Monday, September 1, 2008

What We Have Learned About Rain Barrels

A rainfall of 1 inch produces 872 gallons of runoff from our roof. Before we installed rain barrels and our rain garden that water went directly into our storm sewers. Collection of the rain water gives us soft, mineral free water for plants, bird baths and other non-potable uses.

I was going to tell you how to make a rain barrel until I realized there is a plethora of information on the internet on making rain barrels. Choose the instructions that best fits your needs. You can make your rain barrels from food grade drums or large trashcans. I would recommend you find the container that works for you and find the instructions that will work best for that container. I also recommend that you make your rain barrel over buying one. It is my experience the ready-made ones are over priced and use inferior components.

Here are some things we have learned since we installed our first rain barrel.
  • Place your rain barrel in a location close to where you will be using the water.
  • Make the stand as high as practical to increase water pressure and allow room to place a bucket under the spigot.
  • Make the stand sturdy and level. A rain barrel can weigh 550 pounds when full.
  • When connecting two or more barrels together, make the connection on the bottom of the barrels instead of the top. The barrels will fill evenly and reduce over flow.
  • Use a splash block or hose to direct the water from the overflow away from the house.
  • Use a spigot with a quarter-turn lever handle because they fully open and are easier to use.
  • You can easily hide your rain barrel with screens or a trellis and vine.
  • Use silicone calk to seal the pvc fittings. This will allow you to take it apart at a later time.