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    Water Butt overflow advice

    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone could help me with a physics type question?

    On my allotment, I want to have a series of water butts spread out along one side.
    I wanted to connect each of the water butts together using a hose pipes.

    The idea eing, is I can use the water supply at the allotment, to keep topping up my main water butt, at the top of my allotment, and the water will then disperse to the other water butts.

    The water butt at the top of the allotment is quite higher than the rest of the ground. So I wanted this one to be the main. I then wanted to use a hose to connect to a water butt a few metres down, and the connect the second one to another water butt a few metres down, and so on.

    I was just wondering how high should the extender kits be on I was thinking about half way on the tank on the supplying one, leading to the bottom of the tank on the receiving one, and keep repeating this process.

    Does anyone know if this will work? Many Thanks

    17 Comments

    Its really not a easy question to answer, it would all depend on the height each respective butt would be to each other.

    Original Poster

    Thanks Argoj. That sounds a little complicated.

    On the whole, the first water butt will be the higher than the other water butts by about 50ch. The following water butts will all be on a similar level. I was aiming of getting matching water butts, so that the the dimensions would all be similar.

    When we bought our last house the owner had 7 water butt's all daisy chained together! The pipe just got a bit lower on each butt so gravity would push the water along.

    Seemed to work fine. I'm guessing that as long as you have a constant downhill you should be fine.

    I would say connect all at the fill level that you require not at the bottom or this will slow the water flow.

    Original Poster

    markvirgo

    I would say connect all at the fill level that you require not at the … I would say connect all at the fill level that you require not at the bottom or this will slow the water flow.



    Ah ok. That makes sense. Looking forward to giving it a go

    It doesn't really matter ,half way up will be fine . Remember that unless you seal the lowest butt ,the level in the higher butts will never exceed the level in the lowest butt. So much easier with a diagram - draw four squares/oblongs on a piece of paper to represent the butts (each slightly lower than the last) . You will see when joined together what I mean .

    The way to get maximum use out of them would be to put a tap (shut off cock ) in the hose pipes connecting the butts , when the bottom one is full shut off that tap ,then so on .

    That will work, but I presume the aim is to end up with all the water butts full, which they would do if they're all the exactly the same level, but as it sounds like they are on a slope you might be better off connecting the extender pipe from the top of the first butt to the bottom of the next one, and so on down the chain, then when you add water to the first butt it will fill to the top, then the surplus water will overflow to the next one and fill that, and each subsequent butt will fill up in turn, then when the last butt is full you turn off the supply. Doing it this way you don't need to worry about levels.

    Original Poster

    Delbert Grady

    That will work, but I presume the aim is to end up with all the water … That will work, but I presume the aim is to end up with all the water butts full, which they would do if they're all the exactly the same level, but as it sounds like they are on a slope you might be better off connecting the extender pipe from the top of the first butt to the bottom of the next one, and so on down the chain, then when you add water to the first butt it will fill to the top, then the surplus water will pass to the next one and fill that, and each subsequent butt will fill up in turn, then when the last butt is full you turn off the supply. Doing it this way you don't need to worry about levels.



    I think this will work spot on.
    My only concern is that I don't know how to turn off the supply to the last full one. They all have watertight lids I think, so will this have the same effect? If not, would you mind telling me how to turn off the supply. I was just going to use a normal hose pipe, and a simple connector to the butt

    allsa001

    I think this will work spot on.My only concern is that I don't know how … I think this will work spot on.My only concern is that I don't know how to turn off the supply to the last full one. They all have watertight lids I think, so will this have the same effect? If not, would you mind telling me how to turn off the supply. I was just going to use a normal hose pipe, and a simple connector to the butt


    If I understand you correctly you will fill up the first butt using a hosepipe from the tap at the allotment? If so then just leave it running until you see that the last butt in the chain is full, then turn the tap off and thats it. Each butt will then be full and no more water will flow between the butts ( you wont need any shutoff taps betwen the butts) so it won't matter if the lids are watertight or not.
    If you're unsure draw a diagram as Rogparki suggests then you'll see what I mean.

    Original Poster

    Perfect. Many Thanks, it all makes sense now

    allsa001

    Perfect. Many Thanks, it all makes sense now


    No problem, glad to help, also pleased that my "O" Level Physics finally came in useful for something!

    Delbert Grady

    If I understand you correctly you will fill up the first butt using a … If I understand you correctly you will fill up the first butt using a hosepipe from the tap at the allotment? If so then just leave it running until you see that the last butt in the chain is full, then turn the tap off and thats it. Each butt will then be full and no more water will flow between the butts so it won't matter if the lids are watertight or not.If you're unsure draw a diagram as Rogparki suggests then you'll see what I mean.


    Yes top (of the higher butt) to bottom (or even halfway up ) the next lower butt (and so on) will work, with a bit of trial and error . The higher butt will still syphon into the lower butt (and so on ) but will stop when its level falls below the exit pipe (right near the top ) . So with a bit of leakage/spillage you can fill the top butt which will then syphon into the lower butts . When all are full turn off/ disconnect the hose pipe at the tap .

    A further thought - natural rainwater is far better for plants (particularly seedlings ) , I collect this in those plastic toyboxes (3 for £2 @ wilkos or poundstretcher ) and empty them into a butt when half full .

    Original Poster

    rogparki

    Yes top (of the higher butt) to bottom (or even halfway up ) the next … Yes top (of the higher butt) to bottom (or even halfway up ) the next lower butt (and so on) will work, with a bit of trial and error . The higher butt will still syphon into the lower butt (and so on ) but will stop when its level falls below the exit pipe (right near the top ) . So with a bit of leakage/spillage you can fill the top butt which will then syphon into the lower butts . When all are full turn off/ disconnect the hose pipe at the tap . A further thought - natural rainwater is far better for plants (particularly seedlings ) , I collect this in those plastic toyboxes (3 for £2 @ wilkos or poundstretcher ) and empty them into a butt when half full .



    That is a very good idea about the boxes.
    We are not allowed to directly syphon with hoseipes from the water supply at the allotment.
    So it would mean carrying the water from the supply with watering cans anyway.
    So using the boxes is a great idea.

    allsa001

    My only concern is that I don't know how to turn off the supply to the … My only concern is that I don't know how to turn off the supply to the last full one. They all have watertight lids I think, so will this have the same effect? If not, would you mind telling me how to turn off the supply. I was just going to use a normal hose pipe, and a simple connector to the butt



    There are two alternatives here:

    You can have the outlet at the top of the container which means the butts will fill up from the highest to lowest and will only overflow the bottom when all of them are full. This is ideal if you want to collect water gradually (for example from your shed roof) but they have to be emptied individually.

    You can have the outlet at the bottom of the butt which will make them act as a single large tank so you can empty all of them from the bottom one. However, the water will try and force it's way out of the lower containers in preference to filling the upper ones so this will only work if they're pressure tight.

    http://www.reuk.co.uk//OtherImages/connecting-water-butts-together.jpg
    http://www.reuk.co.uk//OtherImages/two-connected-water-butts.jpg

    water butt overflow lol

    It isn't gravity that controls the water level, it's hydraulics. I think nearly everyone knows the saying 'water finds it's own level'. So, whatever the level is in the first barrel will be the maximum obtainable in all. Raising the first (feeder) barrel is therefore unnecessary. It follows that it doesn't matter what level you place the connecting pipes, hydraulic pressure governs the levels in all barrels. Naturally, water will not transfer if the level falls below a feeder pipe
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