The three barrel rain-barrel rack waiting for rain
Now all it has to do is rain…

If you haven’t already, read Part One of this 2 part article on Rain barrel collection which goes over the platform that the barrels sit on.

Here is the assembled product. Originally I mentioned that I was going to throw some plumbing into this article. So here it is.. I will admit that some of the stuff in the above picture is leftover from building the house here. However other pieces are from the landfill, others are plumbing pieces that I have taken out during renovation projects.  The customers usually “just want it gone” and I offer to make sure it gets recycled.  Having copper at almost $3 a pound for number 1 scrap (clean and pure copper) is the first reason you should not just throw out that old copper pipe.  Brass fittings are valuable as well.  The metal value is close to copper and most of the valves that look old and worn out just need some acid cleaning and a new 10 cent seal to make them new again.

picture of bungs for barrels

So getting back to the rain barrel rack.  I want to connect the three barrels into a series of tanks that can be overflown to each consecutive one.  There are many ways to go about it and I actually got my idea from another article in an old Country Journal Magazine article.  So the exact plumbing is going to be dictated by what you find lying around – not you lying around!  I searched my box of fittings the same way you work a jigsaw puzzle.  Search for pieces that fit together.

Two Barrel Bungs
garden hose fittings

The bungs (yes that’s where the expression “all bunged up” comes from) have two flavours one with an inner threaded hole with a knock out seal and another one with an inner hole without threads.  For my barrels I found the threads to be 3/4 NPT.  Huh?  NPT = National Pipe Thread = thread that is tapered down towards it’s end.  Garden hoses use “hose thread”, or “straight course thread 3/4” the specific of which I don’t think matters much.  You may need this info if you go to Home Depot to find any missing connectors – nobody there will be able to help you! I don’t care what their slogan says. For me, I had to buy a couple of items which are shown with the packaging still on.

 

So, here is the almost-final product. I actually used some other valves that I found elsewhere but the objective is to be able to isolate each barrel and drain only what is required (one barrel’s worth of water for the garden per watering).

two rain barrels with hose connection