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Old 08-05-2003, 11:53 PM   #1
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Beware the holes in RubberMaid containers!!

Just thought I'd share this experience with the group.
I've fitted myself a sump on my 90 gallon consisting of a 18 gallon RubberMaid container with a MagDrive return pump and a LifeReef overflow box. All the plumbing, valves, pump, overflow etc. worked great first time - no leaks!
I have set the return outlet such that the back siphon (if the pump stops) would not overflow the sump. The only worry I had for a few weeks is if the siphon 'broke' then the pump would overflow the tank.
So last night I fitted a float switch in the tank wired to turn off the pump if the tank level rose by about an inch. I then decided to test the failsafe features...
Holding up the float switch stopped the pump. Now, with the pump stopped, the water back siphons down the return until this siphon 'breaks' as the return outlet gets exposed above the water. All worked perfectly... then I saw water under the tank stand!.....
Much panic and mopping showed the problem - at the top of the RubberMaid container by the handles are two small holes - the water had risen to this level and was cascading over the floor...
...
Pretty obvious mistake, pretty obvious moral to the story.
If someone could just explain to my wife how small an error I had made then all will be well...
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Old 08-06-2003, 12:06 AM   #2
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don't forget accounting! ;o)
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Old 08-06-2003, 12:35 AM   #3
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beware rubbermade get the "bends" too

my 20 gal storage bin, when filled to just below the aforementioned "spill line" bows noticeablly in the middle, such that the plastic is actually discolored from the stress!

this is discouraged me from using the bin as a sump... unless I build some sort of wood 'frame' for it to support the sides
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Old 08-06-2003, 06:59 AM   #4
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If you will drill a small hole in the return line, just below the surface, you will prevent alot of that water from back siphoning. Once the hole is exposed to air....it will break siphon reducing the amount of water the sump will have to hold in the event of power outage
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Old 08-06-2003, 10:18 AM   #5
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I've got a rubbermaid 50 gal. The bottom of it split out as I dragged it across the bed of my truck. You won't ever catch me using one for a sump.
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Old 08-06-2003, 11:14 AM   #6
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I use them for storing RO water and for mixing water for a change... but I think I'd want something a little sturdier for a sump.

Glm, I've noticed the "bends" as well... a couple leather belts or other non-elastic strap wrapped tightly around the bin will help keep it from bulging.
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Old 08-06-2003, 03:24 PM   #7
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Since the space in my stand is so tight I really don't have a problem with the 'bends' - the frame of the stand constricts the container pretty well. I used the RubberMaid container since it was cheap, exactly the right size for my stand and easy to work with (fitting a bulkhead took around 1 minute!). Aside from the unnoticed holes near the handles (I've now adjusted the return height to limit the back siphon, but I will re-engineer this weekend to prevent the siphon) I've not had a problem - I'll keep my fingers crossed!

Hey, since we are talking about things that maybe I should have done differntly, maybe an idea for a 'sticky' is 'Things that we would have done differently if we had really thought about it' for real beginners to read the advice based on failures of all of us?

Or, has this already been done?
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Old 08-06-2003, 05:09 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r95rdstr
I've got a rubbermaid 50 gal. The bottom of it split out as I dragged it across the bed of my truck. You won't ever catch me using one for a sump.
Moving one of these containers full of water is much different than having it in one place with water. The stress of pulling it would be alot higher than the staic pressure of the water.

I use two rubbermaid 30 gal trashcans to store my water and have had little problems with them bowing. Of course they are cylindrical in shape vs square/rectangle.
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Old 08-07-2003, 01:50 PM   #9
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Personally, I would use an acyrilic or glass sump... I have an acrylic one...the Bending of the rubber containers makes me nervous when thinking about a sump. It's annoying enough for my water changes... but... I am one who understands a budget....
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Old 08-07-2003, 07:56 PM   #10
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ooh - good idea about the belts / straps

actually if I see a 30 to 50 gal plastic sump onsale in the $10-20 range I'll get it and build a little wood frame for it.

I bought a 20 last week, but it's actually only holds about 15, not enough comfort for my 120 gallon project!
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