality even if you follow all the rules to protect
groundwater all it takes is one neighbor on the rules to contaminate everybody’s
well in the area then for people who rely on city water they are reliant on
the city’s department to do correct and also enough quality testing and you’re
also constrained to their standards if you have your own water source then
you’re in 1% control of the standard and the amount of checks okay so keep in
mind that while my state doesn’t outlaw rainwater collection a lot of states and
countries do so be sure to check your local walls before investing in one
remember that you can start small with a barrel under a downspout to water a
garden or some glass but if you’re going to get a larger system like this one
then I wanted a percent recommend finding a knowledgeable resource to plan
the system out for you I have gained so much knowledge from harvested rain
solutions because they’ve been doing it for so long they definitely get a big
thumbs up from me so if you’re in the Texas area and would like to give them a
shout than they do have their information down for you below I would
love to hear your thoughts down below do you have a rainwater collection system
and if you do what makes you start collecting and do you have anything that
you would advise people looking to get a system Oh also I left you links to two
friends of mine who have videos out on their rain collection system so check
down below if you’re interested in diving a little bit deeper into the rain
harvesting world I hope that you found this video helpful and I’ll see you soon

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About the Author: John Markowski


  1. Here in New Zealand most people in rural areas and some small towns are 100% rain water. Some people also have bores to fill their tanks up. We use our tank water for drinking aswell without treating it which means that it tastes much better than any water you can buy.

  2. Here in New Zealand we have wet winters, water from the skies and all round the Pacific ocean. But summers can be very hot and dry and having a water tank is a good idea to bridge the long dry spells.

  3. I use a downspout to a rain barrel. A fish tank float valve cuts off the flow from the barrel outlet to 5 gallon pail at a certain level. The pail has a 3/4 inch lawn irrigation tubing that leads to a bird bath. Using hydro-static pressure, the pail and the bird bath are always at the same level. Viola!…. automatic bird bath filler. When the birth bath level drops, the pail level drops, and the float valve kicks in to replenish the pail from the rain barrel. Works really well!

  4. 11:00 Well THANK YOU so very much for the metric measure there! That sure helps us here in Europe a lot. GREAT VIDEO THIS WAS!
    Greetings from Portugal.

  5. That's huge! Awesome system. I just moved out of California, where most counties had outlawed rainwater collection, even during the severe drought. Luckily it's an option for me now.

  6. Although I'd love a huge above ground tank, it's unlikely our HOA will allow it (nor do we have a really good spot for it). Currently we have 8x 50 gallon rain barrels and this year or the next we're going to upgrade them to 200 gallons (maybe a couple at 360 gallons each). The hope is that we're going to be able to offset most if not all of our exterior watering. We get about 14" of rain a year on average so anything we collect is pretty important. FYI you can get properly designed barrels that can handle freezing. Depending on the shape of the barrel some may want to come apart at the seams when they freeze.

  7. Great video April is the outlet on the top of the tank lower than the bottom of your down pipes or does this system work with the ground pipe loaded at all times and any water coming of the roof pushing it up into the tank ?

  8. πŸ€—hi,you are a wonderful, beautiful and strong woman,likeπŸ‘

  9. Way cool! I'm glad you mentioned that some locations make it illegal to use what nature gives you. (How can I express my disgust at that idea? Well, take my word for it — it's disgusting.) I only wish you had made mention of the cost of this project. There are non-monatizable benefits, still, I'd like to know.

  10. Two questions…

    1) How much would I probably look to spend on a 30k gallon rain collection system kinda like this?
    2) Would this system work if my land is level?

  11. I have an 8 gallon barrel that collects the overflow from my gutters. The ants make a nest in the gutter so the water is good composte water and I use this to water my plants. : ) peace

  12. with all your great videos. what books can you suggest for all your projects [building/construction, electrical, plumbing] i would like to be cool like you πŸ™‚

  13. Sorry April, but in middle Europe is catching rain water absolutely normal, allmost ewery house do that… So its not so new for us….

  14. Hi April. Question on your DeWalt. The pin nailer. That is 18ga? Man it's expensive. Latest that I checked was about $300 bucks. lol. Can't wait to get one though!

  15. That's a real cool setup. That being said I think its B.S. that any state can outlaw rain collection, it's a natural resource. Let me clarify that I know it is law in some states, I just believe the fact that it is law is ridiculous.

  16. I don't have a collection system myself, but my sister in Australia has one for her toilet and washing machine. They have 2 narrow tanks next to their house that collects the water from their roof. Really good idea especially for flushing the toilet as you do not need to use drinking water for that. In the UK, we can get tanks that are buried in the garden and do the same thing. I will be looking into this for the washing machine and toilet usage. 10/10!!! πŸ™‚

  17. I attach a plastic garbage can to my roof and i have a hose connected to the garbage can on the bottom so i have some pressure in the hose

  18. Very cool! But if your water is still hard even with a water softener, then either the unit is not big enough or it just simply needs to be replaced. The water softener will remove all hardness if the unit is the correct size and in good working order. Sincerely your culligan man πŸ€ͺ

  19. Wonderful video – thank you for sharing this!!!
    A few years ago we had a β€œgarage mahal” built, and ever since we have discussed how perfect the metal roof would be for rain water collection. We have a rain barrel, but 55 gallons of water is used up quickly watering plants. Your video has encouraged us to finally seriously check into getting a lithe rain collection system!
    We live on rolling land, with the workshop-of-our-dreams at a high point; so installing the gravity fed water lines should work well. We live in East Texas, so sometimes we get a lot of rain, and sometimes we don’t get nearly enough. It would be great to store up water during those times of plenty. Our tap and well water is very hard too, so β€œsoft” pure rainwater would be a wonderful change. Our water supplier also chlorinates our tap water so aggressively it kills plants. We have a well to water plants and supply the livestock, but we’re stuck with tap water at the house due to changes made long ago. Neither the well water nor the municipal water supply are palatable, and they’re both extremely ripe with mineral nastyness. πŸ₯΄
    Thanks for posting this!!! You have given us great ideas. Enjoy your new water supply!

  20. Kindergarten is German for Child's Garden, so how about April's Garden (Aprilgarten prounounced Ah-pril Garten) or just Aprilgarten.

  21. when i was a kid we saved rain water in a wood barrel my grand mother used it to wash her hair this was in the earley forties

  22. thanks for sharing all this info..we have to put in an additional tank for fire-fighting which is law here in Australia now depending on where you live & our BAL (bushfire threat level).The Heritage tank we are getting has its own water collection gutter on it too.

  23. The small butts as they get called over here usually 250 Litres or roughly 67 US gallons are used by a lot of gardeners in the UK cheap and easy to install and provide enough water to water plants for greenhouses etc but your tanks awesome.

  24. Wish we were able to do this in CA, but you get fined for collecting rain water.πŸ˜²πŸ˜–πŸ˜‘
    Proud to say that after 35 yrs here, I'm finally retired and fleeing! πŸŽ‰
    Small town TX here I come! ❀

  25. Before someone installs this type of system they should make sure laws in their area don't restrict collecting rainwater. Unfortunately, some places are doing this.

  26. The water has enough momentum to push up through the vertical pipe and into the tank? Or, is there a pump somewhere in-line?

  27. I grew up in a time and a place where cisterns were common. Most folks had stopped using them but they still existed. Next house, which should be happening in the next few months, there will be a water catch system added among them many other projects on my list.

  28. The next step is turning the roof of the tank into a collection spot, and then reuse they gray and black water from the house… and set up an aquaponics system.

  29. I've been living on rainwater for over 40 years. Not only is excellent water, it's free. The only better water I've lived with was from a mountain creek straight out of a rainforest. That was better than champagne.

  30. That is ridiculous to outlaw catching rain water wonder what the reasoning behind that is?? I was thinking about getting a rain barrel guess I best check the regs first

  31. Greetings from Germany. Water collection and reserving is a good thing if you are able to do it. We have been always collecting rainwater in some form or another.
    Growing up, my parents had a house + garden (about 2 acre i think) at the edge of Town. We had 3 huge connected septic tanks (build in the 50's from brick and mortar) underground, that where used for our blackwater. In the early 90's we got connected to the towns sewage management and the septics where not needed anymore. So we emptied them and my dad and i spend a few weeks cleaning those tanks and attached all the roofs and even the walkway drains to them. Since ca. 1996 my parents have been collecting all the rainwater in those old septic tanks and have been using it in the garden and house (No drinking water!!!) Wich is a really good thing. In the last 15 years the climate in our area has changed so much that we have months of drought now during the summer months.
    You just dont want to see the water bill you get if you need to water your veggies.

    This was a really cool and interesting video. I enjoyed it very much, thank you for sharing all you do with us.

  32. To keep the tank cleaner, it helped to install a system to discard the first gallons with dirty water due to roof dust.
    I have it at my house. In my case it was simple: 1 T connector + tube 3"-2 meters and 1 tread(for cleaning) end cap with a little hole(self flushing) at the bottom.

  33. Most people think rainwater collection means you don’t get water bills. Not entirely true, you pay heaps up front then amortise the expense over the life of the installation. Meh..!

  34. How does the incoming water make that 90 turn and flow straight up to the inlet at the top of the tank wall? Is it just the pressure of the water traveling downhill from the shop? Freaking science. Very cool, I definitely have lot size envy.

  35. Do they make automatic rain gauges that can be used automatically purge your lines if it's too dry? I can see it being annoying regularly throwing away several thousand gallons of water because you forgot to purge the lines before a storm that ended a short drought.

  36. TerrIfic tutorial April. I have my enclosed garden built but the beds are on the ground. Yea, time to elevate. Way to go. The shop building needs to be built first along with a smaller but similar rain/snow harvesting system. We are on a desert horse property and the public water system is TERRIBLE. At this point we are drinking and cooking with bottled water. I might just make mine for potable only. We have a large quantity of nitrates in the local supply due to ground water contamination from fertilizers used many years ago. I do enjoy your videos. Keep up the good work. I may have to learn sketch-up.

  37. April, I just found you and love what I've seen so far. Do you mind sharing where you live? If not, do you know what your average annual rainfall is?

  38. Ooops, I just heard the Texas reference at the end of this episode…still, do you know the average rainfall in your area? I'm wondering as here in western WA, a 1000 sq ft roof can yield as much as 20,000 gallons of water in a year. That obviously affects the size of tank! If one just wants to catch a little in one of the smaller barrels it is necessary to collect only from a portion of the roof, have many barrels, or have an overflow line.

  39. i have watched some of your videos here and there but me and my family was thinking about moving to Texas and do not know what the building codes are and if any of the county's that are off grid friendly.

  40. Maybe there's more pitch to the land than what it appears, but I don't see how the water will go up the pipe into the tank without a pump to drive the water 6 ft. or so up the side of the tank. I don't recall seeing an input pump being installed. Seems to me that the collection lines will sit full of stagnant water and never empty between rains.

  41. I would like to know, just how Water runs up-hill. Even though you placed your tank down hill a bit, how do you get water to run (UP) and into that Tank?

  42. Out of curiosity , durin the winter how does one prevent the pipes and system freeze up in areas where it’s colder

  43. serious question: what kind of rain water harvesting systems are more environment friendly:

    1) The kind which is shown in this video
    2) Ones which collect water and then slowly return water so that underground water tables can be regenerated.

  44. It's gonna get lost in the comments, but you did a great job detailing the work and features of this system. The workmen seemed on the ball and going no-shoes was interesting. The one other video that I saw for a different system did not mention the anodes, nor the graduated pipe diameters.

  45. Yes, we also collect rain water and love it. We grow gardens in five 26 ft x100ft long high tunnels plus another acre of gardens and our well water has a high a percentage of dissolved minerals. It would only take 3-4 years of using our well water before the soil in the high tunnels would be totally ruined. The second reason is our well only produces 4-5 gallons per minute and its not hard to run the well dry watering huge gardens. Our barn has 8200 sq ft of surface area and we can collect an amazing amount of water during a normal season. I estimate the volume is upwards of 65,000 gallons during a normal rainy seasons. I have tank storage of around 4500 gallons in plastic tanks and another 6000 gallons in low cost 12-14 foot swimming pools we get at Walmart. I priced out larger more permanent tanks but they were running from $2-$3 a gallon to install. There is no way I could justify spending $30,000-$40,000 for a system. The $400 I spend on the above ground pools is money well spent and a huge savings. I live in Alaska and we don't get much rain or do much gardening in the winter anyways. They are also a nice way to cool off during that two weeks each summer when it actually gets warm. haha. And, I always have water if needed for fire fighting. Any excess water that I have in storage MUST be drained off before freeze up and it would be prohibitively expensive to try and over winter the water. I dont know if the USDA/NRCS still has grants available for water storage systems but they designed and paid for my entire roof collection system and tanks six or seven years ago. Its worth looking into if you use the water for an agriculture purpose.

  46. Thank you for an interesting video…in fact, all of them are! What is amazing is that Water Companies can make you stop collecting water that falls on your house or land. Or using it twice.

  47. Out of the lower 48 states in the U.S., Colorado and Utah are the only states that are currently heavily regulated to keep homeowners from harvesting and using the rain that falls on their property. But in most states, rainwater harvesting is either not regulated at all, or actually encouraged by the state government as a method for water conservation, stormwater management, and water availability.
    Colorado – The only state that it is completely illegal to harvest rainwater. Other than that each house is allowed up to 110 gallons of rain barrel storage.
    Utah – 2,500 gallons max for rainwater harvesting systems. A permit is required
    Oregon – Rainwater harvesting is legal, but only using rooftop surfaces.
    Ohio – Rainwater harvesting is legal, but there are codes and regulations that must be followed.

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