Collecting rainwater is one of the easiest things you can do to make a positive ecological and economic impact. Rain barrels allow you to capture rainwater off a roof and hold it for later uses. Whether it be to water your lawn, gardens or indoor plants, it’s a wonderful way to stretch this resource and save money in the process.
Gathering the Materials
All you need is a spigot, a barrel with a lid, and a drill. Yes, that’s all! It is recommended to use a strong plastic barrel that can hold around 55-gallons of water.
Making the Rain Barrel
About five inches above the base of the barrel, drill a hole for the spigot. Place the spigot in tight and securely. To ensure the hole is watertight, you have the option to use a waterproof sealant. Next, drill a hole about three inches below the top of the barrel for the overflow. This hole can be attached to a backup rain barrel or to a hose feeding to a runoff area on your property.
Setting it Up
First and foremost, find a location for your rain barrel. Not only does this area need to have a flat surface, but it should be beneath your gutter’s downspout. Next, drill a hole in the barrel lid for the downspout to fit inside. Once everything is pieced together, you should be good to go.
Using the Water
Try to make use of the rainwater within a week of rainfall. Un-treated water supply can be used to irrigate lawns, water gardens, rinse off windows or even wash cars. Remember, however, that rainwater flows over a roof surface and can absorb bacteria, chemicals and other pollutants. Because of this, it is not recommended to consume collected rainwater.
Cleaning the Barrel
Cleaning the barrel at least once a year is recommended. To do this, simply disconnect the barrel from the system and use dish soap and water to wash both the inside and outside. Additionally, be sure to move your rain barrel to a safe location so it doesn't freeze or crack over the winter.
During one inch of rainfall, a rain barrel can gather up to half a gallon of water per square foot of roof. Rainwater collection is a great way to save both money and resources and can be fun too!