Smart Thinking for Summer - Homemade Automatic Rain Barrel Watering System

rain barrel system photo

Photo via hAxOrYoUrMoThErHaRdRiVe

Spring rains are still flowing and hopefully you're able to catch plenty in rain barrels for later in the summer when there isn't a cloud in the sky. The only thing that makes a rain barrel storage system cooler is when it's set up to water your yard for you automatically. Zero thought, minimal effort, maximum awesomeness. A project by [Dmritard96] shows how a solar powered battery runs a pump that keeps water flowing to his garden even while out of town. What's more, you get the blue prints to build your own. Hack A Day brought our attention to this cool project at hAxOrYoUrMoThErHaRdRiVe.

rain barrel system photo

Presented with the issue of watering the garden while away, [Dmritard96] came up with a smart system that incorporates rain barrels, and when those are empty, your home's water pipes.

"Adding a rain barrel complicates the system significantly as there isn't much water pressure at its spigot compared to a standard city spigot which has somewhere around 40 psi. Also, if the barrel is empty, you don't want your plants to die and thus you need to be able to detect that the barrel is empty and switch to city water.

After a little bit of planning, shopping and construction I came up with a simple system for automatically or manually watering a garden that in an automatic mode could select the appropriate water source and turn on based on an off the shelf timer. The system uses a small 12 Volt Battery, Pump (for getting the rain barrel water pressure closer to the hose-bib, a solenoid valve, bilge pump float switch, etc. (see the documentation for more detail on parts and wiring). Oh yeah, and in keeping with the eco-friendly approach I figured I should probably keep the battery charge with a small solar panel!"

Nice! Seems like the perfect project to install now, and use during the summer months, relying on stores of rainwater as much as possible.

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