Your Questions About Rain Barrel Pump

John asks…

Pump for rain barrel?

I have 3 50gal rain barrels. I want to hook it up to a pvc pip ~20 ft, then to a soaker hose to water my garden. I know people hook the pumps to sprinklers, but would this be a problem with a soaker hose?
Attach the drip system to the pump? I need a pump because I don’t have enough water pressure to get the water from the barrels to the garden. Wanted to confirm that pressure from the water pump would not be a problem for a drip system. Thanks!
A siphon would not give me enought pressure to get the water out far enough. I actually have a spicket at the bottom of the barrels, and they are already sittion on cinder blocks. Water just would not go far enough, I figured that a pump would help, but just need to figure out what type of pump would work.

admin answers:

You can get a pump for just that purpose at a garden center.

George asks…

How do I hook up a pump to a rain barrel that automatically shuts off?

I want to add a pump to my rain barrel that is connected to the bottom port. My vision is to have to have a 50ft hose with a standard sprayer on the other end. When I turn on the sprayer I want the pump to start and when I turn off the sprayer I want the pump to turn off (I assume that if the pump continues to run while my sprayer is on the pump will be damaged).

Is this possible? I noticed there are very expensive systems that can do this, but am wondering if I could use a pump with an automatic shut-off feature at a certain psi. My intention is to keep this pump inside a waterproof box (tool box maybe) and constantly plugged in I don’t have to set it up every time.

admin answers:

If I am understanding correctly what you are trying to do then all you need is a demand pump. When you call for the water it gives it to you. Motor homes plumbing uses these pumps and they work great.

Chris asks…

Use Sump Pump Output Water on the Lawn and Garden?

The part of Wisconsin where I live is in a moderate drought. Voluntary water restrictions may be implemented soon.

At the same time, my basement sump pumps are pumping periodically, and the pumped water goes right into the storm sewer, per local codes.

It would be easy to capture the pumped water in a modified rain barrel and use it for watering my plants and garden. Can you think of any reason why that would not be a good idea?

admin answers:

It sounds like a good idea to me, unless you can think of any toxic things that could harm your plants. I doubt you would have anything like that coming out of a basement sump pump. Iowa is having the same dry weather you are, it’s hot and dry.

Daniel asks…

DIY pond filter-can I bypass the pump so ‘muck’ does not clog it up! advice !?

OK – I am going to make a small (maybe 6′ x 8′, 1 1/2 deep) pond for 5 ducks. And they poo in the water. Im no newbie to bio filtration so the filter in question I got down – its the water getting there! Pond will be dug in ground, so pump & bio box will be out of pond, above ground.
My initial idea was to take a (GOOD size) pool pump and pump water from pond, into top or a rain barrel/box/whatever with plants/lava rock/sand blah blah blah and ‘waterfal ‘ it back into pond – the barrel/box would be raised up from pond a bit to easily drain into pond…..QUESTION , no PROBLEM is all the duck poo & crap in the water will be going straight through the pump impeller, not the greatest idea. If I make a pre-media filter, all the crap will be stuck in that…I might be thinking this up all wrong (new project Im in brain furry wanting to do it, and its no big fancy thing, just keeping my duckie swimming hole cleanish) and Im googleing to no avail…Id appreciate input or links. Ive been trying to find a something with making a bypass to pump the water, ? _ I dont know with a bypass around the actual pump?? Thanks guys!
btw – was thinking about putting the pump in/at/by the bottom of the barrel/box drawing water through bio filter from pond…tube will connect barrel/ box to pond at the top but trying to pull water through all that bio stuff might just burm it out and make it work to hard, yes??

admin answers:

Classic problem with circulating water. If you make a large pre-media filter or screen you can extend the time between cleaning, but there is no way around the fact that the suction created through pumping will draw and hold material to that filter or screen. If you don’t want to clear that material off the screen and remove it from the pond on a regular interval, you’ll need a second, reverse flow of water that would push the material back off the screen with sufficient force to relocate it far enough away and disperse it enough to buy more time between clearing/cleaning. The result will be dirty murky water, which it sounds like isn’t a major concern for you in this application.

If you want to get fancy, you could probably get a device to monitor the flow of water out of the pump and trigger a second pump with outflow aimed back out the screening device in a wide angle spray. The switch would remain active until the primary pump water pressure returned to normal, and you might have a more or less automatic method to clear the screen off.

But I would probably just go with a large basket style mesh screen of whatever the right size holes is for your water content, that screens the larger gunk that would foul the impeller. Then just clean it off with a garden hose out of the pond so it doesn’t just come right back. The gunk is probably nice organic matter you can fertilize your flowers with anyway, right?

Michael asks…

What was the directions for making organic lawn fertilizer that they had on This Old House?

It was something like ground up fish juice and I forget what all and they put it in a rain barrel with a pond aerator attached and used something else as a way to pump it out and spray it over the lawn after it set a few days. I can’t find it on their website either, but it was on TV with Roger Cook and somebody else?

admin answers:

These links may help you.

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