The rainy season is here, which means it’s the perfect time to build a rain barrel! Not only can you save a lot of water by using stored rainwater instead of municipal or well water, but a rain barrel can also help reduce the amount of water that may settle around the foundation of your home. So don’t wait – get started on your rain barrel today!
A ½-inch rainfall will fill a 50-gallon barrel on average. In fact, during a typical ½-inch rainstorm, a normal roof of 1,000 square feet can fill more than five rain barrels. That’s why some people opt to have more than one rain barrel at their home.
If you’re interested in getting started with Emergency Barrel collection, here are a few tips to get you started:
Many people use 50-gallon food-grade drums to make rain barrels, which can be obtained for around $10 from various suppliers. Additionally, rain barrels are often available through classes at your county Extension office. You can visit SolutionsForYourLife.org/map to find your local office.
If you’re looking to invest in a rain barrel, be sure to get a heavy-grade plastic container that is opaque. Light can speed the growth of algae, which can clog pipes.
When deciding where to place the barrel, keep in mind how close it will be to your plants, gardens and flower beds. Many people put them under a downspout for easy attachment.
If you don’t have gutters, you can still collect rainwater by placing a barrel under a section of your roof that sheds a lot of water. Be sure to put a screen, like window screen or wire mesh, over the open barrel to keep out debris, small animals and insects. This will take longer to fill up than if you had gutters, but it may be more practical for your location. Also clean the tank periodically to remove any settling.
Before installing your rain barrel, it is important to clean the inside properly. To do this, create a cleaning solution by mixing ⅛ cup of bleach with 5 gallons of water. Then, use this solution to clean the inside of the rain barrel.
Looking for information on rain barrels? You can find everything you need to know at WaterMatters.org/Rain Barrel, including step-by-step instructions on how to build your own barrel. You can also download or order a 28-page publication from the site.
- Before installing a rain barrel in your yard, you should check your local subdivision’s deed restrictions to see if there are any size or placement limits.
- Remember that stored rainwater is not potable and should not be used for drinking or bathing. However, the quality of rainwater that comes off a roof or gutter system is more than adequate for plants.
- Remember that stored rainwater is not potable and should not be used for drinking, bathing, or pets. However, the quality of rainwater that comes off a roof or gutter system is more than adequate for plants.
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