by RainSaucers Inc. on March 4th, 2015

The are several reasons why we don't sell 55 gallon drums with our product. They are:
  • too expensive to ship
  • easily available locally via Craigslist
  • inexpensive and sometimes even FREE.
This last point is the most important. Each year the list of cities in the United States offering FREE (or highly subsidized) rain barrels keeps growing. But what's lacking is an organized list that keeps track of these programs. So we figured we might as well be the ones to do this since our customers can benefit greatly.

Below is just a starting point. We are counting on our community to keep the list growing by sending us news on any programs (please use the comments section below, we will not post your email address or comments, just use the info to add to the list ).

Tucson, AZ
Los Angeles, CA
Oakland, CA
San Francisco, CA
Santa Monica, CA
Tampa, FL
Chicago, IL
Elkheart County, IN
Wichita, KS
Baltimore, MD
Flemington, NJ
Somerville, Bridgewater, and Raritan, NJ
Albuquerque, NM
Syracuse, NY
Cleveland, OH
Philadelphia, PA
College Station, TX
San Marco, TX
La Crosse, WI

by RainSaucers Inc. on February 3rd, 2015

I have to admit it. The idea seems like magic. You take one of these handy Desolenators, add salt or brackish water and voila! Clean drinking water. Congratulations to the team who made the product on their successful Indiegogo campaign. But I have to point out (as an advocate of rainwater harvesting) that while desalination has its place in the pantheon of man-made clean water technologies, it doesn't hold a candle to the power of Rain.

Here's why I still think Rainwater Harvesting (RWH) is the key to solving the world's clean water crisis and not desalination:
  1. Cost: desalination is expensive. There is just no way around it. The Desolenator is coming out of the gate at $450 and while I wish them the best, it's a long road to the amount the BoP (bottom of the pyramid) can afford (they live on just a few $ per day). This is one of Paul Polak's major tenets- low cost at all cost. At RainSaucers, we have been experimenting with a $2 tank and rain collector that can be made locally.
  2. Logistics: with desalination, you still need a water supply. That means hauling water from the ocean or nearby water source. What good is clean drinking water when you still have to face the problems of assault (women fetching water) and missing school (children). Mother Nature provides rainwater right at your doorstep.
  3. Scale: both technologies can be scaled. Desalination plants already exist. But why aren't there more of them? Because it's much faster, simpler, and cheaper to build another reservoir (large scale RWH). But at the household level, it means much less water for desalination-the desolenator only does 15 liters per day. RWH off a clean sheeted roof can generate tens of thousands of liters of water throughout the rainy season.
To their credit, the Desolenator folks have added RWH capability to their system. So if it's raining, the user may not have to haul water after all. I also like the idea that it is a multipurpose device. Perhaps we should take a lesson from them and add some form of desalination technology to the RainSaucer. Food for thought.

by RainSaucers Inc. on January 6th, 2015

Customer in Florida writes "my garden was on the side of my house out of sight, and I didn't have a water hose near where I put the garden. So inevitably I would forget and garden would dry up. I'm a new Gardner so things like that get away from me quick. The idea here was to capture the water using the (RainSaucer) so I would always have a supply over there and furthermore to put it on a timer. I do not have gutters on my home so this was the best way to get water in the barrels for me. It is a drip irrigation system I built to water the garden....It is working like a charm, doing what I had hoped for."
Customer in Washington State uses a 59" RainSaucer with our DIY Rain Barrel Kit including spigot and tie downs. She says it "works like a charm. I have put it right by my garden/compost."
Customer in Idaho writes "it survived snow, ice and windy weather!..i have a little farm in our property and use the water mainly for gardening and water for my chickens. I just added a second rain barrel (65 gallon) today since my 45 gallon always ends up overflowing! No regrets at all with my RainSaucer! highly recommended!"
Customer in Illinois. Husband gifted the unit to his wife. They use it with a 15 gallon barrel for emergency drinking water purposes. Wife says " the rain saucer is a really great invention, not to mention a good conversation starter:-)!!"
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.
Community Garden in Toronto uses an array of RainSaucers to supplement the natural rainfall.
Customer in Bermuda uses a double barrel system on his balcony as a backup to his condo's water supply. All of Bermuda practices rainwater harvesting because there is no natural water source.

by RainSaucers Inc. on December 9th, 2014

I used to have a rain gauge in my back yard. It was a low end one so no surprise it didn't last that long. Before that I tried out one of those fancy wireless models but found that to be too complicated, at least for me. Then I stumbled upon a great weather service called Wundergound
which gives you hyper local weather data from
individually operated weather stations in your area. The data isn't perfect but by referencing several nearby stations, you can get a pretty good sense of how much rain you've gotten. The service also stores the measurements so you can get historic data over time.

Wunderground is great for historical data but what if you want to be alerted of rainfall before it comes there are a few cool options on the "no-coding" mashup site IFTT. For example, one "recipe" (as they are called on IFTTT) lets you get an alert on your phone when rain is forecast for tomorrow. Another cool recipe tracks rain events in your area and automatically logs then into a Google Spreadsheet so you have your own data ready at hand.


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" RainSaucerâ„¢.  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.


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