This First Flush Downspout Water Diverter Product Review gives a demonstration of how to put this system together and describes how it works. We then use a hose to fill the system up and show how it traps the first flush of debris and allows the clean water to go into your water storage tank.
The First Flush Downspout Water Diverter is a do it yourself bag of parts that lets you put together a first flush system. A first flush system captures all of the pollen, oils, and other small debris that gets into your rainwater harvesting system when it first starts raining.
What the Kit Comes With
The kit comes with everything you need except the pipe to put it all together. You can purchase a first flush system for a 3” or a 4” PVC pipe system. I went with a 3” system and that is what is depicted in all of the pictures and the video at the bottom of the article.
The kit consists of a “T” connection, a ball seat, a sealing ball, a screw cap, a slow release control valve and a bunch of other stuff like brackets. The vertical PVC pipe has the “T” connection at the top with the ball seat and the screw cap and slow release control valve at the bottom of the vertical PVC pipe. The sealing ball is free in the PVC pipe between the “T” at the top and the screw cap at the bottom allowing the ball to float in the water as the vertical PVC pipe fills up.
How the System Works
The majority of pollution, pollen, and other crap will come into the system with the first couple of gallons of rain. The idea is that the first couple of gallons of rainwater fills a vertical PVC pipe and traps all of the pollutants in the PVC pipe. There is a ball that floats on top of the water in the vertical PVC pipe and seals the pipe off after the vertical PVC pipe fills so the pollutants and “floaties” can’t get into your IBC tote. Once the PVC pipe is full, any additional water is diverted out the horizontal side of the T connection at the top of the PVC pipe and goes to you IBC tote.
The slow release control valve at the bottom of the vertical PVC pipe is what makes the system automatic. It slowly releases water out a hole that is very small. It might take an hour or more to fully drain the vertical PVC pipe. Once the vertical PVC pipe is empty, it will catch the pollutants from the next rainfall. The bottom of the vertical PVC pipe has a screw cap so you can periodically empty the pollutants out of the pipe.
There is a small filter included with the First Flush system to keep the slow release control valve from clogging, but there is an additional option that can be purchased separately called the Stainless Steal Filter. The other filter is still used, so you end up with two filters in the First flush system if you use this one. Since the slow release control valve is so important for this system to operate automatically, I will be using the extra filter on all of my systems.
You use a PVC pipe in the vertical section that is long or short based on the size of your roof. There are calculations and suggestions with the directions in the kit to help you figure out what size PVC to use.
My experiences with the first flush system have been overall pretty good. I have had to do a good bit of trial and error with the slow release system to get the right size gaskets in the system. You don’t want too large a hole or you end up wasting a lot of water in a slow rain. But you don’t want too small of a hole or the automatic reset will clog up, which has happened to me several times now.
The other thing that got me was the screw cap fitting that goes on the bottom of the vertical PVC pipe fits rather loose. I did not put enough glue on the connection when I put my first system together, so I had to buy another system, cut out the old cap and put a new one on. I found that when dealing with this system you need to glue both sides of the joint and use a lot of glue. If you do that you’ll be fine.
The first flush system has helped the water in my IBC storage totes to remain very clean. Last weekend I used all 1200 gallons of water to water the food forest. Even using all 1200 gallons at once, I did not clog the sprinkler at all. I have to point directly at the first flush system and say that is the reason why my water is so clean and not clogging my systems.
I would have to rate this system as a must have for a medium or large system. Especially if you are going to use any kind of sprinkler or any other system that could clog with pollen or other contaminants that come off a roof with the first flush of water when it starts raining.
The Directions on the Package
Click on the picture below and it will open a new window to a larger image that is easier to see.
Below I give you an Amazon link to the two different systems.
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