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Thread: Quick Question on Rain Barrels

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
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    Long Island, NY
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    65

    Default Quick Question on Rain Barrels

    Sorry if this has already been discussed ad nauseum, but I couldn't seem to find anything on it. I am very interested in putting in rain barrels for water collection. The problem I foresee is that I live in an area of the country that is prone to below freezing temperature during the winter and I have concerns that the water will freeze from time to time meaning A) I won't be able to use it and B) my water collection container may crack. Does anyone have experience with this? Are there small circulator pumps that folks use to prevent this (or other means)?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    3,129

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    Not sure how it would work for water barrels, but when I was stationed at Andrews AFB, just outside DC, I got some heat tape to wrap exposed water pipe with, then wrapped them with some good heavy insulation of some sort. Heat tape looks somewhat like an extension cord except it provides heat for the object around which it is wrapped to help prevent freezing. Check with Lowes, Home Depot or whatever your local hardware store is. Someone there should be able to provide better guidance.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Middle-a-Nowhere, Montana
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    Just off the top of my head... If you're thinking of using the barrels for storage only, and not as a tank to pump water from into the house, you can bury them below the frost line and they should be safe from freezing. Use the big plastic agricultural barrles and they shouldn't crack even if they do freeze at the top.
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist--. . . ."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    The Ozarks
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    I have 4 rain barrels for my garden and I was wondering the same thing.. I would think that if you left a hole in the top (mine are the kind from Pepsi and they have the two threaded caps that I leave off) it would keep the pressure from building up.. I could be totally wrong though....
    People willing to trade their freedom for temporary security deserve neither and will lose both.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Texas
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    2,699

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    Look at Tractor Supply http://tsc.tractorsupply.com/nav/cat...saccessories/0
    Looks like a few different options.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Middle-a-Nowhere, Montana
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    Yeah; its not necessarily an upward pressure that the ice builds up, more like a bulging on the sides. It gets an ice sheet on the surface and the harder it freezes, the deeper the sheet gets, eventully filling the container and the more it seals to the sides, you get a bulge/burst laterally. You can put in a heater if you want, but there's added expense to your monthly electric bill, plus it complicates your energy prepps when the grid is down.
    "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dist--. . . ."

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Oregon
    Posts
    122

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    The Blue water barrels-leave 9 inch headspace, they are rated not to break when frozen. Rain barrels, mine are red and made of rubber that will expand. I dont have the gutters running into them in the winter as they do freeze and water from roof will run off the top of ice down the foundation.

    If you have sun, wrap the barrels in black and it will thaw some to get some water on sunny days, just a theory.

    I have a stock tank larger than I need for one critter, but there is a stock tank heater in it. You could put a couple barrels in the stock tank and the heater would keep the surrounding water at above freeze temp barrels would be ice free as long as there is electricity. It only kicks on when below freezing.

    How many days do you have below Zero weather at a stretch? Would you be able to store enough water inside to get thru that period. You could move one of the barrels indoor to thaw if you did need the resource (water barrels weigh approx 400+ =handtruck). As long as there is electric or wood heat inside.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Long Island, NY
    Posts
    65

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    Quote Originally Posted by MT_Rick View Post
    You can put in a heater if you want, but there's added expense to your monthly electric bill, plus it complicates your energy prepps when the grid is down.
    My concern exactly. It's a great solution until SHTF and you can't run the heater. Sounds like the blue water barrels Shera mentioned might be what I'm looking for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shera View Post
    The Blue water barrels-leave 9 inch headspace, they are rated not to break when frozen. Rain barrels, mine are red and made of rubber that will expand. I dont have the gutters running into them in the winter as they do freeze and water from roof will run off the top of ice down the foundation.

    If you have sun, wrap the barrels in black and it will thaw some to get some water on sunny days, just a theory.

    I have a stock tank larger than I need for one critter, but there is a stock tank heater in it. You could put a couple barrels in the stock tank and the heater would keep the surrounding water at above freeze temp barrels would be ice free as long as there is electricity. It only kicks on when below freezing.

    How many days do you have below Zero weather at a stretch? Would you be able to store enough water inside to get thru that period. You could move one of the barrels indoor to thaw if you did need the resource (water barrels weigh approx 400+ =handtruck). As long as there is electric or wood heat inside.
    Thanks for the tips Shera. This area is funny in that some winters (like last), it's very mild - we didn't even get snow last winters. Other winters, we've had cold weather stretches that have been so long and so cold that they've frozen the Great South Bay (a LARGE saltwater area) to the point where 4WD vehicle were on it. So, it's a crap shoot and I'm thinking WCS. Moving them inside in a pinch is possible, but may be very difficult if there any's significant snowfall on the ground. More to think about - I'm sure I can come up with some kind of solution I've got an idea for an in-house collection system that I'm toying with on a purely theoretical/drawing level...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Central Oregon
    Posts
    122

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    I use Aquamira water treatment in my blue water barrels. Water stable for 5 years

    http://aquamira.com/consumer/aquamir...term=treatment

    I shop around for lowest prices.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Posts
    15

    Default

    Is it ok to bring up old threads like this one around here? I'm wondering about the whole freezing barrels problem. I just purchased some property and will be building a house but I'm the meantime I want to store barrels of water in the pole barn. Not wanting to dig or use any heat source to keep them from freezing if I can keep from it. These won't be rain catch, just long term storage. I will move them into a more climate control area after we build but was just wondering how much freezing I will get and how much it affects the water. Any other info floating around on this topic?

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