by RainSaucers Inc. on November 20th, 2014

The Drought in California is well known by now and for the most part, the response has been pretty good. Residential monthly water usage is down by between 10 and 20% and the State has passed Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water bond to help pay for new reservoirs among other actions. As a vendor of rainwater harvesting systems based in California we have to wonder- will this finally make rainwater harvesting mainstream in the Golden State? After all the rains are here now in California.

So far we haven't seen any signs of massive interest in rainwater harvesting beyond our typical early adopter customers. City rain barrel subsidy programs like those in San Francisco, Oakland, and Santa Monica have continued to grow- but at such a slow pace they haven't truly mobilized the population.

But all that should be changing now that the rains are here.  One factor in our favor: much of the State is on "smart" water meters now which allow customers to go online and see not just their water use, but precipitation in their area. Hopefully, customers will put two and two together and realize water usage can be cut even further with a little planning and a rain barrel or two.

by RainSaucers Inc. on October 21st, 2014

Our reseller in the Detroit area Maxi Container told us recently they discovered a new application for the RainSaucer- leaky roof catchment. This is apparently a big problem in older warehouses where the roof is need of repair. Buckets are no good in such situations because the water dripping from on high covers a wide area. Drain tarps are the traditional solution but hanging them up can be a hassle if the roof is really high up. Maxi told us they tried the RainSaucer and it not only worked great but it was a quick way to respond to sudden rain storms. In fact, Maxi was so enthusuastic about the discovery they got other warehouses to purchase the product for the same application.

by RainSaucers Inc. on October 1st, 2014

Readers of our blog know that we only advocate using roof run off for non-edibles. But in these times of severe drought in the West, any kind of grey water is useful and clearly worth collecting. Recently we heard from a customer in San Antonio, TX that did not have gutters but still wanted to collect water from their roof (see picture). They saw the RainSaucer as a cheaper more convenient gutter substitute.  As you can see, their 8 daisy chained barrels fill simultaneously providing 440 gallons of storage.

This example got us to thinking about the benefits of our product over traditional gutters. This led us to the following analysis of professionally installed gutters (G) vs. RainSaucers (RS):

Cost (per square foot)-  G: $5-$8 + the cost of a downspout diverter (~$30). But there is likely a minium number of feet required. RS: $14
Installation Process- G: need to find, hire and manage a Contractor. RS: DIY in minutes. 
Maintenance Time and Cost- G: DIY takes time and involves ladder risk. Hiring someone costs $100 and up. RS: virtually no time or cost.

Conclusion: If you have a house with no gutters (and no valleys*) and you want to collect the roof runoff, the RainSaucer is a good bet. Gutters will cost you at lease a few hundred dollars to have a Contractor come out and install them not to mention the cost of a diverter. Gutters also mean annual cleaning which will cost you time and/or money. For an initial investment of $55-70  you get access to the roof water with very little maintenance.  Whatsmore it will fill barrels just as well as gutters. For example a 59" RainSaucer collecting from a 10' high roof means close to 60 sq. feet of collection (5' diameter x 10' + the 9 sq. ft of RS area exposed to the open) which will catch 36 gallons per inch of rain.

* Full disclosure: if you have valleys in your roof, these will act as a natural rainwater diverter. A properly designed rain barrel should be able to catch that stream if the house it not too high. With higher structures that stream may be harder to catch consistently so in that case a RainSaucer might still be a better choice.

by RainSaucers Inc. on September 10th, 2014





The video below has all the details. But as you can see from our home page, we just added a new product to our lineup- the 84" RainSaucer™.  This extra large version is targeted at our medium scale customers (e.g. community gardens and urban farms) who have been asking us for years for something to fill the barrels faster. To achieve this goal we had to "break the mold" so to speak and come up with a completely different architecture. For example, instead of using self supporting plastic material we're using  a steel frame here to support the funnel mechanism. The other features are outlined in this product brochure. We hope to be posting more photos and use cases in the coming months so stay tuned.

by RainSaucers Inc. on September 3rd, 2014

Without covering too much old ground- let us just restate our position that freshly, cleanly caught rain water is fully potable as-is (see our posts on Potable Rainwater). But, as we have been asked many times, what does one do when the rainwater you have collected has gone foul from being outside too long? It's time to treat the water. In the event of a Disaster, here are some reliable methods that require no power and little planning:
- Solar Disinfection: kills most bacteria. All you need is sunshine and a PET bottle.
- Household Bleach: One teaspoon will disinfect 5 gallons. Immediately after treating, the water must initially have a slight smell of chlorine. If it does not - repeat the process.
- Tincture of Iodine: if you have it in the medicine cabinet, 5 drops will disinfect 1 quart.
- Boiling for 1 minute: kills all the bacteria but you need to have that fire going and pot to boil
- An impromptu Bio Sand filter: you can make one with just Sand, some pipe, and a few 5 gallon buckets. See this site for more details.

by RainSaucers Inc. on August 6th, 2014

55 gallons just seems like an odd number to size a rain barrel. But not when you think of it in metrics when that 55 gallons becomes 200 liters. But still,  you have to wonder- why 200 liters? Apparently its the international standard for drums (aka barrels) and it goes all the way back to  World War II.  

The metric loving yet industrious Axis powers started making the drums out of steel as a way of tranposrting fuel and other liquid supplies. The drum's size, shape, and weight distribution lent itself to being moved about readily on the loading dock or factory floor with a two-wheeled hand truck. The drums could  also be turned on their side and rolled or even moved by hand short distances on firm surfaces by tilting and then rolling along  the base. Soon after the Axis powers starting using the drums, the Allies adopted the same measurements and thus the US 200 liter (55 gallon) drum industry was born. Over time, steel drums were joined by plastic and the top-side holes bung holes were standardized to US pipe measurements.  On a side note, the oil industry never adopted the drum standard. A barrel of oil is based on the 42 US gallons (35 imp gal; 159 L) whiskey barrels of the 1870s.

 

by RainSaucers Inc. on July 2nd, 2014

So you've got the rainwater collected and now you need to figure out how to get it to the plants. We get a lot of questions about this and the dispensing of water in general. So now seemed like a good time to document what we've learned. The following is an introduction to the methods of watering plants from a rain barrel that we've either adopted ourselves or seen others deploy:
  • Catch A Drip:  originally designed to distribute AC condensate, Catch a drip attaches to the rain barrel faucet and slowly distributes the water along the hose line up to 50 feet.  It is not a soaker hose. It is a regular hose with dripping points along the way. 
  • Rain Barrel Soaker Hose: Most soaker hoses require pressure- this one works with the ordinary pressure of a rain barrel. Soaker hoses are ideal for "soaking" the ground over a the entire length (50') of the hose. 
  • Gravity Fed Drip:  systems come from a variety of vendors. DripWorks has some good possible layouts. These systems are also callled Low Flow Irrigation systems.  Some of our customers have designed their own rain barrel based drip systems tricked out with timers from a centralized piping system. (see photo) Some timers are even solar powered.
  • Self-watering:  what is a drip system if not a hose with tiny holes in it. The same can be done with old plastic bottles to create your own self-watering dripper. Another possibility is to use capillary action or wicking to have the water come from underneath. This Pinterest page has some guidance.
  • RB dip and Hand watering: this is our personal favorite. It's not automated but it sure is easy. If you have a full rain barrel that has topside access, it takes just a few seconds to fill a watering can by dipping. Watering by hand is not so bad if the barrel is located right next to the garden.

by RainSaucers Inc. on June 2nd, 2014

OK this is still a work in progress but clink on this Link ​to go to our basic rainwater harvesting calculator. The idea here is to enable potential buyers of our system to play with the inputs for RainSaucers (or roof) and get a per inch and annual total for rainwater collection. What we really want to do is make the Annual Rainfall automated so that you enter your zip code instead and get the Annual catch. Any other feedback is of course welcome.*

*Please note this is a publicly shared Google Sheet so anyone can edit it. Please let us know if there is anything we need to fix.

by RainSaucers Inc. on May 12th, 2014

When we  started designing our first product (the 48" RainSaucer™), we had to figure out how we were going to attach it to rain barrels.  We soon realized that most 55 gallon drums had two standardized 2" bung hole caps that we could leverage called NPS and Buttress.  

Buttress unfortunately, was not so useful,  as we could not find any adapters locally that were compatible. As we've learned since, this is because  the buttress standard is a highly specialized oil industry thread used because of the tight hydraulic seal it creates. 

NPS, on the other hand, was immediately compatible with the common 2" male PVC adapters from the local hardware store. NPS, which stands for national pipe straight thread, is standard not just to drums but to all piping in the United States. NPS is also referred to within the context of the National Pipe Thread (NPT) standards which were invented by Amercian William Sellers in 1864 as part of wide range of standards for nuts, bolts, and screws.

Another way to distinguish between NPS and Buttress is by their appearance. Buttress caps have a thread where there the lines are spaced further apart making them look more coarse. So they are sometimes called "coarse threads". NPS, by contrast, has threads much closer together so they are often referred to as "fine threads"

by RainSaucers Inc. on April 30th, 2014

We recently received this photo from our friend and trusted advisor, Prof. Billy Kniffen of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and former President of the American Rainwater Catchment Association. Billy has been advising us on the design and marketing of our product since we started in 2010. We gave Billy a RainSaucer recently and of all the many applications possible, he decided to use it as a bird bath. According to Billy "Attached is the RainSaucer to (a Moby) Rain barrel that has a lid sloped just the same as the saucer. It is being used with a bird bath and adjustable drip emitter to keep dripping by gravity about 1 drop per second. Here in Texas with high winds, the saucer is screwed down to the lid and makes it very strong. "

Billy's application mirrors that of a larger opportunity in Rainwater Harvesting: the use of collected rainwater for attracting wildlife.  All it takes is a method of harvesting the rain, an appropriate sized water storage system, and a watering device to dramatically increase the presence of animals in a given land area. More animals means greater possibilities for tourism, hunting, or animal study. In some States,  there is also the possibility of receiving grant money or a reduction in property taxes because of wildlife habitat creation. 

Similarly, the same setup can be used for watering of livestock. This is especially useful with animals that range over large areas such as goats and sheep. Supplemental water sources located throughout a land area can diversify and lengthen the animals' grazing range and keep them better fed and hydrated.


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