The mighty rain bucket

We have had some minor flooding problems in our basement the last year or so. We have a flat roof with gutters on all sides save the north. However, due to a cruel joke, it seems most of the water that lands on our roof drains on the north side of the house and then soaks up against the house and in special occasions makes it through to the basement. My solution to this problem has been to dig and redig trenches often in the middle of the night to keep the water draining away from the house into the back 40(th of an acre). Trenchy:

December 2007:

August 2008:

This has lost its thrill. When we bought the house the inspector suggested we put some gutters on the north side of the house to keep just this from happening. Everyone's reaction was, what? North side gutters? Are you crazy? they will just freeze up and not work!

With all due respect, everyone is an idiot. We finally put gutters in on friday. More specifically I hired someone to do it. I could have done it myself but I do shoddy work and I had no access to seamless gutters, The two runs of gutter were sixty and thirty feet. The gutter guys had the cool seamless gutter former and happily they were done in a day, did great work and showed up. If you live in rural NM you realize that the combination of "great work" and "showing up" are hard to come by in this state. If you are local and need some gutters ping me at my email I will get you their info.

The gutters might not work in the winter, but the biggest problem I had last winter was when it rained over an inch (twice) in the middle of winter and melted all the snow on the roof and it all drained onto the north side of the house. I figure the gutters will work just fine in this case and I will be able to pipe the water to the edge of the property pretty easily. If this fails I will get passive or active gutter heating tape.

With the gutters in, we had a big problem with where to put the water. Here is what the new gutter output looked like in the middle of a downpour:

The solution was that we decided to throw down and buy the 200 gallon monster bukkit:

It filled up in three hours Sunday night. Maybe half an inch of rain after the barrel was hooked up. It has been a great rainy august with well over 7" of rain at the house, hopefully the barrel will serve well.

The barrel has a built in overflow port that we piped out to the back of the property. It is great. It cost a fair bit, but if I never have to get up in the middle of the night to dig trenches again it was worth every penny. Additionally we can easily use this to water the fruit trees in the back of the property, once we get some more hoses.

It took a fair bit of work to get it in, I pulled up the grass,leveled the ground beneath and put in 9 pavers below it. All in the middle of a big storm. But with some good whomping with the flat-ground-whomper tool and some luck I got it pretty even and filling.

On sunday after the storm broke, I went back and put in a few more pavers and stones so I can walk out there and check on the barrel in the middle of the rainstorm without walking in the liquified soil in the area. Hopefully the soil will no longer turn into a clay-mud bog again, but we will see...

Now I feel like I can take advantage of the free water from the sky and put in a small apple tree to go with the peach and plum I put in earlier in the year with the moronic tax refund.


Jim G said...

Hot damn! Stick a heater in that thing and you've got a one-person hot tub! :)

Marrock said...

Nice setup, wish I could finagle something like that here but we rent...

Any problem with skeeters breeding in it?

Tarik Saleh said...

I was hoping to use it to fry and emu at thanksgiving.

No problem, it has a screeen under the top, that is one of the major benefits to buying a fancy one. It has a screen so skeeters can't breed, it has pre placed hose valves and over flow valves. You can make em yourseld for cheap, but it is hard to find really big containers (more than 55 gallons) to use without building one out of concrete. Check out:

Mauricio Babilonia said...

You are correct that everyone who thinks gutters "will just freeze up and not work" is an idiot. Golly, up here in 'Sconsin, most folks have gutters on any old side of the house even though we have winter every single year. Yes, they freeze up, but as soon as the air temp gets above freezing, the metal gutter is the first thing to warm up. This starts to melt the ice where it contacts the metal, creating a thin layer of liquid between the two. Capillary action then takes the water to the downspout, no problem. Sheesh.

The thing you will have to do over the winter is drain your barrels and turn them upside down. If a large quantity of water were to freeze inside, the resultant popsicle would expand and likely split the plastic.

neilyoung said...

This is the kind of thinking that is going to reverse the effects of Global Warming. Job well done my friend!

Tarik Saleh said...


Yep, I am on the flipping. I have broken cisterns before by getting caught by early deep freezes, 10 degrees for a week in october is hard to recover from two days in. I think the gutters will work out peachy. We are from a land of flat roofs with no gutters and 20" of precipitation a year. This equals roof leaks and floods on the occasional 1" plus of rain a day.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

Good to see one of those plastic robot-arm bendy-straw drainpipe extenders.

I thought I was the only one using them to help keep rain out of the basement.