During an average summer rain shower (1 inch of rain) your roof may drain over 600 gallons of water into the gutters and through the downspouts. This stormwater can be collected by diverting your downspouts into rain barrels for later use to water plants, or to release it when the ground isn’t as saturated. By capturing this water and releasing it when it is not raining, the amount of polluted water directly entering local streams through runoff can be greatly reduced.
There are many styles of rain barrels on the market, and they can be found on the internet, at your local home improvement, or at landscaping stores. Prices range from $25 for a do-it-yourself kit to upwards of $200. Most rain barrels hold around 45 to 55 gallons, but multiple barrels may be connected to increase the storage capacity. If you are looking for a specific style, you can purchase your own and we can help you install it, but our lifetime warranty is only valid on barrels provided by Every Drop.
How to install your rain barrel
Start by deciding on where to locate your rain barrel. Most often, the barrels are placed near downspouts where you can easily divert the rain water into the barrel. However, you can place the barrel under any surface that has a concentrated flow of water coming off of it. You may also want to place the barrel in a location that makes it convenient for you to water your flower beds and gardens.
To increase take advantage of gravity flow and to allow room for you to place a bucket or a watering can under the spicket of your barrel, place the barrel on a raised flat surface. A full barrel can weigh up to 400 pounds, so make sure you use a solid surface that can hold the weight. Concrete blocks, pavers, or a sturdy wooden structure all work well.
To avoid d any issues with water getting into your house or foundation, direct the barrels overflow hose into a garden or onto the lawn at least 4 feet from the building’s foundation.
The next steps are is to modify the downspout to direct the water into the barrel. There are several styles of diverters you may purchase, or you can cut the downspout at a height above the barrel and use an elbow to direct it. If purchasing a prefabricated version, pick the one that is best suited for your needs and has the look you want. and t Then, follow its provided the directions. Make sure you use a mesh screen where the water enters the barrel to filter out debris and prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in the water.
Use and Maintain Your Rain Barrel
- Clean your gutters regularly. The mesh screen will help reduce the amount of debris that enters the barrel, but reducing the amount of leaf litter and other debris from reaching the intake will greatly lower the amount of debris that can build up and block water from entering the barrel.
- Visually inspect your rain barrel monthly, preferably when raining, to insure fittings are secure and that the screen is clear of debris.
- In late fall, before the first freeze, fully drain your barrel by opening the spigot and tilting as needed and leave the spigot open. This will prevent freezing water from damaging connections or tubing on your barrel. For longer life, clean and store the rain barrel upside down in a protected place away from wind and snow.
- Re-install the barrel after the last freeze in the spring.