stacking rain barrels

brandond(6)April 4, 2010

I was wondering if anyone has ever stacked rain barrels on top of each other. I have a rain barrel water tower. Its bascially a platform made out of 4x4s and 2x6's. I have it elevated to where to bottom is at about 8 ft in the air. The platform is very strong and I could always beef it up a bit if it needed it. I have 4 barrels placed on top of the platform and wanting to just stack 4 more right on top of each barrel. The barrels are platic and fairly thick material. I have seen pictures of this being done especially in solar greenhouses for a water wall. I figured this would be easier than to build up another platform above the barrels. I also figure with that much height theres no telling how much pressure I can get from it. thanks

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Hi brandon,

Safety would be my only concern. The pressure you would get from the current tower configuration is in the 4-6 psi range and add another barrel get gets you to 6-8 psi. The gain in pressure might not warrant adding the 2,000 pounds of weight up that high. Water weighs 64lbs/CF. By my calculations each barrel weighs 500 lbs. Of course you can check my calculations and the current pressure you are experiencing. If the current tower is safe as is, just add the 4 barrels at the same level on a similar tower. I did this type of set up a long time ago and I remember using 4x6 in a trapezoid design with 4x4 triangular bracing. I didn't think much back then on the liability dangers. The set up worked very well with a drip tape layout for a fairly large veggie garden. Good luck. JMHO. Aloha

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 12:19PM
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I couldn't do a quick google on the weight bearing for a 4x4 post, but so long as you have enough then direct weight shouldn't be a concern. My initial concern with the current setup would be torsion/wind when you extend above the current setup (which I'm assuming/hoping has some sort of bracing).

My largest concern is from someone accidentally backing into it, or clipping it with a front-end loader (don't ask how I know, and yes that is a bend in my carport frame thanks for asking!)

Here is another article that sounds similar to your setup, I am considering making one to go behind my carport.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rain Barrel Platform

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 8:16AM
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Thanks for the advice. Im not concerned about wind or the barrels falling at this point. I built a good strong frame underneath the barrels so I should be good on strength. I have the frame with the barrels stacked directly in front on my machine shed. I have plumbers tape half way up the very top barrel with 1/16 in steel cable securing it to the side of the shed for extra protection. I even siliconed my back row of barrels together. So I have taken about every precaution I can for such a sytem.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2010 at 11:13AM
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I painted my barrels all black. I bought some barreels that were already black and the blue ones I coated up with black spray paint. It does make a difference with getting algae. I think you can put a tbl spoon or two of vinegar or baking soda to cut back on algae. I also filterd my irrigation line at the barrels. take care,bd

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 1:50PM
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Wow - black spray paint - I would think that will really increase the temperature of the stored water.

Did you give your blue barrels a test run before painting them? If so, was there any kind of algae accumulation in those? I'm hoping I don't need to do anything with those - and just need to paint the white barrel.

Lastly - what kind of paint did you use? I'm reading that the Krylon spray paint is the way to go.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Hi Brandon & Bsn,

Algae is light sensitive. It is not the color of the barrel but darkness in the barrel that is important. Paint the barrels several time with an opaque type of paint. As you mentioned, the lighter the color the less heated the water will be if the barrels are in the sun. There also chemical treatments for your barrels which are essentially ponds with nutrients and algae growth chemical coming in from the roof. Listed is an information site about pond algae and its control. There are many others.


You have a very nice drip set up with pvc pipes. Would you be willing to do an experiment with calculating flows from the 1/16 holes that you drilled? Place a cup under the first and last hole in each line, after all the holes have reach their steady flow state(probably will take two people to do this). Run the system for a good length of time to approximately fill the cups half full(keep track of fill time). Measure the depths as accurately as you can for each cup. I would be curious what sees what and if there are any differences cup to cup and line to line. Your site is great and enjoyed the video.



    Bookmark   April 24, 2010 at 1:16PM
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Sherwood Botsford(3a)

Firstly: In commercial honey storage I've seen steel barrels stacked 5 high on pallets, 4 barrels to the pallet. I've also been told they drop one now and then, and it's a mess.

Re: Paint. If you use plastic barrels, paint doesn't stick to them well. Sanding them first helps, but paint seems to come off fairly soon.

Alternatives to paint: Wrap the barrels with black plastic. YOu can do all 4 at once. Roofing paper is also a possibility.

How do you get water INTO the barrels? How are the barrels connected?

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 10:21AM
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Aloha bsn,

So what you are saying is that the end closest to the barrels gets more water than the farther end. It would be interesting to measure how much more so that you can make a decision to over-water the closest plants or under-water the farthest. Also my experiment was to wait to measure after the pipe filled and interior pressure is stable in the pipe and then have you and a helper place cups at the ends simultaneously and remove them also at the same time. Then measure the depths in the cups. Remember to record the length of times. Give it a try and see what the results are. If you can do it a bunch of times it would be better data. Post the results here if you would please. Aloha

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 8:00PM
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