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Old 06-06-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
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Underground pathway to above ground rainwater collection

I have seen an advertised rain collection system that has an entry high up in the downspout with a hose from there down the downspout and into the ground. The hose goes underground to a distant point where it exits the ground and rises to empty into the top of a distant barrel. The entry high up in the downspout allows the rain water to siphon to a barrel on the property where the ground is at a higher elevation than the ground at the downspout. That is attractive because the barrel can be above the garden area and the water gravity feed to the garden. I do not need water in freezing weather, but if I set this up as shown in the advertisement (which I cannot now find), the hose will freeze every winter, and I doubt any hose can take that for long. I could use stronger PVC and really bury it, but it will still remain full of water below the level of the top of the rain barrel, and freeze all the way down to the freeze line at both vertical portions, even if the "horizontal" run is below the freeze line. I wonder if PVC would survive freezes.

Has anyone tried this method of diverting rain water to a distant storage barrel without pumps? As advertised, it appears the funnel in the downspout does not collect all the water, so if the hose were to plug with ice, water could spill around the entry funnel and exit the downspout as usual. Even if I put a diverting valve in the downspout, the buried line would stay full and freeze. Is this even reasonable?


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Old 06-10-2012, 06:01 PM   #2
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You could make an experimental setup using a garden hose. For the experiment it can be laid on the ground instead of being buried.

It would be relying primarily on the water level at the downspout end rising above the level of the rim of the rain barrel at the rain barrel end to start the flow. There would be little or no suction siphoning action.

The experiment using a standard garden hose will of course not carry as much water as the real thing using PVC pipe of a larger diameter.

In the real thing with the underground pipe, have a few 1/4 inch holes widely spaced in the bottom of the pipe to relieve pressure when it freezes. The ends of the pipe rising above the ground will both freeze first and the trapped water in the middle will break the pipe quickly without the holes. Meanwhile during a good rainstorm most of the water will make its way to the barrel rather than leak out of the holes when the pipe does not have a layer of gravel around it..

Another example would have barrels at both ends of the pipe. Both ends of the pipe would have dip tubes nearly reaching the bottoms of their respective rain barrels. When the level of the water in the top barrel (at the downspout end) gets high enough then the water should have reached the first horizontal part of the pipe to get a flow going. Experiment to see what alignment of the pipe causes siphoning action to start so as to empty the top barrel.


The good conscientious technician or serviceperson will carry extra oils and lubricants in case the new pump did not come with oil or the oil was accidentally spilled, so the service call can be completed without an extra visit.

Last edited by AllanJ; 06-10-2012 at 06:20 PM.
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