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  • Writer's pictureNadean Carson

To Make a Rain Barrel

Creating a rain barrel is a practical and eco-friendly way to collect and store rainwater for various uses, including watering your garden or landscape. Here are step-by-step instructions to help you create your own rain barrel:

Materials You'll Need:

  1. A Large Container: You can use a food-grade plastic drum, a 55-gallon drum, or a similar container. Make sure it has a lid to keep debris and mosquitoes out. You can often find these containers at hardware stores or online.

  2. Screen or Mesh: To cover the inlet to prevent debris from entering the barrel.

  3. Spigot or Faucet: To access the water stored in the barrel.

  4. Downspout Diverter Kit: This kit allows you to connect your rain barrel to a downspout on your gutter system.

  5. Sealant: Waterproof sealant or plumber's tape to ensure a watertight seal around the spigot and any connections.

  6. Tools: You may need a drill, hole saw, screwdriver, pliers, and a saw to cut holes and assemble the components.

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Choose a Location: Select a suitable location for your rain barrel. It should be near a downspout to capture rainwater efficiently and level to ensure stability.

  2. Prepare the Container: If your container previously held chemicals or other non-food items, clean it thoroughly with water and a mild detergent. Rinse it several times to remove any residue.

  3. Prepare the Lid: Using a saw or hole saw, cut a hole in the lid large enough to fit the downspout diverter kit.

  4. Install the Downspout Diverter Kit: Follow the manufacturer's instructions to attach the downspout diverter to your gutter downspout. This kit will direct rainwater into your barrel and automatically divert excess water back into the downspout when the barrel is full.

  5. Attach the Container: Place the prepared container under the downspout diverter. Ensure it's stable and level.

  6. Install the Screen or Mesh: Cut a piece of screen or mesh to cover the hole in the lid. Secure it in place to prevent debris and insects from entering the barrel.

  7. Install the Spigot: Near the bottom of the barrel, drill a hole that matches the size of your spigot or faucet. Apply waterproof sealant or plumber's tape to the threads of the spigot, then insert it into the hole from the inside of the barrel. Tighten it securely.

  8. Elevate the Barrel: If possible, elevate the rain barrel on cinder blocks or a sturdy platform to create more pressure when using the collected water.

  9. Test the System: After installation, check for any leaks around the spigot and downspout connections. Make any necessary adjustments or reseal if needed.

  10. Collect Rainwater: Your rain barrel is now ready to collect rainwater. When it rains, water will flow through the downspout diverter into the barrel. Simply open the spigot to access the stored water when you need it.

Remember to regularly maintain your rain barrel by cleaning the screen or mesh and checking for debris. During the winter, empty the barrel and store it properly to prevent damage from freezing temperatures.

Creating a rain barrel is a rewarding DIY project that not only conserves water but also helps reduce stormwater runoff and benefits your garden or landscape.


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