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On this episode I’m discussing rain barrels and how to ensure that they provide enough water pressure to your garden watering system.

Hi everyone I’m Bryan Traficante from and this is Easy Growing Episode 23. On today’s episode I’m going to be talking about a pretty popular topic, Rain Barrels and how to use them for your garden watering system. Now generally when we discuss rain barrels with people there are three primary areas we cover.

1) Water Cleanliness

2) Volume of Water – The Size Your Barrel

3) The Most Important: Water Pressure

Rain Barrel Water Cleanliness

The first one, water cleanliness, is a pretty simple one. If you’re collecting water from your rooftop or your gutters, different debris such as leaves and sticks and things like that can
try to make their way into your barrel. If you have a filter on top of your barrel, like a mesh screen, that will prevent most of the debris from entering your barrel and possibly preventing the barrel from getting water out to your garden.

Rain Barrel Water Volume

The next is volume, you’re going to want to have a barrel that’s at least 50 gallons. Reason being is that for a larger garden area you can use up 50 gallons pretty quickly. Also, if you’re collecting from your roof or gutters the area of your roof can funnel over 50 gallons of water pretty quickly. So, making sure you have a large enough reservoir to collect it is generally a good idea.

Rain Barrel Water Pressure

And lastly, is water pressure. Now generally when it comes to a rain barrel, we recommend that you put a 1/3 HP sump pump in side of the barrel in order to feed the water to your entire garden watering system. A typical garden watering system will need about 10 PSI at minimum to function to its full capacity. Now if you don’t use a sump pump your next
option is to work with a height differential and gravity between your garden watering
system and the top of the water in the rain barrel.

So the way the math works out is that for every 2.31 feet of elevation you add about 1 PSI (pounds per square inch). Now if you need a bare minimum of 10 PSI that means the top of your water level in relation to your garden irrigation system, needs to be 23.1 feet higher to produce 10 PSI. Now, that’s not a very easily achievable height to put your rain barrel at. But, there are different things you can do. Of course if you have a taller house or you have the ability to build a taller structure to hold your rain barrel, that will add elevation of course.

If you use a taller rain barrel where the top of the water level will be higher, that makes it a little easier. You can also use the landscape of your yard to try to add a little bit more of that height difference that you need. You would put your garden in a lower area in your yard and you would put your rain barrel in a higher area to possibly build a structure
as well to elevate it even further. So generally that’s a pretty difficult thing for most people to do in order to generate that much PSI, so like I said earlier a 1/3HP sump pump inside of your rain barrel, at just about any height is totally fine and sufficient to provide water flow to your entire garden.

Rain Barrel Water Flow Recap

So just a quick recap…

The three main things to look out for…

1. Make sure the water going into your barrels stays clean. Put some kind of filter screen over the top of your rain barrel to keep leaves and debris out.

2. Make sure you have a large enough barrel to supply enough water to your entire garden area. Generally 50 gallons or larger is what we go with.

3. And with the barrel itself, make sure you have enough water pressure, 10 PSI at minimum.

Generally household pressure give you 40-50 PSI, so you can understand the relation and difference between the two. So, put a 1/3 HP sump pump inside of your rain barrel or add at least 23.1 feet of height from the top of the water to your garden irrigation system to give it that minimum of 10 PSI.

That’s it for Easy Growing Episode 23. Thank you all so much for watching, we’ll see you next time!

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