Rain Barrel Pump

I'm in charge of the gardens in the yard, and the wife grows her houseplants, windowboxes and plants on the balcony. I've got rain barrels set up that provide more than I need for my square foot gardens.
I'm trying to envision some kind of on demand pump system that would let her fill her watering cans from a rain barrel that is located one story below her balcony. She opens the faucet on the balcony, the pump kicks in and fills the can. She turns off the faucet, the pump shuts off.
I guess that an on/off switch on the balcony controlling a sump pump in the barrel would work, but I'm looking for something more elegant. (Just a classic brass faucet in her "decor" area of the house.)
Any thoughts?
Joe
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Some RVs work like that - open the faucet at the sink, a little pump kicks on. Get thee to an RV store.
- Bryan
Joe Sandlin wrote:

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Bryan wrote:

Good idea, but I'm looking to put together something with close to the flow of a standard outdoor faucet. I don't think that the RV pumps could pump 8 feet vertically with any flow rate at all. A 2.5 to 3 gallon watering can would take forever to fill. I've got an 1/8 hp Little Giant mag drive pump with enough "oomph" to do the trick, but it's part of my home brewery, and I won't give it up! :)

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Joe Sandlin wrote:

You're describing a full demand water system. You need a pump (a sump pump will probably work), a pressure tank (to store water under pressure), a pressure switch, and a check valve. The pressure tank doesn't have to be a full-sized home tank, just an empty tank attached to the line from the pump (past the check valve) to the faucet. The pressure switch will turn on the pump when the pressure in the system drops below a predetermined level. When it hits another predetermined level the pump will shut off, leaving the system pressurized. The sump pump has to be capable of providing enough pressure to turn off the switch, otherwise it will run continuously. Pressure switches are adjustable, so you will need the appropriate wrench to do the adjustment.
Cost estimate:
Sump pump: $25-75 Check valve: $10-15 Pressure switch: $15-20 Pressure tank: $50-100
All this stuff is available at my Home Depot and by implication, at yours also.
You could probably construct your own pressure tank by adding a large diameter vertical pipe (closed at the top end) to the system. The volume of the tank determines the frequency with which the pump will cycle.
The system has to have provision for draining during the winter (assuming your area has winter). Copper or pvc pipe will split if the water inside it freezes. Polyethylene pipe is more forgiving, but there are fewer options for valves etc. Pvc pipe is probably the easiest to assemble, since it's glued rather than soldered or threaded. It's flexible enough to take slight bends when mounting to your wall or balcony.
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If I read this right... the rain barrell is above? A simple siphon hose would work.
Kate
| I'm in charge of the gardens in the yard, and the wife grows her | houseplants, windowboxes and plants on the balcony. I've got rain barrels | set up that provide more than I need for my square foot gardens. | | I'm trying to envision some kind of on demand pump system that would let | her fill her watering cans from a rain barrel that is located one story | below her balcony. She opens the faucet on the balcony, the pump kicks in | and fills the can. She turns off the faucet, the pump shuts off. | | I guess that an on/off switch on the balcony controlling a sump pump in | the barrel would work, but I'm looking for something more elegant. | (Just a classic brass faucet in her "decor" area of the house.) | | Any thoughts? | | Joe |
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I'll quote Joe:
"from a rain barrel that is located one story below her balcony"
!!!

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