My Roof Rainwater Collection System

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by BTPost, Feb 25, 2012.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    90% of my winter water is harvested off the Steel Roof of my cabin and the cabin just North of mine. We collect it in 250-500 USG Insulated Totes, and the store it in 3 ea. 250 USG Insulated Totes. We try and keep the Storage Totes full, and for use during extended dry spells, while using the collection totes to fill our 350USG cistern, in the insulated, and heated WellHouse, where the Filtration System is located. We pump collected water, from the Collection Totes, to the cistern, as required, to keep us in domestic water. We have NOT had to supplement our harvested water, with Creek Pumped Water, for 4 years running now, but we have our backup Honda Water Pump, Suction and Discharge Hoses ready for use if needed.
    Update: 8/4/12
    We actually did have to pump Creek water once this spring, after two months of No Rain, and we live in a Rain Forest. Two days after we pumped to fill all our totes, it started to rain. Rained 26 days straight.... Oh well... Must be that global warming, I keep hearing about.....
    TotesA. ToteB. ToteC.
  2. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    The Filtration and Pump Systems in the Wellhouse are straight forward in design, and operation. the whole system is designed to run off an 8D 12 Vdc Battery that has a Const-Volt Battery charger on it that charges it whenever the Generator Runs. It runs on the same circuit that feeds the 1.5 Kw Heater for the WellHouse Building. From the cistern, we have a 1/2 " Hose, that feeds a 5 Micron Cotton PreFilter, and then to the 12Vdc Danforth Vane Pump.
    The pump then feeds, thru a Check Valve, a Tee'd in 30 USG Air-Bladder Pressure Tank, and then to a Tee'd in Pressure Switch for the Vane Pump (Set at 30 PSI ON/50 PSI OFF) and then that feeds the input to a second 5 Micron Cotton Filter. That, then feeds thru to an Activated Carbon Filter Cartridge, and finally thru a UV Sterilizer Tank, (12 Vdc Florescent type UV Germicidal Lamp) to the 1/2" Galvanized, Heat Taped, and Insulated, underground pipe, buried 3 ft below grade, that feeds the input to the domestic Potable Water System for the cabin.
    WellHa. WellHb. WellHc. WellHd.
  3. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

  4. PAGUY

    PAGUY Monkey

    That's a fairly impressive system it makes my six 50 gallon barrels with a boiler drain look like a glass of water with a hole in it.

    Improvise, Adapt, Modify, and Overcome. FTM/PTB
  5. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Cool, so you are filtering and sterilizing rainwater for winter use? I take it you cant sink a well there?
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    I had a well that was hand dug, 40 ft deep, and had good water in it, 40 years ago. Then they had a Oil Line break about 20 ft from the well, (30 years ago) and didn't catch it for 3 months. Contaminated the ground all around the well for 60 ft basically forever, so when I got here, year-round in 1991, it was abandoned. I had the water tested and it was still contaminated. I pumped on it for 6 months and then retested it, still No Go, so we gave up on that and went to the Catchment System, and pumping from North Creek. As the Catchment System expanded, we have been pumping less and less over the years, As noted in the first Post. I spend maybe 2 hours a week, dealing with Domestic Water, during the winter months. During the summers, I have Cannery Water at 80 PSI... Rip the skin right off your back, in the shower, if your NOT careful. The filter system is used all year-round. I change the filters every 6 months, and the UV tube as required, as they have a lifetime limit. The totes are insulated, and double walled, so they keep the water mostly liquid even when the outside air is down at 20F. If it goes lower than that the Ice will form on the sides but we have never had them freeze solid, even at -10F.
    Last winter I found the perfect heater, to keep the Collection Totes free of Ice. It is called a Stock Tank Heater, and I bought a 1.5 Kw one, from Tractor Supply, for $35US including shipping. I just stick this thing in a tote, in the morning, when I start the Genset, and by Noon, when I shut down after the morning run, all the ice is back to liquid. I have enough overhead on the Genset, to accommodate the extra load, so this saves me LOTs of work, and water. Before I had the Heater, I would have to throw the Ice away once I pumped out all the liquid, and then refill the tote. Now I can pump it dry, and then refill with no Ice Loss. Best $35US I ever invested.
    chelloveck and sec_monkey like this.
  7. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Bump for further reading and studying.

    Last night we discussed a property for sale. This place has lots of land, a cabin, electric but no water. We can drill a well but until then a rain/snow collection system may work. Great thread @BTPost!

    Also looking for ideas on a shower type system that uses collected rain.
    sec_monkey and Yard Dart like this.
  8. -06

    -06 Monkey+++

    Bud has a well but collects runoff in about a dozen 55 gallon barrels set horizontal in racks. They supply most of their potable and other water. The well is actually backup. They also have a tower mounted tank to provide shower pressure. The shower has a R/V pump to boost pressure. Their solar powered home is completely off grid.
    chelloveck and Motomom34 like this.
  9. AllTrades

    AllTrades Monkey

    I'm a few years late for this thread but here is a video I made on the system my brother and I built for our off grid living site. There are currently 6 of us, (4 adults and 2 children) that live off this system. Because we get roughly 250 inches of rain a year, we don't really worry about running out although we are much more conscientious now about how much we use compared to our on the grid days.

  10. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Looks like you did the right Research, for your area.... Plenty of good Potable Water from that System.... Don't see any mitigation for Cold Temps, though... Hope it doesn't get below 32F in your area... Ever....
  11. AllTrades

    AllTrades Monkey

    No worries about cold temps. Coldest temperature in recorded history is 58F.
    Cruisin Sloth likes this.
  12. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Ok, I get that after our coversation.... Your AoO is a piece of Paradice, but a bit different from my Piece of Paradice...
  13. Kingfish

    Kingfish Self Reliant

    Very cool.
  14. T. Riley

    T. Riley Monkey+++

    Mine. 600g in the front of the house, 300 here in the back. 900 total from a 1" rain. 1 b missing in pictures. Built then stored till needed. image. image.
  15. azrancher

    azrancher Monkey +++

    Actually, I get down in the 20's and the teens during the Winter, and have done a zero degree night and next day never above 20F, I have a 3,000 storage tank, it is black... when everything else was frozen solid even with heat tape, the tank was not even skimmed over with ice, perhaps the heat from the ground?
    Ganado likes this.
  16. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    Not unless it is dug in about 6feet deep.(where there is a year round temp @56 degrees AND the walls of that hole are insulated. Nominal frost line is 3' deep and varies with temp./time. )
    Likely is from the sun on that black surface causeing just enough warming to keep you liquid.
    EDIT: I helped build an off grid A frame, with indoor fishtank, garden sunroom, and the kind of passive heat collection from the basement floor, like we are talking about. The wall must be insulated to do any good at all. We installed 6" styro between 1/2" plywood to to all basement walls with construction adhesive. Big improvement.
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2015
    chelloveck and Gator 45/70 like this.
  17. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    Actually, with 3000 USG it takes a lot more than one or two nights below Freezing to pull enough BTUs out of that amount of water, to start forming Ice, especially if there is NO Wind, across the surface of the water.... Water is a very good conductor of energy, and 3000USG is a very BIG Heatsink. It doesn't Heat Up, and it doesn't Cool Down, very fast in those quantities. My 350USG Insulated Storage Totes, will only freeze about 2" on the outside Surfaces, even at -20F for a week. I just break thru to liquid, with a hammer, after taking the Lid Off, and pump out of the Center of the Tote, until I only have 3" left in the Bottom. Then I stick the StockTank Heater in for a few hours, until all the Ice has melted, and then pump the rest of the water out. Works For Me....
    Ganado and chelloveck like this.
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