This Large Rainwater Harvesting System Upgrade part 4 goes over the upper section of a large rainwater harvesting system. The video goes over the Rain Diverter, Leaf Eater, and First Flush Downspout Water Diverter.
The video is a collection of various videos that I have done over the past two years. In some videos and pictures, you will see multiple IBC Totes and in others, only a single IBC tote. In others, you’ll see large water storage tanks. I tried to choose the best media to get the point across.
In the gutter system itself, we are using a gutter strainer. It is simply a galvanized mesh that goes into the downspout up in the gutter itself and prevents large leaves and branches from getting into the plumbing.
Rain Diverter from Aquabarrel
The downspout diverter is a “Y” connection on the downspout. In the summer, I will divert the water into the rainwater storage system. In the winter, it allows me to divert the water to a normal downspout to the ground so the water will not go in the rainwater storage system. I need to do this up north because I go below freezing and need to empty all of the water out of the storage systems so I don’t rupture them and the pipes when I go below freezing. People in the south that don’t get that cold will not necessarily need one of these.
The Rain Harvesting Leaf Eater is a device that filters out medium size debris that made it through the gutter strainer. The 3″ pipe from the rain diverter just open ended dumps into the top of the leaf eater. Any medium size debris hits the screen mesh on top of the leaf eater and just rolls off of it onto the ground. The bottom side of the leaf eater hooks up to another 3″ PVC pipe and takes the filtered water to the next step.
First Flush Downspout Water Diverter
The last line of filtering is to filter out the pollen and any other contaminants that come off of the roof when the rain first starts. I used a system I bought from Amazon called Rain Harvesting Downpipe First Flush Water Diverter Kit. This is a kit that needs a 3” vertical PVC pipe to go in. 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.
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 your rainwater storage system.
The Automatic Part
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-Steel 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.
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