Each rain barrel

 

What is this?

A rain barrel is a large container placed at the end of a downspout each spring to collect rainwater from the roof of your house or garage. The water is typically used to water plants, wash tools or rinse muddy paws or boots. Rain barrels come in many styles and colors, and most are the size of a curbside recycling bin. After your initial investment, you are collecting water to use as a free resource!

Cisterns and below-deck ‘bladders’ are related options. Learn more about those here:

www.earthsystemsnw.com/gallery.html

www.water-storage-containers.com/waterstoragebladders.html

How do I do this?

On my own

  1. Here is a video on how to install a rain barrel.
  2. Check to see if your village offers a rebate program for homeowners who install rain barrels. Some do.
  3. There are many styles of rain barrels available. See the diagram below (note that the spigot is much too high on the barrel – how would you get the water out?) Make sure the one you select has these features:
    • A fine-screen cover on any openings to prevent mosquito breeding.
    • A tight-fitting lid to keep children and animals out.
    • A spigot or hose connection near the bottom to allow you to easily use most of the rain water collected.
    • An overflow pipe or hose near the top, to allow excess rain water to drain away from your building once the barrel fills  - one light rain can easily overfill your barrel.
  4. Rain barrels are heavy when full (500 pounds or more) so place it on a level and secure surface where a climbing child is not able to pull it down.
  5. In fall, disconnect and empty your rain barrel before the first hard freeze or it will crack.  Replace the original downspouts.
  6. Do not drink water from rain barrels. The water may have picked up contaminants from the roof. In the vegetable garden, be sure to apply the water only to the soil, not the vegetables.  Do not employ overhead irrigation that would cause the water to come in contact with the edible portion of the plant.  Rain barrel water can be safely used in the flower garden and on trees or shrubs.

 

Another helpful practice is to install a rain garden or simply re-direct downspouts to gardens or low or flat portions of your property away from building foundations where it can soak into the ground rather than enter the stormwater system.

 

Hire some help

We are not aware of vendors who specifically install rain barrels, but a good handyman should be able to help you.

illustration

 

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