Arid Solutions Inc.
Questions & Answers  (FAQs) about Rain Barrels



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Arid Solutions Inc. Rain Barrels FULL This photograph is of a set of ASI rain barrels that are FULL and the rain is still coming down. Notice how the bottom barrel bulges with the weight of the water? That is typical and normal. The barrel will not break, crack or leak. When the barrel is empty it will return to its original dimensions. If your rain barrel has been frozen full of water the bottom barrel may loose some of its elasticity but will still be leak proof.

 

Explain the use of the two bottom outlets on the Standard Rain Barrel

We now include two garden hose outlets on the Standard Barrel in add even more customization options for the customer. We had several architects and engineer type customer request this extra fitting over years so they could connect a series of barrels at the bottom. This allowed the use of pumps for larger watering situations. We thought it was a great idea so now instead of a special order with an added cost and wait, we give this fitting to every one. If you don't want it use it we include a cap and gasket to place on that extra fitting.


HOW DO I WINTERIZE MY RAIN BARRELS?

There a couple ways to prepare your rain barrels for winter. First, remember you DO NOT HAVE TO STORE THEM INDOORS. Rain barrels of lesser quality require that you drain and store them indoors so they won't crack. ASI rain barrels can handle the cold. Besides storing them indoors is not very practical when you have 8 or 10 or 12 barrels to store.

We can not warrant the hardware due to our diverse climates. You can remove hardware, or leave them open so water will simply drain out. Put on a old piece of hose on the bottom fitting to direct snowmelt so a ice hazard isn't made. Some people remove the hardware and cap off the fittings.  We have set, CAPS & GASKETS, you can purchase at the online store. It includes, 5 caps, 5 gaskets, and a spigot plug for only $5.00 and includes S&H. Be sure to leave at least one overflow outlet in use.

If you get long freezes the tanks can freeze into VERY large ice cubes. The plastic will  expand to accommodate the ice. It is warranted against cracks. To get the most use from your tanks we suggest you not freeze them full of water. Without the extra stress they should last you many, many years. Though they won't crack, the bottom tanks, the Standards, if they have been frozen with water in them have a tendency to bulge a bit more when full. It the bulging will bother you, empty your rain barrels for the winter.

To replace hardware in spring. If you have found your hardward is leaking, because you left themout to freeze you can replace them without emptying the barrels. Have everything ready, such as tape on spigot, etc., move quickly and you will only lose about ½ cup of water per fitting install. You will probably a little get wet though!


Why do I need a tank?

The waste of our fresh water supply must end. We need to reduce our use and recycle this precious resource or it'll be gone. Where there is no water, there is no life. 

The use of water collection tanks can make a dramatic impact on our use of fresh water. Let's look at the numbers. If 1000 people filled a 54 gallon water collection tank to save spring rains and they used the water for some of their spring plantings and perhaps to wash the car. The tanks filled twice so that is 108 gallons X 1000 tanks = 108,000 gallons of fresh drinking water not pulled from the ground.

Now if we use even more realistic numbers such as 1/4 of the water customers in Albuquerque New Mexico that is 35,000 X 108 gallons = 3,780,000 gallons of water not pulled from the underground water sources.


How many tanks do I need?

One inch of rain on a 1000 sq.ft. roof = about 625 gallons. So at certain times of the year you will most likely  have much more water than capacity to hold it all.  So decide where you want your water supply.  If you want to make sure you have water for those tomatoes you plant every year dedicate a tank for that area.  If one downspout or canale handles a lot of water put two or more there.  You may even want to adjust your plantings to where the water supply is best. 

If you are using square foot gardening as described in Square Foot Gardening  by Mel Bartholomew, and the rule of thumb of 1 gallon of water per square foot per week a little math will tell you how many filled tanks will carry your garden between rains. Here is an example:

One 4'x4' garden square = 16 sq.ft. = 16 gallons of water needed per week when no rain has fallen;  One standard tank = 54 gallons = 3.375 full waterings of 16 sq.ft.  Please note: Amount of water needed will vary according to plantings, soil. weather. As you garden you will learn.

The wonderful thing about these tanks is that they can be set up to meet your needs. Perhaps get one to start and add on later or put two in one spot and only one somewhere else.  They are also discreet enough to place for light gray water recycling. With gray water recycling you can fill your tank during the dry season.


How do I get the water out?
The Standard tank, which can function alone, comes with a brass spigot for watering cans or a hose. It also has a zinc Y bottom shut off drain that can tade two hoses, regular and soaker or perhaps a low pressure drip. The Doubler comes with a zinc bottom shut off drain. A spigot is not necessary on the Doubler because the lower tank has one at a convenient height.

Is there a moquitoe screen included?

With a Standard Barrel purchase you will get a stainless steel mesh screen. It is shipped in the parts pack flatten. It is easy to reshape it so it fits nicely in the top of the barrel. These screens are supposedly stainless steel however a handful have been rusting.

We don't know why. It has happened to us also. We don't sell these mesh screens because they are readily available at most any store that sells small kitchen items (think dollar stores).  It is considered a sink strainer. The are inexpensive so you can replace them without having to order online, pay shipping and wait for delivery. We try to keep our products user friendly and going to this mesh screen has proved to be much easier for the customer.

 


What if it doesn't rain?

You can use your  Water Collection Tank to hold any water you want to recycle. You can save that water that that usually goes down the drain waiting for the shower to get hot, rinsing vegetables, in the kitchen, etc. The average family wastes up to about 10 gallons a day.  In fact, in many parts of the country, recycling water, not just saving rainwater, is the key to keeping cities and rural areas vital.

Keep a pitcher or bucket in the shower and the kitchen sink to catch that light gray water before it goes down the drain. When the pitcher is full pour it into your tank.  Attractive, convenient storage will make this easier for people to do.  You then have a source of water for any non-potable use.

As a nation, we recycle newspapers, soda cans, milk bottles, it only makes sense to recycle water. Every living thing is dependent on water.


The water from rinsing my fruit and vegetables isn't clear. Should I put it in my tank anyway?

First, water collected from a pitcher in kitchen sink needs to be as clear as possible. That is no oil, fat, milk from glasses, etc should be allowed in the pitcher.  You will need to tell children what is okay to have allow in the pitcher.  Expect to have some pitchers of water end up not savable as everyone learns.  As far as strawberry seeds or broccoli bits, this type of stuff is easy to filter out with a coffee filter attached to the inlet drain of the tank.  Since the water is poured in by hand the filter can handle it.  To attach a filter, pull the inlet out, put the coffee filter over the bottom and put a rubberband on to hold it. Trim any excess that comes up by the top.

 


I don't have a drip system or soaker hose. Is there someway other than using a watering can to water my plants?

 

Absolutely, you can fill Ziplock bags from the tank and then put the filled bag(s) at the base of your plants.  Poke 2-4 tiny holes near the top of the bag and place them so they'll let the water drip out.  Putting the holes at the top of the bags allows you to use the bags again without them dripping while you fill them.  You may also refill the 2 1/2 gallon drinking water containers the sell. We like them because they hold enough to water small trees and large bushes. The flow is adjustable too.  

We are developing an optional drip system to be used with the zinc Y shut off.  If you are handy, you may put your own together until the kit is available.  We suggest Orbit Irrigation parts. Be sure to elevate your tank for the best water pressure and use an inline filter.


When my tanks are stacked and full the bottom tank bulges some. Is that okay? Close up of bottom tank FULLYes.  It is normal for the bottom tank to show it is full by bulging some. All plastics have some elasticity and will stretch under pressure. When the tanks are full there is a lot of pressure on the bottom tank. It may stay stretched out even after the tanks have been emptied if they were allowed to freeze solid while full. It is the nature of the material. Be assured it is structurally sound. It will not break, and you are covered by 3 year guarantee.  If you think it will bother you, yet you still want to store 108 gallons, set up two standard tanks next to each other rather than stack them.

How do these tanks couple and stack?

The Standard Tank can and does function alone. The capacity is 54 gallons. To couple and stack a Doubler with/on the Standard Tank is quite simple. This will double your capacity to 108 gallons in the footprint.  There is a threaded fitting in the top of the Standard Tank and threaded fitting in the bottom of the Doubler. The Tank Connector thread into the bottom of the Doubler and then into the top of the Standard Tank.

If you have already been using the Standard Tank pull it away from the wall (empty) if you need room to thread the Doubler on.

1. Remove the Inlet Drain from the Standard Tank.

2. Thread the Tank Connector into the bottom of the Doubler, you may wipe a little dish soap on the threads to ease threading. Recently we have had to obtain the Tank Connectors from various manufacturers if it doesn't seem to grip and thread let us know it may be faulty and we'll get another out to you right away. Thread it 3-4 turns only into the fitting of the Doubler. 

3. Place the Doubler over the Standard Tank with the Tank Connector Level and Straight to the fitting in the top of the Standard Tank.  Turn the Doubler to the right (right tight) and it will thread the two tanks together. You goal here is to keep the Doubler level and straight as you thread them together. If it is not cross threading it will thread on very easily. If it feels stuck at all, stop and unthread. You could be cross threading it. If you cross thread it, it is VERY hard to remove the Tank Connector. You may need a strap wrench to remove the connector. Please call/email for advice.

4. Once they are drawn closely together and the vertical lines are lined up, and the overflow outlets are where you want them you're done.

Put the set on your level, elevated base. Put the overflow caps on the bottom tank and hook up the overflow(s) hose to the upper tank. Once filled, if it has a small leak between the two tanks turn the top tank one more turn.  


What is a spin weld fitting?

Spin welded fittings are what is used when attaching fittings to plastic.  A router and special bit is used to "spin" the fitting at such a speed and pressure that the plastic of the tank and the fitting melt together forming a water tight seal.  That is why you will see melted plastic around the fitting. If there isn't enough "melt" it may not be a good weld. 

At our plant they focus on the best weld possible so the welds may show more melted plastic around the fittings than other tanks. But that is how, and why, we offer a 3 year guarantee against leaks.


What color should I get for my house?

 That depends on what color your house or business is.  We don't expect the tank colors to "match" any one stucco or brick color.

New Mexico Sandstone II has tiny speckles in it, thus the "sandstone".  New Mexico Sandstone was developed to go with lighter, softer shades of stucco such as Palamino, Navajo White, Hacienda, etc.

Santa Fe Adobe II also has specks in it  like the NM Sandstone II.  It is a browner color so it would look nice next to stuccos like Buckskin, Straw, Fawn, etc.  Again, we don't expect the tank colors to match your home exactly but we think they will look better than green, black, or that bright blue one sees at construction sites.

Many companies charge extra for "stone-like" colors. We don't. We offer you the best available tank for a reasonable price so our standard colors are what others charge extra for.

 



What is the surface of the tank like?
The surface is slightly textured to avoid the shininess of smooth plastic. It will blend in better with stucco or brick.  The texture does not, however, make it difficult to clean. Simply spray with an all purpose cleaner wipe down with a soft kitchen scubber and rinse.  Be sure to use recycled water for such a cleaning job!

When I stack the tanks will they line up perfectly?  

The vertical lines will line up, but there will be a slight overhang. The bottom of the tank has to be slightly larger than the top to remove it from the mold. The Standard and Doubler are made from the same mold thus you will see evidence of the this taper.  As the saying goes, "it's the nature of the beast." 

 


What do I need to do to get my rebate from the City of Albuquerque? or the City of Santa Fe?  

Both cities now allow residents to simply print out the forms from thier respective web sites. The links page gives those links and contact info.


How are the colors different? The New Mexico Sandstone II is lighter color and has specks and the Santa Fe Adobe II is a warm soft brown but now also has specks. We found this helps keep your tanks looking good. Dirt and scratches are less evident. One can always use a little plastic cleaner to clean it up regardless of what color.  These colors blend in nicely with stucco, brick and siding. We also offer Evergreen for those who want a dark green tank. Evergreen is too dark to have any specks show so it is not considered a stone like color. The surface is textured like all the other tanks we sell.

Do I need to buy an overflow kit?

No, the two factory installed overflow fittings on the Standard and Doubler Barrels take standard garden hose .  When making your overflow hoses simply cut a piece off the length you want from an old hose and clamp a female hose end to attach to the tank. You get two female hose ends with each Standard Barrel. When purchasing a Doubler simply use the hose ends from the Standard Barrel. These hose ends are included at no extra charge.  

Some people have chosen to use pvc pipe on the overflows or you can use a hose adapter and black irrigation tubing with elbows to direct the overflow water away.  


Do I need to elevate the tank?

It is best to set the tank(s) on a firm solid base.  We suggest landscape blocks or cinder blocks. This will also raise the tanks up and increase the water pressure.

Be sure the entire bottom is supported, not just the outside edge.  When using the bottom shut off valve have the end of the hose lower that the valve when you turn the valve on.  Once the water is flowing put the hose end in your bucket or can.  There will be plenty of water pressure to have the water flow. With the Y shut off you can hook up a low pressure drip system or soaker hose and fill a bucket too.


The water from my downspout comes out very fast, will flow into the inlet okay?

Yes. We've done the math. If you find that the water is not flowing in nicely you need to consider that perhaps that particular downspout is required to handle more roof area than is ideal.  Now, if during most rains it is just fine but that occasional downpour is a bit much I wouldn't be concerned.  Because of that occasional downpour is why we recommend your base is solid, stable, and level. 

Personally, we have a downspout that is directed into an underground holding tank. The water comes too fast sometimes for the downspout and will overflow at the gutter.  We placed three Arid Solutions Inc. Water Collection tanks at that corner, made a 1 inch hole with a hole saw in the gutter past the downspout connection and put in a rain chain.  It works just great and where the dirt use to get washed away is now an attractive source of water. 


How can I get water in the tank where I don't have a downspout? That is the beauty of a Rain Chain.  First, decide where you want you tank placed. Then using a 1 inch hole saw ( you need a handyperson for this) drill a hole in the gutter above where the tank will be. Set in your Rain Chain and the water will follow the chain down into your tank.  Rain Chains are available at the Online Store and are made to measure.

What about freezing weather? Your tank itself should be able to handle freeze conditions. The hardware however, is subject to damage from hard freezes just like the hardware connected to the outside of your house.  We do not guarantee the hardware.  If they become damaged for any reason you made get replacement spigots and bottom Y shut offs at any home improvement store. Every area is different. If you know you will be getting hard freezes we suggest you leave the spigot and bottom drain open until the weather stays warmer then shut them and catch those spring rains and snowmelt.

How do I clean out the inside of the tank? All tanks will get dirt, leaf bits and plain yucky stuff inside eventually.  If you want to clean it out wait for a time that it is as empty as possible. We suggest using a wet/dry vacuum. The top inlet hole is large enough for hose with a extention to get in there. You can you the brush attachment to loosen as stuff as you vacuum. ALWAYS BE CAREFUL OF ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT AND WATER! ONLY USE A VACUUM APPROVED FOR WET SUCTION!  If your tanks are stacked you can unthread the top tank to get better access to the bottom tank.  Be sure to rethread them CAREFULLY when you put them back together.  Keep the top tank level and straight.

Will the overflow outlets handle the overflow from a downpour?

Yes, a lot of thought and math has gone into this design.  The fact that at times all areas will get downpours is one of the reasons we offer 2 overflow outlets. The other reason is so you would not be limited in where you place your extra tanks.

Back to overflow outlets.  We do not supply the large ones often put on retro-fitted industrial tanks or used olive barrels. During a downpour the water is being pushed out of the overflows, just like the spigots on your house, and it flows out the hoses that you have directed away from the house.  We do not like large overflows because they can allow small animals in that will get trapped and drown in the tank.  We know this from personal experience. It is yucky and contaminates your water.

We suggest you use both overflows and your water will stay clean.


Will the color of the tank fade? The tanks are UV stable.  That means the plastic won't become brittle from sun exposure. It is possible that with intense sunlight a slight fading may take place.  This is most likely with the darker colors.  Fading won't be noticable unless you got a single tank one season and then got another to place next to it or stack a season or two later.  If the tank is in the shade most of the time it may not show any age at all.  If you think any amount of uneven coloring will bother you get all your tanks for any one spot at the same time. 

How long can my overflow hose be?

Ideally the hose should be anywhere from 6-12 long and directed away from the building. We have needed weightdown the end of hose to help it drain. It was a new piece and curling up on the end.

It is possible to use a regular garden hose, as in not one you have cut to be shortened. However, a 20 ft long hose will fill with water before the weight of water will run out the end. You may think its not working.  If it is not working the water would be coming out the top of the tank rather than the overflow.  No matter how long your hose is make sure it is not kinked at the attachment point. That will constrict the flow.