Monday, April 11, 2016

Downspout Diverter, And Other Diversions

Above:  purely gratuitous floral eye candy (Grevillea 'Superb')

Although I collect rain water from the two patio scuppers, when it comes to collecting rain water, more is always better.

Despite the repeated hoopla about an El Nino winter, I never got around to adding downspout diverters to the eight, yes, eight downspouts on the house.  A eye problem intervened for months--a fairly good excuse.  Finally I ordered a diverter, as a test, even if our egregiously disappointing rainy season is pretty much over.  

We interrupt this downspout post for another diversion: 
Clematis 'Etoile Violette'
 
For some reason big-box stores only offer the cheesiest of flimsy plastic diverters.  Not Acceptable. I searched on line and ordered an aluminium one of the same size as our downspouts.  With...
- hack saw (to cut the existing downspout)
- measuring tape (to measure where the cuts should go)
- pencil (to mark the measure)
- drill (to fasten new pieces to existing spout with provided screws)
- needle nosed pliers (to fold the corners of spout so they fit into each other)
- foul language (to, well, you know, make it work)...
 
Voila!  Presto!  Cheers!  Success!  The tricky part was folding the corners of the spout with the needle-nosed pliers.  It takes practice to make a clean fold without ruining the rectangular shape of the spout material.  It took about three tries to get the fold right.  

 That shiny metal lever in the next photo switches the diverter from "continue on down the drain" to "fill the rain barrel".  This is the "continue" position:
 Add a 44 gallon trash container to collect 50 gallons of rain (what's with the sizing on trash barrels, anyway?), flip the lever to "fill", and it's in business:
 Miracle of miracles, we got a little rain on Thursday.  And Friday.  It wasn't too late, after all, to collect a little more free water. 
It actually rained more than this.  Not that much more, though.
The diverter works!  It diverts!  Unfortunately, there is only one other spout to which I can add a diverter.  Six of the spouts are sited in corners, and being in a corner, the angles of the above diverter won't fit.  I'll have to find another solution for those downspouts.  The sky must also learn to cooperate.  El Nino is once again El No Show.

Hey, how about diverting some koi food over here, eh?
  The type of diverter I used is very simple and I must move the lever back to "continue to drain" when the barrel is full (full--yeah, dream on).  Some types of diverters will filter the water free of leaves via a screen, run the water a bit before diverting so the dirtiest bit doesn't go into the barrel, and sense when the barrel is full to automatically flip back to "continue", but these features are not so necessary, in my opinion, in this climate where rain is concentrated into a few months of the year (or never arrives at all).  In a climate where it rains year round, and rains quite a lot, and, you know, actually rains, those sorts of features are more necessary. 

 Hey El Nino, I'm ready now.  All you need to do is finally, finally show up.  Which you didn't.  Again. 

I close this downspout diverter post with something more diverting. The first Itoh Peony just opened.
 Because downspouts are not as pretty as flowers, how about a few shots of drippy flowers?  We did get drizzle.
'Perle d'Azur' Clematis

 'Bishops Castle'
 'Munstead Wood'
 'Jubilee Celebration'

Ah, now that's diverting.

14 comments:

  1. There is always more rain in the tail end of a cloud. Perhaps it's the same with El Ninos?

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  2. I know this is telling, but somehow seeing your garden wet on an overcast day just doesn't seem right. Also, I'm in one of those climates where a rain barrel just doesn't make sense unless it's HUGE. A normal one fills here in 5 minutes, then overflows 95% of the time. The water it collects lasts about 5 minutes when we really need it too. I've found that it's not worth the effort or space. I applaud your efforts though!

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    1. Well it is sunny and dry and blue skies again--back to normal.

      A rain barrel is probably more useful in your climate than here where we go 8 months (or longer) without rain, but I still find it useful to soak certain plants with rain--it has a lower pH than our water company water and makes a noticeable difference.

      I agree though, rain collection tanks take up a lot of space without saving much money (not to mention the cost of large tanks). What we really could have benefited from is a cistern--which is something I looked at when we first moved into the house. The landscape architect looked at me like I was insane when I asked about it and laughed it off.

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  3. Gorgeous floral diversions! Congrats on the diverter installation. I was lucky in that my husband installed our 3 rain barrels but I know there was real work involved. You may be surprised at how fast a little rain from the roof fills a container. We got just 0.17 inches of rain over 4 days. My 50-gallon barrel went from empty to full after just the first day of Mother Nature's spit (which the forecasters labeled as rain). The 160-gallon tank, which feeds off another section of the house roof, picked up just 30 gallons but I think there may be a gutter obstruction there I need to clear. I can't accurately measure the flow to the 265-gallon tank attached to the garage but it's now 2/3rds full and it was previously less than half full so I'm guessing it also collected at least 50 gallons over a much smaller roof. Forecasts were a 40% chance of rain this afternoon but, from my vantage point, it looks more like zero. I hope you're luckier.

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    1. We got maybe 0.8", another painful disappointment of a so-called "storm", but there it is. Even with that small amount of rain I got about 30 gallons in that barrel, which quickly went to the driest bits of the garden. Zero here too, it's blue skies and sun. Sigh.

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  4. Muy interesante lo comentado. Las fotos fabulosas. un abrazo desde Plantukis

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    1. Muchas gracias! Me alegro de que haya disfrutado de las fotografías.

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  5. Beautiful roses, Peony and Clematis. You are a very clever lady with your many skills dear Hoover, the plants will appreciate your efforts to capture rainwater for them.
    xoxoxo ♡

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    1. I think the plants I can soak with rainwater do like it, they look better just a few weeks later, refreshed.

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  6. The gratuitous floral eye candy was great! I was very excited about the 10 drops of rain we got in the desert, but after doing the math, i can't make installing rain barrels (and first gutters!) make sense. Maybe that math will change after water starts costing a billion dollars a gallon...

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    1. Rain barrels are too expensive--that's why I use trash barrels, because they are much cheaper, and I use them for other things as well. The house came with rain gutters. They keep the walls and base of the house dry. Our old house didn't have gutters and we had a ditch around the house where the rain hit. I'm in the pro-rain gutter camp, but out in the desert you probably don't get enough rain for them to make sense.

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  7. We've had our Water Hogs (flat, rectangular, to slide under decks, strap against fences/walls) for several years now and haven't felt much urgency in getting them installed, up and running, but your diverter notes will come in handy some day, so thank you. About that peony, remember I tried to give one away? Mine hasn't bloomed but I must say the leaves are pretty cool, kind of like mukdenia. Your Munstead Wood looks like the ultimate cabbage rose.

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    1. Install them Hogs, lady!

      You tried to give a peony away?!? Where was I?

      I like that 'Munstead Wood' a lot--I think Austin finally got it right on a dark red.

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