Rain barrels collect and store rainwater, which can then be used for watering your lawn, garden and potted plants. Half an inch of rainwater typically fills a 208 litre/55 gallon rain barrel. Note that you should never use collected rainwater for drinking or food preparation.
Setting up your rain barrel
Our 208 litre/55 gallon rain barrel is made of recycled plastic. It should come with a removable lid, brass tap, overflow tube and hose clamp. The lid should have a steel screen to keep debris out.
- Choose a location below a downspout approximately 2 metres away from the house foundation. If that's not possible, purchase an overflow device or downspout diverter from a hardware store.
- Place the barrel on a firm, level surface like plywood, cement block or compacted ground. To maximize barrel, raise to 350mm/ 12-16in in height.
- Secure and stabilize the barrel to avoid tipping hazards; a full rain barrel is very heavy.
- Position the downspout to fit into the screen opening. Cut the downspout if needed.
- Install the brass tap into the hole near the bottom front of the rain barrel. Hand tighten.
- Install the overflow connection/hose into the hole near the top of the rain barrel. There are two spouts blocked by a plastic disc. Choose the best side for the overflow hose and remove one disc by inserting a screwdriver or chisel from the outside and gently tapping with a hammer around the edges of the disc until it pops out.
- Attach the lid to the barrel using the four screws provided.
Maintaining your rain barrel
- Clean the screen monthly to remove debris and leaves.
- Add a small amount of olive oil or dish soap to the water to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in your barrel.
- Keep the lid on your barrel at all times to keep children and wildlife out.
Storing your rain barrel
In preparation for winter, drain your barrel and store it upside down in a shed or garage. If the barrel is left outside during the winter and exposed to the elements, the plastic may crack.
Collected rain water is not potable water. Never drink or ingest standing water that has been collected in a rain barrel. This water may become stagnant or contaminated, and isn't fit for human or animal consumption.